This is what I believe about creativity: we all have the potential to be a vessel for creativity. We were actually made for expression!
For some, this looks like dipping a brush in paint and then dragging it across a canvas, an obvious example of creative expression. For others, it is taking a raw piece of wood or clay or fabric or drywall or digital code and transforming it into something useful and (hopefully) beautiful, too. Being a vessel for creation is most clearly shown to us (although, at times, still diminished in value) through the conception, pregnancy, and birth of a child.
Creativity does not appear then, out of thin air, but is given. It comes from somewhere, from a Giver, and our job is to receive and then give it away (“give it away, give it away now!”) Creativity requires stewardship. We are a container, a matching set of open hands and open heart, ready to accept what is handed to us. We collect the pieces and fashion them together. We hold on, ever so loosely, and then we let go.
Waking up to creativity and the desire for expression will initially greet us with a challenge. First and foremost, we are confronted with the question of where does this creativity come from? If the water is flowing, there must be a spring somewhere…is the water good? Is it life-giving?
Another way to ask the question- who is the Original Artist? (Sub-Q: Are we giving ourselves credit for something that we merely received?)
And further, how do we welcome this creativity in humility and then attend to it faithfully? How do we become vessels that are clean, clear of debris, fully capable of managing these gifts well? (Can we even accomplish this on our own?)
Or simply stated, the first question is what we believe about creativity and the second is how we practically live those beliefs out.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7 tells us, “For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.“
Paul begins this statement to the Christians in Achaia (“For God who said, “Let light shine…”) by establishing God as THE Creator, the Original Artist. He continues by showing Jesus Christ to be the expression of God’s glory to our own hearts- to the very deepest part of who we are (go read the verse again, slowly. Let it sink it.) Finally, Paul sketches this wonderful image in our minds, “Now we have this treasure in clay jars…”
Do you know, dear reader, that WE are the clay jars? As believers, we have the privilege and joy of knowing Christ -God himself– in our innermost hearts. We were once asleep/dead/lost, but now because of his love towards us, our own spirits are now awakened/alive/found. “The light of the knowledge” is a gift! We receive, open handed, from the Father of all creativity.
Furthermore, we have each been called, in his mercy and goodness, to be a conduit of his power. It is Christ’s desire to flow through us by the Holy Spirit and to express this same love! Now that is some good water. Drink it deep, filled to the brim, spilling out to others.
“Yet Lord, You are our Father;
we are the clay, and You are our potter;
we all are the work of Your hands.” (Is. 64:8)
Generations earlier, Isaiah echoes this same idea. We are mere clay in the hands of the Original Artist, the ultimate potter and maker of the universe, and it is good to remember this. God’s love is humbling and we are at the mercy of his purpose for our lives- to bring forth Christ through us and as a witness to the rest of creation. God’s love is also trustworthy and faithful until the end. Isaiah is acknowledging God as Creator, one that is full of distinct purpose for the creation.
We are simple clay vessels, yes. We come alive by the Spirit of Christ’s indwelling, yes. And then, as the Spirit works (not by our doing, but by His alone) to mature us as living vessels, we begin to express that inner work– which can look like many different things!
Any expression of actual truth or real beauty or life-giving creativity is rooted in the seed of Christ within us; we are merely expressing the attributes of Him. Our obedience to the Holy Spirit’s movement, in his many diverse forms, is in response to the Father. We are His work of art and He is also working through us. We, ourselves, are becoming art and we create art in response to him. It’s a beautiful thing and you are invited into it!