I remember one time I took my kids to a birthday party and one of the activities was painting. The hostess mama had paints and paper and brushes for each child. She boldly let them go to town. My three daughters, who are wild about painting, filled up every inch of white space with thick, swirling colors. Crimson crashing gold melting green. My littlest even got some fingers in the action. As they painted, I noticed something extraordinary: a light in their eyes. This was the “creator light,” the satisfaction that they were creating something with their own hands.
The legendary painter, Pablo Picasso, said this: “Every child is born an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”
This is the difficulty. We learn to edit. We start to look around and compare. We recognize other great artists, and we feel the weight of expectations. We squelch the creative for the practical.
David writes in Psalm 139: 13: “For you created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
As I read the words of this scripture and many others, I discover two things: God is our Creator. He created us in His image to create.
When I first became a mama, I discovered the urgency of everyday demands often trumped time for myself, time to be creative and unwind. With each child, this time proportionally diminished.
Through the years I have come to understand that I have to be intentional about creative space for myself. God has wired me to create. This has looked different in various seasons of my life. My creative seasons have included writing blogs, painting canvases, making jewelry.
In other seasons, it’s been knitting. I love knitting because it involves a beginning and end. I start with a delicious ball of yarn and end up with a little baby hat or chunky scarf. There is something deeply satisfying about holding that finished piece in my hand. I created it. Perhaps it isn’t perfect or what I thought it might look like but it is my creation. I don’t find this deep satisfaction in doing the laundry or scrubbing toilets.
I have had seasons where cooking was my creative space. Sure, it was practical: we needed to eat. Yet I afforded myself some extra time for perusing cookbooks and making something more involved because I knew I need the cooking therapy. I knew the chopping and mixing and tasting was something my creative mama soul needed.
Do you allow yourself creative space? What lies are killing the creator in you?
Replace those lies with the truth: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT).
I love Pinterest. This web site has truly revolutionized the creative world. On one hand, it serves as an incredible vehicle for sharing ideas. On any given day, I can search the site for Paris birthday party ideas, recipes for gluten-free treats, homemade Valentine templates for kids, or even CrossFit workouts. Pinterest provides images, examples, instructions and ideas.
Pinterest also provides the perfect storm of pressure to perform and a need to outdo the next woman. We become addicted to the images but miss out on the quality time creating art with our friends and families because we are crippled by the options and competition. We don’t want to risk because we are afraid to fail.
For you, maybe it’s gardening or arranging bedroom furniture or sewing or writing poetry or organizing closets or playing guitar. I urge you to stop making excuses about your family and your shortcomings. Stop “pinning” and start creating.
I love the Erwin McManus, author of The Artisan Soul, puts it: “When you allow the living God to shake your life loose from all that holds you, and recreate and remake you, you are once again stepping into your artist’s self.
I challenge you today to be you, creatively.
Image Credit: Alice Achterhof, Unsplash Creative Commons
This article is an adapted version from The Bridge MOPS Blog, and has been published with permission.