The Artful Dodger

DAY 22

“But you don’t understand—I’ve never been creative a day in my life!”

In case you’ve held this constricting belief, either making sad peace with it or growing resentment because of it, lean in and let me gently tell you that you’ve simply not realized how you’ve been creative. Probably every day of your life.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

(Ephesians 2:10)

When you pick out what you’ll wear for the big meeting. Make sandwiches and notice the bread’s heavy scent. Sway to your favorite song. Decide on which route to take. Help solve a friend’s problem. Choose your words in conversation. All of these and ten thousand others are tiny hints of the creative spark you carry. (You can’t help it, to be honest—made in the image of the Maker, there’s no evading God’s workmanship forever.)

If the whole concept of creativity feels like new territory for you, start with small things: pay attention to your five senses every day, acknowledging subtlety in what you hear, taste, feel, smell, and see. Or spend some time with creative thinkers, picking their brains and noticing how they perceive the world. There’s mighty power in observation. Maybe set little tasks for yourself each week—try something new, or try something old in a new way. Oddly enough, limits can cause tons of new possibilities. And if you have kids around, look no further for inspiration on how to think creatively.

I’ll admit, making art can be scary. It feels like you’re birthing something new for a world fond of laughing and yawning. The pressure to produce useful, practical, very grown-up things rather than shreds of fancy overpowers our urge to try. But aesthetics matter, be they in a ballet or a bank, and they reflect the heart of the Master Artist.

Listen, friends: creating doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to be effortless. Sometimes it’s awkward and lumpy, inconveniently shaped and miserably different from what you hoped. Even here, there’s grace. If His mercies are new every morning, so can our courage be fresh to start over—or to redeem yesterday’s mangled attempt. What matters more than outcome is process. You keep showing up, and God will continue molding your heart. Do you see? You’re art being formed while you do the creative work of living.

As we stretch our minds from one hemisphere to the other, engaging in a mental dance between left and right, we’re giving ourselves countless opportunities to see truth in new ways. And each way is a gift from the Father of lights. The same God who designed Bezalel and Aholiab and “all the gifted artisans” (Exodus 31) and called them by name for the sake of His glory? He designed you, called you by name for the exact same reason. It’s all for Him.

Here are some questions to ponder:

  1. Have you generally viewed yourself as artistic?
  2. How might others see creativity in you?
  3. Think through your daily routine. Where can you find creative potential?
  4. Who could help you branch out in thinking creatively?
  5. How might God be hoping to use you just the way you are to be His masterpiece?
  6. What fears rise up when you consider creating beauty?
  7. What forms of art did you enjoy when you were little?
  8. How can firm gospel footing influence your willingness to try something new?
  9. Which resources (people, time, materials, etc.) do you have access to in living creatively?
  10. Which aspects of God might the world see if they noticed the art of your life?

Whether you’re a late-blooming French Impressionist painter or can’t draw a straight line to save your life, you are artwork in the making. All you need is a fresh perspective, eyes to see, and the love of your creative Father smiling over you. The good news is that all of these are yours in Christ Jesus. So what are you waiting for?

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