Archives For creativity

Restless – Part 2

November 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

Yesterday I confessed that I sometimes get in these weird seasons where I feel restless. In part 1 of this short series I talked about how routine can help us break free from the chaos that makes us want to quit. Today I want to talk about creativity.

I need to be creative. Just like I crave routine, I crave opportunities to create. If all I’m doing is playing catch up, or running from one meeting to the next, meeting one deadline after another, then I get frustrated and go into a funk. I need space in my life to think. Literally. I like to have time just to dream, to draw, to build something, to write or to play music. My soul needs these times. In Genesis it tells us that God made us in His image. And when it tells us that, the only thing we know about God at that point is that He is a Creator. I believe you and I were made to create. Whether it’s a pie, a symphony, a bookstand, a novel, a photobook, or a company – we were made to start things from scratch. Whenever my life is too busy to create – I want to run away and open a bait shop.

So here’s how this works out in my life:

As a teaching pastor, every 7 days I have to deliver a fresh, entertaining, compelling, inspiring, life-giving message. Unfortunately, those don’t drop out of the sky. Trust me, I’ve prayed for them and it never happens. So in my world, my particular vocation requires me to be creative. So part of my routine (again, see the “ideal week” from yesterday) is that every Monday I carve out time to be creative as it comes to my message. I have found that I have to be crazy regimented in this. I don’t even open email on Monday until after lunch. I don’t go to the office like normal. I go to places that inspire me. I think there’s a belief out there that creativity is something that happens on its own and that routine or structure stifles creativity. I believe that couldn’t be further from the truth. I believe that creativity thrives in constraints. It thrives with a deadline, with a budget and with a schedule. So creativity gets a slot in my weekly routine.

Now, outside of what I do vocationally, I have found that I need to be creative in other ways too. So for me that means an outlet like writing, or woodworking, or music or working outside. Those are probably more spontaneous in nature in that I leave myself room week to week decide what I want to fill my time with. But whenever I find myself feeling restless, one of my checkpoints is this creative outlet. Am I having time to think and dream? Am I crafting something, or giving birth to a new idea? Is there anything that is inspiring me? If the answer is no, it’s time for some changes.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about Relationships and the impact they can have on our restlessness.


Making art

January 16, 2013 — 7 Comments

bookCreating something is a process full of fear. There are constant doubts and struggles and questions that haunt. Whether you are starting a business, writing a song, or preaching a sermon – there comes a moment when the thing you have created has to be shared. And then the doubts and questions get louder. Because once it’s out there – it’s open to criticism. It’s open to opinion. Some may reject it. Some may not like it at all. Some may receive it in a way that is different than you offered it.

I know that for me the 24 hours or so after I preach a sermon is a very critical time. I often walk off the stage and want to crawl right in a hole. Making eye contact is painful. It’s as though I’ve just ripped off a scab and now it’s open to the elements. I think that’s pretty normal. I’ve heard similar things from other pastors or musicians or artists. Creating something and then putting it out there is a terrifying ordeal. The artist pours herself into her craft. It’s her heart and her soul that is on display. She has shared something that is deeply personal and very much a part of her.

Whether it’s a pie you baked from scratch, the way you decorate your living room, or the new business venture you’ve just announced – those first moments when you share it with the world are critical moments. If we’re not careful, we can easily let the response of others deter us from ever trying again.

But it’s what we do. We create. We make art. We start things. When Genesis tells us that we were made in the image of God, the only thing we know of God at that point is that He’s a Creator. It’s who we are. It’s in our nature.

I believe that you have something to offer the world. You have an idea. You have a killer recipe. You have a song. You have an online business idea. There’s a blanket that needs knitting. There’s a child that needs mentoring. There’s a garden to be planted.

My guess is that somewhere along the line you tried something and you failed. You put an idea out there and it got shot down. You painted a picture and it was picked apart. You wrote a blog post and no one read it. You planted roses and they died. And so you stopped. You decided not to try again. You withdrew into a safer world.

I believe that when you and I aren’t creating we aren’t living the kind of lives that God intended for us. I believe it’s woven into your soul to create. To initiate. To start something.

So I want to encourage you to create something today. And then do it again tomorrow. And the next day. Start drawing again. Push “publish” on the blog. Make the pie. Paint the living room. Start the business.

Oh yeah, and that picture above? That’s a book I’m writing. And it scares me to death to say that. Because at some point I’ll put it out there. And then I won’t be able to make eye contact with anyone for a week. Maybe longer.