“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1, RSV). And God has been creating ever since. All we need to do is open our senses to notice this ever-changing creation through sight and sound and smell, touch and taste. God is the source of all creativity, the source of our creativity. God created us, and we are co-creators with God. We co-create our lives, one day at a time in words, music, children, food, relationships, photographs, paintings, gardens, and dreams.
I come from a creative family. Mom and Dad started me in piano lessons when I was in first grade. (Dad’s mother was a music teacher.) Dad wrote and delivered a sermon every week. He played piano, ukulele, and, for a while, banjo. He was a photographer and he took up painting in his middle years.
My mom’s dad was a carpenter and a gardener. Her mom was a creative force in the kitchen. I remember Grandma using her sourdough starter in hundreds of strange and creative ways. She even figured out how to freeze dry the sourdough starter, transport it to the cabin in Colorado, and reactivate it from there. Mom loved poetry, did needlepoint, made afghans, sang, and planted gardens.
I’m a creative dabbler. I like music, writing, photography, drawing cartoons, gardening, and carpentry, among other things. The act of creating—a poem, a cartoon, a set of stairs, or a musical piece—feeds my spirit.
My favorite mode of creativity, these days, is taking pictures. Since I have my iPhone with me everywhere, I’m able to snap pictures of God’s creation wherever I am. Photography is one of my prayer practices as I pray with my camera.
People have said to me, “I’m not creative.” If you are like one of those folks, I challenge you to take another look and broaden your vision of creativity. Creating is not limited to the arts. Perhaps you are someone who is great at writing Excel macros or figuring out new solutions to problems. You may be someone who can calm down an irate customer on the phone or knows just what to say to a grieving family. God created you with these creative gifts.
Take some time to be creative. May you rejoice in the creativity that surrounds and fills you.
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Beth A. Richardson serves as the director of prayer and worship life and Dean of The Upper Room Chapel.
Adapted from Alive Now, July/August 2013. Copyright © 2013 The Upper Room.
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