Can Creativity and Beauty Save the World?
I've been intrigued with this question lately... what if I LET myself (fill in the blank)? What if I let myself write that movie I've been noodling on for two years? What if I let myself play in my areas of passion with no pressure to be grand or create an empire? What if I let myself just do something because it's a passion of mine without making it into a 50lb. weight on my back? What if I let myself give all the crazy ideas swimming in my head a try and see what happens instead of having to know what will come of it? Would the world be a better place?
I heard recently that creativity is creating order from chaos. It rung such a BELL in my head and if you're creative at all, it will ring one in yours too. It's that storm replete with wind, thunder and lightning before the calm. How many of you have sat down to do something "creative" and feel this SURGE of thoughts and musings that seem like they are too much and too fast to do anything of use with? I'll be honest with you, sometimes that's what stops me in my tracks in my creative endeavors. They feel overwhelming - not because they are hard or will take work (which they will), but because SO MANY thoughts and answers flood my mind at any given moment that pausing long enough to sort through the chaos to find the right path for this piece of art or this present moment seems impossible. I long to make an impact and change this world with my art and that desire to make a mark almost freezes me in my place.
What I'm beginning to allow myself to do, though, is ask lots of questions and not have all the answers. To let some things hang, let them lie, until an answer presents itself. Carl Jung would call that synchronicity and I firmly believe in it. That stunning, wonderful man, Jesus, put it this way, "Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be open to you." When we search for truth and seek to make order out of chaos, we end up creating something new. Something the world has never seen before.
After all, isn't that what the Great Creator did on His first day of work? "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void..." Sounds like chaos to me. But He stared into that chaos and spoke order and beauty into existence at the same time. Isn't that astounding when you think about it? Our lovely Earth is full of beauty and order at the same time? There are seasons, laws of science, and millions and millions of atoms that hold it all together. There is an astounding amount of order and system in this world. It all flows together... For instance, the sun and the vegetation our Creator placed on this Earth give us all that we need to survive. And yet He didn't stop there... There is an equally astounding amount of beauty. Who else but the Greatest Creative in history could paint a new sunset every night on every surface of the planet - giving 8 billion humans a brand new piece of art each time? It's honestly mind blowing if you think about it.
And guess what? We're made in His image. We are creative because our Creator is... He wired His DNA into ours. So we CAN bring order from the chaos in our head and the ideas He has given us to hold and shape them into something orderly AND beautiful. So, here's what I'm thinking... let's LET ourselves follow those thoughts and dreams until order comes from them. Let's PLAY and allow that to lead us to something new and unique from a place of pleasure and not "work". We live in a culture (both the Church and Western culture) that seems to place a lot of value on the concept of "hard work." And if you're anything like me, you've bought into it so much that you have tricked yourself into believing that means your art has to be hard - and therefore, you avoid it. I know I've done that... It's like we feel this pressure to have to have some story of suffering to tell in order to be deemed good enough for what we call success. We walk around wearing our badges of exhaustion as though they are what give us a seat at the table. But what if it was never meant to be that way? What if we were meant to enjoy and take pleasure in our "job"?
Did you know that the word "Eden" means pleasure? Our Creator's original intent was to put us in a Garden of Pleasure where everything we needed was already provided, and we just got to "be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it." None of that was "save the world" type stuff. It was all about filling up this beautiful, picturesque world He gave us to play in with our own creative endeavors and at the same time bring order as we create. The mandate of a creative appears to be simple to me... "Be fruitful and multiply... and subdue it."
We are in tricky times, my friends. The world doesn't look the way that it did just 6 months ago and so much of what we were standing on back then for our foundation has been sifted and isn't strong enough to hold us anymore. But here is the HOPE! Creatives hold the answers to the world's problems because at our very core we bring order from chaos in BEAUTIFUL ways that capture the heart AND bring a tangible solution to a problem. Think of the novel you read as a 16 year old that gave language to the very life struggles you were going through AND showed you a path to freedom just by telling a good story. Think of the movie or play you went to see that so deeply impacted you and answered one of your deepest questions. And it isn't just limited to what we call "Art". Creativity streams into every avenue of our lives. Creative solutions in business, education, finance... How do we step past COVID and adapt, grow and come out better than we were before? Creatives have the answers to these questions! I know it so deep in my core that it hurts when I think about it.
I'll leave you with this last little nugget... The Great Renaissance took place shortly after the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) swept Europe and it was largely because the plague called economic, government, religion and all of the systems of our society into question because what USED TO WORK no longer worked. The creatives and artists of the world united and the Great Renaissance took place because they found ANSWERS to the problems their world was facing. So let's LET OURSELVES do the thing. Ask the questions that are burning in your mind and follow them until you find the answer. In doing so, we may just well have the chance to CREATE the world we always wanted this one to be.
Romans 8:19 - 21 say this... "The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters! For against its will the universe itself has had to endure the empty futility resulting from the consequences of human sin. But now, with eager expectation, all creation longs for freedom from its slavery to decay and to experience with us the wonderful freedom coming to God’s children."
Children know they have a right to what is their father's and they are confident in their ability to honor their Father by being like Him. So let's be like Him and CREATE!
And that, in a nutshell, is my TedTalk. More coming soon, I think... Love you guys!