Written by Craig Denison
Doing something creative used to be terrifying for me. As funny as it is given that my job includes writing, songwriting, brand development and other creative tasks, I've spent most of my life terrified at the prospect of a blank page and a deadline. Growing up playing in various bands I much preferred the joy of a finished song to the creative process of songwriting. I much preferred a finished blog to the creative process of writing.
I thought that the older I got the easier it would get. I thought that if I could just get a couple great songs out then I would be more sure of myself and my fears would go away. But quickly I realized that a blank page stirred up fear in my heart regardless of what I wrote yesterday. No amount of experience could fully cure me of the fear of the creative process. So to my journal I went...
As I unpacked my fears with my heavenly Father after years of suffering needless fear and anxiety—he spoke to my heart exactly what I needed to hear. What a good friend we have in God that he cares so deeply about the state of our hearts. Here's a few things he showed me:
1. He loves me just as much when I sit staring at a blank page as he did John Newton when he finished penning "Amazing Grace." His love for me isn't based on my abilities or productivity. He loves me because he loves me. And that's all there is to it.
2. He showed me that the majority of my fear in the creative process stemmed from a wrong belief about my identity. My identity is not a songwriter, writer, musician, brand developer or anything of the like. My identity is his child, and those are things I do. What I do doesn't define me. My songs don't define me. First15 doesn't define me. The brands I help create don't define me. This blog doesn't define me. If all these things are stripped away I am still me. I am still loved, cherished and valuable.
All of this leads me to the final thing he showed me that continues to wreck shop in my heart.
3. I am creative because I am made in the image of my Father, and he is creative. Genesis 1:27 says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." I don't need to do something to validate my creativity. I need to look no further than the hands of my heavenly Father to know that I am creative. I was creative from the beginning because he is creative. It's how he's made me. I can enjoy the creative process as a celebration of his nature given to me. I can enjoy the blank page because I know to fill it stems from who I am. Fear has no place in those who are sure of the love of God. Fear of creativity has no place in those who trust that they are made in the image of God, and that simply being his child is enough.
How peaceful it is to know that creativity is in my veins. A blank page shouldn't have the power to intimidate me anymore than a road I need to walk down, a plate of food I need to eat, a glass of water I need to drink or a book I need to read. I walk, eat, drink and see because God made me with those capacities. I create because God has made me creative in his image. We all have the power to create because we're all sons and daughters of a creative God.
So, the next time I'm staring at a blank page I'm going to remember how God's made me. I'm going to remember that I'm made in my Father's image. And I'm going to celebrate the grace given me by the hands of a wonderful God who never leaves me or forsakes me, but helps me accomplish every good work he's set before me to do (Hebrews 13:5-6).
May creativity flow from the hands and hearts of all those brought into his kingdom by his grace.