Family, Growing in Grace

Created to Create

Magna-tiles are the most-played-with toy in our home. They are also the most likely to cause a sibling squabble.

My daughter will spend thirty minutes crafting the perfect castle for her unicorn, but then her little brother will stomp on it. She will in turn knock over the tall tower he painstakingly built. After many tears, apologies, and hugs, they will finally work together to build an even better creation—only for their baby sister to bulldoze right through it.

Yet day after day, crumbling structure after crumbling structure, they keep creating. They don’t seem too bothered by the fleeting nature of their creations. Though they might scream in frustration when their tower collapses, they eagerly pick up the translucent tiles to begin again. They pack them away each night, ready to pull them out again in the morning.

I’m amazed by them: they never tire of creating. And I’m beginning to see how this is the image of our Creator at work in them.

When creating is hard

After God created man and woman in his own image, he gave them the task of cultivating the earth (Genesis 1:27-28). He gestured to the luscious green garden before them, “I created all this for you! Now, go, use what I have given you to create even more! Fill the earth so that it becomes even more beautiful!”

Ashlee Gadd writes in her book, Create Anyway: The Joy of Pursuing Creativity in the Margins of Motherhood, “God invites us to be active participants, co-laborers in making the invisible Kingdom visible. The act of creating is part of our calling as image bearers.”

Yet ever since the Fall, those acts of creation have been met with opposition. Cultivating the earth and bearing children are now painful and difficult. While humanity was originally designed to reflect God’s creativity, that reflection is now marred by suffering and selfishness. Our buildings fall, our words are lost, our efforts forgotten.

We shouldn’t be surprised that the Enemy seeks to wreak havoc on our creative endeavors. The Enemy can’t create. He can only steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Yet when you and I choose to faithfully create—whether that be designing a building, caring for the sick, or cooking a meal for your family—we are pushing back the destructive strategies of the Enemy. We are fulfilling God’s calling to fill our lives and this earth with his beauty, goodness, and truth. 

Creativity in all of life

God’s call to create isn’t limited to those who are obviously “artistic,” such as writers, painters, or musicians. All of life is an exercise in creativity. Whenever we use our God-given imagination to bring abundance to those around us, we are creating in his image.

Creativity is crafting a meal plan that will nourish my family and satisfy my kids’ picky palates. It’s coordinating schedules and preparing my home for a relaxing girls’ night. It’s coming up with a solution to one of my students’ problems. It’s finding ways to serve my local church with my limited time and energy. Even my husband—an engineer who wouldn’t necessarily call himself “creative”—designs beams and columns that will make buildings both secure and beautiful.

Yet oftentimes, my creative efforts seem to crumble like a shaky Magna-tile tower. The beautiful dining room centerpiece gets swiped aside for drawing pads and crayons. A project I had prayed over and worked hard on is rejected. My daughter refuses dinner, and my son wrecks my newly organized shelf. Parties are cancelled, the new recipe burns, and my house looks like a disaster again. The list could go on and on. If all my creative endeavors are fleeting—if they will keep crashing down—what’s the point in creating anyway?

But like my children wipe away their tears and begin again, I’m learning to pick up my pen, my spatula, my dish towel—and whatever else God puts in my hands and heart—and just keep creating.

A creation that lasts forever

Ashlee ends her book with the reminder to God’s people: “We have no choice but to turn every hard and good thing over in our hands, adding a sprinkle of mercy, bending and shaping it into something new we can present to the world, some kind of art, some kind of masterpiece, as part of bearing witness to the glory of God alive in us.”

Like my impulsive toddler who can’t keep his hands off his older sister’s Magna-tile masterpiece, the Enemy will always seek to frustrate your creative efforts. Yet we must keep building. We must pick up the broken pieces and begin again. We must cultivate this earth, believing that, one day, heaven will come down and redeem our transient and imperfect creations.

When you feel overwhelmed by the mundane labors of life, remember you are indeed fulfilling your calling to cultivate the earth. Whether you stay at home with your children, design bridges, flip burgers, or teach in a classroom—you are creative. You reflect the creativity of the Creator in everything that you do.

So take time to enjoy cultivating the world around you. Play that beautiful music in the background. Solve the math problem in a new way. Tell a story to your children. Proclaim the beauty, goodness, and truth in everyday life. Because when we create for God’s glory, we are helping build a Kingdom that will last forever.

This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series “Create Anyway”.

2 thoughts on “Created to Create”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s