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How Can Joy Fuel Your Creativity?

How Can Joy Fuel Your Creativity?

As creatives, what we create originates from the depths of our hearts. Even God’s Word reminds us that our mouths speak from the overflow of our hearts.

When we examine the best works of our hands, we often find that the most beautiful creations flow not from a place of stress or anxiety, but from a heart brimming with joy and hope. This joy, particularly when grounded in an abiding relationship with God, provides a sense of fulfillment and purpose that truly fuels the creative passions we are called to pursue. While art should undoubtedly express the full range of our emotions, art that consistently lacks joy and hope can suffer creatively, becoming darker and less inspiring.

Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that in our challenges and battles, the joy of the Lord is our strength.

For the Christ-centered creative, the joy we find in Jesus not only uplifts our spirits but also fortifies us, providing the strength and resilience needed to pursue our God-given creative passions. When our hearts are truly aligned with God and His joy, we find ourselves more open, free, generous, and willing to take creative risks as we build and create.

The Christian understands that joy is not merely an emotional state but an abiding truth born from the fruit oof the Spirit within us. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.” Our joy and inspiration in the creative process rely on the Spirit of God living within us. Without the joy that comes from God’s Spirit, our creativity will ultimately lack vitality and depth, diminishing its desired impact.

When we create from a place of joy, our work not only uplifts and inspires others but becomes contagious, spreading positivity like a viral infection that transforms ordinary work into something extraordinary, as the Spirit of God inhabits it. However, when our hope diminishes and our joy wanes, our creative output mirrors that reality.

Albert Einstein recognized the playful nature that results from joy, stating, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” It’s in that playful spirit that we not only create smiles but also experience genuine joy in our hearts. Conversely, when that playful Spirit is absent, our creative endeavors can feel more like a burdensome process than a delight.

Therefore, let us stay connected and devoted to the Father, recognizing Him as the source of our joy. Let us remain in community with others who will encourage and support us. Such community is what the Orderd Chaos Club, when launched, will hopefully be. I would even recommend practicing gratitude, for training our hearts to be grateful helps us maintain a hopeful and joyful outlook on the life and the work we’ve been entrusted with.

The joy of the Lord is your strength today, Christ-centered creative. So go forth, be joyful, and create with joy.

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Is Your Creativity a Wildfire or a Controlled Burn?

Is Your Creativity a Wildfire or a Controlled Burn?

I wonder what the practical value is in a Christian who lacks discernment. And at the same time, I wonder the practical value of a creative who lacks vision. Those may seem completely unrelated, but as we continue to move forward as members of both groups, there is a tie that binds them together. It is the Spirit of God. A creative needs vision. A Christian needs discernment. Christian creatives need vision from the Spirit of God.

“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,
but blessed is he who keeps the law.” Proverbs 29:18 ESV

As we go and create, I can’t help but see this image of fire. The Spirit of God is often represented as fire in Scripture. A Christian who lacks discernment, a creative who lacks vision, both seem like a wildfire in the worst way. The destruction that can unintentionally result is terrifying. Wildfires are a real issue in many parts of our country and throughout the world. They can be uncontrolled, unplanned and spread rapidly, leaving destruction in their wake. As a chaotic creative, in the creative process, a wildfire could be unbridled creativity with no direction, no restraint, and can result in a chaotic output that doesn’t have any focus or purpose. Like a wildfire can devastate forests and communities, unchecked creativity can lead to wasted resources, missed opportunities, or even creating something harmful to oneself or others. Without discernment in life, creative endeavors may lack the clarity and wisdom needed to ensure they result in positive impact. The results could often not be in alignment with the creative’s values or goals.

But on the other hand, I believe the Christian with discernment, the creative that has vision from God is still tapping into that very same fire. But instead, it’s a controlled burn. I always thought that was interesting because growing up, I was someone who I will admit was a bit of a pyromaniac. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to the concept of the Spirit of God being a fire. But I always was fascinated by the fact that there were things called controlled burns. A controlled burn is intentional, deliberate, carefully planned, and a fire set under controlled conditions to achieve specific results like reducing wildfire risks, restoring ecosystems, and promoting new growth. In the same way, intentional creativity has purposeful direction and channels creative energy toward a specific vision or goal. Just like controlled burns rejuvenate forests, clearing out underbrush and promoting new growth, controlled creativity allows for the cultivation of ideas, the refinement of skills, and the realization of meaningful projects.

Through discernment, a Christian creative can identify ideas, projects, and collaborations that align with their calling and values. Creative vision provides the guiding light illuminating the path forward and inspiring innovation within the boundaries of faith and purpose. In essence, while both wildfires and controlled burns involve fire, the key difference lies in the intention and direction behind them. Similarly, in the realm of Christian creativity, discernment and creative vision serve as vital tools for channeling creative energy toward God-honoring endeavors that bear fruit and bring glory to him.

So let us not ignore the flames. Let us not run from the fire, but instead, let us seek God for discernment and creative vision as we look to Him to bring order to the chaos.

Looking for further help staying close to God? Check out the Five by the Fire Podcast.
With over 700+ episodes of devotionals and Bible meditations, it is a great tool to encourage the believer into God’s Presence.

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Will You Rise Again After Creative Setbacks?

Will You Rise Again After Creative Setbacks?

I started filming a documentary in January of 2023.
It’s still not done.
With this being the first feature length documentary I’ve taken on, I shouldn’t have been surprised that it would be wrought with so many challenges.

From the very first day of filming where I made some significant mistakes with starting and stopping my B CAMERA recording as I moved around the room shooting extra angles for the first interview.
That meant each and every one of those video files would need to be individually synced with the interview’s main video file. Never doing that again.

Then I experienced issues with making the mistake of using rechargeable batteries in the audio recorder. Never doing that again.

Next it was the after painstaking months of going through transcripts and piecing together the paper edit of the film. I discovered that all of my project files were lost. Frankly none of the raw footage was lost so I could always start over. But that means I would be starting over.

I say all this to say that no matter what you are undertaking when you’re new at it. When you don’t yet have the depth of knowledge or experience you should definitely expect challenges to be part of your journey.
Depending on the skill needed for the undertaking the learning curve can be quite steep.
Thankfully I’ve been around the block a bit with filming in general and thus I’ve been able to do what all of us must in scenarios like this. Bounce back.

Confucius says, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”

I’m not after my own glory but the glory of the Lord. I even believe that in the reset of this project the Lord did a reset on that truth for me as well. I stopped holding it so closely and tightly in my hands and instead am more ready and willing to simply give the film over to the Lord, entrusting God to dust me off and put me back in the fight.
And yet I still have a big role to play in this because God’s given me free will and the ability to choose.
In Galatians 6:9 the very first Bible verse I fell in love with after getting saved Paul says this

“Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

What has God called you to create and what area has the Lord called you to put your hands to the plow and put in work?
Now if you haven’t already experienced falling, failures or bumps along the road they’re coming. You get to decide now as well as then what you’re going to do. Will you be one that pushes through deciding that you will not give up . deciding that they will not be weary in doing the good that God has called them to.

Will you be one that chooses to rise again and again or will you be one who immaturely receives the challenges of the journey as signs that God is not with them and that the anointing has left the work?
Trust me in this I’m not saying that God is in every work that you’re doing but I am saying this you don’t need the Holy Spirit to do the easy stuff.
Press forward as a Christian creative and create something that brings him glory.

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Is Failure a Reflection of Who You Are?

Is Failure a Reflection of Who You Are?

This week, the blog lost its first subscriber.

If I’m going to be honest, that’s disappointing, especially since it hasn’t been in existence that very long.
When I checked in on the subscriber list and I saw that lonely number one next to the amount of unsubscribers, it made me feel a certain kind of way.

It was tapping into the people pleaser in me, the insecure me, and the version of me that wants to create something that every person that engages with it will passionately love.
The reality is, with every single creation, there’s essentially a handful of different responses. There’s variations of yes, variations of no. And then variations of wow. And of course, we’re going for the wows. But what happens when you get the no’s?
It definitely goes in my box that seems to continually be growing called failures. And here’s the truth that I think we all need to hold on to today.
Failures that remain in your box can be lessons that you learn from. You can choose to pick up the box and open it and educate yourself with its contents in the same way that people would use a textbook.
However, if failure becomes a coat or a badge of sorts, it becomes something that you walk around with, that you carry as a part of who you are. And that is an unhealthy place.
Failure should never be received as a scarlet letter or a personal identifier, but simply an event. And the beauty is we can learn from events. We can grow from events. We can’t learn and grow from parts of who we are.

 

So it’s important that we keep failure in an educational box and not in that wonderful little transparent part of our wallet that holds the ID. Failure is not who we are.

Don’t do the work of the enemy and receive failure as an internal reality. It is through internalizing failure that we end up doing the worst service of all to ourselves: Extinguishing hope.
Christ-centered creatives, we must recognize our hope is in Christ. That any failures are not personal, are not permanent, and are not pervasive. And if each of those are not true, failure is something that we can learn and recover from.

But the moment it becomes personal, we believe the failure to be who we are. The moment it becomes permanent, we believe this failure to be something that we can never change. And the moment it becomes pervasive. We believe that every aspect of our reality is a failure.

So no matter if the failure you’ve experienced is losing a subscriber, finding someone giving you a “no” to your creation, losing a huge client in your business, or finding that your business needs to close…

Remember this, it’s not personal. It doesn’t reflect on who you are at your core.
It’s not permanent. This is something that there is hope for change. Things that have ended can be reborn. You can grow beyond this.
And it’s not pervasive. This is verifiably a singular event.

As you continue to learn and grow, you can be sure that there will be other places where you fail. But don’t ever receive the lie that you are a failure.
And hey, an appropriate response to this could be to subscribe to the blog LOL. Sorry, I couldn’t help it with the shameless plug.

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Creating Family Space

Creating Family Space

Joyous shouts.
Brisk wind blowing in the 70-degree air.

Smiles and a pair of spinning wheels attached to a long pair of handlebars. This is the scene on this Wednesday evening, the day prior to my birthday, sitting outside while my son, Matteo enjoys his scooter. It’s the simple beauty of moments like this that I don’t stop and absorb enough.
I spend so much time and energy being a content creator of all kinds. I create podcasts, blogs, websites, films, and songs. But what I feel like God has been calling me to this year is not content creation as much as creating space.

The understanding of creating space has always been something that I’ve struggled with. Because where I see space, it’s something that I just fill up with other things that help me move the ball further down the field. Usually, when I think about creating space, I’m thinking about giving myself margin, allowing space to rest, just like you leave space on the edges of a piece of paper as you’re writing. That is the same thing that God encourages us to do with our lives – create space on the edges and not live everything up to that line.
But even more than that, this year God’s made it clear that I need to create space not just for rest but space for family. Now I have a certain amount of time set aside in my calendar to make sure that I am present with my family. But the truth is, even in those times that I’m present, there’s still so much of my mind that isn’t present. That is off mentally creating, doing the next project in my head, thinking about the next blog, thinking about the next podcast episode.

I was watching something this past week about Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns and the way that he’s been trying to prepare, I think, to start the season. And they said something that I had not thought about. One of the reporters reflected on being impressed about the way Deshaun is taking mental reps with the first team. That means that he’s not out there throwing passes and getting actual practice going, but he’s thinking through the process as they’re doing this whole simulated play.
And that makes me think, while I’m getting time, creating space for my family, how much of that time am I spending taking mental reps for the other things that I know I want to accomplish? While I’m sitting here with my son, even right now, I’m recording this blog. While I sit on the couch and watch a show with my daughter, sometimes I’ll be thinking through the next episode, taking mental reps of what I’ll record next.

I don’t think that I’m alone in this issue, especially amongst fellow Christian creatives. When you marry purpose with creativity, it oftentimes feels like a constant barrage of creative thoughts moving things forward towards that purpose. That’s the chaos that I often recognize in my mind, which is crying out for God to bring order.
And this, I believe, is a part of how God is wanting to bring order in mine and in your mind. Through creating space, not just physically, but mentally.

Are you giving your mind space to rest, space to engage truly and intentionally with those that you care about? Space to focus on your relationship with God? Don’t just go through the motions. Don’t just sit in the room. Don’t just do the thing, but ensure you create mental and physical space to do and be all that God’s called you to be today.

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Do You Have the Courage to Create or Just the Vision?

Do You Have the Courage to Create or Just the Vision?

Have you ever had a day that hit you so fast and so hard that you never really had time to slow down and feel the blow? Well today was one of those days for me. And as I write this, it is 10:30 in the evening, and I’m just arriving home after three hours of serving a sister in Christ who needed help moving into her new apartment.

It was challenging, but it was beautiful to see our gathering of Christ-centered creatives, known as Beats, Bars, and Bible, take a pause on our normal weekly Bible study and instead engage in Bible practice.

I’m not quite sure what the impetus is for today’s blog, but I know this. It’s easy for us creatives to be the idea guy or the creative gal who dreams it up, puts it on paper, and imagines the new world. In a lot of respects, those visionaries are what this world absolutely needs to be better than it is. But at the same time, we as creatives must also decide to actually create.

Tonight, we didn’t just think about and dream about serving and loving one another in the body of Christ. We created that act of service. We put the word of God into practice. Now, I wish I could say that I do that on a daily basis and consistently. But I know that I don’t. However, it is my aim to increasingly make that a reality as the Lord gives me recognition of the opportunities that I need to step into.

As Christians and as Christ-centered creatives, we have not only the vision of the divine moments that we often are called into, but we have the Spirit of God who, if we seek Him and ask Him for it, He will also give us the ingredients that truly help change the world. Not just vision, but courage and the commitment to create.

 

I’ll see you guys tomorrow.

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