Creativity: An Expression Of Freedom
“Every Christian must be part artist. We craft lives of meaning through faith. And this means reaching out to engage those who differ while never losing appreciation for what sets us apart.”
-Father Andrew of Athos
I grew up thinking, you were either creative or you weren’t. I categorized myself as the latter since I couldn’t draw, write or produce drama. I spent most of my life detaching myself from anything that required creativity or imagination because to me that part of my brain just didn’t work.
We are the result of creation, and that means that He who fashioned us gave us the ability and the capacity to also create. We are all artists and poets, and I’ve come to learn that creativity is so much more than painting a portrait, writing a profoundly deep story or producing a moving film.
So what is creativity exactly?
Simply put, you.
It’s you in your daily interactions, in the way you interact with the stranger you meet, in the way you plan a trip to a new destination, the way you take on disappointments in life, the way you come up with an idea to improve your business’ efficiency or sales. It’s you in the way you carefully think out a recipe to make that perfect meal for the ones you love.
Beauty is in creativity.
Our sensitivity to beauty is but a glimpse of how man saw the world before corruption seeped into our very nature.
Understanding beauty is an important aspect when we create. Beauty is not static; it is not confined to any one person’s perception, but it is dynamic in the sense that it continues to develop. And when true beauty is fully cultivated it has the space to flourish in whatever direction it pleases.
Beauty is in the touch of love, in the healing words we can whisper to our neighbor and in how we have the ability to be woven into each other’s lives.
However, the most beautiful work of art is in the work of being made by Grace. It is in becoming the final tapestry of work yourself. In writing songs, you become the song itself, in painting a canvas you become a painting, all for the glory of the One who made you.
Creativity is our vocation.
“Being fashioned in His image means that we are also artists and poets, regardless of our vocation in life. We are artists in the way we love. We are poets in the way we pray. Everyone is an artist.”
Creativity encompasses all that we as humans are able to achieve, craft and produce.
Every time we engage in anything then we are engaging in art. We are participating with the Creator Himself and we become fellow co-workers. Our responsibility as artists then is to lead others into a more profound meaning of their existence and ultimately to our collective purpose in life.
But what stops us from creating?
A threat to our creativity is our brokenness. We cannot be creative when we are wounded because we behave, act, think and feel based out of our own hurt. However, when we are in the process of healing, creativity flows freely.
Healing needs to be our companion and teacher, otherwise we roam the earth allowing our wounds to have the driver’s seat, blinding us from seeing our potential to create.
In denying that we are wounded, we deny ourselves of being human. Rather than believing that we have the capacity to become great we spend the rest of our lives thinking so low of ourselves, capping our growth.
“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”
-Edward de Bono
Creativity can also be threatened by cultural norms. We become entangled with cultural chains that do us harm. They tell us that we have to think in a certain way, follow certain career paths, have the same life goals, act in a certain way, and sadly enough, feel a certain way. We have becomes slaves to society.
It was people like Martin Luther King, J.R.R Tolkien, Steve Jobs who broke through cultural norms. In doing so they created beauty: they created a society welcoming all walks of life, a new world of fantasy that spoke so deeply to the human soul, and technology that echoes throughout the generations.
Friendships inspire creativity.
Friendships are a main ingredient to our creativeness. They allow us to bounce ideas off another and together produce wonder, beauty and awe. We shouldn’t live in isolation from those who encourage our creativity and imagination.
If we do, we end up living in our own cave, having no one to enrich our lives, we suffocate ourselves in our own unspoken words. We are paralyzed in our growth as we become ‘okay’ with the mundane life, with no new sense of adventure, no new flavors to taste in our mouths. We, therefore, cease to live, and in doing so we cease to create. We merely exist but are not alive.
Tolkien could not have completed his masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, if it weren’t for the great encouragement he received from C. S. Lewis, and visa versa.
Like Tolkien needed Lewis, I am in need of you.
Freedom is the essence of creativity.
When we are perplexed by hints of splendor, we enter into a union with the ultimate Creator. This breaks our soul’s chains and awakens us to the immortal longing that resides in our heart and the soft whisper that cries out ‘be free and create’.
Be free my friend.
Be free and create.
Others around you are in need of your beauty and creativity.
“Whoever wants to become a Christian, must first become a poet.”
(Photo by Manish Ray)