4 Minute Read
By Galina Hitching
OMF (U.S.) Communications Team
Creativity is story
Story is central to the creation we see within the pages of God’s Word. Without the elegant complex narrative of the Bible, and the story of the Lamb interwoven throughout the whole Bible and our own lives, there would be little meaning left for us in day to day life. In the same way, story is central to art.
God is creator
Our Creator has intricately woven a story of breathtaking dimension and redemption. He has spun the planets into orbit, and yet he is so thoughtful and gentle that he created a tiny flower smaller than a dime, with five perfect petals and five perfect stamen. The first thing recorded in the Bible is an act of creation. The theme of creation is seen throughout the Bible, from Genesis 1:1, where God created the heavens and the earth, to Revelation where he creates a new heaven and a new earth. God is inherently creative; over and over he creates; he even commands creativity.
Creativity helps connection
As we grapple with meaning and seek to understand the stories in cultures different than our own, we face the question of contextualization. Contextualization is the desire to share the good news of Jesus Christ within the context of a given culture. Integral to culture are the visual arts, oral storytelling, performing arts, and all the little creative expressions specific to a location or people.
How can a missionary meet this adequately without some appreciation for or connection to the creativity God has placed inside each of us? Often Christians respond with either a wholesale acceptance of all creativity or a spurious rejection of anything that is different or unexpected.
Yet, God does not censor us. He provides boundaries in which to operate, but he does not dictate or control us. At the same time it is possible and vital for a Christian to discern good and evil in the arena of the visual and performing arts, while also retaining a compassionate understanding for the person creating the art.
Respecting others doesn’t mean compromising our beliefs, but it does mean exercising discernment and allowing others to make their own decisions.
Why don’t we create?
You may not be a painter, but do you enjoy cooking? Gardening? Dancing in the kitchen? Creativity has many expressions and there are times when we have repressed or ignored our natural inclination for creative expression because of rejection or fear of failure.
Not everyone is Rembrandt, but everyone is made in the image of the Creator God. Because we are made in his image, we are inherently creative. Whether or not we embrace that creative identity, is a choice we make. God has demonstrated to us through his Word, through the person of Christ, and through creation how to express beauty and creativity. It is our responsibility as Christians to find the creative expression that brings joy and life into our lives. As we do this, we will walk in deeper intimacy with the Lord and experience shalom and relationship with others.
Creativity means being vulnerable
Probably one of the biggest reasons we avoid or deny our creativity is because it requires vulnerability. Art has the power of unlocking the things in our heart we may not be able to express or don’t even know exists within us.
The call to be vulnerable is also part of who we are as Christians. Jesus tells us to love those who curse us. He calls us to a life of forgiveness, meekness, humility and self-sacrifice. All these things require a heart that is vulnerable and surrendered to the Lord. When we worship and love the Lord through our creativity, that vulnerability creates a foundation to engage in a healthy relationship with ourselves and others in ways we may not have imagined.
Creativity is for everyone
How does all of this relate to you? There are so many ways! Creativity is important in discipleship, trauma healing, early childhood development, organizational unity, personal mental health and so much more. Creativity doesn’t have to start out as a big ministry or elaborate studios and art programs.
For those who don’t feel creative or struggle to engage with their creativity, it’s good to start small with a willingness to try new things.
As a visual artist who has no rhythm, I didn’t realize how much I would love dance until I was in my twenties. Over the years, movement has played a huge role in my healing journey and is another way I worship my Creator.
Why not try something new this week that you’ve always been interested in? Or try something you’d never think you’d like! You might be surprised to find a skill developing. As in my case with dance, the Lord may use that creative expression to give you freedom to grieve, celebrate, lament and worship.
Whatever creative expression you engage with, the Lord will be faithful to meet you in that place and draw you closer to himself. Intimacy is the fruit of vulnerability; the Lord is waiting for you to draw near to him.
OMF (US) Communications Team
Galina Hitching is a writer, artist, and wellness geek. She learned more from growing up around missions and traveling as a non-profit worker than she did getting her degree in Communication. Midway, Galina took a detour from her career by working as a Serve Asia volunteer. Today, she is using her four years’ experience in marketing and communication for the Great Commission.