The primary myth of creativity, as I see it, is any voice that makes any person believe that artists are the only truly creative people on the planet. As someone who’s an artist and who speaks to and from the middle of that Tribe, I confess that we can give off a vibe of being the only truly creative people in the room. We can be arrogant like that, but it’s really just insecurity masquerading as eliteness. And that’s because we’re looking for a group to belong to, mostly because we don’t really fit anywhere else.
But biblically speaking, we’re not the only creative people in the room. I promise we’re not. When my Tribe labels themselves “creatives”, it just makes me want to throw up in my mouth, because many of the most creative people I know are not, in any manner, artistic.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
In the beginning of our world, it all started with a blank dark space. Into that space, God begins to create a bunch of stuff. If you read further in Genesis 1 and 2, you’ll see what the Creator creates. Light and water and sun and moon and vegetation and animals and humans. And it’s all very good.
It’s really good stuff.
But underneath the surface, what’s God really doing at the heart of it all?
I think this. I think there’s a void. The writer calls it a formless and empty space. And God sees the empty space, and then fills it with expressions of Himself.
EXPRESSION #1 – LIGHT
The sun and the moon and the stars. These are all expressions of God’s LIGHT. We’ll read later in Scripture that “God is light, and He clothes Himself in unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16). But for now, just know that there’s a category of stuff God created that is all about light.
EXPRESSION #2 – LIFE
If light is the first expression of God’s creation, then life is the second. The water, the vegetation, the animals, the fish, the humans, and even the cats. All are a creative outpouring of God’s LIFE into what was lifeless, and into what would eventually become a world teeming with all kinds of life.
The essence of God is light and life. It’s those two things.
And He’s pouring those two things into the creation of our world. He breathes it into existence, and there is nothing random or accidental about it. In one jaw-dropping season of creative activity, He pours it all into an empty space.
The Trinity is giggling.
The angels are smiling and shaking their heads in wonder.
The heavens are singing.
BECAUSE GOD IS TAKING THE ESSENCE OF EVERYTHING HE IS, AND HE’S POURING IT INTO A VOID.
And the results are nothing less than fabulous.
And even though this might seem like a stretch, let’s just ask the question nonetheless.
What if a God who is a Creator invites us to do the very same thing?
WHAT IF GOD INVITES US TO POUR THE ESSENCE OF OURSELVES INTO EVERY EMPTY SPACE?
A God who pours Himself out invites us to pour ourselves out. He invites us to take the essence of who we are, and pour that into the empty spaces that we encounter every day. And that, my friends, is what creativity is all about.
Creativity is never an automatic thing because the essence of creativity always invites us to stamp His imprint into our worlds. The primary myth of creativity declares that some people are just born with creativity, and some aren’t. But when we buy into that thinking and believe that myth, we’re mistaking creating with displaying. But they’re not the same. Not even close.
Creativity takes intention. It’s active, not passive. It takes both dreams and sweat. It’s less about generating the next best creative concept. It’s less about comparing yourself with others who do the same thing as you do, and who – in your mind – do it better. Creativity is all about pouring the essence of who you are into a void.
It’s the essence of YOU. Not the guy who’s been on the staff team longer than you, or the gal who makes everyone in the room laugh, or the mom who’s children obey her every wish with a smile.
They have their own essence, and it’s not your essence. And God will never ever ask you, “Why aren’t you more like ________?” Instead, He’ll always ask you, “Why aren’t you more like you?”
And the voids and empty spaces aren’t trivial or random. They’re not simply opportunities or bullet points in your job description. They are empty spaces that will remain empty unless you pour the imprint of God into them.
- So if you’re really good with money – then pour that into those of us who are not.
- If you’re great at administration – at dotting i’s and crossing t’s, then pour that into those of us who just show up and hope everything will be okay.
- If you’re an encourager, then speak life over everyone you encounter – from your wife and children, to the barista girl at Starbucks, to the kid who can’t make change at the 7-Eleven.
- If you’re an artist, pour.
- If you’re a teacher, pour.
- If you’re a politician, use your authority to pour out, not in.
- If you’re a welder, or a garbage man, or a stay-at-home mom, or if you serve in the military… pour.
Sometimes I wonder if the imprint of Christ is seen most clearly, motivated by love, when we pour our own uniqueness into the spaces that will remain empty and void unless we fill them with…