Monday, February 8, 2016


My word for 2016 is CREATIVE. Not just merely 'create', but creative. Webster's defines each, in the simplest terms, as follows:

Cre-a-tive \ adjective
1) having or showing an ability to make new things or think of new ideas;
2) using the ability to make or think of new things : involving the process by which new ideas, stories, etc., are created;

Cre-a-te \ verb
1) to make or product (something) : to cause (something new) to exist
2) to produce (something new, such as a work of art) by using your talents and imagination

(FYI - did you know that 'creativity' is defined as a noun? I didn't either!!)

So to 'create' is the process, or action...the DOING of the thing. Creative however is descriptive of the object....the BEING of the thing. I AM creative, therefore I create. Now that I'm done with the Language Arts portion of this post, onto the meat of it!

I chose this word because as I have aged, (ahem, I mean matured) I truly discovered who I was created to be, what fills my soul with joy, how I connect with God and other's best, and who I WANT to be when I 'grow up'.

I have always been creative. I can do almost all of the trendy, crafty things. Some so much better than others! I also always held myself in check by that rigid box of 'must do it perfectly'. Rigidity does not supply the necessary oxygen for the creative person. Expression and feeling are the source of true creative potential.

This year I decided enough was enough. I got rid of my Franklin Planner (best planner ever, seriously!) and traded it for a more creative solution, The Happy Planner. Even the name is amazing!! It has been a freeing experience, as they just divide each day into 3 sections, with tons of room to write, doodle, journal, whatever. Inspirational sayings, colorful, useful, and so much fun! My collection of colored pens grew, so now I can plan in color!

I started Bible Journaling. This was my biggest struggle. Those people COLOR in their Bibles! They even add stickers and paint! I tried it anyway, in a Bible made for just creative people. I discovered a richness in God's Word I had never seen before. The verses have been settling in my soul much deeper, and with a fresh perspective. My study Bible remains just that, but my journaling Bible - I may go through it faster than I thought and I may end up with a journaling Bible collection!

I redid my office in muted vintage tones, even though sunny yellow is still my favorite color. (Here's another FYI - there is NO lovely shade of vintage yellow! And no, butter cream is NOT a lovely shade of yellow for walls or furniture! Go with cream or vanilla or ivory.) The more relaxing, 'me' kind of space invites calm, serenity, thoughtfulness, and makes me happy to 'go' to work. I feel inspired, creative, joyful and motivated in this space.

Three weeks into this creative adventure and my rigid self came out. I started wishing I was as capable as others. Then, out of the blue (not really, it was more a series of events) I had a revelation: I just enjoyed being creative, and I really do not care what anyone else thinks of my talent. I don't have to be 'good' at it in my own eyes. There are those that wish they could see the potential in an old writing desk; or envision a chair without its arms, re-upholstered; or accidentally paint their walls so they look like old leather.

On goes the list of my creative pursuits that happened to work out well in the eyes of others. Even when I was disappointed in my ability or in how they turned out. (My walls were not supposed to look like leather. I was sponge painting, which was all the rage at the time, and I was very disappointed that they didn't turn out 'right'. Many years later, the walls are still the same, simply because everyone that looks at them thinks they are amazing. Happy accident right there despite my own opinion of it. I do like them now so I guess it worked out okay in the end.)

The revelation didn't stop there though. It continued on through other area's in my world, where I had been creative, or compelled to create something, and then stopped myself for fear of how other's would see it. Instead of living in the joy of the creative process, I stopped it to be practical. The best lie I ever told myself - be realistic.

I am sure you have heard that lie yourself, at least once before. If you haven't it sounds something like this: "What are you doing? You can't do that, you have no talent! You were a business major, what makes you think you should be hand-lettering in watercolor? No one else will think you are any good at that! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - behold, what you did does NOT look like beauty!" It goes on and on.

As I thought and prayed, I realized there was still more to what was now becoming a realization. When I denied my creative side, due to my own insecurities, I was also denying a very real part of who I truly am. Part of who I was created to be. I was diminishing the very real joy and peace that came from merely doing things that are part of who I am. They provide me with an outlet, a connection to God, a way of seeing beauty in things.

So what if my watercolor lettering looks like I have never done it before? I did not even try until one week ago! Who cares if the big fish that swallowed Jonah did not end up looking like a whale or even a very big fish, and Jonah had to be a stick figure? I already know I can NOT draw people or fish....I'm REALLY good at drawing tree's. No, I am not James Patterson, but I did write a pretty great short story that I even sent to someone for editing...and then chickened out letting anyone else read.

I realized that I was denying a very real, true part of my DNA. To deny this area of myself was to say that it was not important enough to live out. It was if I was telling God, the one who created me and gave me the ability to be creative, that He really did not know what He was doing...He made a mistake. How could I be both rigid and creative at the same time? Was He just trying to confuse me?

The answer of course was no. He gave me the ability to be creative, which has led to some of the most meaningful things I have done in my life. I can look at things and see the long range beauty in them, whether a desk, or a person, or a ministry. He have me an entrepreneurs heart and vision. I can start, fix, mend, encourage, re-purpose, paint, decorate, and move things around until they too are beautiful and functional and meaningful to other's.

Entrepreneurs are creatives who also are type-A's. I'm going to be creative and use my 'A' to stand for ABILITY - the ability to create something any good 'creative' person would do. I shall paint the antique desk, color in my Bible, decorate my home, and plan colorfully!!!

(English Major's take heart - I wrote this much more 'creatively' than I usually do....on purpose!)

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