This is the fifth post in our series, “On Becoming Creative.” The series centers on practical steps that readers can take towards developing creative practices in their lives and offers a Biblical framework for how to think about that process. You can read the first post here, the second post here, the third post here, and the fourth post here.
One day you will arrive at the place where making things becomes a sustained part of your life. You will craft, master and refine your skills. Your creativity will become integrated into the rhythms of living that make up the content of your days on this earth.
You will arrive. And when you arrive you will need to decide what story you will tell about how you got there.
As creatives, it is essential that we have an honest relationship with ourselves about how we’ve come to the place that we are. That we remember what carried us forward when our making things felt impossible or stupid or like a bad idea. We have teachers, friends, family, landscapes and failures that helped refine our spirit, and it’s essential that these things are named, held close and honored.
Our creating is a product of all of our life. We live integrated existences of soul and blood and music and wonder and ink and earth and dreams and stars and words and history. We must become creative people who remember the things that carried us forward.
It is not unlike the life of Samuel, whose memory of the things in the past informed his leadership of the people of God into the future. Samuel remembered God, and God’s faithfulness to his people.
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” 1 Samuel 7:12
We are called to lay ebenezers along the road of our creative journey. Our memory of God’s work in our lives, and the people that facilitated it, must be at the foundation of our creative imagination. We must remember what carried us.
Each artistic project we undertake is an ebenezer to specific moments in our lives. These stones become the foundation of our creative ecology, and they are immeasurably valuable instruments of memory and worship.
A clear sense of memory about God’s active work and generosity in our lives allows us to live lives of hospitality. We can welcome, embrace and share freely because we know that we are not singularly responsible for creative energy pulsing through our bodies and into the world. It has been cultivated, grown and tended to by the communities we call home and by the God who holds all things together in Himself. As creatives, we are always being held in the hospitality of another Creator.
One day you will arrive, and when you arrive you will need to decide what story you will tell about how you got there.
The temptation will be to add another story to the cannon of creation myths that place us at the center. The things college dropouts start in their parent’s garage. The broken hearts that forever tell truth. The rebel that burns all their bridges on the road to changing reality. The sadness, the anger, the hurt and the beauty. These stories of our perseverance, and hustle and grit eliminate the role that others play in our developing creative imagination. God becomes a passive bystander to our brilliance.
Entrepreneurship and memory conflict, and in those moments we must return to the stones of our remembrance. We were carried by the Spirit. This is the story we tell again and again and again. The stone we work back and forth in the palm of our hand. The song we sing when we walk around our neighborhood at the end of the day.
One day, you will arrive. And when you get there, remember that you were carried by Spirit. Hallelujah. Amen. May it be so.
Words: Geoff Gentry
Images: Bryan Chung