Creativity Unlocked

Many people have said it. Many are suggesting it. Plenty of people are posting about it. Having a time in isolation and adjusting to extreme change has given people a  boost to get creative with their lives, their work, their futures, and their passions.
 
It is true;  creativity takes time. Sometimes, it even takes something drastic to occur to  enlighten those places within the human brain. Naturally, the brain and body will have hinderances in its continuation to think and do everyday life the same way it did before.

Also, creativity is an outlet. It's a coping mechanism, a stress relief, and even a  way to process the world around an individual. I believe that some of the best  art, music, advice, books, writings, and ideas will be generated in time  periods like this where we have to discover and develop new ways of thinking.  Personally, I am excited to see what is produced through the pandemic, both  physically and spiritually.
 
In my own  journey the past few months, God gave me a key to unlock doors inside of my  brain that have been stagnant for a while. The key actually was my creativity,  and He told me to run with it opening places that seem locked, but aren't  actually locked. It's almost like I am discovering my own wonderland. I have  been writing for myself more than I have in years and, honestly, I do it to simply write.  I don't think about what I am going to post. I don't think about how I can  turn my words into something super profound. I just write. Sometimes I write  to God, sometimes I write to myself, and other times, I just write down my  stream of thoughts and it comes out in a tasteful poetic flair. I think to  myself, "Whoops! Didn't plan that." The great thing is, I don't have  to show anyone. I don't have to print copies and let other people read it.
 
I just write to  write. This is something I haven't done in a really long time, and it is freedom.
 
I had a goal to  paint more during this season of slow down. I have failed in that arena  awfully. But that is okay! I  pulled out  my watercolors about a month ago and got so frustrated with what I was trying  to paint, I threw everything away that I painting except one thing (which I  still don't really love). It's funny to go back to something you were once  really good at and realize, "Wow, it has been years and the paint brush  isn't lying about it." I just laugh at myself now, and eventually I will try again.

In this time, I  am also trying to dive into stewardship in the creative realm. Working more  closely with creatives next year, I am investing in things like learning how  to use adobe software and harping in on my photography/graphic art skills  before the summer is over. I'm investing in my own creative outlets, such as  touching up my personal blog and brain storming ideas for some projects I have  up my sleeve for the next few months. It certainly is a time of investment,  and I think any effort put towards learning and promotion in the creative arts  isn't a bad idea. It's a healthy idea.

Last night, me  and my sister colored in coloring books for hours. Yes, hours. I don't even  like coloring pages because they feel really restricting to me. I would much  rather make my own coloring page, or skip the black and white part and just  draw with all the color. But, we were coloring Disney characters, had Disney  music playing in the background, and my sister was talking to me about how  much she wants to work for Disney in some capacity (an idea she literally came  up with last night).
 
I loved the time because there was something so childlike about it. Coloring Ariel,  listening to Elsa, laughing at my sister for all of her crazy ideas about what  she would do if she had a job in entertainment really struck something in me.  It was almost like the little girl inside of me that loved to do this very  thing when I was little needed to be experienced in the present day life.
 
That's what I  really believe this time is about. No matter if humanity is advancing in the  next greatest album, book series, movie, idea or personal advancement, the joy  that comes with turning on the part of your mind that told you to dare greatly  and dream big is the true prize. 
That's right; dare to dream in your creation.

Ask yourself these questions: What do you like? What do you dislike? Where do you find your inspiration?
 
Think back to  when you were a child. What did you enjoy doing the most that you could do for  hours and hours on end? It's almost like you had an inexplicable gift for that  very thing. Pursue whatever that was for you. It's okay to dream again, like  you did when you were a child. Let yourself go back to those times and find  life. God created you with gifts that have been in you since birth. Sometimes,  it is good to go back to that little boy or little girl and discover what they  loved. Normally, they will give you insight to certain trajectories and  possibilities in your future.
 
In the process of asking, become a child again too. It's not only remembering, it's experiencing.
 
Get out those  old coloring books. Print some activities off of the internet. Build things. Get those tools out and create again. Whatever it may be, allow yourself a  complete experience of childlikeness again. Your hands are different now; more  precise and more agile. Your mind is sharper, too. Imagine what you could  create by reengaging with the little boy or girl inside of you that knew that most anything was possible. Let her or him speak to that mind and those hands and let it flow out of you.

What have you always wanted to do and haven't done before because of busyness? Is it  painting, writing, song writing, poetry, photography, and what about that  instrument in the corner of your room that hasn't been played in a while?
 
Pick up the  pen. Get out the laptop. Shake the dust off of the guitar. Bring all the  colors with you. Create. Create for no purpose. Just you and Him and maybe people around you that are creating too. There is no timeline, no competition, no means to an end. Just do it and enjoy the process.
 
I believe the  Lord is taking us all back to a place where creating, cultivating, and  imagining with Him is fun and simple. Let it happen. And enjoy the mess, too.  Your first, second, and third tries do not have to be anything close to  perfect. In fact, any time you sit with God and allow His creativity to flow  within you, the product does not have to look a certain way or look like a  certain thing. That's the beauty of creation; the human process in irrevocably  messy, sometimes even frustrating, and tells a story of perseverance.
 
Never give up. If  you have to take a break, do it, and come back to it later. You aren't going  to fail.
Plus, God  doesn't think any of His creation is worth throwing away, so I don't think we  should be in the garbage business with our creativity either. Even if you  don't love and disregard the outcome of your creative process, always enjoy  what is happening in your mind and your spirit as you create.

It's the journey that changes you.
 
Here are some  creative prompts to get that part of your mind flowing. Choose one or do all!  Just create and see what happens!

Getting creative outside: 
  • Hit the trails! Whether you desire to walk or run, download this app. It's amazing, it's called alltrails and lets you know the distance, location, availability, etc. Pick one close by, or not so close by (give yourself permission to explore out of the area), download a favorite playlist or  podcast and go to that spot! Take a phone, journal, camera, or those running shoes and let the Lord lead you in what you guys want to do together during that time. 
  • Do it! Document things He says to you or take pictures of things that catch your eye. Run with Him, walk with Him and let your soul be open to His creation. Be inspired by the color around you. Notice animals, flowers, sounds, and streams you would have never recognized before. Think back to what it was like to walk with Him in the garden and thank Him for the opportunity to see pieces of the garden still today. Ask for Him to reveal more,  sit a while, and document what He showed you in an unconventional way. Sing back to Him, write a poem about it, create a little album with the experience,  or watercolor a word that He gave you or a scene you saw. Whatever He leads you to do, have fun with it.

In the kitchen:
  •  Look up a coffee recipe on Pinterest and go for it! Don't feel bad for going out and getting the ingredients (you'll probably save more in the long run in comparison to all those trips to Starbucks), and make your favorite drink!! 
  • As you are creating, take notice of what you are doing. Let your senses experience what you are doing. Enjoy the process, and avoid the act of rushing through. As you hold that cup of coffee at the end, thank God that coffee exists! It sounds funny, but wow, caffeine was such a great idea! Drink slowly and enjoy while writing, reading a favorite book or make two and sit with a friend to talk about the simple joys of life.
     
In the Garden: 
  •  Run to the nearest home improvement store, or orchard, and go to the flower and gardening section (I recommend this one, right outside of Athens in bishop). Take your time, there is no rush with this one. Enjoy everything you see. If any plants or flowers are highlighted to you, don't look at the price, just look at the name and look up what the name means on google. This sounds crazy, but just do it. 
  • Out of all the plants/flowers that are highlighted and all the meanings, sift through and find a couple that you really identify with. Take a picture of the flower/plant, look at the price, and see if it's affordable. If so, get it!! Don't even hesitate and bring it home. It's Gods little gift to you! Whether potted or if you desire to add to your yard, enjoy the process of planting. Ask God to reveal himself to you as you untangle the roots, and till the land. Planting is a so much like what He does with us, and I think He has quite a bit to say about you while you are adding to your garden. Let the plant serve as a reminder of what He has told you in this season.
  • If you couldn't buy a plant, that is okay!!! Draw it or paint it instead. Write the name and meaning of the plant on your medium of choice and hang it somewhere where you are reminded of what God has said to you during this time. Enjoy the  process, too. Take your time and let God speak to you within it! 

Creativity with Art: 
  •  Get out a plank piece of  paper and some creative medium; paint, pens, markers, ink, etc. Close your eyes. Ask the Lord to bring a picture to mind. As His thoughts come into yours, ask Him what the scene means. Record His reply. Then ask Him to  continue the scene.  What else does He show you? Record and ask Him for meaning. Maybe He reveals, maybe He doesn't! That is okay. Just run with it and begin to craft what you saw. 
  • Once you are done, you may have pictures of scenes words that He has told you and other things written all over your paper! That is good. Let this process be like making a collage of an encounter with Him. 
  • Remembrance: You can do the same thing and ask God to bring back to your memory things He has told you in your past, or words you have received from others. Take the time and ask Him what He has done this past year for you and let your imagination flow. Paint it, draw it, and write it out. This is a good way to record some of your moments with Him and hang it in a place where you will continually see where you have been and where you are going.
     
Creativity with Writing: 
  •  Get a journal or your laptop out and let this be your prompt:
     In the stars, I seeā€¦ 
  •  Let your imagination flow. Create a story from this phrase. Craft a poem. Write a prayer. Sing a song. Wherever your mind takes you, let it come out of you. Hold nothing back, and dare to adventure as long as you can. Who knows where this simple phrase could take you.
     As you dare to create, I believe He is going to reveal even more to you. Have fun and let this be healing. Maybe He wants to tell you something within what you do with Him!
     I believe He is going to reveal even more to you. Have fun and let  this be healing. Maybe He wants to tell you something within what you do with  Him!

Author | Emily Helton

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