Why do we create?
Do we create because we are inspired by an inherent urge to make something? Is it to scratch a creative itch that won’t go away until we put pen to paper or our fingers on a guitar’s strings?
Why do we jerk awake in the middle of the night, wiping sleep from our eyes, to frantically jot down lyrics we struggled to put together during the day?
Why do we fantastize about worlds, peoples, and languages that only exhist in our minds until we transcribe them on paper or produce them into a film?
We do this because we were built to create.
Creating isn’t just one thing. A builder creates when he puts form and structure to an architect’s plans. A chef creates, using smell, taste, and skill to whip up incredible and unique dishes. Gardeners create when they sow and tend seeds until they become an array of fragrant, colourful plants and trees. We all create to some extent—I think it’s important to recognize that ‘creating’ comes in many, often unrecognized and undervalued, forms.
On this blog, we usually use the term to refer to artists; people who take their passion, skills, and talents to create some form of art, perfecting our abilities and creations because we feel that it is something we must do—even if we don’t gain recognition or rewards for our efforts.
The act of creating causes us to feel free, happy, and fuilfilled. There’s a sort of high that comes over us after struggling to bring an idea to life and then holding the result in our hands.
We create because we love it.
And we create because it gives us a sense of purpose.
Think about that for a minute. How do you feel after you complete a story, a book, an article, or a song? How do you express it?
I think God felt similarly at the end of a busy 6 days. He probably felt a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and joy. He looked at the universe, the earth, and everything in it and concluded, ‘it was good’. (Genesis 1:31)
We shouldn’t be surprised by this incredible connection to Him. He made us in His image, after all, and He is the Ultimate and Orginal Creator.
So, if He created us to create, what is the purpose for our creations?
In this crazy, busy, noisy world, it’s easy to forget that we were created by God for God.
Colossians 1:16 (NLT)
‘for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see–such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him’.
Not only that, but the world’s mentality caters to pleasing and satisfying the individual and our ego: ‘Do what what feels right to you and to heck with everybody else’. When our world view is focused on the Self, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking the world revolves around us, our, wants, our needs, or our purpose.
The truth is the opposite : the world revolves around God. And, guess what? If we claim to be children of God, followers of Christ, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, then our lives and everything we have belong to Him. Stop there and think about that a moment. Maybe repeat it to yourself a few times. Sometimes the truth needs some time to sink in. Then follow it up with this :
Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Our Lives (and Gifts) Find Purpose in God’s Plan
This is a truth I feel the Lord drilling into my head at the moment, so I share it with all humility and the full knowledge that I haven’t mastered it but am working it out with ‘fear and trembling’ (Phil 2 :12). Just this morning, I was feeling down about my writing career and wondering what good I thought I could do with it, and wondering if it’s all a waste of time. You know, the usual mental attacks that bring us down. But God is faithful. When I decided to turn from my emotions and negative thinking to do what I felt He wanted me to (write this post), I felt my faith being restored, my focus shifting back into place, and joy returning. I guess it’s worth noting that there are times we are called to create even when we don’t want to. But as we will see below, ultimately, we don’t create for ourselves.
Matthew 16:24-26 (ESV)
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
This is the key verse for this series, so I hope you hold on to it. It’s easy to feel special and excited when God puts the desire to create in our hearts. And we should feel special! God has chosen us to do something incredible! But that’s the point where Self can trick us into believing that the vision/project/venture has anything to do with us.
Once we choose to follow Jesus, we are His and the Holy Spirit works out the Father’s master plan in our individual lives to accomplish a goal that has global reach. God loves the world and, though the world rejects Him, He still desires to save it. We can take pleasure in the gifts He has given us but we can’t hold on to them. We must submit them to Him so that He can use them. But guess what? By doing that, He is inviting us to participate in His work—his master plan—with Him!
Ephesians 1 :11-12
11 In Him also we have received an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His own will, 12 that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, should live for the praise of His glory.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do
Thanks for reading. I hope you stick with me as I go through this process. I intend to keep posting as I work through these complex issues of purpose and identity.
Can you relate? Have you had ups and downs in the pursuit of your creative calling? What has helped get you through? Please comment below.
Please see Part 2 here.