I always smile when people tell me that they’re not that creative. They believe they don’t qualify because they are unable to paint masterpieces with brushes, chisel an angel from a block of marble, create new inventions, or write poetic words on a crisp, blank page. And so, they applaud the ones they deem worthy enough to have the creative badge pinned to their chests because they see their limited amount of creativity isn’t anything to shout about or do anything with. They feel that living without restraint is an adventure that seems too perilous a journey to embark upon which only puts limits and restraints on the God who created them.
Can you believe that the creativity of our mighty God saw us in His mind’s eye even before He created us from the dust from the ground and the rib from Adam’s side? And as He formed and fashioned us in our mothers’ wombs, He placed His creativity in every one of us, without restraint, without limits and without an apology. However, things happen and in the process of all our disappointments, setbacks, and curveballs life throws at us, we end up limiting ourselves because we become afraid to surrender to Him and live without restraint. Which in turn, only limits what God can do creativity in us and through us.
Still not convinced you’re creative. Let me help you out a little. If you’ve solved a problem at work by coming up with an idea that nobody else thought of. If you have redecorated your lounge room this summer with fresh throws and cushions and painted a feature wall bright orange. If you tried something new this year or put together a cute outfit that you feel fabulous in, then you are creative! Gary Bertwistle says that “Creativity is having the ability to look at things differently” So why then, do we question our creative God and shy away from His ideas? The One who looks at things differently and asks us to lean in and lean on His wisdom, drawing from His strength so we can fulfil the call He has for our lives?
To be honest, what did you think when you read the title of this blog post? Well, Wendy, it sounded a little dangerous, a little crazy. Ahh, but you’re here, you’re reading this post because your curious, creative brain still wanted to find out, yes?! I get it, you’re fearful because you’ve spent many years conditioning your thinking to be careful, cautious, and controlled. You’ve made sure that your imagination is contained, and your inventiveness is capped because if you exercise your creativity who knows where it may lead, and that thought alone is just plain old scary. Right?!
But as Brain Simmons and Gretchen Rodriguez remind us, “To limit ourselves is to limit the One inside of us.” And oh my, I have done that all too often. I have bound and confined and checked and squashed a limitless God into the limited boxed restraints of my thinking over the years. Because like you dear friend, I have been fearful of living without restraint. Of surrendering my creativity to a creative God who has some rather radical, exciting ideas about my life. My willing heart has been too bruised far too often to reach out and take hold of all my creative thoughts and do something with them.
But, before we go any further, let me get one thing clear. Living without restraint doesn’t mean we can just do whatever we please. That is dangerous. What I’m talking about is tapping into our creativity with wisdom and strength so we can achieve amazing things. But if we’re going to be authentic and start using the creativity God put within us, we cannot allow what others think of our creative attempts to stop us. If I’m honest, that’s what cancelled out my creativity. It gridlocked my potential because I was too worried about what people would think if I failed.
Without restraint takes the limits we’ve placed around God and our thinking by allowing Him to use our creativity to build something. Exodus 35 is where we find Moses relaying the instructions he received from the Eternal One to the entire community of Israel. Artisans, craftsmen, skilled workers all came together to construct the Tabernacle. Passage after passage describing the creativity of each person as they carefully followed every detail, every instruction that God told Moses.
Those who were once slaves in Egypt, the very ones whose creativity was used in forced labour to build a project that only worshipped Pharoah. Now they were no longer slaves so they were able to use their creativity from a willing heart. A heart that wanted to create a home here on earth for their creative God because He was the One who had placed that creativity in each one of them to be used for His glory.
So, how do you live a creative life without restraint?
Build something for God that comes from a willing heart.
Have you told yourself that you’re not that creative when you admire a painting or a piece of artwork or hundreds of words in a book?
I pray today, that you will open your eyes to the wonder and majesty of our creative God. I pray that you will surrender to His wisdom and strength as you embark on living without restraint. And I pray that you will not hide your gifts and talents and creativity, you will not shy away from the creative thoughts that bubble up in your mind, but bring them to God and ask Him to use them with His wisdom, so together, with God’s instruction you can build something wonderful for Him.