We often say “its’ as natural as breathing” to illustrate that something comes to us easily. A newborn babes first introduction to the world comes with that first breath. We breathe in, we breathe out- we live. Creativity can be as natural as breathing too. Being creative isn’t quite so automatic to us, though. That means we need to make creativity a breathing exercise.
Why we so often feel out of breath
Recently, I was in a class at my health club and there was a substitute instructor who spent the entire class period focusing us on our breathing. He wrapped up the class and people started to clap and gave him a standing ovation. I kind of couldn’t believe it. They thought an hour spent focusing on just breathing was a good use of their workout time. I had to wonder, why?
It’s true that as a culture we get so rushed and so wrapped up in what’s next that we often don’t concentrate on what’s natural to us, what’s simple, and what’s happening at that moment. We fixate on our to-do list, on our want-to-do list, and our why-can’t-I-do-that list. Taking a deep breath in and a deep breath out is one of the simplest ways to calm our bodies and our minds. But like many a good thing, we over complicate it.
Kids make the best artists
We overcomplicate creativity as well. As a child we color, we glue, we glitter – we make something and don’t worry if it even looks like something we can name. We don’t care if we got the color of the sky wrong, or if things are disproportionate. We make snap decisions, and have faith that if we make mistakes, it won’t be a big deal.
As a child, we also have a sense of wonder at our world and at our own abilities. In the book, Think Like a 5 Year Old: Reclaim Your Wonder & Create Great Things, author Len Wilson tells us, “My five-year-old says that creativity is when you have fun and make stuff. He says it’s not something he really thinks about. He just does it.” Then Wilson goes on to say, “I like my five-year-old’s definition best. Creativity includes having original ideas with value, and it includes the process of solving problems. But it is much more. Creativity is life. It’s just what we do.”
It is natural for us
Creativity is a breathing exercise. Don’t overthink it.
We breathe in, we breathe out, we create.
We create instinctively, because we were made to be creators – made in the image of our Creator. When we create, we are reinforcing our connection to God by imitating Him. Each of us was designed uniquely, and for a purpose.
Clues to your purpose
When I was a kid one of the big slogans was “God didn’t make no junk.” What makes you unique, including your passions and interests, are clues to what your purpose is.
What each of us desires to create is another clue to that purpose. Some desire to create gardens, some to create businesses, and some really want to make an awesome pan of brownies. By pursuing our creativity, we are becoming more of what God purposed us to be. What we want to create varies from person to person, and is a big reason we don’t feel fulfilled in much of what we do in life.
We do have to do the things
I realize many of us have responsibilities. My driveway wasn’t going to shovel the snow off itself this morning, so before I could sit and finish this post, I grabbed a shovel and got to work. But what I wanted to do was create. So, after I did the things I had to do, I took a little time and I wrote. I’m using a natural skill to pursue a passion, so that I can fulfill a desire that sparks in my heart. It’s what I’m breathing out.
Choose the quality of air you breathe
What are you breathing out? Just as importantly, what are you breathing in? Are you filling your soul with words of encouragement? Or negativity? Are you immersing yourself in the news of the day first thing in the morning? Or do you crack open your Bible?
As creatives, we can choose to breathe in those things that inspire us. It can be a quote, an image, a craft idea, a novel, or a sunset. Inspiration can come from the Holy Spirit. I love that the word “inspiration” comes from the word, “inspiritu,” which translates as “god-breathed.” We’re told in 2 Timothy 3:16, that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
I love creating with scripture, because the words aren’t mine. They’re inspired by God, and as such they inspire me, and they inspire anyone who views my work.
Make creativity a breathing exercise
Going back to the idea that creativity is a breathing exercise, I think a good question to ask ourselves is, “what am I breathing in, and what am I breathing out?” Or more pointedly, “When I create, what am I inspired by? And when I create, is what I make an inspiration to others?” Does it inspire them to smile, to laugh, or to just think for a moment? I’d love to know what YOUR thoughts are about this, so please leave a comment.
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And if you would like a reminder to display, I created a free printable pdf for you to download in my resource library. Print it out and enjoy.
Want to know what I really think about creativity? Check out my Creativity Manifesto, a free download when you subscribe your email for blog updates. I’d love to know what you think too! Just leave a comment below!