A few minutes earlier, I tweeted:
But what counts as “creating?” What if you aren’t a “creative” person?
There are two things we know:
1) God’s first recorded action was to create. His first creation was planet earth, and us.
2) He created us in His image.
This means that He created us with both the desire AND the ability to create.
* * *
I would argue that one of the greatest lies we can believe is that we aren’t a creative person.
The only way we can possibly come to this conclusion is by comparing ourselves to others.
I can’t draw like he can.
I can’t paint like she does.
I can’t decorate like they do.
I can’t design things like she did.
I can’t take pictures like that.
I can’t sing as well as everyone else who “sings.”
Believe, if you wish, that you aren’t like someone else. But DO NOT believe that your differences make you Less Than, or None At All.
* * *
I know from my personal experience with life and with depression that creativity is the greatest weapon we will ever have against depression. And it makes sense that this is true.
Depression is when the loss of hope has become so complete, we have loss of Self. Loss of value, loss of perception of who we are. Death.
Creativity is the expression of self. Not in an ego-way, but in an I-proved-that-I-am-an-individual-because-without-me-this-couldn’t-exist. Creativity proves self. Proves value. Proves life.
Creativity has the power to disprove much of what we’ve believed that has led to our depression.
* * *
So, we decide to believe that God created us to be like Him, to create. We realize that creativity is necessary to our emotional survival. So we realize we have the desire to be creative, but we…can’t.
Maybe we need to make sure we have the right definitions of creativity.
Creativity: The use of the imagination, or the use of original ideas, especially in the production of artistic work.
Create: To bring something into existence. To cause something to happen as a result of one’s actions.
Creative: Relating to or involving the imagination.
Art: The expression or application of human creative imagination, typically in a visual form. Works produced by imagination.
Artistic: Having or revealing natural creative skill.
Skill: An ability, particularly to do something well.
IF YOU IMAGINE, YOU CREATE. IF YOU SCRIBBLE, YOU CREATE.
IF YOU MAKE SOMEONE CARE FOR ANOTHER BECAUSE OF YOUR OUTRAGEOUS ACT OF LOVE FOR THEM, YOU CREATE.
* * *
As you read those definitions, you will realize that you possess Creativity. You have the ability to Create. You are Creative. You have made Art. You are Artistic.
The ONLY PLACE you are hung up is on your definition and understanding of skill. And the very nature of skill can exist only in relation to others. The perception we have of skill is defined with and by Comparison.
That is good. That is beautiful. It is motivating, it is inspiring. It encourages growth, collaboration. It allows us to perceive our progress.
But if skill and comparison have locked handcuffs on your wrists, laced their wires behind your back and up your arms, if they have crept into your mind, darkened your eyes…
—then fear has beat out Love in your life.
And that battle is one you must fight in the silence of your heart with Love, with Salvation, with Self.
It is a battle that demands insolence, anger, pain, and rebellion from you. Yes. I said that.
Insolence towards the voice that keeps you from creating, anger towards Death, pain to spur you into action, and rebellion to shout, “I CAN CREATE. I will. I will. Even amidst fear, even despite the loss of love, even in confusion, and in failure.”
Depression and Apathy are sisters, and in their family, Anger, Pain and Rebellion are the three strongest motivators in any direction. Use them, and use them well.
* * *
A few thoughts on processing creativity, and on allowing depression to move outwards:
- There is no grief too extreme for God
- There is no pain you cannot overcome
- Scaring yourself is okay
- God cannot be offended or disappointed by you
- The emotions now allowed to live will not be able to die
- All things can be destroyed after they are created
- God shows no favoritism
- That which is created by you will be subject to no favoritism or partiality or comparison
- Negative feelings are not sinful
- Cliches are found in everyone’s feelings; do not be ashamed of them; do not feel ‘lame’
- Everyone feels pain in its different weights, even if caused by different things
- Doubt, fear, pain must exist in order for faith, love, and joy to exist
- Negative emotions are proof that we are whole in our emotional state
- Wholeness is necessary for health
- God feels and expresses anger, grief, pain, compassion, hurt
* * *
A word on originality: If you have not acted out strongly before, or reflected upon yourself well, you may find it difficult to know who you are. If your actions are laden with Safety, with Good Reputation, then it may be difficult for you to see yourself as an original person.
It’s important to remember that even Solomon knew “there is nothing new under the sun.” Your originality comes not in what you output, but in the cells that make up your body. God may be the sole owner of what is New, Wholly Unique, Original, and Perfect – but YOU are what he has made that is New, Wholly Unique, Original, and Perfect.
This allows you to create as a way of playing, as an expression of self in joy (the end goal) – and releases you from the need to create to prove yourself. You have already attained what everyone else is trying to prove.
* * *
What are ways of Creating, being Creative, and experiencing Creativity that we do not typically identify when we think of “art?”
*NOTE: As someone with clinical depression in my family, and someone who has needed anti-depressants for seasons in my life, I understand that creativity is not the single “solution,” but also that it is very powerful in all scenarios and causations for depression. If you have people you trust in your life who are recommending that you try an anti-depressant, I recommend it. We are whole beings, and it is important to incorporate things like creativity, medication, prayer, etc when wrestling with depression – in the same way that BOTH diet changes & physical activity are necessary for physical health.