By: Susan Browning
It’s so easy to get stuck in our ordinary, wouldn’t you agree? If anything motherhood has opened my eyes to the ways I used to be creative when uninhibited by obligation, or creative deadlines. Or well, life. Creativity accesses the child within us all, and when modelled it can pass onto Kingdom expression to the next generation – which is why I think creating for joy ourselves is such an important aspect of our lives.
What has God been sparking in you lately? Or are you finding yourself in a creative rutt? Or do you just not see yourself as a ‘creative’? We are all creative. After all, we are made in the image of the ultimate Creator. Being creative opens our imagination, it makes nothing into something. It’s something we grow in, and our gifts can reveal parts of who we are, as well as who He is. Creativity can be healing and provides us space to open our minds. But sometimes we forget how to simply just play, just like I see in my kids the freedom found in exploration, for us it’s just learning to play again. It’s tapping into the freedom of exploration and imagination. So sweet one, I’m here to encourage you to just create with whatever it is God has given you, and enjoy the gifts He has given you.
These are some of the ways in which creating for joy has been important for me as a mum…
Every human is an artwork and every human is an artist at work – Erin McManus
1. Creativity is an outlet
No matter what form creativity takes, it is an avenue worth pursuing, something we can utilise to express ourselves, our emotions or talents. For me, it was always in song. Songs I made up wherever I was, about what I could see and what I was doing. Teaching myself piano on the 80s mini Casio demo by rote singing it first, then matching the notes on the keys was where it all started. Learning four chord progressions for church songs on a hand me down keyboard with no weighting and sounding like a honky-tonk, void of rhythm. Playing in a band with my friends and writing cheesy Jesus songs. Saving up, going halvsies with my folks for my first real piano. Playing on my new piano every afternoon after school. Worship leading. For me it is song – it doesn’t matter what form that takes. The next generation will find their niche where they let their voice resound and there they will find their state of peace too.
2. Creativity encourages and releases you to greater things and a greater you
Being creative is inseparable to who we are. Fundamentally, we thrive when we are creative. I love being free to make things. When there is a creative dry spell I get despondent. This is a key factor in knowing who I am and how this creativity when channelled well, empowers me to be the best me possible. By engaging our imaginations and forming the pictures or sounds in our minds we clear space to dream bigger and have the courage to pursue it. Creativity when pursued gives way to confidence. A confidence to keep trying. Creativity is in all of us if we dare try it – it might differ to another, but we are all creative in some form. I want others to see the importance of my creative overflow and encourage them to dwell there also.
3. ‘Creating for joy’ is a hobby and making time for experimenting is important
If life is only made up of work and no play, it is a sad existence. We need time to play – even as adults. Having something to find release in is imperative to find balance – which we all need to be truly happy and satisfied. Discipline is a lesson learned in hobbies – playing scales and learning chords was all a part of my journey to song writing, prior to my degree it was unknowingly training my ear to hear that certain notes worked well together or others created a dissonance needed. Others plain clashed!! I learned in my fun space. I learned too if I didn’t bother trying to grasp new concepts I would feel more and more frustrated so I experimented further. When I understood my craft, I found whatever I came up with was founded in a deep seeded joy because I loved spending time doing things that give me a sense of accomplishment and pride. Hobbies are a safe, exciting way to learn and a fun space to find peace of mind, or a joy that satisfies!
4. I am my own person (and not just a title)
Being creative doesn’t necessarily define you, but it can set you apart. I am always going to be my kids’ mummy first – but I want to be an example of pursuing something I deeply enjoy and grow within. I want my kids to know there’s a lot more than wearing the many hats that makes up who I am. I want them to know I have passions, and desires I want to run after and chase down and give them permission to find theirs too. I want them to know how to find freedom in creativity because they saw how it freed me. I want them to know every person has gifts and talents they should never give up on. I also want them to know a special part of who I am, so that they can find part of who they are in their own creativity. I want this for everyone, I desperately desire creativity overflow to permeate into the spheres of influence in my world too.
5. Creativity grows you because it allows failure
Failure is the first step to success. Being afraid of failing has been a real thing in my life, fear of what I manufactured not being perfect or loved by anyone meant setback after setback in my own journey. I was more afraid of what people thought or how they would judge me to risk revealing my creativity too early in friendships. But soon enough I kicked off that worry because I realised each little failure is a step toward success. Creativity has the power to grow you, break you and reestablish you. It’s okay to make mistakes, for it to not work or be perfect. Imminent joy is found in a breakthrough from a challenge. Failure doesn’t define you, God does. Working through these challenges allows creativity to push you, and shape you – what a valuable life lesson.
6. Ultimately know your gifts will glorify Christ
At the end of the day, God has entrusted us with gifts – some big, some small. Some for a lifetime and some for a season. Creativity first happened in His wonderful hands. His gifts are given to us to grow into and to learn through them, but ultimately to give Christ all the honour and glory. I pray each generation will discover these gifts and know to treasure them for their time. I pray they will use these gifts to bring God glory, that He would smile upon them as they shine for Him.
Go create for joy sweet one.
Article supplied with thanks to Susan Browning.
About the Author: Susan is a worship leader, vocal coach and mentor encouraging you to be all you can be in fulfilling your purpose.