I am trying to rediscover my creative life. Its probably one of the main reasons I have been trying to discipline myself to write more here, its a creative outlet for me to craft words together. In seminary, there was so much writing. It was a difficult habit to get into, but researching and piecing together thoughts, insights, and conclusions was so tremendously satisfying when it was finally complete. It was the same for when I taught, crafting a message, thinking about the audience, bringing home main points. When a message was delivered and I could see people engaging, and talk with them afterwards about things they connected with or learned, it made me feel alive to be used as an creative outlet for God like that. Many of my roles in life have also included creating, planning, and implementing events and projects. Few things are more satisfying than seeing something you spent significant amount of time creating and problems solving though finally be pulled off. There was a season at
NightLight when I became one of the jewelry designers, a completely unexpected role. But I absolutely loved it, trying different combinations of beads and colors and coming up with a completed piece. At the coffee shop, I have taught the women how to make a few bakery items and also help them to come up with new drink ideas. It’s so fun watching them successfully bake something or come up with a new creation and then see the joy in their faces when someone orders and enjoys it.
We were created to create. Our designer, the master creator, created us in his image. That is probably why creating is so satisfying, it is programed into us. We may not all be master Pinterest worthy visual creators, and some claim to not have an artistic bone in their body. But creatively is not just about art, it can be anything. Organizing a closet in a new way, designing a webpage, creating something new for dinner, even fixing a car or designing a new way to budget your money is creativity.
I remember one of the first times I consciously thought about the power of creativity. I was in the middle of a season at work that included a lot of admin tasks that I was not in love with. There were e-mails to answer, teams to organize, and spreadsheets… I really dislike spreadsheets. One day in the office, I took some time out of my other responsibilities to put together a photo collage of sorts to help market our jewelry on Facebook. I was just trying to create an example for a new intern who would be taking this task on regularly. But as I was doing it I kept thinking about how fun it was. It was like scrapbooking, which is something I used to a long time ago when I had more free time. I spent far more time on it than I needed to because I was just enjoying the simple creative process of it. And when I was finished with it and posted it on Facebook, I couldn’t wait to see how many “likes” it would get, or better yet, to see if it would lead to any new purchases. That small creative outlet brightened my whole day a bit. I was reminded of how important creativity is to our lives, we were created to create, whatever that creative outlet is to us, whatever helps to make us feel more alive. Who knows, maybe that’s spreadsheets for some people.
A few days later I stumbled upon an article that talks about this very thing. That adding just a little bit of creativity to your day makes you a better worker and overall less of a consumeristic and critical. He writes:
“Work can be monotonous. Each day I try and put one thing on my to-do list that requires a fresh creative punch. Oftentimes this is as simple as a 10 minute phone call to bounce a new idea off a friend. I find this simple act of forcing myself to create actually invigorates all the other things I’ve been avoiding all day. … Creativity is an exponential force. It produces better work that produces better work. Creativity is also a repelling force. The more we create, the more it repels us away from the dangers of over consumption and over criticism.”
What I have found, however, is that is is easy to numb or “busy” out our creative outlets. Creativity takes effort. Often, if I happen to have a free few minutes or down time at the end of the day, I prefer to numb out on Jimmy Fallon youtube clips or my latest favorite tv show. I think this is an very common, unforrnutate habit of this entertainment age. Entertainment, although it can be a form of creativity itself, has stolen quite a bit of our time hasn’t it? So as I was thinking about this some more and realizing that lent was coming up, I decided to try something different. Growing up Catholic, I already have the practice of giving up something for lent ingrained in me. Usually I choose to give up something I enjoy eating, like sugar or meat. This year, however, I decided to give up T.V. (youtube clips included) and the time I spent zoning out on entertainment, I now use to get back in touch with my creative side and, in a way, spend more time with my creator, creating together.
I have been doing this for over a week now, and it’s surprisingly exhilarating. Some days I sit down and I just start writing, see where it takes me. I started researching more about what it takes to write a good story and have been pondering how that lines up with the great story we all find ourselves in, and try to incorporate that in. I cleaned and reorganized they shelves in my room, adding small plants and framing new photos. I am also planning on starting a couple of art projects, nothing special, I am really no artist, but I do enjoy being crafty, using things I already have and upscaling them or creating something new. I also want to start a little garden and sitting space on my balcony. I want to grow some herbs there for cooking, but also want to pretty up the space for more than just drying my clothes. There are recipes I want to try and hairstyles I want to work on, endless possibilities really. And I’m excited to explore and create. Maybe I will share some updates on these projects, so stay tuned 😉
I remember when I was working in the jewelry business at NightLight, I spent months working with the women on creating the new designs, modeling and photographing them, and then crafting it all into a small catalogue. The photos were primarily going to be released online, but we took the liberty of printing one out into a very professional looking magazine-like catalogue and took it around to all the women to look at the finished product of all our hard work. They were so excited to see their handiwork in such a professional looking catalogue. They said things like “I can’t believe our work is actually in a catalogue like this!” and “I bet one of them is definitely one that I made,” or “I was just working on that necklace!” They were so proud, and so was I. We were, together, living out part of what we were created to do: to contribute gifts to this world and to create.
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…” Romans 12:6