Are you a creative sort?
Actually I am going to tell you that you are a creative person and that tapping into that creative zone will transform your life, and in particular your Mental Health.
Creativity comes in millions of different forms.
Obvious to us all are those who are artists of the brush creating beautiful pictures. My aunt developed a love for painting later in life. Her paintings will now hang on the walls of her family for many generations leaving a legacy of creative expression associated with her name. Want to leave a great legacy? Get creative.
My mother would probably have not considered herself as an artist but I do. Floral arrangements, finely made baby clothes with embroided butterflies, cakes to die for, music filling the home and church, and rose scent wafting through the home all sang to us as children of a deeply creative soul.
Do you over look some of your creative expression? Do you dismiss it, consider it of not much importance?
My father created a farm. Building fences, planting trees, designing stock yards whilst doing the Herald crossword and growing vegetables for the family.
When I was in ministry, serving people with Major Mental illnesses, I made a conscious effort to empower creativity in people.
‘Yes of course you can play in our worship team’
‘Can you please share that poem you wrote’
‘Wow that is beautiful knitting’
‘You make exquisite shell work’
‘Yes you can sing your old hymn (that one you sing to us every week!)
‘I think you need to write your story out and share it with us’
‘Those scones were excellent’
‘Please can you help cook the Christmas lunch’
As I reflect on this time, and if I could do anything different, I would focus more on empowering creativity in people and coaching the rescuers into creative empowerment.
At the end of the year we would have a lovely dinner. I well remember many of the church people offering to come and cook the dinner. I politely refused their generous offers and focused on asking those we were serving to come and cook the dinner. Peeling potatoes, whipping cream, cooking the ham, all done using the creative gifting of the people often kept to the side. They got huge sense of confidence, self belief and the delight of camaraderie.
This very act of empowerment and permission giving gave untold confidence and joy to those involved which was transferred into other areas of their lives.
Each expression of creativity brought a smile to the face of God.
I need to create, to express and to release something within me that is part of Gods very nature and character.
This is where it all starts.
In the Bible, also an expression of creativity, we find God taking up the paint brush of colour and beginning the delicate chiseling of something out of nothing.
After each days Genesis work, it was considered good. Ever had the satisfied feeling after being creative? Guess where it came from!
Day after day the word went forth and grew mountains and mice, microbe and muscle, whispers and wildernesses.
God is still creating and if we are true to their image bearing nature, if we are a ‘chip of the old block’, then it is within their expression we also find expression.
In writing this blog post there is a sense of attunement and delight both in myself and them.
I love to write. It is creative expression. I love to garden. Creative expression. I love to cook, create memes ( images with text overlay) to share through social media, build compost bins and watch seedlings germinate.
The more I see my activities as creative expressions of a creative God, the more I am in sync with a rhythm beyond myself.
7 Steps To Develop A Rhythm of Creativity
1. Take a creative view of all that you do.
There is a lot of mundane activity we do everyday. Cooking the dinner, washing clothes, tidying the garage (must put on to do list – grrr). What if we were to look at these times as opportunities for creativity. Creating order where there is disorder, preparing the evening meal with creative bent.
Brother Lawrence was a monk whose job was to wash the dishes in a monastery. Not the most sort after job I imagine, but beside that sink he was able to create a healthy environment for the preparation of food. He went on to write a much-loved Spiritual Classic ‘Practicing the presence of God.
Here is a quote from the book.
That the most excellent method he had found of going to GOD, was that of doing our common business without any view of pleasing men, and (as far as we are capable) purely for the love of GOD. Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
Perhaps it is in our ‘common business’ that we called first and foremost to creative expression.
2. Express thankfulness.
In the very act of being thankful for the gifts God has given me, I am acknowledging my uniqueness and value. That this creative talent does not come as a random cosmic roll of the dice, but as something our creator God destined for me to participate in with them.
Thankfulness moves us out of narcissistic self-aggrandizement to partnership, community, and relationship.
I am thankful for my writing and cooking. I am thankful when I see that flower bloom and that sunrise that peeks over the hills.
Thankfulness opens my heart to hearing Gods whispers of ‘this is for you’.
I am thankful for the creative expression of others. The poet, the cleaner, the singer, and the washer of dishes.
3. Develop it.
Learn more, go all out in this gifting. See your development as a gift to God, yourself and others.
Invest time and resources into getting the right tools, coaching, and training. Please take this gift seriously and hone your skill to the best you can be.
4. Believe that you are a writer, a chef, a musician.
Do you see yourself as a creator? Have you adopted this as an important role in your life? I have recently stuck a bright bold sticky note in my car with the words on it ‘You are a Writer’
A few years ago I read Jeff Goins book ‘You are a writer’. The premise of the book is that if you are a writer then write. He writes this.
Writing is mostly a mind game. It’s about tricking yourself into becoming who you are. If you do this long enough, you begin to believe it. And pretty soon, you start acting like it.
― Jeff Goins,
If you are a writer then write. Bakers, make those cakes and share them out :), gardeners prune those roses.
Just do it! I need it from you and others do to.
5. Create community with other like-minded creative’s.
Who else is wired like you? It has been one of my joys to connect with others through Social Media who love to create and who have a passion for Spiritual Formation and Mental Health. We read each other’s creative work, we share ideas and content.
As the wise writer of Proverbs says …
You use steel to sharpen steel,
and one friend sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Find others whom you can bounce ideas off, do joint projects with and learn together. It doesn’t have to be face to face either.
6. Encourage creativity in others.
I get a lot of fuel from you the reader. When you leave a comment, send me an email, or share my content it is a little act of kindness that breathes courage into my heart.
Sometime ago I discovered the meaning being the word ‘Encouragement’.
Encouragement has its root in the Latin word cor, which literally means “heart”. So does the word courage. To have courage means to have heart. To encourage – to provide with or give courage – literally means to give others heart. Kouzes & Posner Encouraging the Heart
7. Schedule time for it.
Carve out time in the sculpture of your diary to create. You are worth it. Form this into a rhythm that everyday you are going to create.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld writes a joke everyday and puts a big ‘X’ on a calendar after he has done so. He creates a chain of continuity. Read more about it here.
Seinfeld chooses to do everyday what most people won’t and by doing so he has honed his creativity to a fine point. Is every joke a winner? No, but to get to those brilliant jokes he has learnt that its ok to create a few duds along the way.
Here is the deal. You have a creative gift within you, now go and use it. I and thousands of others are waiting.
Questions to consider
- What gift of creativity do you have?
- Why do we so often dismiss our creativity?
- Who can you link up with to provide mutual encouragement around being creative?
Quote to consider
- I am aware of being in a beautiful prison, from which I can only escape by writing. Anaïs Nin
- Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. Mark Twain
- Would you like to
- Become part of our email community
- Share this post with others
- Leave me a comment
- Email me. I read every email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the other posts in this series