Organized Creativity: Oxymoron?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt a little like a divided person. Part of me loves artistic, creative things…nearly all my interests and hobbies somehow fit under that umbrella. I love music and theatre, jewelry making and painting, writing and reading. But I also like alphabetizing things. My closet is sorted according to color and arranged like a rainbow. My calendar is detailed and up to date. I am a creature of structure and order. Once I became aware of the term “creative” being applied to people, I also became aware that I wasn’t like most of those who received that label. Creatives are free…they’re unstructured…they’re messy. Having that administrative side made me feel less creative.

Over the past year I came to accept that God inexplicably made those two seemingly opposite sides co-exist within me. Although I wasn’t sure how, I’d come to trust that it made sense to him. Mostly I was okay with being okay, but every now and then a stray thought or question would cross my mind and I’d wonder about my identity as a creative person. Check this out: God is such a good Papa, he loves me so thoroughly, that he recently decided to take care of even that little, occasional, passing doubt concerning my identity as a creative.

In the beginning of May, I made a return trip to the Toth Ranch in Colorado to participate in a creative retreat weekend. I was honored and thrilled to be included with this stellar bunch. As we drove from Denver to the ranch, Ang asked me what I was hoping to get out of my time there. In the midst of my rambling answer, I mentioned my struggle with administration versus creativity. Twenty-four hours later the group of us were drafting statements expressing what we create and the only word I heard the Holy Spirit say was “order.”

I thought, “Order? Order’s not creative.”

Then I began to think of how creation in the human body – healing – is actually bringing order to chaos. That’s creative. I considered the effects of chaos and how order allows God to work without distraction, unencumbered by fear and uneasiness. That seemed creative as well, but the idea still wasn’t entirely fleshed out in my mind. When it came my turn to share my statement with the group, one of the others had the final piece that brought it all together. He held up a sheet of paper with a couple columns of numbers on it and began discussing the creation account described in Genesis chapter one. The six-day creation account can be divided into two three-day periods.

The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:2)

In the beginning, the world was without structure. God spent the first three days creating a framework out of utter confusion.

Then he separated the light from the darkness. … God made space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. … Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. (Genesis 1:4a, 7a, 9)

Once order was established, God spent the second three days filling that structure with amazing stuff.

God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. … God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. … God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:16, 21, 25)

How about that? The greatest creative project of all time began with establishing order. It was important enough that half the time invested in the project as a whole was spent on bringing order to chaos. Turns out order is very creative. It excites me to know that I am made in the image of God (verse 26) in such detail that even the way I create mirrors his methods. I create like my Heavenly Father! I really am Daddy’s Girl!

The gifts and abilities God gives us are good. Even when they seem contradictory, they do not diminish one another; they enhance. Take a minute to ask the Holy Spirit about how yours fit; if he’s given you those gifts you can trust that there’s an answer for how they work together!

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