Hold on, there. Don’t click away. I’m talking to you, and yes, you are creative. If you’ll give me a few minutes and your patience to get through this post, I’m going to tell you why creativity is so vital to a thriving Christian life, and why you are equipped for it already. This is a truth I’ve been aware of for quite a while, but to be honest, I ‘forget’ about it for stretches of time. Then it gnaws and pulls at me until it has my full attention–which is right now, as a matter of fact. So, while I’m fully aware, I’m tapping you on the shoulder to say, “hey–this applies to you, too.”
We were all created to be creative. Made in the image of the Creator. Everyone is hardwired to be able to make stuff, to make something new and original that didn’t exist before.That makes us pretty special. Even the angels don’t have the ability to create. In fact, that is one thing Satan really hates about people. He can counterfeit, he can steal, he can usurp, but he cannot create. And I think one of the biggest, most convincing lies he persuades us to believe is that some of us don’t have a creative bone in our body. Pffffff. Hogwash.
While I love the Christmas season, I’ve come to realize that I love the days in between Christmas and New Year’s Day even more. There’s peace in having come through the previous season (and year) intact. There’s an anticipation–a hopeful expectation–of what’s ahead, and the possibility that it could be good…great…even better. It’s the captivating allure of newness.
We were made for renewal. Our souls and our spirits are inevitably drawn to it. We can’t help but want it and seek it out. And while we live in an increasingly secular, materialistic society, even what is marketed and advertised to us taps into that deep desire. New Year’s resolutions. Weight loss promotions. White sales (who doesn’t want brand new, clean sheets and towels?). Everybody wants a fresh start, and to start over again right.
A fire is burning in me, and I have to say that it’s an angry sort of fire. Outrage. Righteous indignation. Absolute horror and disgust at not only what has surfaced in the news lately, but the response to it by many fellow Christians. In the wake of #metoo confessions and the Weinsteins, Lauers, and Moores of the world (and their small-town equivalents), we believers must ask ourselves a few questions about truth.
Do we actually believe in absolute truth? Does the truth matter at all times and in all situations, or only when it benefits us? Can we handle the truth (or what’s more, how do we handle it) when it’s unpleasant, inconvenient, or offensive? These are questions we must ask ourselves, know the answers to, and allow to guide our actions–right here and right now. We must declare that the days of keeping silent are over, and that accepting the status quo is no longer acceptable.
We live in an insanely fast-paced world. Most of us barely finish one thing before careening into the next. On top of that, there’s an awful lot of pressure to not only succeed, but to look amazing while you’re doing it. Like it’s no big thing. Pinterest-worthy baby showers with handmade everything, sweaty workout photos and your latest vegan creation proudly displayed on Instagram. There’s nothing wrong with those things of course, and they could be honest portrayals of a life well-lived and well-loved. But often, many of us are striving so hard to make it look that way, when behind the scenes, all we really want is to be thriving for real.
Is thriving even possible? I believe it is because the Bible tells us so, and it also tells us how. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. (Is anything good ever easy?) But it’s definitely possible–the key is to make the choices that will release you into more.
What does your heart most need to hear right now? What do you wish the Father would whisper right into the depths of your being? Quiet yourself down for just a moment and search inside for the answer to those questions. Maybe what you’re longing for is right there on the surface, ready to come spilling out at the slightest invitation. Or, maybe it’s stuffed way down deep, underneath all your hurts and disappointments and the armor you’ve constructed to protect yourself. But it’s in there.
It’s in there because you’re human, and although you were indeed made in this world, you were not made for this world. You were made for God and for his kingdom. C.S Lewis wrote, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” I believe it. Yes, that ache, that unfulfilled longing is in there, and I want to encourage you to let it come forth right now. I’m going to tell you a story.
How many of you out there could use a little encouragement right now? Who’s your go-to when you need it? There are many sources we could (or should) turn to when our hearts could use a lift. Like your friends, your family members, your spouse. And the Lord, of course. But how many of you have also experienced times when you know that encouragement from others is just not gonna stick?
This happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. And though I’m a pretty good encourager of other people, I find myself getting easily discouraged without a good strategy to get out of it. Last week, I was describing some of my worries and insecurities to a fellow student in one of my coaching classes. She asked me, “Where are you going to go to get encouragement about these things?” In my mind, I scanned through the people I know, knowing more or less what they’d say to me. “I guess I really need to get it from myself,” I concluded. But how?
November is National Adoption Month here in the US. That might not mean much to you now, but I’m going to tell you why it should. And, I’m going to challenge you to think a little more (and maybe a little differently) about what it means to adopt.
First, a little background on me and my family. We adopted our first child just about twenty years ago when we realized we would not be able to conceive a second child. It was a way to build our family. Two years later, we brought home a second child from Korea, so our daughter would have a sister of the same race and background. It was at that point that adoption became part of our family’s DNA and my personal identity. So when the Lord called us to adopt two more children (twelve years later!) we said yes. Saying yes was the easy part. Probably the only easy part.
Yesterday, my son got married. We all sat outside on a beautiful autumn day, watching the colored leaves fall like confetti behind him and his bride as they exchanged their vows. Every real-life detail seemed to have emerged from a fairy tale story. It was the kind of day people dream about. I hardly knew where to rest my eyes as I scanned the faces of my children, my family, my friends. I was completely overwhelmed by joy.
Yet in the midst of it all, I had the fleeting thought that this could have been a very different kind of day. Two years ago at this time, I wanted to end my life. My mind and my heart were so full of darkness and despair, I could not envision how anything would ever be better…or different.