Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Reflecting God's Creative Side

"What's your creative outlet?"

I started asking my friends this question a few years ago when I first came to seminary. I figured everyone had to have one. Apparently, not everyone thinks this way.

I'm not a linear thinker. I'm not an analytic thinker. I think I'm a thinker, but just not what you would consider a "thinking" thinker. I tend to have a whole different way of thinking - a more "scenic route" kind of thinking. How I ever made it all the way through graduate school thinking the way I do I can't be sure.

"Make a chart of the book of Jonah," the assignment said. I handed in a map with stick figures - Kindergarten-level stick figures, at that. Somehow it still got an "A" and the comment hand-written at the top, "This is not a chart." (Okay, now I know how I made it through seminary: God's grace was hard at work in my life.)

I have a deep respect and appreciation for linear thinkers. In fact, I stand in amazement of people with type-A personalities. Most of my friends since coming to seminary fall into this category (something about graduate-level studies breeds this personality...or summons it, rather). My husband is one of these people, and I love the way he approaches our budget, understands Scripture, and diligently studies.

There are so many times that I wish I was more organized, more structured, more...linear. Why can't I just make meal plans for a month at a time? Why did I always have at least 10 major assignments left to accomplish within the last 2 weeks of the semester? Why can't I just start a journal entry with "Dear Diary"? Why did I take French for so many years and all I really remember is "quelquefois"? Why, oh why, can't I remember what happened at the Battle of Carchemish?!

And then I turn on some music, and something stirs within my soul. "Find me in the river, I'm waiting here for You" I hear him sing, and my heart starts to sing, too. I feel compelled to read a Psalm, write a poem, and praise my God for faithfully meeting me, even in the dry riverbed. I pull up pictures for visual aide, and all day long I will be thinking about the cracked dirt and God's promises that if I stay by the river I will never cease to bear fruit, not even in the dead, dry heat of summer. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

I love that God can speak so clearly to me through His creative side. I love that I can look pretty much anywhere in His creation and see a deep life lesson. I love that I look at my son and am moved by the Lord's grace toward me. I love that my husband reminds me of God's faithful hesed. I love that I listen to children's songs about the Bible and am moved to tears because of the simple and profound truth I hear. I love that music makes me want to write, and I love that writing makes me want to sing praise to God. I love that God made me a creative thinker.

Back to my original question: What is your creative outlet?

The first friend I asked (who was, of course, a type-A, analytic, linear thinker) said, "I don't know. *long pause* Working on cars, I guess. I like figuring out the problem and solving it, and then fitting it all back together." Another friend answered, "Cooking. God made so many incredible flavors and spices, and I like to see how they can come together."

"Creativity" doesn't have to mean art. I'm a lousy artist, but I love to write. What's yours (ironically, you might have to get creative in thinking about your answer)? PowerPoint? Writing Greek papers? Learning new languages?

In the beginning, God created. All throughout Scripture He is making things new. How do you reflect this side of God?

What is your creative outlet?

P.S. To keep things fair, while you think about that, I'm going to go make a menu plan. I've gotta start somewhere, right?