Proverbs 31:13 ESV
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
Many years ago, as a young wife and mom, I found that “making stuff” was the perfect way for me to be creative in my home and for my family – back in those days you really could save money by making clothing for your family. I think things have changed a bit over the years, and “home made” clothing is no longer perceived as only for those who are not financially able to wear “store bought” clothing. I have had the surprise of discovering that I could offer my “hand made” (i.e. “home made”) clothing for women and children in my Etsy shop and lots of people are willing to pay dearly for a garment that is unique and hand crafted.
So I learned by trial and error how to be a very good seamstress . . . or “sewist” or “sew-er” . . . and have had great fun over the years designing and creating lots of “hand crafted” garments. Sewing for me has been an opportunity to be creative in a way that made a contribution to the well-being of my family. But it has also been an opportunity to discover the benefits of being creative.
But . . . when venturing beyond the realm of creativity that was “good for my family,” I discovered that there was a bit of suspicion back in that day about “artists.” At least in the community where I grew up. There was a feeling that “artists” were kind of “weird” or at least a bit out there, on the fringes of acceptable Christian life and behavior. This surprised me when I first encountered it at a Christian college when I inquired about art classes . . . . “We don’t do that here! Artists are weird!” And that is exactly what I was told.
For a “good Christian girl,” of course, I didn’t want to be “weird,” so I never asked THAT question again! But the creative spirit lived on in my safe, little world and I continued to sew, and write poetry and stories, and eventually I tried experimenting with other forms of creativity. I took some painting and drawing classes (at another school that didn’t think artists are weird!); I took a jewelry making class and a pottery class, and I took a few creative writing classes. It was good to realize that it’
s OK to be a creative soul!
Over the years, I have realized that there are reasons why some people are afraid of things they don’t understand. And when people are afraid of something, there can be a tendency to find fault with that “scary” thing or ignore it all together and hope it goes away. But the problem with that approach is that it doesn’t go away, especially when it is something that God so clearly designed to be who we are, having been created in His image. The Creator. So we are creators, too . . . and so we create.
That, in my opinion, is why creativity is an important aspect of life and has the power to bring healing and wholeness to our broken and bruised hearts. If you are finding the days to be dreary and you are discouraged, stressed, fearful, overwhelmed, sad, or feeling hopeless, God has given us a simple way to face our daily challenges. It is through creativity. And it doesn’t need to be expensive, or fancy, or time consuming.
The recent popularity of adult coloring books I think would support my theory. You don’t have to feel that you are particularly “creative” (although you really are, just in your own unique way), and you don’t need to take classes or buy expensive art supplies – just a coloring book (or even a print out from a website that offers coloring pages for free) and a box of crayons. It’s a place to start in your quest to discover who you really are, deep down inside your heart and soul. Then, if eventually you decide you want to step out and try other creative projects, you will have made some tiny baby steps in that direction.
You might be creative if your spirit is restless and longing for beauty in your life. You might be creative if you are searching for a peaceful expression of your faith. You might be creative if you are seeking a bit of solitude in the chaos of life. You ARE creative when you seek to connect with God through music, writing poetry, painting, drawing, cooking, designing, sewing, knitting, crocheting, quilting, telling stories, painting your living room, repurposing furniture or clothing or textiles, or landscaping, or gardening, or singing, or . . . . whatever is in your heart to do that engages your entire being. Not just your brain.
After many years of thinking and studying, reading and contemplating the fear art creativity that I experienced those years ago, I realized that part of it is our heritage of a focus on “head knowledge” of all things related to Christianity. “Head knowledge” is a good thing, but it isn’t the ONLY thing that makes us truly human. The Bible is clear about recognizing that there are many parts to the Body / body and that one part is not superior to the other parts:
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1 Corinthians 12:12-20
Now I pursue creative projects because that is who I am. There are amazing health and well-being benefits from being creative. Even if you don’t think you are, you ARE creative, so why not give it a try? Just pull out a box of crayons and start coloring for a few minutes today. Then if you decide you want to try something else, come on back here to Vintage Mama’s Cottage and check out some of my posts about my art journals – so simple but so much fun! I hope you’ll consider the benefits of coloring, or painting, or drawing, or cutting and gluing pieces of paper into a “home made” art journal . . . you might be surprised!
“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
— Pablo Picasso
PS here are a few websites where you can download and print FREE coloring pages: