Ready to bust loose from the prison of sameness and begin to explore the creative genius God has placed within the core of your being? It’s time for creativity to be a part of your Life Palette so God can paint your life with colors you’ve never even dreamed of. We’re going to explore six practical and applicable ways to make it happen. Regardless of your area of expertise begin today.
In part 1, we will look at the first three ways:
1. Quit making excuses.
Don’t tell yourself, “I’m just not creative.” Remember, you’re created in the image of God; you have His Spirit living within you. The reality is most people reason away their creativity with this excuse because they’re frightened and intimidated by even the thought of being creative. You may not be artistic, that’s another matter altogether, but you are creative. It’s part of your DNA.
2. Choose to be optimistic.
This does not mean taking the view everything in life is rosy or will “somehow work out” regardless of the circumstances. Optimistic creativity means you look for the best solutions even when you’re in the worst of circumstances. It may be you need to discover what the Lord wants you to learn as you go through something tough.
It would be untrue to say the only time you’re creative is when you are optimistic. You can also be creatively negative and evil. The key for your Life Palette is to utilize creative optimism to get the positive results God desires for you. This is closely tied to faith, in that it’s highly improbable you’ll grow in your faith if you view life through cynical lenses. The apostle Paul said it this way: “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13-14) Notice his optimistic attitude toward the future and eternity. Not recounting the failures of the past or allowing them to dictate his present, Paul looked forward to the potential He had in Christ. Think of the story of the fisherman who said if he were going fishing for Moby Dick, he would be sure to take tartar sauce with him in the boat. He was totally expecting to have a meal.
Nothing will kill creativity faster than negativity or pessimism from yourself or others. Choose to be optimistic and creatively look for solutions and possibilities. I love Psalm 77:19; the psalmist tells about God leading Moses and the children of Israel through the Red Sea: “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there!” Choose optimism to release the creativity God has placed within you and you will discover the pathway God has for you.
3. Discipline your creative energy.
Creativity requires patience. God is disciplined and one of His Spirit’s characteristics for you is self-discipline. A masterpiece is not created in haste; it’s birthed from the creative, thoughtful patience of a skilled artist. A great symphony is written through the diligence and discipline of a composer. I’m often asked by other artists how I can paint so many paintings so quickly (I paint about 12-15 paintings each month). My answer is simple: I paint. What I mean is I don’t wait to feel inspired; if I waited for inspiration, I would rarely paint, especially since I also pastor a local church. I’ve learned from the coaching of masters that the more I choose to paint from discipline, the more creative I am and the more inspired I become. Creativity is nurtured in discipline.
Here’s something I do away from the canvas. When facing a problem, I’ll prayerfully discipline myself to write out up to 25 solutions before I consider making a decision: the greater the problem, the higher my total of potential solutions. Often, many of my ideas are ridiculous, unaffordable, and improbable; however, that sort of creative discipline always paves the way to creative solutions that work. I’ll also brainstorm with people I know have tapped into their God-given creativity. My wife Kathy is one of the most creative thinkers I know. In any brainstorm session, she will come up with creative ideas I have never even considered. My staff is always looking for creative solutions to problems. I love to sit with them and brainstorm ideas and possibilities.
The key to having successful brainstorming sessions is there are no stupid or dumb ideas. It’s alright to put whatever comes to mind on the table, regardless how “out of this world” it may be. Often crazy ideas will stimulate a great idea in another person. Together, we are then able to develop an idea to a creative practical solution and put with it a strategy that’s doable. The more time you spend brainstorming, the more productive you’ll be. Be sure to take time to pray, read the Bible, and ask God to show you creative solutions through His Word.
Lastly, I choose those in my inner circle carefully. You’ve probably been with a group of people where someone came up with a great idea, only to have it shot down by a person who was negative or always looking at the downside. Part of the discipline of being creative is guarding who you allow to influence your life.
Apply these three steps today to begin exploring your creative genius. Watch for the next Life Palette blog when we look at three more ways to explore and release the creative genius God has placed in you.
(Adapted from my book Life Palette, Chapter 7, Creativity. Maybe you have a friend or loved one who would benefit from this blog, take a moment and share with them! They will be glad you did!!!)