What do you think about creativity?
A lot of people believe that you either have it…or you don’t.
Last week a Facebook follower left this comment on one of my posts:
“I wish I were creative.”
That made me sad, but I was so glad to have the opportunity to engage in a dialogue that left her encouraged, and hopefully convinced that she is indeed creative.
How do I know this?
Because I’m convinced that every single person is creative. That includes that follower – and you too!
You are Creative
Here’s why –
Genesis 1:27 says:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (ESV)
Man was the pinnace of God’s creation and obviously, God is Creator. When He made man in His own image, He put within us a level of creativity after the image of His own.
Of course, we can’t create something from nothing like God can, but this image-bearing of ours does give us a creative ability. You only have to take a brief sweep through human history to see this played out.
Think with me for a moment about all the beautiful and useful ideas and things man has made from raw materials:
- incredible pieces of art
- machines and devices to help us in life
- heart-stirring music
- engineered buildings and structures
- patterned and textured fabrics
- the seven wonders of the Ancient world
- sculptures and models
- poetry and literature
- delectable recipes
- great humanitarian efforts
- organizational tools and techniques
- technological advances
I could go on and on, but you probably get the idea. None of these things would be in our lives if people had not expressed some type of creativity.
It’s in us. Sometimes we just need a little nudge to find it.
One of the problems I think a lot of people have with the idea of creativity is that we tend to limit what it means.
When someone mentions creativity, we usually think of artistic pursuits. And while that’s very much an expression of creativity, it goes much further than that.
Just look back over that short list. We don’t typically think of humanitarian efforts or highways as creative efforts, but they really are. Just consider the thought process that goes into these type of things! It takes a lot of creativity to turn an idea into an effort or product.
Nurturing Your Creativity
Admittedly, some people tend to express their creativity easier than others. That’s just the beauty of us all being so unique. Regardless of where you are in your ability, however, there are a few ways you can help it along.
First, you need to identify your strengths and abilities. We’ve launched 4 sons into adulthood now and it hasn’t always been an easy transition. We’ve made it a point, however, to encourage them to remember that they will be successful in life as long as they pursue what they are uniquely gifted for.
Think about that. Have you ever known of anyone who failed at something they were good at? Bumps along the way, perhaps (remember Thomas Edison?) but failure just doesn’t happen when we grow in areas we were created for.
It took me a lot of years to come to terms with this in my own life. Maybe you already have a strong grip on what you’re good at. Or maybe you need to consider how you’re uniquely designed and what that best suits you for.
Next, surround yourself with the inspiration that feeds your unique creativity.
Books, magazines, web sites, classes, shops, events, productions, locations, and materials are just a few of the places you can find food to feed your creativity.
I’ve even found exercise, music, fresh air, and pursuing a healthy lifestyle to be contributing factors to a clear mind that provides a comfortable home for creativity.
It just depends on what your bent is and how you’re best inspired. It may take time to discover what clicks for you, but that’s part of the thrilling journey!
Expressing Your Creativity
Once you find what you can be creative with, it may be a little intimidating to actually give it a go. I can honestly tell you that has been the case for me. If you’re spending time feeding your creativity by studying what others who are more accomplished have done, you may feel like your infant efforts fall terribly short.
Of course they will; You’re just getting started! But go for it anyway and learn and grow as you go along. It’s only a small handful of rare people who are incredible at expressing their creativity from the get-go.
If I could encourage you in only one way, it would be this: practice leads to perfection! It may take years – but that’s okay. You’re learning and growing along the way and that feeds your soul and grows you as a person.
Evaluating Your Creativity
You may not be concerned at all about beginning efforts, and if that’s the case, congratulations to you! But if you struggle with confidence about your creativity, here’s an easy thing you can do to encourage yourself:
Keep an account of what you’re doing. It may be photographs or actual pieces of work. It may be written documentation. Regardless of what you do, find an easy way to record your work and after a few months or so look back at your progress. If you’ve practiced expressing it, you’ll see growth in your creativity!
I recently started a new pursuit I’ve been interested in for about a year: amigurumi. It’s a form of crochet, producing stuffed animals and toys. So I was thrilled when an online crochet-a-long was announced featuring a specific project.
I gathered my supplies and eagerly waited for the first part of the pattern to be released. Since I’ve been crocheting for a very long time, the basic technique wasn’t a challenge. The putting together, however, was.
After I finished the second leg of my little elephant and attached the first, I noticed there was a problem.
That ridge at the top of the right leg just didn’t look right, so I posted my picture in the group and asked for help.
Right away, the answers came in – and all the same: the attached leg was wrong-side out!
I totally missed that, but after it was explained to me, I clearly saw my mistake.
And that wasn’t the only problem with this little project either.
Do you know what I did?
I left it just like it was and continued with my project.
It won’t be a piece I’m proud of long-term, but it will be a very real reminder to me in years to come of just how much I will have grown in my pursuit of amigurumi.
Sharing Your Creativity
No matter what kind of creativity you pursue, it doesn’t benefit or encourage others if you keep it hidden.
Just as you practice growing your creativity, you should also practice sharing it. If you tend toward perfectionism, you’ll probably find this challenging.
Try to push yourself to do it anyway and don’t be quick to point out every flaw when you do share. Other people don’t often notice the imperfections, and it’s good to remember that you’re on a growth journey and your efforts will naturally improve with time.
I hope you’ve been encouraged in your journey of creativity, and I’d love to hear how you’re growing! Leave a comment below and share your thoughts on creativity.
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