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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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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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Are Your Creative Thoughts Captive to Christ?

Are Your Creative Thoughts Captive to Christ?

“You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” – Martin Luther

Having a wild, creative nature is a beautiful thing. Consider icons like Frida Kahlo or Pablo Picasso. These individuals embodied a wildly creative mindset. But I wonder, to what degree did they have to develop leadership for that creativity to get the most out of it?

Imagine if Steve Jobs never focused on developing the iPod, or if Einstein never honed his thoughts on relativity. What if Frida never dedicated herself specifically to her craft with her brush?

I believe our most impactful creative works lie on the other side of our most intentional decisions regarding our creative thoughts. It is through this thought work—this warfare on the battlefield of our mind—that we achieve victory. Jesus reminds us that we can hold every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.

This is the heart of meditation that I am drawn to—not necessarily the act of emptying your mind, but the act of deciding what your mind will dwell on. Many Eastern and New Age meditations talk about an emptiness of mind during meditation. However, as I explored these practices to quiet my mind, I realized that the actual work involves focusing my mind on specific things. Instead of dwelling on random thoughts, my mind focuses on the environment and being present, rather than on the thoughts that tend to occupy it.

This realization has shown me that meditation is not about emptiness, but about fullness. It’s about what your mind is filled with. What your mind is filled with in each moment determines your focus. That focus, that mental dwelling, is what you are giving your peace, your heart, and in many senses, your future.

Instead of trying to keep my mind empty for peace, I want to dwell, focus on, and stay filled with Christ and the thoughts He would have me meditate on. To chew on, to ruminate over, to remain abiding and dwelling in Him for all of my days.

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