Finding Purpose Through Creative Service
I used to think it was an endearing quality to not love yourself.
I never liked direct arrogance; however, I never knew grumbling about my shortcomings made me just as annoying, and no less prideful, than those who openly boast of their accomplishments.
Every mistake of mine, I viewed a failure; every stumble, a reason to quit.
After all, what could I possibly have to offer anyone or society ?
I was “klutzy”, “dramatic”, and (by all worldly standards) impractical.
When I was a kid I was rewarded and encouraged for my creativity in painting, writing, and drawing.
My mom and dad both encouraged creative projects like video and sound recording, clay animation, and homemade murals painted in our home.
My Popsicle stick photo frames from daycare were my mom’s prized possession.
My stretchy bracelets were my standout piece in the kid business fair.
In elementary school, I made toe rings for active members of my secret club.
In highschool, I made hemp necklaces.
In college, I made crude metal jewelry projects – hey, at least I got to solder!
But I found, in general, as I got older people appreciated my creativity less and less.
They no longer saw my work fondly, but as commonplace, so I thought I wasn’t gifted.
I felt discouraged, so my perseverance in creativity languished.
In college I dropped out of a writing group because I was furious when they said I had no writing voice.
I was hurt – it was a first draft and I was making a small effort to share it with others.
However, after much time of feeling sorry for myself, God helped me to be creative by finding other ways to use my creativity: making homemade cards, scrap-booking, and experimenting with makeup.
God surrounded me with creative teachers and friends, as well as Christian writing groups to keep me moving forward (ones that I am slowly learning how to take feedback from).
I find that I’m happy when I am creating something inspiring that contributes to a larger vision – whether it’s being able to do a friend’s wedding makeup, partaking in making school yearbook pages, or nurturing children as they express themselves through dance, and play, and researching topics they care about.
When I embrace my emotions and the creativity that God gave me I feel closer to His personal purpose for me.
God willing, I hope to spread joy through art and writing.
I want to learn, share and create to glorify God and the wonderful life He graciously gave me.
It is very special to me when a child gives me a drawing that they intended, because I know the joy it gave them to create it and I am happy to receive what gives them joy.
For a long time, I believed the lie that a true artist’s work is joyless.
The sad artist trope is a tired image that keeps creativity bottled and lifeless.
There is nothing noble or praiseworthy about not acting in faith but cowering in fear.
Fear that I’m not enough.
I think about Jesus as a teacher, since I work in a school, and He was very aware of His audience and their struggles.
Because of His awareness of others’ lives and challenges He knew how to speak to them, which made His parables about the kingdom of God poignant, effective, and timeless.
Jesus was intentional about how the Word of God (the Bible) was catalogued, too – by several witnesses for God’s glory for a stubborn and, at many times, incredulous audience.
Ultimately, though, Jesus’ purpose (to die on the cross and then raise from the grave) was unique to what God wanted to accomplish through Him: the saving of many lives.
The Great Commission tells us to actively seek opportunities to minister to others, which is accomplished by God’s will when the Word is spoken aloud.
This is also our purpose: to tell the Gospel so that others may be saved.
This is God’s desire.
As Joseph in the Bible helped a starving nation, we too will have chances to give ourselves to further God’s kingdom by helping others with our God-given gifts in Holy Spirit-filled strength.
Remember, God always has a purpose for those who walk forward in faith!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him,
who have been called according to His purpose.