Being creative is hard.
I have a very real ache to be creative.
I think a lot of us do, deep down somewhere.
But then I sit here staring at the keyboard, or nestled on my couch with guitar in hand, or walking around a neighborhood with a camera strapped to my neck… and it’s hard.
For one, I’m no Jimi Hendrix and that camera might as well be Calculus homework for how much I understand it.
But I’m talking beyond logistics here.
I don’t think Satan wants us to be creative. I don’t think he likes us to feel the sense of life that comes with creating. I don’t think he is a fan of beauty or vibrance. I don’t think he likes the vulnerability that comes with opening up your soul in a way that allows both friends and strangers to exhale, “Yes! Finally! Me too!”
He would prefer us to see our everyday in drab gray. He would prefer us to trudge through weeks and months assuming this is “just the way life is.” Breakfast to nine to five to dinner to drinks to Jimmy Fallon to sleep to breakfast. He would prefer us to live in isolation.
Of course, not every creative is a Jesus follower. But I do believe every human is a creative. Christian or not, we were made in the image of the ultimate Creator – the One who dreamed up giraffes and thunder storms and dogwood blooms.
So whether you know Jesus or not, when you make the choice to create, you are spitting in the face of the one who wants you to see in gray. When you whisper to a stranger, “You’re not alone,” through music or art or story, you are spitting in the face of the one who wishes we’d exist in isolation. When you bring color into being where before there was nothing, you laugh in the face of the one who thrives in darkness.
But for those of us who do know Jesus, our creations should be even more vibrant, more colorful, more genuine. We are intimately connected to the Creator of L I F E. Abundant life, promised suffering, and ultimate hope should translate to the most authentic art on earth. Christians, we cannot water down reality. We cannot shy away from honesty. We cannot settle for cheap or cheesy when life is so rich and layered. I need your honest art and thoughts and ideas as much as you need mine.
I’m only saying this because about a week ago, I boldly proclaimed, “I am going to write a book!” I thought what I had to say was important. I wanted to be an authentic, encouraging voice for a particular group of people. I knew it would be difficult, of course, but after a workshop and a wise voice, I felt I now had the motivation and tools to make it happen, even if it would take a long time, even if it would only ever be seen by a small audience.
And then my brain shut down.
I couldn’t think of anything to say.
I avoided my keyboard.
My story isn’t that important.
It’s probably already been said.
Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way anyway.
Friends, I don’t think those thoughts are from Jesus. After all, he is the author of each of our stories. He walks along side us, laughing when we laugh, crying when we cry, picking us back up every time we stumble, pursuing us when we wander away. He is intimately involved with our stories whether we believe it or not. You were made by him. You were dreamed up and created and dropped into the world to have a journey, to make an impact, to live a story.
So tell it.
Write the jokes and tell the stories and pen the songs. Have themed dinner parties and unorthodox business models. Push through the insecurity, the writer’s block, the lack of inspiration. Maybe only a select few will ever experience your creativity. Create anyway. We need each other’s art, creations, angles.
See the world through a lens of color and invite others to wear your glasses.
I’m sitting at the keyboard right now. I’m still not sure what to say. I’m still not convinced it’s important. But I’m here, writing anyway. Creating anyway. We’ll see what Jesus does in our days of “anyways.” I’m prone to think it will be something good.
I really hope you join me. I can’t wait to see what you create.