If you’re reading this, you’re the recipient of someone else’s creative gift.
Somebody, somewhere, decided to come up with a written alphabet. Somebody, somewhere, taught me to write it and you to read it. Somebody, somewhere, got really into numbers and came up with a system for language comprised of 1s and 0s and somebody else somewhere else made it pop up on a screen as the written alphabet. While they were designing the tech, someone made them dinner and washed their socks. Someone else constructed the buildings where they worked. All of these people lived in different centuries and on different continents and probably never imagined the full effects of their efforts. They certainly couldn’t have known that I would be writing this and you would be reading it.
That is just one tiny sliver of insight into how much we benefit from the gifts of others. Spend a day just trying to think of all the people throughout the centuries and in your own life who worked so that you could be where you are, doing what you’re doing, right now. I guarantee you can’t help but be overwhelmed with gratitude.
People using their creative gifts is essential to the flourishing of others.
You using your creative gifts is also essential to your flourishing.
Why? Because you are made in the image and likeness of the Creator.
We do creative things, but we also are creative beings.
Many of us feel like we aren’t creative because we aren’t necessarily artistic. We think creativity means the ability to paint or write poetry or sing harmony. And for some people, it might. But creativity isn’t limited to the fine arts.
Being creative means being like the Creator God, who is Goodness and Truth and Beauty.
Being creative means bringing more goodness, more truth, and more beauty into the world.
And being creative from a place of being fully yourself means living the creativity of your being in a way that helps you and others to flourish.
If you paint, paint. If you sing, sing. If you make excellent spreadsheets, make excellent spreadsheets. Fold the laundry well; mix a mean martini; basketweave, if that’s your thing.
You don’t have to get paid or become famous. You don’t even have to be noticed. You just have to use the gift. Your very being cries out for it.
Maybe you don’t feel creative. Maybe you have no idea what your gifts are. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are three questions to help you get started.
||ONE|| What makes me angry/ frustrated with other people?
If you’ve ever muttered to yourself, “why can’t she just do x? It’s not that difficult,” it might be a sign that you have a gift for something. (Or it might also be a sign that you need to grow in love :)). If visual clutter drives you nuts, you might have a gift for organization. If you’re disappointed by bland meals, you might have a gift for cooking. If you can’t stand small talk, you might have a gift for deep conversation or careful listening. What’s easy for you isn’t necessarily easy for others – but precisely because it’s easy for you, you might not recognize the gift for what it is.
||TWO|| What am I doing when I’m not thinking about the thing I’m currently doing?
Funny question, but often when we’re immersed in using our creative gift, we’re free from thinking about it or anything else. We’re just living in the moment, being fully present. This is often in stark contrast to an activity we dislike or find boring: in those, our mind wanders or we put on a podcast to just get through it. But when we’re living our creative gifts, we don’t feel time pass or get distracted, we’re just being, and doing the thing we’re doing.
||THREE|| What gives me energy?
This is not about eating well or exercising, as good as those things are. This is about the kind of things we come away from feeling more alive than when we started. Maybe you feel energized after a great conversation with a friend about meaning of life; or after coding a new computer program; or after writing a card to your grandmother. You feel like life is good, like you are capable of more, like you’ve done something fulfilling. Using your creative gifts will give you a sense of joy and satisfaction that few other things in life will.
God delights in your creativity. It serves others in ways you may never see. And if you let it, it will make you come alive as you grow in likeness to your Creator.