by Sherry Barron
Her eyes suddenly lit up with a radiant sparkle and her worrisome brows turned into an expression of amazement as she screeched, “Oh wow, it doesn’t sound like garbage!” She held up her hand-written music next to her very excited, shaking body, and looked me square in the eye with a huge smile! She had just composed and heard for the first time her original piece of music as I played it for her on the piano. What a gold medal statement she delivered! I often hear statements of satisfaction and see facial expressions transformed as I challenge my students to stretch their minds, and they go beyond what is assumed to be unthinkable or impossible. As a teacher, the reward for me is always the “ah-ha“ reaction when a light bulb moment happens. It’s what drives me to teach, to plant seeds of creativity and then cultivate them. Ah-ha moments are for all ages, and I’ve never seen a quiet one! It’s that sudden moment of realization, inspiration or instant comprehension. Then, one is pleased and delighted with oneself for trying. The mind opens and is freed, producing positive and productive problem-solving and critical thinking, all of which increase activity in the right cerebral hemisphere (the creative side of the brain). You may be one of the many in the world who thinks that they are not “creative.” But this is not true, for we all have an inner need or desire to create, and we have been made in the image of God, the great creator. Having a creative spirit is a part of being related to God! Can you think of something you do that is just like your parents or a close relative? You can’t help it; it’s knitted into the design of your very being! God gave us the desire to create for His purposes, and we are created in His image. “God is an artist and He is beautiful. He has woven His image into the fabric of our lives, which explains our drive to create things which are beyond us and which we don’t always understand.” – Michael Card Creativity is not bound by what we consider as being talented or gifted in the arts. There are gazillions of definitions for creativity, but simply put, I believe that creativity is a response generated by a need. That need is either internal satisfying an emotional desire, or external solving concrete problems. Creativity is the platform for bringing imagination and innovation into reality. In keeping creativity alive within us, whether young or old, we must banish these statements from our thoughts: “I’m not creative,” “There’s no hope,” “I’m not good enough.” All of these statements have one thing in common: they’re false! You are creative! “Some people spend years, even decades, perfecting the art of stuffing down any and all creative impulses, convincing themselves of their lack of talent and ideas,” says Christine Kane in “7 Tried and True Ways to Stifle Creativity.” This is how they do it:
- They check email first thing in the morning, letting the agendas of other people rule the day – that is a great way to kill creativity!
- They worry about the results before beginning.
- They try to be perfect right from the start.
- They require a self guarantee — “This had better be really good!”
- They wait until inspiration hits — They are probably still waiting!
Fortunately, there is a way out! Tap into your creative gene by considering these habits:
- Be curious: The principles of curiosity are play, suspend judgment and to be open to all stimuli (notice every sound, smell, sight, thought, and even your response to things you touch).
- Connect the unconnected: Read articles or books that you wouldn’t normally read, talk to people in different fields, try something different, step sideways (see things from a different perspective).
- Cultivate your ideas: Like seedlings, they need care, protection from enemies and to be kept out of the harsh light for a while. Give it time! Creative thinking doesn’t always happen immediately. Ideas may need to develop in their own time – to simmer on the back burner for a while before they are “cooked” enough to offer to other people.
- Challenge yourself: Step outside of your comfort zone and have a bit of courage! Take risks and accept failures. Finally, trust — believe and notice when God gives you ideas, and then trust that He can deliver them.
When was the last time you were deliberate about creating and got excited about it? Keep creativity alive within you, and trust God to grow your ideas into reality! Be bold in taking the first steps! Creativity is endless … God created … and He continues to create and re-create in us and through us each day. Live Creatively! About Sherry: Sherry Barron is the Founder and CEO for The Academy for Cultivating Creative Arts, LLC. As an arts advocate, Sherry directs and provides creative experiences through Talent Spectacular!, The Baton Rouge Homeschool Choirs and private music lessons. She teaches music in West Feliciana Parish and is also Co-Founder of Restore Ministries, Inc. Originating and teaching multi-faceted visual and performing arts that lead others closer to the heart of God is Sherry’s passion! For more information about her work or ministry, visit www.cultivatingcreativearts.com or www.restore-ministries.net.