Creativity – the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations; originality, progressiveness, imagination.
My eldest daughter and I had the privilege several years ago of being in the cast of an original musical. The story and the music of the musical were written entirely by my friends, Don and Zoe. This particular story, the melodies and the lyrics were not present in our world prior to Don and Zoe deciding to bring them into existence. Something within them decided that, in a world full of songs and stories, something new was neededsomething different, something beautiful. Something we didn’t know we were missing until we experienced it. As actors, singers, artists and musicians, we then became part of the creative process by adding our own touch to the story, a collective work of creation that further touched the lives of both the participants and the members of the audience.
Multiply our experience by every song you hear, every play you watch, every book you read, every piece of artwork you enjoy. What causes someone to decide the world isn’t enough with just the status quo? Why do we build a more beautiful building, sing a different song, paint another painting? What inspires us to dig deep within ourselves and expose ourselves to criticism and judgment by offering up our creations to public scrutiny?
Although creativity is often associated with more traditional forms of “art” such as theatre, music and painting, looking back over the life of Apple founder Steve Jobs reminds us that creativity occurs anytime we allow ourselves to think outside the confines of that which already exists. Mr. Jobs, in his short life, created products that we didn’t know we needed and now are quite sure we can’t live without. He didn’t allow failure to stop him from imagining something new, something better or something different. I don’t know whether he was a man of faith, but it seems to me that he lived his life with an understanding that being in touch with his creativity meant making a difference in the world. I love these words from his address to Stanford students in 2005:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Creativity is at the heart of what makes us fully alive. On a spiritual level, creativity is our very connection to our creatorthe life force that makes us most like our Heavenly Father in whose image we were created. As a person of faith, following my “heart and intuition” is directly related to staying connected to the originator of that creative spark within me. Knowing that God made each of us with the ability and the yearning to be creative forces within this world challenges me to pay attention to those opportunities that I am given to step outside of the status quo and do something different, even when it feels risky. Creating something and offering it to the world is an act of vulnerability. The question vulnerability asks of us is this: “What is worth doing even if you fail?”
“The Artist’s Way” author Julia Cameron says this about the reasons we might take the risk of creativity, “We are ourselves creations. We are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves. This is the God-force extending itself through us. Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using creativity is our gift back to God.”
Embracing my creativity, in whatever form that might take, is an act of worship and an act of bravery.
Originally published on www.kellyjohnsongracenotes.com.