One of our summer activities has been sidewalk painting. To be honest, I think I have enjoyed it more than the boys have. Last year I became the art lady for the pre-schoolers in my classroom. The other teachers tackled the heavier stuff: math, science, literacy. I did art. And Jesus. And somehow I found a way to link the two. I discovered something about myself in teaching little ones how to do various projects--there is a creative soul in me that needs to get out. This summer I've had moments where I could learn what it means to do that.
So while the boys lost interest in their sidewalk chalk spiders, I picked up a brush and began painting the sun.
Creativity never really originates with us at all. In fact, our creative impulses are the reflection of a greater Creative Pulse giving Life to the whole world. God's breathes into us, and we are created, we are made alive. His idea of us came before we did. I love the way the Psalmist explains this mystery:
For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. Psalm 139:13-16It is wondrous to me to consider that the stuff of who I am came about with forethought and purpose. Kind of like any creative endeavor I do. Regardless of the medium of expression (it could be writing, sewing, drawing), I see it in my head first. And then I set about bringing that idea to life.
Consider this with me--God liked the idea of who we are so much that He had to give it life!
He just had to. He couldn't imagine His world being complete without us in it . And the making of us brings Him joy, to see us walking around in the world with all the expressions of self He put there brings Divine Delight.
But here's the big difference between God as Creative Spirit and us as creative souls: When we complete a project, it is done. When God gives us life, the creative endeavor has just begun.
Ephesians speaks of this: "For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life" (2:10). Other translations say we are His workmanship; another says we are His masterpiece. We are what His thought expressing Itself in love has produced. And the perfect expression of His original Intent finds fulfillment in Jesus Christ. AS we live and move and have our being in Christ, God's creative endeavor finds completion.
I love how the completion of our creation is found in the "good work" God also thought of ahead of time to have us to do. Like puzzle pieces fitting together--
The stuff of who we are--
--perfectly matches the work God made us for.
How cool is that?
I begin to think that to understand the work God has for us, we also must understand and EMBRACE the design of who we are.
No more complaining about our quirkiness. No more trying to be something we are not. No more allowing someone else to remake us into a design they believe is better.
NO MORE GIVING OUR POWER AWAY.
That is heavy.
And oh so important.
Because here's the thing: Since we are co-creators with God in this life we are called to live, His part can be excellently done while ours can be forever left undone. The works God prepared are to be our way of life. But we can always choose to live another way. We can choose to try to be something we are not. We could choose to not live into the purpose for which we are made.
And something Beautiful that could be never gets the chance to live.
John Wesley said "The world is my parish." And I'm so glad he not just said it, but lived it. He was made to be a pastor to the world, since the church in his day didn't want him. And while not all of us are called into ordained ministry, every single one of us was Created in Love, by Love, and for Love. God created us with Intent. Part of that intent is the transformation of the world through the stuff of who we are.
It is more than okay to give expression to the deepest passions and creative impulses in our soul. It's more than okay to paint our lives on pavement. It is more needed than we know. Not only is this world is depending on it . . .
The world is waiting.