In a recent challenge I have joined about growing your business (no, I don’t have a business, I am just trying to be faithful with the gifts God has given me)… anyway, in this challenge I was asked to define my ‘why’… why do I create?
I admit, I struggled with this… I have always been a creative soul. I can distinctly remember my elementary school art room and the feeling of peace and freedom when I walked in this room. I even still have one of the projects I made in that room almost 40 years ago. My art teacher (sadly, I don’t remember her name) encouraged us to try different mediums.
I remember going to the Base Exchange on Rhein Main airbase after the class on trying things and finding modeling clay… it was in four colors and never got hard. I begged my mom to let me buy it, and she finally caved, letting me spend my allowance on it. I would spend hours in my room creating… I built a whole village of clay bears … there was a carnival, houses, a school… complete with buses, cars, a ferris wheel… and the bears themselves were no bigger than a thumbtack. The whole village fit in the box that a case of sodas used to come in…anyone else remember those crates? I used ‘found objects’ to ‘enhance’ my village…bottle caps, toothpicks, acorns are some of the things that I can remember. I was so proud of my village, not proud in a I want to show it off way, but proud of the fact that I had created this with my hands, from my visions… and that the vision in my head matched if not exceeded what came out of my hands.
BUT, I am blessed to be a military brat… and with that blessing comes frequent moves… and, despite the fact that we were just moving two hours down the road and we moved several things in the car, my bear village didn’t make the cut to be moved by hand… and, it did’t survive military packers. I think this was a turning point in my creative life… it didn’t inspire me to create more, it actually sent me into a shell… I felt as if what I created wasn’t important… the movers weren’t careful…my mom wouldn’t make room for a case of soda sized box in the back of the car. Please know, I am not saying this was what they said to me, this was the way I internalized their actions and the feelings that I was having. I stepped away from clay…and began creating in other ways. But each act of creating was met in similar fashion…movers didn’t care, things were damaged, lost, thrown away. I began to believe that I was not meant to be a creative person. Clearly, my creations were not good enough to send the message I felt when creating them to others or they would not be so careless with them.
Fast forward almost two decades to the time in my life when I married my best friend. He’s a runner…not a creative…and I think it was unconscious on his part, but he recognized how important creating was to me…much like running is a part of his DNA, creating is in my DNA. Over the next twenty years of marriage, I dabbled here and there, I would spend beyond my means to dive into what ever ‘craft’ was trending….ceramics, cross stitch, scrapbooking, stamping, quilting, painting, bible journaling, listing … you name it and he encouraged it. I amassed amazing quantities of various supplies… and then proceeded to move them around the world as our Air Force life dictated us to new locations. I truly enjoyed trying new things, creating … but none of these trending crafts fulfilled me. I walked away from everyone of them feeling as if I feel short of creating what I envisioned… a magazine worthy, pinterest worthy, instagram worthy masterpiece! I walked away feeling empty.
Then, after loosing countless hours to those magazine images and the rabbit holes of pinterest and instagram, I realized that I was creating from the wrong place… I was looking for worldly validation to drown out the voices from my past…I was looking for that magazine, pinterest, instagram masterpiece to replace the vision I still had in my head of my bear village that I had believed wasn’t good enough. Instead, I began creating for My Creator.
I have only been in this place of creating for the One who created me for a short period of time… but the freedom is life giving. I feel less pressure, I feel less fear. I still see every one of my mistakes in what ever it is that I am putting out there. I am still afraid to put all of my attempts at creation out there… but I am slowly finding my pulse, my direction, my breath. So, all of this say my why for why I create… I create because it is how God wired me…I create because it is in my DNA… and the choice to embrace this creativity is my way of honoring God for the gift of creating He has given me.
Now… where this creating, this desire to honor God, this defining of my why is leading, I have no idea. But, what I do know is that God’s plans for me are better than anything I can imagine!