I have come to believe that not only are we created in the image of God with a Divine spark within us, but that a significant piece of that spark is our creative nature. We all have it. Yes, every one of us. No exceptions. Being in the image of God also means we have every ability, every possibility to create.
At what point did I shift from the playful creativity of art, writing, singing and dance. I don’t remember. Was it when I yearned to spin and twirl and dance, but was told my family couldn’t afford the classes? Was it when I drew pictures everywhere but ultimately got my bottom tanned for drawing a picture of Elvis Presley in my brother’s Hardy Boys book? And for any of us who tell ourselves the story that we are not creative, where does that begin?? Who or what holds the big bucket of water which gets thrown on us in the effort to extinguish that spark?
Recently, I was in a class in seminary where (for fun) the professor had us re-create/draw a new book cover for one of our textbooks. Without exception every students who offered to share his or her work said “It’s not good,” “The art is bad.” And so on throughout the class until we reached the professor. Surely, I thought, he will embrace his work, but no, “Ignore the art.”
My heart hurt. For all of us.
The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, says that creativity and ideas have energy. It and they wait patiently in the wings to be claimed and brought to life. In her book, Big Magic, she describes how creative ideas only wait so long and then may move on to another who will claim them. Creativity is forever, concrete ideas may have a shelf life.
Late in life after hearing a presenter emphatically tell the class that we ALL are creative and that we need to claim it. In the silence of meditation, I asked if this were true how might I claim my own creativity and through what medium? Clear as a bell came the message—"you’ve always loved photography.” I thought, if this is so then I am going for it! I dusted off my technique, upgraded my camera and learned new techniques and attacked this rediscovered talent with a passion. I wasn’t going to let the this talent escape my clutches.
My relationship with my reclaimed art is like a love affair. Each time I pick up my camera, the flame is bright again. My heart beats quickly. I lose myself in the time. And as one would anticipate greeting a lover, I cannot wait to download images.
Many of you have already connected with your true creative self in some way or another. If so, live it. If not, I invite you to ask the question of yourself. What ignites my passion? In prayer, in meditation, in the silence and the stillness, ask the question, “where can I express what is already there, what is God given?” What is in mine to claim? Cooking, crafts, dance, music, art, creating programs, videography, leading people. Creation is where God showed up first. All these things and greater can you do. This is a gift. It’s yours to claim.