Sunday, April 11, 2010

Creativity Calls

Creativity calls forth something deep inside of us. It longs for us to go deeper, to connect, and then to express.

I often struggle with the desire to be creative in the natural. I see someone paint and I want to paint, I watch cooking shows and I want to cook like they do with such appreciation and enjoyment. I look at pottery and I want to sit at a potter’s wheel. Photography, music, cards, books all can produce the same appreciation and desire in me. Yet, I find it difficult to move into the place of producing any of these things, finding my voice, and vision and way of communicating something creative.

What I realize is that painting is attractive to me because of the gentleness of the strokes, and the variety of colors that can be used to create one of a kind pictures. I tend to like black and white and have been on a journey for quite some time exploring the world of color. Black and white are very safe, very strict, with distinct lines. Color brings about feeling.

After winter and all the gray, lifelessness, and lack of color… doesn’t spring and the first signs of color bring forth a sense of joy, life and hope? Red is intense in its language. Pink is gentle and alluring. Yellow brings a sense of sunshine and joyfulness. Rich and royal is purple in its expression. Gentle blue skies bring a sense of rest, relaxation and beckon us to come out and have fun. God is the greatest painter of all, as seen in vivid sun rises and sunsets against the backdrop of rocky or snow capped mountains, above roaring oceans and sandy beaches or serene, glassy lakes. Any painter is but an imitator of the original and what a compliment that is to Him.

There is a growing movement of creativity in the body of Christ. One of the areas, being released more and more in certain streams is prophetic painting. People come to places of worship, equipped with tools of creative expression and as they worship they begin to express through color, and multi-media, things they sense or see in their hearts. Many that cannot express in a verbal way their love for God, or what they see or inspires them, they do by way of painting. They also capture unique ways God wants to communicate to us. Much in the way a musician strums a guitar, picks out a new melody on the piano as it runs through their mind, or a drummer beats new rhythms as he feels it out as it makes sense to him. I love this and believe it holds a special place in God’s heart.

When I am drawn to pottery, it is because of the vessels that have been formed for a particular use or just for the enjoyment or the creativity of the individual who would use the vessel. A cup could be for drinking or to hold pens, a pitcher either for juice or to hold an arrangement of flowers. The process of clay being molded and shaped into something useful or creative is very inspiring to me, which for me, comes from the place of knowing what the Word says about this concept being connected to us as individuals.

  • “And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.” Is 64:8
  • ‘Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. O House of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. Jer 18:3-6

When I am drawn to the cooking, it is the concept (as I do not really like to cook) of taking often similar ingredients, used in a multitude of different ways, adding spices, a variety of cooking methods and temperatures, then making them into savory dishes that will be enjoyed by others. Food often adds to fun and fellowship, is sometimes given to comfort others during times of difficulty or suffering, mostly used to just plain meet the need of being hungry, and unfortunately abused in allowing it to be too much of a priority and using it to “fill” empty places in our hearts. Yet again, there is a new level in this generation of creativity in going beyond just the practical need of eating, but bringing in color, spice, variety and fun.

When I am drawn to books, it is the stories and lessons learned or taught by others. The lives they have lived and the emotions they evoke in me, cause me to think and live beyond myself. Books have truly changed my life. They give me time to stop, sit back, think through and examine things from different perspectives. Books allow me to be an interested, intense observer rather than a casual passer by…like when I view a movie. And hopefully if there are worthwhile, godly, spiritual principles communicated, I have the opportunity to grow up in them and make them my own. Books reveal the beauty of the inner life of others…if they are “choice” material, and not the cheap, quick, money earning options of the modern day…which reveal an inner life too, but one not quite so beautiful.

When I am drawn to journals, paper and pens, it’s the thought and passion of the deep, inner places that can be explored and expressed across blank pages. Those empty pages becoming something new, never expressed, bringing clarity and giving sight as the words work their way across the page. Capturing moments of the heart, what would have been fleeting thoughts, but now because they are written down, demand to be given more attention, a closer look, a deeper pondering. Now what would have been for one person, something skipped past becomes for them something so much more, something expanded, expressed, pursued, embraced, enjoyed, explored and can now be given to others for some of the same experience. And it also gives opportunities for others to add their perspective and when that piece is added, it becomes even more. It can now take on different and broader hues as it is seen from other viewpoints. What was nothing but a brief thought, because of the act of writing it down, allows it to become more…more fulfilling, more influential, just plain more. Even if others never see the things written down, it lends itself to getting things out of our hearts, and gives us a path to look back on. It becomes a journey of our hearts to learn from and to remember.

A painting begins with a thought, a desire, a stroke of the brush

A vessel begins with a thought, a desire, a lump of clay
A meal begins with a thought, a desire, a variety of ingredients

A book begins with a thought, a desire, a story or truth to tell

A journal begins with a thought, a desire, a memory to keep or a thought to process out.

There is always a beginning, a desire, a process that leads to expression. Expression is ultimately the result of creativity, so what is expressed and how it is expressed is extremely important. Expression comes for the interior place, “out of the heart, the mouth speaks”… the painter paints, the potter forms, the musician composes, the writer writes, the preacher preaches. Therefore, the interior place is what matters most. It should be the most beautiful and honest place, so all that comes forth from there, will be beauty and truth that others may enjoy, grow from and be inspired by.

I believe “the arts of creativity” are some of the many tangible ways God uses to help us get to the core, the things that matter most, really feeling and living life, and helping us to truly know ourselves. Making something out of nothing and/or using what is available to produce something new, can give us great joy and such a wonderful sense of accomplishment in the fact that “I made that” and “it is good”. At times creating is for the pure pleasure of it and at other times creating comes from the need to express or give something to others as a way of blessing or connecting. This is especially effective because of the gentle nurturing of the soul that it brings, which encourages life and healing, and the enjoyment of being like our Creator God.