My youngest daughter is a free spirit. She’ll turn anything—even work—into play! It drives me crazy! When I ask her to do the dishes, she fills the sink with bubbles and makes “shakes” in the dirty cups or spreads the suds around—bubbles on her face, on her arm, on her sister. “Look!” She’ll exclaim with every new creation. I’m not impressed.
It was worse when she was younger. I would be brushing her hair when suddenly I couldn’t find the hair tie or comb! Frantically, I’d scour the seat or the hair box with one hand, still holding a tuft of hair with the other– “where is it?!” I’d yell.
Oh, here. The sought-after accessory would be carefully wound around the brush my child was holding as she mumbled lines from some scene in her head. Oblivious to my agenda–in the span of 10 seconds–she had gotten lost in her imagination. The brush, comb and hair tie, now, key players in her kitchen table production! Ugh.
But, if I say I value creativity, why don’t I appreciate my daughter’s creative play? Because the messiness and unpredictability don’t fit into my daily grind. I have appointments, reports, errands, and bills—I don’t have time for play!
Yet, in the rush to quantify success, perhaps we have discounted the value of creativity which doesn’t manifest in neat and tidy outputs. Creativity is play and work. It is messy and disorderly. It disrupts norms and laughs at standards. Yet, without creativity, we would have a world full of neat and orderly sameness, uninspired—even if efficient—activity.
In her book Cultivate: A Grace-FIlled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life, Lara Casey describes her daughter slowing down their daily walk to pick up twigs and leaves, “trying to get me to see the beauty and wonder that she was seeing,” but this detour was not on the itinerary. Taking the scenic route delays progress to the destination; but, Casey points out that “God is in the small and unexpected nooks and crannies, if we are willing to unrush our pace to pay attention to what’s growing” (158).
“Harvest work is intentional” she says. It’s “noticing the fruit that God has grown in your life and doing something with it. But if you are rushed, or are constantly distracted by what isn’t growing, you’ll miss it.” (162)
So, what am I missing?
There’s plenty that isn’t growing when I sit down to write, but there’s also fruit that God has grown in my life that has the potential to be food for thought—food that brings life. Too often, instead, I rush past my writing desk–too busy, too distracted or too defeated to consider the potential that’s there. Someone once said that the greatest novels lie dead in the grave because those who would have written them never took time to explore their creative gifts. This can’t be how my story ends. Rather than confine myself to the orderly path, I must take a lesson from my daughter and reconsider creativity.
Of course, it’s easier said than done.
So, what about you? What ideas might you explore if you slowed your pace and paid attention? What creative venture might you try that you’ve put off because you don’t “have time”? It’s not just the destination that matters. There are lessons and growth that happen along the way.
Let’s not miss them!
Ready to explore creativity? Look out for more on this subject in future posts. In the meantime, get inspired by these creativity sites:
The Creativity Post— a platform dedicated to sharing the very best content on creativity; facilitates dialogue between various disciplines of inquiry
Creative Thinking— unveils the secrets of creative genius and brings life-changing creative techniques within everyone’s reach
Creativity Portal— host to a wide library of original content and features including prompts, articles, and interviews