First off, thanks for all the kind words, funny videos, memes, messages, etc. Yes, things have been hard, but yes, I am really doing okay, I promise! But keep sending things like that. I won’t reply to every single one, but I do very much appreciate every single one.
And now, without further ado…
I’ve always said and believed I am not a creative person. But my narrow definition of ‘creative’ has been that of the fine, visual arts – as in, I’m not an artist by way of paint or pen. I don’t enjoy most crafty type things and even when I try to doodle I can’t.
But I am creative.
Recently I read a book I highly recommend called The gifts of imperfection: Letting go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are by Brene Brown. Brilliant, in one word. So good.
In this book the author outlines 10 ‘guideposts’ of what it takes to life a wholehearted life (read the book) and one of them really jumped out at me as something important – cultivate creativity.
Brene says: "When people asked me about crafting or art or creating, I relied on the standard I’m not the creative type. On the inside I was really thinking, Who has time for painting and scrapbooking and photography when the real work of achieving and accomplishing needs to be done??"
This Brene person just totally gets me.
Her conclusion after lots and lots of study on this?
1. There is no such thing as not creative – there are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t. Unused creativity doesn’t just disappear. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.
2. The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born out of our creativity.
Another book I highly recommend? Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. She writes that creativity and inspiration are within us and all around us – and askes the beautiful question of Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?
Creativity, and fear, and vulnerability, and joy are all inexorably and indisputably intertwined. What keeps us from being creative? Fear of being seen as lacking. Fear of a poor review. Fear of criticism.
A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Elizabeth Gilbert
That sounds a lot like life to the full.
Which is worth fighting for.
So just like I am choosing laughter, I am also choosing to create.
My creative outlet at the moment? You’re looking at it. You’ll see I’ve already written more in the last three days than I did the entire month of December. I am certainly open to other creative outlets, but I don’t have the time or energy or desire to pick up painting right now, or anything else like that. I do have the desire to write… but I often think I don’t have time or it’s not good enough or who am I anyway to think anyone would read that. But I know God has given me a gift with words and I am desperate to steward that gift well… and choose courage… bringing forth the treasures that are hidden within me. I’m choosing to grab the half hour I have today with the whispers of inspiration in my head and pound out these words that I think are just bigger than me and believe even if they are rubbish, that is not the verdict on who I am.
I’ve also realized in the last few months that what I love to do more than anything, in terms of my work or that which takes up the majority of my time and energy this season, is to create. I love creating programs and systems and structures and trying things out and fixing and improving things… and then handing them off to someone else to maintain. I’m not a maintenance person. I’m a creative person.
So as I put one foot in front of the other and draw up the courage to hit publish and bring forth other treasures within me - whether they are new ideas for changing the face of healthcare in Africa, or words on a page and words on a screen, or encouraging those around me to be creative as an act of rebellion against fear - I invite you to do the same.
Bring forth the treasures within you.