In childhood we all had the instinct to create and we did it without shame or embarrassment or any restrictions placed on ourselves. Children are amazing little artists, they draw, paint, sing, dance, sculpt, act and create using whatever is available to them. They create with pride and bring it to you to stick on the fridge with a magnet. And they do it over and over until those of us who don’t like to throw anything away have shoeboxes and closets full of our children’s art they made for us. If you go into a preschool classroom and say, “Who in here is an artist?” Every one of them will raise their hands. But somewhere along the way, the older we get this identity as an artist is lost to some of us. If you go into a 5th grade classroom and ask the same question, maybe 25% of the kids will raise their hands, and by high school it’s only the elite who continue to identify and use the title “artist.” This is tragic and I want to challenge the assumption that it’s only the elite professionals who are allowed to call themselves a creative or an artist.
We all make artist decisions every day. You made an artistic decision when you got dressed, did your hair and makeup. You make artistic decisions when you take a selfie, design a brochure or a webiste, when you cook a meal, plant a garden, or arrange a bouquet of flowers, when you choose a bedspread or arrange the furniture in your living room.
Genesis 1:1 tells us “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
If indeed we are all formed in the image of God then we too have the desire and instinct to create as well.
My friend Jill Maxwell puts it this way, “The first breath of God was the creative spirit. We all breathe in the longing to create because it is our spiritual connection with God.”
In the opening chapters of Genesis we see the original Artist at work, He creates the universe and everything in it. He started with nothing, he didn’t just make art he made the art store too. His artistry and love of beauty and aesthetics are everywhere from the “purple mountains majesty” to the smallest details in the wings of the butterfly. Because we are created in the image of God, when we create art we reflect the heart of our Maker. One of the aspects we share with God is the desire and ability to create and then delight in it. By Genesis 1:31 we see God at the end of his artistic work week, he’s in his studio (the universe), and he steps back to take a look at his work, and he says, this is good, this is very good. God loves beauty and creativity. When we make art, it is an expression of love and beauty – love for God and the beauty of his creation. Making art is also an expression of worship for the One who breathed in us the desire to create.
Its time to throw off the restrictions you’ve put on yourself, throw off the shame and embarrassment and create! Be vulnerable, be risky, be courageous in your creativity and know that with every breath, you breathe in the desire to create and the longing to know and be known more fully by the original artist, God.