How to live at your creative best
“Take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life”
- Galatians 6:4-5
Creative living is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Biblical instruction, but here it is in black and white: the key to living a full, impactful and accomplished life.
Creativity starts with exploration
It’s applicable to each and every one of us, not just the artists out there. It's bringing meaning and worth where there was once none. Whether that’s by making music, a business, problem-solving, cooking, establishing relationships, making scientific discoveries and whole host of other things, creating is in our DNA.
The creative process starts by working with something undefined or rough and exploring it. By adding features, removing layers and refining the final product, the creator is driven by underlying belief that there is something worth uncovering, something worth bringing to complete fruition. Even though uncovering the final result may need some real perseverance and focus, that ‘something’ draws you in and sustains you despite the odds. It may take time and a bit of perseverance to get there, but it’s worth it. Given that we are masterpieces in progress, I expect that there’s a bit of internal exploration to do as well.
‘Making a careful exploration of who we are’ brings us that bit closer to a creative, free and full life.
How much time do we take out from the pursuit of commitments and other #goals, to understand those things that drive our thoughts, desires and behaviours? Probably less time than we should.
It’s not the easiest thing to do, I know. It takes a certain type of courage (which we can all cultivate) to say ‘there might be more than meets the eye here - let’s see what’s really happening underneath’. And just like trying to build something that lasts; to write that report or finish that essay, it’s full of ups and downs. Discoveries and rerouting. The good, the bad and sometimes the ugly. But with a bit of perseverance you cross the finish line, more mature, better skilled and with something that you’re proud of at the other end. It’s the same with your inner-self, this Careful Exploration is the difference between letting life happen to you and playing an active role in where you end up.
A full and buoyant outward life leans heavily on how much we say yes to exploring, refining and reshaping ourselves.
Getting the Good to stick
“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that” - Galatians 6:4
While reading Galatians, my mind recalled the many inspirational events, videos and blogs that fire me up to take on the world. I remembered how I’d go around hours after watching or listening to them with my eyes wide and full of ambition... only for this to fizzle out in a matter of days. Some time later I would find something else that breathed fresh air into my lungs and the cycle would begin again.
Let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives - Galatians 5:25-26
Why do we fall off track? Why does the spark fade out?
For some reason, these moments become nothing but a short-lived booster shot of inspiration, rather than something tangible that we can carry with us for the long-haul. Without intentionally sinking ourselves into these moments and the principles they're based on, we end up compartmentalising them, and revert ‘back to normal’ unchanged. Submerging ourselves into what we experience is the answer to making the good things ‘stick’ in our lives. While the world we live in operates become increasingly instantaneous, taking the time to pause and mull over every thought is still the real way to make a lasting impact on our lives.
Coming across the Message translation of Galatians, a book I had ‘read’ many times before, stopped me dead in my tracks. For the first time, I was able to sink in a little deeper into what I was reading. Before then, my inner Competitive Academic would sometimes creep out, frantically trying to speed-read it’s way through the Bible. But this time it was different. The words on the page were filled to the brim with un-ignorable life lessons, so much so that I ended up spending two weeks thinking about Galatians chapters 5 and 6. This was the longest time I’d ever spent on any part of the Bible, but it was also the time where I saw the greatest practical change in my daily life. This is what it's all about, this what sinking yourself into the Word can reap - real change. After all, what good is all that knowledge if you can barely apply in practice?
Since then reading my Bible has not been the same; the words have a greater depth and meaning in practice. By frequently reminding myself of the principles; writing and rewriting them out; reading them out loud; underlining, highlighting and annotating without end, things have started to change. I suspect that this has a similar outcome to what some people describe as meditating on the Word, it just looks a bit different from sitting in silence as I had imagined.
A generous life
Creative living refines our inner selves and also transforms the way we relate to each other. When we know ourselves better and live out what we learn, we become more conscious of our strengths but also our shortcomings; and as a result, our tolerance, compassion and patience grows. We end up sharing a ‘generous, common life’ with each other, a life free from comparison and unhealthy competition.
A creative life hinges on whether we take the time to look into ourselves, pause and look again, and then live it out. By taking baby steps and digesting the little chunks of goodness we find on the way; we plant seeds of change that eventually ‘harvest a crop of real life, eternal life’.
- P.S. Sorry for my radio silence last week! Sometimes life just comes at you, you know? I'll be back next week with some more thoughts but before then, I like to know what you think about today's post soplease leave a comment in the section below
- P.P.S. As you know my digital detox isn’t over until next Sunday so I’m counting on you, (yes you) to share on Facebook and tweet this week's post, don’t let your friends miss out. Thank you in advance, have an amazing week ahead!