Creativity: Discovering Individuality

Due to our ability to discern, solve problems, and express ourselves, we are all, to varying degrees, creative. I know that nature lovers could quickly point to the intricate web of a spider, or even the design-making ability of a pufferfish and say that they are creative; yet, while there is no doubt that numerous creatures can do amazing things, they are all pretty much acting upon their instinctual and limited reasoning with one major goal — survival. The animal world is built upon order, not disruption. However, our very humanity desires creativity, as it embraces experimentation and influences pursuit of alternatives. It is, in fact, a disrupter to the norm.

As a separate creature from the animal kingdom, you are able to consider the real and the abstract, and you can assemble color, shape, space, texture, and even numbers in unique ways to innovate, inform, inspire, and entertain.

The very first pages of the biblical record point to why man is creative. First, God is creative. Genesis 1:1 says that God created. In those first six days, whatever He spoke came to be. We call this ex nihilo, or, “from nothing.” Second, mankind was created to be unique from the rest of the creation. Looking at the biblical record again, Genesis 1:27 says that male and female were both created in God’s image—bearing God’s likeness.

Q: What was God doing at this point?

A: Creating!

So, we are creative because the Creator built it into us! As image bearers, we are encouraged and called to create! Regularly, I have friends who say, “I’m not creative,” and that simply is NOT true! We may not all be able to sketch with a pencil or make Iron Man fly, but we each have the desire to express ourselves in some way, AND we all find a level of fulfillment when we get to use that skill. Whether it is just a hobby or we make it our mode of employment, being creative frees us from the mundane; it allows us to engage our minds in a therapeutically-challenging manner, and we likely don’t mind the passage of time as we engage in being creative within our own bent.

Not only does creativity separate us from the animal kingdom; it separates us from each other. Just as there is theoretically no snowflake like another, we are each different from each other. WARNING! On the surface that might sound negative, especially when so many blue-collar positions in our world seem to demand uniformity under franchised systems, but it’s important to recognize that variation is a GOOD thing! As we learn to develop our personal talents and to embrace those of others we all find life so much more meaningful and colorful!

The Good: Within us all there is a voice—our own personal voice—and we yearn for it to be heard!

The Bad: I fear that, for many, those visions and dreams get squelched early by collapsing to external pressure to conform or by getting stars in our eyes and thinking we are The Next Great (fill-in the blank), hoping for instant fame and fortune.

The Answer: The priority ought to be developing and embracing our creative talents, encouraging others along the journey, and seeking ways to benefit those around us with our talents. The joy of experiencing success within our creative pursuits should not rest in fame, but in the positive influence we have on those around us. It’s not about accolades.

So, understanding this first and fundamental principle, engage your creativity! Seek to exercise it. An art lesson, cooking class, experimental drawing, or even a snapped photo on your cell phone of a bug you found running across the driveway are all ways to engage your creative juices. Observe. Listen. Be silent. Then, simply create.

So now, what do I create? We’ll touch on that in the next post as we address Creativity’s Inspiration: Finding a Solution. See you next week!

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