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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 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 Christian Art Limited to Gospel Messaging?

Is Christian Art Limited to Gospel Messaging?

“The Christian is the really free man—he is free to have imagination. This too is our heritage. The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.”- Francis Schaeffer

Today I was able to dive into Frank Schaeffers powerful book, “Art and the Bible.” I’m sharing it here primarily to recommend it for all Christian artists. And be sure that it will be oft quoted in my course Unleashing Christ-Centered Creativity (Course 2 in a 3 course education pathway coming soon).

Francis offers a fresh look at the role of art in the Christian life. One of the most striking lessons I took away is Schaeffer’s belief that Christian art doesn’t have to be limited to obvious gospel messages or evangelistic themes. Instead, he encourages a liberated view of artistic expression, where beauty and creativity can blossom as a reflection of our deep faith in Christ.

Schaeffer’s insights challenge the idea that Christian art must always be a tool for salvation or an overt gospel proclamation. Just as nature’s grandeur can inspire awe, or an abstract piece can spark joy, art can celebrate our creative minds – a reflection of the Divine Artist who crafted the cosmos. In simply pointing to beauty we offer people a front row seat to the work of God’s hands.

Yet, Schaeffer also acknowledges that art is inevitably shaped by the artist’s worldview, whether conscious or not. He identifies four types of artistic expressions:

1. Art created by Christians with a Christian worldview

2. Art created by non-Christians with a non-Christian worldview

3. Art created by non-Christians who share beliefs aligned with Christian values

4. Art created by Christians who, sadly, reflect a non-Christian worldview due to a lack of understanding of their faith’s implications.

It’s this last category that Schaeffer finds most disheartening as do I. The Christian artist who has yet to fully grasp the transformative power of their faith, resulting in art that fails to reflect the truth and beauty of the Christian worldview.

Ultimately, Schaeffer’s work is an invitation to embrace artistic expression as a core part of our identity as Christians. Whether through poetry, painting, music, or the very way we live our lives, we’re encouraged to create without fear, allowing our imaginations to soar while remaining rooted in the richness of our faith in Jesus.

“No artwork is more important than the Christian’s own life, and every Christian is called to be an artist in this sense.” – Francis Schaeffer

As I reflect on Schaeffer’s insights, I’m inspired to unleash the artist within, celebrating beauty and creativity as a testament to the Master Creator who fashioned us in His image.

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How Can Christian Creatives Avoid Feeling Devalued by Their Work?”

How Can Christian Creatives Avoid Feeling Devalued by Their Work?”

Christian Creatives, let’s talk. No answers today just a chat and a question or two.

It can be hard making something and finding that it is unwanted. One of the hardest things in the creative process can be when you are creating something with specific people in mind, only to find that they were ungrateful or you actually hadn’t understood what they really wanted from the beginning. Nevertheless, putting effort into something, only to feel like the effort is wasted, can be frustrating.

Tonight, we celebrated my son’s Matteo’s birthday in a really low-key fashion. I was just doing some simple grilling. Just he and I, and a neighbor boy came through to hang out and asked what we were grilling. I told him, “Burgers for me, hot dogs for Matteo.” He was excited and asked if he could have a hot dog. So, of course, I made the kid a hot dog.

christian creative 1However, the ice cream truck came, the little boy ran off, and his hot dog sat unattended and unwanted on the paper towel, which was all I had to offer the kid because I didn’t have a plate. In one sense, I fully understood that ice cream is a priority number one for a kid his age. And let’s be honest, Matteo got excited when he heard the sound of that fateful tune. And for those of you who think me neglectful, don’t worry. I made sure that my son got some delicious treats from the truck as well.

But upon our return, there still sat that lonely hot dog. And what was interesting, I went to a place where I was like, “That is the last time I ever make a hot dog for this kid.” The truth is, it didn’t cost me much to create. And matter of fact, hot dogs aren’t the healthiest things anyway. So maybe this kid ended up getting the best thing for him. But I couldn’t help but feel like something was wasted in this moment. So I began to think about the repurposing of the hot dog. Maybe we could feed it to someone else, or maybe I could save it for the next time Matteo wanted a hot dog.

And before you think this entire conversation is about a hot dog, let me bring it back to where we began. In a very similar way, all of our works of creation can sometimes feel like that lonely hot dog sitting on the paper towel. Cooked with intention, but left unwanted or unused, which when referencing art, simply means unvalued. And one of the challenges with that is, for the creative, art can feel like an extension of ourselves. In previous blog posts, I talked about creating from the soul and not losing our soul as we looked for tools to help the process.

But the truth is, as we create from the soul, we can feel like we give away a piece of ourselves with every creation. So I think the real question is, and I don’t have the answer, how do we give a piece of ourselves without losing a piece of ourselves? And for those of you reading along, is that even the right question? Inquiring minds want to know.

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