Many of us have a complicated relationship with creativity. We love experiencing the creativity of others, and we are quick to celebrate it. But we can easily struggle to identify our own creativity. We are often quick to say things like, “I’m not the creative type” or “my sister is the creative one in our family”. Our definition of creativity can heavily influence our level of creative confidence. Creativity is much broader and more universal than what people typically consider the “artistic” fields. Creativity comes into play wherever we have the opportunity to generate new ideas, solutions, or approaches. To put it simply, wherever we can find a way of doing things that is better than what has been done before, we are being creative.Read Genesis 1
Before the Bible tells us that God is loving, holy, or merciful, we learn that he is creative. When we follow his call to create in any area of life, we are not just doing something good for the world, we are doing something God-like. Furthermore, Genesis 1 tells us that we are indeed made in the image of a creative God. No other part of creation is blessed in this way. The capacity for creativity is essentially human, and it holds the constant promise of alternative ways of seeing, thinking and doing.Understanding Creativity
Sir Ken Robinson developed some of the most helpful thoughts to show how every person can be creative. All of this starts with imagination, the ability to bring to mind things that are not present to our senses. From imagination comes creativity, the process of having original ideas that have value. And this leads to innovation, the process of putting new ideas into practice and introducing something new or improved. Even for those of us who might say, “I’m not creative”, we apply imagination, creativity and innovation in these ways all the time. They may be small and not always on display, but we are constantly generating new ideas, approaches and solutions in life.
One of the challenges of creativity is that it is indeed a process. Even God modelled a process of creating the universe over multiple days. However, the pace of life often has us rushing towards a quick outcome, which can hinder the creative process. Consider how C.S Lewis wrote the Narnia series –“It began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: “Let’s try to make a story about it.” At first, I had very little idea how the story would go. But then suddenly Aslan came bounding into it... once he was there, he pulled the whole story together.”
Many of us don’t experience lightbulb moments where the ideas come right away – and that’s okay. It shouldn’t diminish the level of creativity we see in ourselves.Identity
What we should take away from Genesis 1 is that God gave us an identity first. It’s far too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that our achievements form our identity and ultimately shape our sense of value or acceptance. This is so far removed from what God wants for us. By our God-given makeup and the grace of Christ, our work should be the expression of our identity and not the source of it.Read Psalm 139
Imagine if each one of us saw ourselves the way that David does in this Psalm. Imagine how little we might worry about what others might think of us or what might happen if we tried something new and didn’t quite get it right the first time. God’s presence frees us from performing for approval and brings us back to a focus of excellence and worship rather than perfection. The nature of creating new things is that it is risky, and in reality, some level of failure is inevitable. But as those who are marked by the grace and peace of Christ, we ought to be known to be calm and poised in the face of difficulty. It may be the most telling way to judge if a person is drawing on the resources of the gospel. When we create from this identity, our output flows from and reflects the input of God.
By starting with the way God has made us in His image and with an accurate definition of creativity, each one of us can confidently say, “I am creative”.Discussion Questions
1. Describe how easily you are able to recognise creativity in God, others and yourself.
2. Is there anything particular that might impact your ability to see yourself as creative?
3. What does it look like for your work to be informed by your identity, and not the other way around?
4. Can you recall a recent moment where you were able to think of a new idea, solution or approach to something in your day?
5. Is there a particular new idea that has been sitting in your mind for some time?Activity
Have a go at writing your own Psalm inspired by the words of Psalm 139.Prayer
Lord, thank you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of You. I pray that with the help of Your Spirit, I can keep learning to live and create by Your grace. I want my identity be shaped by You and not the things of this world. I accept that I am made to be creative, just like You. And I reject any lie of the enemy that might try to distract me from Your truth. Thank you for Your presence and guidance in every area of my life.