Monday, 21 March 2011

Creativity and You

                The first chapter of Genesis, the first verse reads:  “In the beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned and) created the heavens and earth.”  There is a progression of the world’s creation which leads to mankind.  “God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] makes mankind in our image, after Our likeness...”  (Amplified Bible)
                Creator is one of God’s names.  Creating is a part of His character, one of the many things that is the essence of Who He is.  So, logically, if God is creative and creates, and we are made in His image, then each one of us has been endowed with a bent, a talent, a skill with which we also can create. 
                Most people know the story of Moses.  Whilst he had trouble articulating his message, Moses walked into Egypt and created a BIG stir—for the Israelites and the Egyptians!  Sometimes creativity is not about producing a tangible object.  Rather, it’s about providing opportunities and avenues for change.
Some people are gifted with great curiosity, the kind that leads them into researching mysteries in biology, chemistry, and space.  They aren’t applying colours to a canvas—they are the people who compound chemicals, minerals and substances that become new forms of paint.  For hundreds of years artists had to use oil based compounds with minerals, pigments and dyes to mix up paint.  In the 1970s and 1980s scientists developed a new type of medium—acrylic paints.  They had the vibrancy of oils, could be thinned down with medium or even water to the transparency level of water colours.  This same curiosity applies to the discovery of medications, treatments, developing plants that are resistant to harsh conditions, breeding new kinds of animals. 
                There is a kind of mindset that believes that Fine Artists, Performing Artists and designers are the “Creative People”; whilst engineers, accountants, scientists, and medical people are the “Intellectual/practical” people.  I suppose its because fields of mathematically and analytically based professions have structures, set rules of thinking, and it is more difficult to detect the aesthetic and esoteric aspects of these disciplines. 
                I believe creativity is about looking into a situation with new perspectives.  Doctors, scientists, engineers begin looking at a problem or project within the established structures—after all, numbers don’t lie!  They look at what has worked previously, taking their lead from a solid foundation of what is known.  Then at some point they ask themselves, “What if we did this?”  This unlocks the creative side of their minds.
                One of my favourite books of all time is Drawing on the Right side of the Brain by Betty Edwards.  Dr. Betty Edwards created the book as a course to help people “see” in a new way, then to draw what they saw.  She spent over ten years trying to unlock the door of the creative process.  This led her to research on right and left brain function.  Then she formulated the material in a book, which was first copy-written and published in 1979.  I have recommended this book to lots of people with surprising results. 
                Some people are blind to their own creativity—which amazes me.  When people find out that I have degree in Fine Arts (drawing, painting, and writing), they say: “I wish I were creative.”  Years ago, while I was spending half-days writing a book, a friend made the remark; “I’m not creative at all.”  Yet, she worked as a seamstress from her home.  One of her projects was to take pieces from five different dress patterns and fit them together into a wedding dress.  I spun the light on the issue, telling her that it took a great deal of creativity to successfully accomplish such a feat.  I asked what she would do if her sewing machine were taken away.  Her reply was that she would curl up and die. 
                Creativity is about having a passion within that demands expression, or the soul will die.  Athletes have to run, jump, swim, flex, lift, and play because doing so creates a joy in the performance.  Athletes are entertainers.  Their imagination and cleverness happens in their minds—finding ways to stay inspired during the hard slog of repetitive actions.  Pounding along a training track mile after mile doesn’t appear to be amusing, entertaining or original.  Yet, what is happening in the mind is—forming pictures of winning a race, or achieving a goal, finding ways to keep motivated when the muscles burn, the wind is cold, the rain is a deluge, snow is blinding or sun is scorching.   
                Not everything that has been created by man is good—but creativity is more than good.  It is divine.  Creativity is a link between us and the Amazing Heavenly Father Who chose to create us in His image.  We should never worship or revere creativity.  Rather, we should rejoice in Jesus Christ—the Creator Who stepped into His own creation.  We can show our devotion by giving expression to the talents we have, sharing the fruit of our imaginations, being good stewards of the inherent abilities we have. 
                Now, go be creative!
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,  “Lady Helene”

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