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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Creativity at its best

Creative lives are productive lives.  When we stop to think about this, we find there is something quite powerful in creativity - we bring into existence something which would otherwise not really be there.  My daughter is exceptionally creative and has her own blog which is gaining more and more popularity all the time.  At her website, TheCraftedSparrow.com, her creativity is on display.  What amazes me most is when she is given opportunities to bless others with her creativity.  She is sponsored by many large businesses now, including The World Market.  She has done a couple of feature presentations for them, being asked to take some of their products and create a "blessing" for another person or family, the latest being their "Share The Joy" campaign.  As I read about their wonderful challenges to "gift" your creativity to another, I find it heartwarming to see we haven't lost this idea of using what we have to bless others.  This is what life is supposed to be about - creative lives being productive lives - both in our own lives and then in reaching out to touch others through your creativity.

Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.  Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. (Galations 6:1-5 MSG)

Part of living creatively is learning how to overlook an offense.  If you have ever tried to overlook an offense, you know how extremely difficult this can be at time.  Forgiveness often requires some "original thought" - the very definition of creativity.  We have to learn to think differently about the offense and the offender.  It is more than just "writing it off" - it is purposefully choosing to not think of the behavior as something you will keep an account of AND learning to think "outside the box" as it applies to the other person's behavior.  Creativity is a form of productivity - the "original thought" begins to produce something within the relationship which becomes stronger and stronger each time we choose to overlook the offense.  It keeps the relationship as the focus and doesn't let the trivial slights interlope.  To pardon another and then to give up our claim to requital is tough work - it requires "original thought".  The "norm" would be to just feel slighted and to hold onto the slight until it forms a little root of resentment within.  The creative and productive thing to do is to renew, restore, and rebuild.  All three are words requiring creativity and involving productive action.

Creative living implies that something would not be in existence if you did not take some action to ensure it was.  It would not naturally evolve - it requires your intervention.  Crushed and burdened people need creative people in their lives, for it is often your God-given creativity which actually helps to unpack the burden for another.  In essence, you are bringing into existence what would not naturally evolve if that individual were to just deal with their burden themselves.  One thing I have come to appreciate about creative individuals - they work at a pace much different that most others.  In fact, my daughter will have more than one project going at one time, often leaving a little of this or that until she is "inspired" once again to pick it up and do something with it again.  The thing is, she is willing to stop long enough to put thought into what she wants to see as an outcome.  Often, she just has the raw materials and then takes quite a bit of time arranging the idea of what she shall create in her mind.  Then she acts on what she envisions.  God put you into the lives of others because you might just be able to see the raw materials of their circumstances in a way they would never be able to if they were to consider it on their own.  They need your willingness to stop long enough to consider the possibilities and then your help in arranging all the pieces so the burden they carry is finally unloaded in such a way that something creative comes out of the burden.

I think it is about time we all begin to make a careful exploration of who we are and the work we have been given.  It is a creative work and we have much "creativity" energy to lend in this hurting world.  Careful exploration requires more than a casual glance in the direction of others - and it also requires more than a casual glance in God's direction, as well.  We need to invest time and talent if we are to see creativity take hold in our lives.  Most of the time, we experience the creative surges within, but don't share what we have the power to bring into existence with others.  God never intended for us to just keep our creative energies all bottled up - he gave us those energies so we might position ourselves to share the creative work he has done within us.  In so doing, we give hope to those who see only the "pieces" they have been given, but don't quite see how they might every fit together to make a finished work of art.  God often uses us to help with the "arranging of pieces" so the one who is unable to see their significance can begin to appreciate these pieces of their lives as tremendously valuable "ingredients".

Most of us just need to learn to work with what we have been given.  We need to stop allowing the talents and abilities we have been given to lay dormant in our lives.  Their purpose from the beginning was to be creatively expressed.  They have a purpose far outside your own appreciation - but once you begin to use what you have been given to bless the lives of another, you begin to see the creative purpose of God in blessing you with those gifts and talents.  Sink yourself into what God blessed you to do - jump in with both feet.  Don't be timid in your creativity - for God gave you these talents not for your own use, but to be passionately expressed for his honor.  Just sayin!