On a warm summer morning, I set up a table and two chairs in our backyard. While the baby naps, my oldest son and I sit next to zinnias and bees and dip our brushes in water and paint. I watch from across the table as he purses his lips in concentration, exploring the mix of colors in front of him. Only a moment later, he jumps up and announces, “Okay, I’m done!” and runs off to play with a smile. He has painted a single-colored blob, yet his joy in the process is captivating.
I focus on the bright yellow lemon I’m painting, occasionally glancing up to see him spraying water from the hose into the sky. When the baby’s naptime ends, my finished product is a page full of horribly drawn peonies, incohesive shapes with too much paint, and an okay-looking lemon. But for the first time in my life, I’m not ashamed of my lack of talent. I’m delighted by the simple act of just creating for the sake of creating, and I feel rested.
Creativity Images the Creator
Hustle culture surrounds us. Every day, the world encourages women to turn our hobbies and creative endeavors into financial gain. Some may deem us untalented or believe we are wasting our skills if we don't.
But a woman who bakes is still a baker even if she never sells a single cookie. Someone who writes poetry is still a poet, even if she never publishes a poem. What makes us creative is not the world’s opinion of our art but the truth that we are all created beings.
God spoke everything into existence. He painted the colors of the ocean and carved the intricate bark of a tree out of nothing (Gen. 1:1–25; Ps. 33:6). He formed each person in their mother’s womb, creating us with different interests, talents, and variations of skill (Ps. 139:13–16; Gen. 1:26–27). Creating brings God glory, whether we cultivate a flower garden for the sake of beauty or crochet a scarf for a friend. We are free to create for the simple joy of imaging our Creator.
None of us make something out of nothing, but we all create. My husband wouldn’t define himself as a creative, but as he writes code to develop websites, he shows how God coded every detail of math, science, and biology. Likewise, you may feel as though you’re not creative because you don’t enjoy the typical creative hobbies. Or maybe you love to write, sing, cook, or draw but feel subpar. People who draw near-perfect portraits or write books that move millions are not the only ones who are creative. We all reflect God’s image in unique, imperfect ways.
Creativity Offers Freedom
Many of us feel like pursuing creativity is worthless unless we achieve greatness, but creativity for the Christian is less about the end product and more about what God is doing in us through the creative process.
Perfection is not a requirement. You and I are free to try and make mistakes. The act of pursuing creativity, whether through home decorating or styling outfits, painting a landscape or cooking a meal from scratch, glorifies God regardless of the end result. We don’t have to give up or declare ourselves bad at everything. Instead, we can persevere in joy, knowing it is only God’s opinion that matters. We have been crucified with Christ and no longer find our identity in how creative we are or aren’t; our identity is secure in him alone (Gal. 2:20; Eph. 1:3–14).
This is good news for those of us who love to create but fear we aren’t good enough. God has freed us from the need for approval from others. Likewise, he has freed us from needing to excel at many things (or even one thing). We can try, make mistakes, and have fun.
I’m not good at watercolor. But I love experimenting with different techniques and watching the paint pool to make a unique shade. I’m never in awe of my art when I finish, but I am inspired to keep creating. I’m drawn to the Lord through the process of making art.
Gazing Upon the Creator
Whether our creative endeavors come to fruition or not, whether we grow in our craft or our skill level stays the same, pursuing creativity leads us to gaze upon the Creator of the world. But we must be intentional. As Christians, everything we do is for the purpose of glorifying God.
Millions of artists and writers and dancers never give God a single glance as they create. But we are called to more. We can paint a flower from our backyard, acknowledging that God crafted each petal. We can mix spices together that cause our friends to relish in good food, knowing it is God who created flavors and taste buds.
If we never pursue creativity because we fear we won’t be as good as others or we fear we’ll fail, we rob ourselves of seeing Jesus in the creative process. But if you and I pursue creativity simply for the joy it brings, it invites us to look to Jesus. It beckons us to ponder his beauty and preeminence. And in doing so, we gain an invaluable prize. We behold our Creator and taste and see his goodness. We are—and will continue to be—molded into his likeness.
Do you want to try painting or learn to play piano? Maybe you’re debating taking up knitting or cake decorating. You might just want to get creative in the kitchen, making meals for your family. Today, right now, you are free to try something new, to try and fail and try again. Maybe you’ll find a hidden talent, or maybe you’ll just love creating regardless of your skill. Either way, let your creativity draw your eyes upward and inspire you. More than that, let it cause you to rest in the hands of the Sculptor of your soul.
Meet the Author
Brittany is a follower of Christ, wife to James, and mama to Theodore, William, and three babies lost through miscarriage. She longs to encourage women to think and live biblically, making Christ their ultimate Treasure. You can find more of her writing at brittleeallen.com or follow her on Instagram @brittanyleeallen.