Feeling God's Pleasure · Pleasure of Creating · Spiritual Places · Uncategorized

The Root Of Creativity

“When we say that someone is a deep person, we mean they have achieved a quiet, dependable mind by being rooted in something spiritual and permanent.” (David Brooks, “The Deepest Self,” The New York Times, March 14, 2014.)

Practicing creativity through doing your art or other kinds of creative acts is one way of rooting yourself in that spiritual, permanent place Brooks describes. But sometimes, we catch ourselves not quite achieving that “quiet, dependable mind.”  We still feel unsettled, not “rooted.”

An accomplished artist once recognized a missing element as she went about doing her creative work.  “I’m missing something valuable that would guide me deeper into creativity.” Though she doesn’t profess a specific faith, she prays and believes God answers. But she wants to know what that “something” is and how to get it.

Part of the Sistine Chapel, Michelango
Part of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo

I think Christians are similar to this artist, in that we want more from creativity but we don’t know what “it” is or how to get “it.” We engage in creative pursuits and intuitively sense there’s something “missing.” We want to know God more deeply, but don’t know how creativity will move us toward that goal. We keep our creative lives separate from our spiritual lives.

Once an editor of a Christian publishing house asked me, “Why is it that nonChristian artists describe creating art as a spiritual experience and Christians don’t?”

What if our longing to be creative and doing it is seeking the kingdom of God? That desire may just be God inside of us wanting expression, from His “spiritual and permanent” place in our hearts.  I need to honor Him by allowing Him to work.

5 thoughts on “The Root Of Creativity

  1. Made in his image – in the image of the creator – the one to imagine and design countless little details for his creation masterpiece – to write a book credited with impact no other book has had… our canvas is smaller, our stories not quite so grand, but it’s certainly a spiritual experience to walk in his big footsteps with our tiny feet.

  2. Wow! Nancy, what profound questions. I think creativity can and should be defined, because defining helps us recognize it “when we see it.” So many words–faith, love, hope–are tough to define, yet can and should be. That way we can distinguish between them and other values/characteristics. Whew! This is getting deeper all the time! I agree about creativity having immense variety. Another blog in that thought.

  3. I wonder that creativity can easily be described at all. There is so much to say about it–like defining the Trinity. If the root of creativity is a mark of God’s own image within us, then it must have immense variety. I couldn’t be Shakespeare if I wanted to be. But I feel it is important to use whatever gifts I have been given, as simple as they may be. Personally, I can’t just cook and clean day after day without feeling a sense of anxiety, of loss–that I am missing something I must do to be “all right.” In “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”, Eddie was a maintenance man in an amusement park. He never saw his work as creative. But it was so important and was his gift to others, even when he didn’t realize it. There are so many questions to ask ourselves if we decide to explore our own purposes in our art. Is our daily work art? What are our gifts and what blocks our recognition of them? What human characteristics keep us from sharing them? How do our thoughts affect our artistic endeavors? Where does their accomplishment fall in our priority lists? How do we get to that deep core of ourselves where we fall into our most creative space? Interesting, isn’t it.

  4. Hmmm. Sometimes I don’t realize creativity until after the work. Sometimes I sense the creativity going in. There’s more trust the first way, more confidence the second. This gets deeper all the time, doesn’t it?

  5. I wonder if we always know it’s creativity in the moment we’re working. Perhaps when we’re in flow, that’s not possible. Or would it be heightened at those times? Don’t know, but I love these discussions.

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