on “guilt-free” creativity…

This weekend my creative soul emerged from hibernation. I tinkered with my camera and took some fun shots. I enjoyed scouring though photography blogs, surfing my way through pinterest and picking up ideas. And I spent some time thinking though a few creative projects for the home.

It was a lot of fun. 

 

I felt like a small part of me was restored, and re-awakened. Amidst busy schedules, small children, visitors in and out of the home, I’d got stuck on a treadmill of monotony. Engaging in creativity, or even just admiring creativity in others, brings me alive. And I’d forgotten that.

But even more significantly there was a missing emotion for me after wiling away my hours in creativity. Guilt.  Creativity often feels like a luxury, something that could always be replaced by a more important task or relationship.

Subconsciously I’ve always seen creativity as something that replaces something else, something more important. If I’m being creative,  then I’m not spending time with God. And that’s always more important.  Seeing this written in black & white, I see both the absurdity and intensity of the lie. And though I like to think I don’t separate into “secular” and “sacred”, I clearly do to some degree.

When I look back at that weekend of creativity, as I sat in the stillness, whilst kids played happily in their rooms, I was just enjoying my own thoughts and interjections from God as he spoke to me in and through what I was doing. A life lived with Jesus doesn’t need to be about kneeling by my bed in prayer. Which is a good job as you won’t often find me there.

No wonder I’ve never fully enjoyed being creative; there’s been too much guilt entangled in it all.  I’d removed “the essence of faith from the particulars of daily human life and relocated it in special times, places, and states of mind”*

Our God is a creative God. He creates. He is the Creator. He loves creation, and I think He loves it when I’m being creative. He is with me as much in the creative and the mundane moments as He is in a “prayer meeting”.

I guess the crux of it is this: Does my whole life give glory to God? I’ve been trying to approach each day much more from this perspective, choosing to see life as a whole rather than in two camps.

Let us practice the fine art of making every work a priestly ministration. Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to find Him there.

Tozer, The pursuit of God

 

 

 

* Dallas Willard,  The Spirit of the Disciplines

 

 

the life we can’t predict

As he sat quietly in a corner, reading a book, my mum shook her head in disbelief : “We’d never have predicted he’d be like this, would we?”

She was right, of course.

We could never have predicted.

That wild one, two, three, four, five, six, and even sometimes, seven-year old was a very different child to this eight-year old sat in the corner reading a book. He’s still an energetic, untamed, Bear-Grylls-kind-of-boy, but he’s also now a Jesus-loving, book-loving, considerate, and compassionate boy too.

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We could never have predicted.

When there were temper-tantrums, spitting, door-slamming, biting, hitting, shouting, I could never have predicted. I could never have predicted this boy sat before me now.

Oh, there are still challenges. Many. He’s a kid (just like our other kids).

But we could never have predicted.

Our kids aren’t meant to be put in boxes. A seemingly shy child can develop into a fully fledged extrovert. And likewise a wild, rambunctious boy can become a book-loving introvert.

And they could change again.

Our job isn’t to box our kids and then to keep them in that box.

Our job is to disciple our kids in how to follow Jesus – helping them to hear and receive the love and words of Jesus for themseves and to live that out in their own lives. And as we love, nurture and disciple them we call out of them the treasure that’s been placed within.  Like all of us, our kids are rough diamonds which, as they connect more and more with Jesus, are formed into greater and greater beauty. They need the steady hand and encouragement of a few who will continue to lead them towards Jesus and believe “beyond the predictions”.

Photo Credit: PH Weddings

My vicar from my teenage years would shake his head in disbelief if he could see my life now.

He could never have predicted.

But I’m here telling this story, as a follower, friend, disciple and lover of Jesus, because a few people chose to believe that I was a rough diamond rather than a lost cause. A handful of people chose to believe that the God of all redemption could bring about His redemptive work even in someone like me. And He did, and He still is.

And so I’m a great believer in rough diamonds. I’m a great believer in the seemingly “lost cause”, the ones “without hope”. I’m a great believer, because I’ve been one of those rough diamonds, and still am. And more importantly, because I’m a great believer in a God who redeems.

I’m a believer in a God who doesn’t just clean us up a bit. I’m a believer in a God who washes away the old and brings in the new. I’m a believer in a God who chips off the rough edges and refines each and every day – for His glory.  I’m a believer in potential, because my God is a believer in potential.

I’m a believer in a God whom I now call friend.

I could never have predicted…..

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where I learn that integrity is not the same as perfection

These last few weeks there’s been a whispering in my ear, words spoken softly in the whir of everyday life. They were brushed off, silenced by busyness.  But seven simple words planted somewhere in my heart eventually pierced through: Continue reading