It strikes me as odd whenever I hear a person say something like, “I’m really not much of a creative person.” I hear it most frequently in response to a display of someone else’s creativity–someone shows off a painting they’ve just finished or a song they’ve written, and a humble voice breathes out, “Wow, I could never do anything like that. I don’t think I have a creative bone in my body.” This is, of course, nonsense every single time.
The first thing God ever says about human beings in Scripture is, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26, English Standard Version). This means primarily that human beings were created to be a reflection of the character and essence of God Himself, communicating fundamental truths about God through our very being. I think it’s worth noting that if a person who knew nothing about God were to open the Bible and start reading at Genesis 1:1, the main thing that person would have gathered about God by the time they reached the 26th verse of the first chapter is that God creates. He makes something out of nothing, over and over again, and the universe itself, from the overwhelming vastness of space to the perplexing intricacies of subatomic structures, was the very first work of art. This God, this supreme Artist, created human beings to reflect His nature, and if we know nothing else of His nature from the surrounding verses, we know He’s very good at making things.
My reasoning here is simple. If God is a Creator, and if He made us to reflect His image, then creating is not only something we are able to do, but something that is at the very core of our being and purpose. To place people we see as creative on a pedestal as this special, chosen few is to ignore the fact that the source of creativity is common to us all–we all have one Creator.
I get that it’s easy to argue with this. Sure, Nate, that all sounds good, but I can’t draw or paint or write stories or poems or songs, so obviously your hypothesis doesn’t hold up. I’m not an artist. Checkmate. If that’s anything like what you’re thinking, I’d like to invite you to reexamine your definition of creativity and art. Rather than putting creativity into this box of only the things we think of when we think of the arts, consider this: whenever you take the raw materials of creation and fashion them into something new, you are creating. Painting and writing and sculpting and all of those other artsy things obviously fit this definition, but so do cooking and teaching and gardening and all sorts of other activities that self-described non-creatives do every single day.
When you turn a countertop full of ingredients, few if any of which would be pleasant to eat on their own, into one dish, you’ve created something. When you take a jumbled collection of facts and figures and organize them into a presentation that flows and makes sense to folks with no prior knowledge of the topic, you’ve created something. When you arrange the scattered items on your desk at work in such a way that makes your cubicle feel like a little home away from home, you have created something.
There are plenty of other examples, but my main point is that we create things all the time, and the sense of accomplishment we feel when we do so is further evidence of the fact that creativity is part of who we are. If you don’t believe you are creative, I submit that you are wrong about yourself. Creativity is not a far-off, unattainable talent reserved for a few; it is in your very soul, and it flows through so much of the seemingly mundane work you do every day. Take a closer look at yourself, at your life, and you will find that you have made so, so many beautiful things. It is part of who you were created to be.