Creativity from God
by Candy Arrington
God gave each of us talents and creative minds. The first verse in the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and earth” (Genesis 1:1). God is Creator, and He formed us in His image—so we’re creative, too!
When God formed the universe, He could have made a boring environment that only sustained life. Instead He shaped majestic mountains, scenic lakes, vast oceans and awe-inspiring deserts. He incorporated multiple colors, amazing patterns, and unusual animals and plants. Instead of a drab world, He created beauty and variety for us to enjoy.
One of people’s biggest sources of inspiration is nature. When we experience a beautiful view, watch animals or hike a mountain trail, it inspires us. The creative part of our brains can get turbo-charged in God’s creation.
But God also speaks to us in unlikely places. He has the ability to inspire us with ideas that use our talents no matter where we are.
George Frideric Handel was a German musician and composer. The rulers of England paid him to compose music for celebrations, musical productions and worship. One of Handel’s most famous works, Messiah, is about the life of Christ and includes an orchestra, choir and solos. Handel wrote Messiah in just 24 days during the summer of 1741, alone in a room. A servant overheard Handel say, “I did think I did see all heaven before me and the great God himself.” When we hear the “Hallelujah Chorus,” we can also feel like we’re getting a glimpse of heaven.
Talent and Worship
Years ago, artistic masters produced great works that encouraged people to worship. Famous painters were selected to create works of art for the church. Michelangelo painted beautiful scenes on the ceiling and walls of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in Rome, Italy. He also sculpted the famous “Pietà,” which depicts Mary holding Jesus following His crucifixion. Leonardo da Vinci painted “The Last Supper,” which shows Jesus with His disciples.
But creative people have used their talents for God as far back as Bible times. Musicians often led God’s armies into battle. Playing a trumpet instead of carrying a sword took courage! At the dedication of the rebuilt walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12), two large choirs and orchestras highlighted the celebration.
Following the Israelites’ escape from Egyptian captivity, God commanded Moses to build a tabernacle. The people donated their jewelry, cloth, precious metals and stones. Bezalel and Oholiab were chosen for their skills and artistic craftsmanship to head up the design and construction. Women were also involved with weaving, embroidery and sewing robes for the priests and making curtains to separate areas of the tabernacle.
Exodus says the people were willing to do the work. Effort was involved. Sometimes we can be afraid to use our talents for God, fearing we’re not good enough or people will make fun of us. But if we’re willing, God can give us the courage and inspiration.
Foundations for Talent
Many people want to have success with their talent immediately, but you’ll never excel at anything without learning the basics. Musicians have to know the foundations of chords and rhythm. Builders should know engineering concepts that keep structures strong. Artists must know foundational elements of color and shading. Writers and speakers need to know grammar basics. While it may seem boring at the time, learning the basics is necessary to master a skill, even if you have talent. Try to learn from people who have mastered their craft.
Exercising your talents also involves discipline. If you are a musician, you have to practice. If you are a painter, sculptor or woodworker, you have to try new techniques and materials. Writers must write.
And when God provides inspiration, don’t wait to act. Part of the creative process is obedience to the vision God gives you. If you don’t act, the inspiration may disappear before you capture it.
Johann Sebastian Bach was a master at stretching creativity and being disciplined. During the 1700s, he wrote a new hymn or cantata for the church each week. Sometimes having a goal or deadline makes us use our talents more.
Certain things can prevent us from discovering and exercising our gifts and talents. Exhaustion hurts creativity. When you stay busy all the time and don’t rest, your mind isn’t as sharp. Technology (texting, social networking, TV, computer games) can rob creativity and steal lots of time, preventing us from strengthening talents. Another big creativity blocker is pride. Talent is a gift, so thank God for the ideas and talents He’s given you and use them to glorify Him.
Discovering Your Talents
Here are some ways to discover your talents:
-Read something you wouldn’t normally read.
-Listen to different types of music.
-Write your thoughts and ideas in a journal.
-Look at art.
-Think of things your parents and grandparents are good at.
-Not all creativity involves music or visual art. Are you good at organization or math?
-Pray, asking God to reveal your gifts and talents.
-List anything that’s easy for you.
-Incorporate your strengths in creative ways.
-Take a class.
This original appeared in the February 2011 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2011 by Candy Arrington. Used by permission. Clubhousemagazine.com. © Photo Courtesy Jakob Christoph Platzer.