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Is Creativity a Binary Concept or on a Spectrum?

Is Creativity a Binary Concept or on a Spectrum?

My 11-year-old son is on the autism spectrum. As I’ve engaged more deeply with people on the spectrum, especially the young, I’ve noticed that autism manifests uniquely in each individual. It’s not a one-size-fits-all diagnosis; there’s a spectrum of behaviors and traits.

This observation has led me to reflect on how we often perceive many aspects of life in binary terms: black or white, yes or no, up or down. However, reality seldom fits neatly into these categories. More often than not, the answer lies in shades of maybe rather than absolute yes or no.

My wife is well aware of my tendency to operate in extremes. I am either fully engaged or completely detached, rarely finding a middle ground. This got me thinking about creativity and whether we view it as a binary concept.

Is creativity really black and white?

It’s intriguing that in a society with many artists and creatives, we often overlook the complexity of creativity itself. We tend to categorize people as either creative or not, without recognizing the spectrum of creativity that exists. You are not simply an artist, the epitome of creativity, or just plain not creative. Just as individuals on the autism spectrum exhibit diverse traits, each of us carries the creative DNA of our Creator and have a diversity of creativty baked within us. We all have at least a drop of creative potential because we are made in the image of God.

For some, creativity manifests in visible talents like illustration or performance. For others, it may remain hidden and, consequently, undernourished. The diversity of gifts and talents God bestows upon us is meant to be utilized and stewarded uniquely by each person, much like our unique fingerprints.

But what does creativity look like if you’re not someone who typically thinks of yourself as creative?

Accountants, spend time creatively developing efficient systems and processes, finding ways to minimize tax liabilities, identifying innovative solutions for financial analysis and reporting. Mechanics are like artists when they are troubleshooting complex mechanical issues, finding creative workarounds when missing certain parts, and improvising tools and techniques for specific repairs.

If you’ve ever seen a chef creating a beautiful meal, it’s clear why they call it the culinary arts. Or consider a teacher designing engaging lesson plans, finding creative uses of simple school supplies to create something beautiful with their students, or developing teaching methods to suit different learning styles through differentiated instruction.

Sales people develop innovative marketing strategies, administrative assistants find creative ways to prioritize tasks, and adapting care plans to meet individual needs as a nurse are just a few examples of how many “non-creatives” go unnoticed as some of our most brilliant creative minds. We should all recognize that we were made by a God who not only embodies creativity but who pours it into His creation and calls us to harness it.

One of the greatest tragedies of the human experience can be forgetting, or worse, never realizing our human potential.

Those who have been deemed creatives often see their creative potential with bright and bold eyes looking to tap into it, but many who have falsely received the designation of “non-creative” tend leave that box unexamined. As a result, the world doesn’t get to experience the fullness of the creativity within them. Non-creatives, you have been living creatively since your birth. Now it’s time to embrace and nurture it. Who knows how far we, as God’s finest creation, can go.

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Is Time Running Out to Pursue Your Dreams?

Is Time Running Out to Pursue Your Dreams?

Happy birthday to me. That’s right. Today I completed my 46th revolution around the sun. LOL.
And I have to tell you, I feel every bit of it. Something about being out of shape and exhausted. It really makes you feel your age. But what I want to talk about today, especially I think as it comes to, you know, those folks who have so many creative ideas, is about a sense of urgency. You know, there’s nothing that can awaken a sense of urgency in you like reminders of the fragility and the preciousness of time.
You know, as I woke up today after not sleeping so great last night, I really felt like there’s not as much time left as I wish.
I’d love to think that I’ve got another 46 years in me. But that would make me 92. And I’ve got to believe that in a very real sense, the largest part of my best days are behind me.
I don’t mean to try and make this post a depressing one. But it is one of those moments that reminds me that I need to move forward in my plans. Because you never know when you will celebrate your last birthday. So in this brief blog post today, I just want to leave you all with this. Think about the things that you’ve envisioned. Think about the dreams that God has put on your heart. And now stop thinking about them and go and do them.
I don’t want to be 60, 70, and living with regrets for all that I did not accomplish. But even worse, I don’t want to be in a casket at 47 with so many things left undone.
All we have is this current moment. Let’s treasure it and make it count.

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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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What Is the Soul of Our Work?

What Is the Soul of Our Work?

The more I write for this blog, the more I’m discovering one of the core themes that God has given me to speak on.

The Soul of Our Work

In this day and age of technological advancements, text messages, emails, and even blogs like this can sometimes feel like they are diminished replacements for the real heart of real genuine connection. Now, I know that the written word can carry more than its value on its face. God’s word itself is inhabited by God’s Spirit. And I believe, in a similar way as we work, as we create, as we write, that our soul imprints on the work to which we put our hands. While I feel like this may be an avant-garde thought to many today, I believe in 5-10 years people will definitely recognize this to be true. Even though authenticity is a buzzword in most circles today, it will become the only real currency in the days ahead. As deepfakes increase, as the truth and reality become so watered down, augmented, or twisted that they are unrecognizable as such, more and more we will crave something real. Something NON-FUNGIBLE.

It will be harder and harder to spot the real thing from a shelf filled with fugazi, but there will be at least one distinguishable feature for those with clear eyes and full hearts hungering for the authentic. It won’t be visible from the average vantage point, but only upon closer inspection. It’s when one engages with the work looking for impact, that one will find a clearly present or missing ingredient… soul. It is the soul of the work that touches the soul of the beholder.  The outside can look great, but it’s what’s inside, the soul that makes the difference. Jesus said it this way when speaking to his religious opponents…

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matthew 23:27-28 NIV

While hanging outside with my wife and son, we discovered a problem with one of his shoes. Despite in what great condition the top and design-heavy portion of his shoe was, we found aSOUL OF OUR WORK 1 hole in the bottom which meant they needed replacing sooner than later. At that moment I heard myself say,

“It doesn’t matter how great it looks when there is a hole in the sole.”

WHOA. That’s it, isn’t it? There is a truth for life, for art. Not a truth about the sole, but the soul. It’s the thing that matters when all is said and done in our life on earth. The state of our soul is the most important biblical question, but the most important question in our creativity might be similar…what’s the soul of our work?

I think we should all check to make sure we don’t have holes in the soul of our work where the real impact we genuinely want is threatening to seep out.

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Is the Road to Recovery Paved by Faith?

Is the Road to Recovery Paved by Faith?

Not every day is a banner day.

Some days, you feel beaten down, tired, exhausted, and even discouraged. Today is one of those days.
My son has been sick, and now my wife, my daughter, and I have also gotten this stomach bug. Then I found out that my mother had a heart attack and had two stents put in.
We’re all on the road to recovery. But that doesn’t mean the fears and the pain of the present don’t exist.
But in the middle of that discouragement, in the middle of that sense of being weary beyond belief, I am reminded that the road to recovery is the road that Jesus has paved.

It is in Him that we have a way to healing.
It is in Him that we have a path to joy.
It is in Him that I know that though I’m discouraged today, encouragement is on its way.

That though I am sick today, healing is on its way.
That though my mom is in pain today, wholeness is on its way, either in this life or in the next.
Today is one of those days where creativity eludes me.

But I’m thankful Christ doesn’t.

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Is Love Gone Once You Give It?

Is Love Gone Once You Give It?

In today’s blog you get a video….

We dive deep into a profound question: “Is love gone once you give it, or can it come back?” Join us on the Ordered Chaos Club as we explore this topic through personal reflections and biblical insights. We’ll discuss how, as Christians, we have access to an infinite source of love through Christ.

Key Points Covered:

– The impact of creating and feeling unappreciated

– Understanding God’s infinite love and how it replenishes us

– Practical ways to stay rooted in Christ to continuously receive and give love

– Insights from Isaiah 58 on pouring ourselves out for others