The Coveted “C” Word

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What does it mean to be creative? Well in my case, in this moment, it means agreeing to write a blog post even though I don’t have Microsoft Word on my computer. To be creative means to reinvent something, to take part in figuring out a new way to do, say, build or see something. To be creative means to go beyond the capacity that you currently feel like you possess, so you can discover what you’re capable of. To be creative means to join forces with the most Creative Power in the Universe.

I think we’ve become a culture that divides people into two groups when it comes to the coveted C word: Creative, and Not. The big bad NOT. We submit ourselves to the boxes that others put us in, or the even more confined boxes in which we put ourselves. And once we think we are defined, we have the overwhelming tendency to believe that we must remain enclosed within that designation. My sister was always the rhythmic one, the good dancer, the funny one who could entertain an audience, the insightful one, the strong one, the wise one, the _________ one, the list could go on. It’s so easy for me to decide there are talents and qualities that I’m “not allowed to touch” because I’ve repeatedly concluded that those belong only to her. I’ve clung to the belief that because someone else is so capable, that somehow means that I am not. But what if the bounds of others’ creativity in no way limit my own abilities? What if it is possible to choose to be creative and to allow others’ creativity to inspire and motivate me?

Recently, I’ve realized how many times I have found myself in a box and chosen to stay there. I’ve believed that boxes somehow help me and I’ve refused to climb out because somewhere inside me, I think I belong there. Here’s an uncomfortable idea to entertain; what if instead of remaining in a box, or several boxes, I can choose to climb into a creative process that I want to know, and, as scary as it is to dream, a creative world in which I can even be considered important.

So, as I write this creation of thoughts in the Notes program on my hand-me-down Mac that I don’t fully know how to use, I ponder what creativity really means. I can maintain the mindset that people are either good at something—or not. I can craft my “I’m only good at this” list and remain within its confines. But instead, I’m going to propose to myself and to you, that we all have the capacity to be creative. I’m not just thinking about those who paint, or take photos, or make jewelry or clothes, or sing, or play an instrument. To be creative means to invite God to use you— to step into the creative power He has given you as a daughter of God—and then be courageous enough to be used.

I doubt that St. Mother Teresa or St. Catherine of Siena would be considered creative by most, but I think they are perhaps 1,000 times more creative than Lady Gaga, The Beatles, Rembrandt, or whoever is on your list. What these people all have in common is that they stepped into a position that could have been considered already defined, and then completely turned it upside down, sideways, and inside out. They revolutionized a role that had previously been known and understood, and courageously (and sometimes outrageously), created something new and beautiful. One of my favorite quotes from St. Mother Teresa is: “I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” If God is the author and we are the conduits, his power flows through us and the creative possibilities are endless.

It’s tempting to leave revolutionary ideas to “the masters.” But creativity can take shape in a myriad of ways throughout an ordinary day. Creativity finds it shape and comes to life in laughter, in the way you choose to look at a situation, in a friendship, or where you choose to sit today in school, even though you’ve sat in the same spot for the past two years. Creativity springs forth when you try an activity, even though you are terrified of failing, or by finding a new way to do something that seems impossible. And perhaps most importantly, creativity is accessed simply in the way you choose to love someone. *Mind Blown.* What if some of the most creative people the world has ever known, never created a single tangible or audible product, but rather loved more fiercely and bravely than they ever dreamed they could? Creativity happens when we submit ourselves to being a pencil in the hand of God. Let’s not leave creativity to “the masters” but instead let’s invite the Master Creator to write a love letter through us. When we do that, the possibilities are endless.