Pursuing Creativity

19 05 2016

The following is a devotion I gave to the graduating senior class at my school yesterday.  Among the members was a group of seven students I have had the honor of “advising” for the past four years.

We’ve each had our own moments where “it” hit us – the realization that the end of their high school career is close.  Yesterday, when all of my advisees stood up during the convocation for me to address each personally was my moment. It took my breath away, and I’m glad to have made it through without completely breaking down.

 

Good morning,

I am honored to share a few thoughts with all of you today, only about half of which are actually mine.  The rest came from a book I recently read called Big Magic:  Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Some of you may recognize that name from “Eat Pray Love” fame.  Big Magic, however, is not a novel nor memoir, but more a guidebook through the creative process.

ALL of you will go on to creative endeavors.  Hear me well, creativity is not limited to art or music or dance.  We as a culture have come to define it that way, but that definition is so, so limiting.  We often hear, or say ourselves, that someone is creative while another is not.  That is simply not true.

Among God’s many names are the author of Creation and Creator of heaven and earth.  We ourselves are created in the Creator’s image.  So by default, we are creative beings.  Whether we see ourselves that way or not, we are works of creation, and we are called to create.  “It is the creative potential itself in human beings that is the image of God.”

Now some of you will indeed go on to college and your careers after to create art or music or drama.  However, some of you will create new technology or apps or even new programming languages.  Who cares if what you create is done using a computer keyboard instead of a canvas or potter’s wheel?  It’s still a creation.

Some of you will create buildings and structures and incredible engineering feats.  Some of you may create a cure for cancer or the next, new wonder drug.  Some of you will create fashion trends.  Some of you will create through athletic endeavors.

Some of you will create order out of chaos and bring peace and healing in the brokenness in which our world lives.  That, too, is a work of creation, one I believe is near and dear to our own Creator’s heart.  If that is your gift, praise God!

Some of you will create with words and some with film and some with numbers and some with simply a smile.  And most of you I presume, will eventually create new life, though hopefully not for a long while.  You see, these are all creative works.  You are fashioning something new that didn’t exist before, and that, by definition, is creation.

In Big Magic, Gilbert states, “Sometimes I think the difference between a tormented creative life and a tranquil creative life is nothing more than the difference between the word awful and [the word] interesting. . .  A teacher once said that the biggest problem she sees with [her students] is that they quit just when things are starting to get interesting.  Which is to say, they quit as soon as it gets painful, or boring, or agitating.  They quit as soon as they see something in their minds that scares them or hurts them.  [In other words, awful.]  So they miss the good part—the part when you push past the difficulty and enter into some raw, new unexplored universe within yourself.”

So this is my prayer for all of you:  that you find your creative passion, be it through numbers, lyrics, running, or painting or a thousand other things.  I pray that you find what you love creating so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant.  I pray that you create anyways and always.  And most importantly, I pray that through this lifelong creative journey, you always remember your identity is found in no one except for the one who created you.

 

God bless.  I adore each one of you.

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