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Creativity Is Not Optional

Sunday I preached about God taking us past our obstructed views and seeing more clearly with greater perspective–expanding our horizons. The horizon is the point of sight where the earth meets the sky.

Sadly, too many live inside limitations of their own making and can’t see beyond it.

I read some quotes in an article discussing creativity on churchrelevance.com once that really smacked me good.

  • New insights come from new people and new environments — any circumstance in which the brain has a hard time predicting what will happen next. - Fast Company
  • Breakthrough insights are at the intersection of ideas, concepts, and cultures. - Frans Johansson :: The Medici Effect

We have to be reminded that the familiar, comfortable surroundings, experiences, and people are great, but to step into the new, we have to step outside that once in a while.

When our brains can predict what happens next, we usually tune out instead of engaging (Side note: science has also shown that this same unpredictability is what makes something funny to us).

Without creativity of expression, we tune out–with life, with entertainment–we do it with everything. We need creativity and insight to expand our horizons.

I’m convinced this is why God doesn’t use formulas. We use formulas.

God is not boring, mundane, controllable, predictable, describable, etc. Now, we can portray Him that way, but it doesn’t resonate. It’s hollow. Freedom and creativity challenge our preconceptions and comfort status.  Without them, we begin to get restless and yearn for excitement or simply “different.”

Where does creativity come from when we’re stuck?

John C. Maxwell’s book, Thinking for a Change (disclosure), has a wonderful example of a millionaire that tries and tries to breakthrough to the billionaire status. I know, boo-hoo for the sad millionaire, but the advice he was given stuck with me.

He was asked whom he associated with and hung around. His reply? “They’re all accomplished business people, all millionaires.”

The solution? “Go and hang around some billionaires, they have something you’re missing.”

Whether it’s in ministry, in a career, in a family, or whatever—growth comes out of laying aside pride and seeking out someone or something beyond ourselves. I wasn’t created with all the answers and neither was anyone else. This is the beauty of relationship with God and other people.

If you want to remain stagnant and ineffective, good news–it’s really easy! You don’t have to do anything. If you want to produce impact and grow in an area, it takes hard work and going through the process. One thing you have to realize though, you need that creative expression–to associate in some way with the breakthrough you desire.

Creativity is there for those who want it. Insight is available for those who pursue it. The answer lies in looking outside ourselves, to God and those He leads us to.

Your turn. What do you think? How do you stir creativity?

14 Comments

  1. On my “dream list” is to find something creative that I am really good at. Alas, it’s still a dream.
    (I tried to learn to crochet. I can do simple scarves. I’d like to learn to connect granny squares into a scarf. I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, much less paint. I tried to learn to knit. It’s the ugliest scarf in the history of man! :-0 I’m still trying! :-) )
    Helen recently posted..The Packing is Over….My Profile

    • At least for me, the creative stuff still takes lots of practice. Don’t give up, Helen! And thanks. :)

  2. Getting out of the ordinary and experiencing something new is so key to creativity. That’s why whenever I’m feeling uncreative, I change up my routine, try something new, read a different kind of book, etc. Always sparks some new ideas in me.
    Jason Vana recently posted..Ruined. Completely.My Profile

    • Absolutely. Those simple things can make such a huge difference. Thanks Jason!

  3. For me, creativity comes from seeing obstacles and problems as opportunities to approach a solution in a way most folks wouldn’t. And while many laud the advantages of having unlimited resources, some of the projects I’ve been most pleased with have been when limited resources forced me to use what I had.
    katdish recently posted..Expected lossesMy Profile

    • Yeah, I like that and know what you mean. There’s such a sense of accomplishment too when you solve a problem through creativity rather than just having an abundance of resources (although I’m not entirely sure I know what the latter feels like). :) Thanks Kat.

  4. I definitely need to get out of my everyday routine to stir creativity. Spending time with others helps a lot. Reading books that challenge me help as well. But there’s just something about breaking my routine that gets my brain working.
    Tony Alicea recently posted..There’s No Such Thing As Being OvercommittedMy Profile

    • Exactly. It’s sort of like when we’re so fixated on a problem or question that we have no solution for but can’t make headway. Then once we leave it, we get relief and the answer “just comes” to us. Striving doesn’t ultimately work! Thanks Tony.

  5. My biggest source of creativity comes through reading. I love to read and books definitely help challenge me out of the status quo.
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..5 characteristics of a heroMy Profile

    • Me too. When something is framed in a different way from someone else’s experience or perspective, it’s such a refreshing burst of energy. Thanks Kevin!

  6. Stirring up creativity definately comes from observing people around me -- watching something really good on tv or reading about something inspirational. Everyday life and just living it gives so many opportunities to do this -- and I get a good many of my illustrations from mingling with people and getting out and taking a long walk.
    Cindy Holman recently posted..I Want OUT!!My Profile

    • Totally with you, Cindy! Thanks.

  7. Some of my creativity comes from reading. Some comes from dreaming. Some comes out of the blue. Very little comes from “I am going to sit down and be creative.” Sure answer to lock up. Good post Jason. (Sorry got here late).
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..HolinessMy Profile

    • You’re right on time, Bill. :) While I can’t make myself be creative, I can set aside time for it (through the ways you mentioned and others). Great thoughts. Thanks.