CREATIVE SPARKS

BE BRAVE. BE CURIOUS. CREATE!

Though few of us would call ourselves creative, that amazing grace-gift is woven straight into our DNA. As we engage with God, He ignites our curiosity, waking us to wonder and the joy of possibility. Today, be brave. Be curious. Create!

It was by Him that everything was created: the heavens, the earth, all things within and upon them, all things seen and unseen … Every detail was crafted through His design, by His own hands, and for His purposes … It is His hand that holds everything together. (Colossians 1:16-17)

WE ARE CREATED TO CREATE

 

Creativity is written in our DNA by the One who created everything from nothing, the One who refracts three primary colors into nearly 10 million hues distinguishable by the human eye, the One who formed the human ear to discern almost 330,000 frequencies, the One who designed the human nose to detect more than one trillion scents.

We were created by the same One who created more than 8 million species of animals, 32,000 species of fish, one million species of insects, more than 9,000 species of birds, 60,000 species of trees, 12,000 species of grass, and 391,000 species of flowering plants.

The creativity of God is spectacular! We witness it in every breath of every hour of every single day. That same Creator has breathed life into almost one hundred billion beloved humans since the beginning of time, each with a unique, one-of-a-kind personality and individually distinguishable fingerprints. “No two alike. There has never been another one just like this one, and there never will be again,” said Rev. Karl Schimpf as he blessed each new baby brought into his congregations.

 

CREATIVITY IS LIFELONG PURSUIT

 

Every person since the beginning of time has been, is now, and will be until the end of time, creative.

“A sacred touch, a sacred breath, a sacred thought, permeates the nature of man’s relationship with God. The sacredness of man’s existence springs forth from the moment of creation and reflects the image of God inherent in every person. It is by being made in the image and likeness of God that we possess reason and freedom, which come together in our capacity for creativity. All creation was thought of by God … The moment the spirit hovered over the waters (Genesis 1:2) and creation came into being was just the beginning.” (Ellen Mady)

We, the Body of Christ, are one great big, extravagant, creative community – and together, we represent the fullness of our Creator God here on earth. Yet relatively few of us would call ourselves creative.

Why?

Somewhere along the path to adulthood, many of us took off our creative hats, set them aside, and never looked back, investing our time and talents in “more productive” ways instead.

 

CREATIVE EXPRESSION IS A LABOR OF LOVE

 

We forget that creativity isn’t easy. It is fewer lightning bolt moments of inspiration and far more labors of love. It is time poured out, courage plucked up, curiosity piqued. It is practicing wonder and daring to dream. It is exercising determination and perseverance, working through sweat and tears, and often, experiencing a whole lot of failure.

Writing isn’t easy even for published authors. Photographers joke that their first 10,000 images are practice, a statement more true than not. Master mechanics pour years into training and thousands of hard-earned dollars into tools. To earn first-chair concertmaster, a violinist will practice an average of 10,000 hours. A house isn’t designed or built (or even painted!) overnight.

For many of us, the creative journey is filled with missteps and flopped soufflés, dropped stitches and rejected manuscripts, major fumbles and spectacular failures. Yet even in fear, even with anxiety crawling up the back of our necks, even in sorrow, even at our most abject, when we create we reflect something of God back to God.

 

WE CREATE TO BE LIKE JESUS

 

Creativity is vulnerable. Fear of failure can tempt us to step away and play it safe. Yet each time we lean into the presence of Jesus as we wait on a table, pluck the guitar strings, plant a row of seeds, knead bread dough, throw a pot, cut or color a client’s hair, listen to a patient’s heartbeat or a little bit of their story, we fall a little more in love with God and His beloved creation.

As Mike Romero so aptly wrote, “It’s impossible to lack creativity while standing in the presence of the Creator.”

There is profound joy in creating.  

We create because we were designed to create. It’s written in our DNA – and every time we create, we become a little more like Jesus.

In his book Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, Andy Crouch writes, “I wonder what we Christians are known for in the world outside our churches. Are we known as critics, consumers, copiers, condemners of culture? I’m afraid so. Why aren’t we known as cultivators — people who tend and nourish what is best in human culture, who do the hard and painstaking work to preserve the best of what people before us have done? Why aren’t we known as creators — people who dare to think and do something that has never been thought or done before, something that makes the world more welcoming and thrilling and beautiful?”

 

Today, be brave. Be curious. Create!

 

STEP INTO CREATIVITY

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SPARKING WONDER

Sparking Wonder • An Adventure in Awe & Delight

AN ADVENTURE IN AWE & DELIGHT • Savor God’s holy fingerprint in every atom of creation, engage your senses and cultivate curiosity, listen for the Spirit’s still small voice, and delight in God’s extraordinary creativity. All of creation pulses with God’s creativity! LEARN MORE.

COLORING YOUR WAY CLOSER TO GOD

Contemplative Coloring • Coloring your way closer to God.

Contemplative coloring draws us into the presence of God as we release stress, anxiety, and worries. Color you way closer to God and explore your creativity with hues of red, yellow, blue, vibrant, and pastel. LEARN MORE.

THE JOY OF PHOTOGRAPHY

The Joy of Photography

NOTICE. CLICK. TREASURE. ENJOY! Photography invites us to rediscover the wonder and beauty of God’s creation – vibrant colors, light and shadows, the everyday and the unusual – one-click at a time. LEARN MORE.

#PENTOPAPER

#PenToPaper

#PenToPaper is a powerful, yet easy way to encourage and build one another up, to build community, offer hope, let someone know they are not alone, and that above all they are prayed for, cared about and loved. Chronic Joy® provides starter sets of stationery to encourage both the sender and the receiver. LEARN MORE.

ALLEGORY • ARTIST STORYTELLING 

Allegory • Explore the difficult, painful, or vulnerable parts of your story from a safer distance and a different perspective.

Allegory is a beautiful, artistic form of storytelling that weaves difficult or abstract truths in ways that are easily relatable and understandable. Meaning is often woven through places and characters named for their qualities, strengths or weaknesses. LEARN MORE.

YOUR STORY MATTERS

Story is where hope begins.

Chronic illness can be isolating and lonely, but sharing our stories can open a door, extending hope, and sometimes sparking a life-giving, life-changing conversation with someone else along the way. We’d love to hear your story. LEARN MORE.

POETRY • MINISTRY OF VERSE

Poetry in a life with chronic illness.

 

Poetry invites us explore the rhythm and sway of words as we wrestle with the symptoms, confusion, loss, grief, emotion, and uncertainty of chronic illness in a sometimes more accessible way. LEARN MORE.

#CONNECTBYTEXT

#ConnectByText • Never underestimate the power of a simple text.

 

Looking for a way to connect with, encourage, inspire, and love on others? Text them! Encourage someone, spread a little hope, and let another know they are cared about, prayed for, and loved. Never underestimate the power of a simple text. LEARN MORE.

PRAYER SHAWLS

Prayer Shawls • Kindness with Every Stitch

Kindness with Every Stitch • Prayer shawls are blessings of community, kindness, comfort, and compassion, stitched with prayer and gifted to those who are struggling with illness, pain, anxiety, depression, loneliness, loss, or grief – a gift to maker and receiver. LEARN MORE.

METAPHOR

Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.

 

Your words can be a lifeline of hope for all of us on this challenging journey through chronic illness. Has Chronic Joy® made a difference? Let us know! And extend a lifeline to someone today. FREE PRINTABLE

CRAFTS, YARN ARTS & MORE

Crafts, Yarn Arts & More

Creativity is engaging with God at the intersection of faith and vulnerability. Creativity is an act of courageous vulnerability, intentional noticing, and patiently listening as we explore God’s extraordinary call to create. LEARN MORE

CREATIVE SPARKS POSTS

Broken Pieces Transformed and Made New

After being hit with a chronic illness, we may feel broken, yet we remain whole. We can embrace what the Lord does with the pieces of our lives as He meets us where we are, and then heals our hearts and leads us forward, in His time and in His way.

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"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity." Proverbs 17:17

Featured Books

Discovering Hope • Beginning the Journey Toward Hope in Chronic Illness

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

Madeleine L'Engle

What does it mean to be a Christian artist? What is the relationship between faith and art? The author's insightful and beautiful reflections on faith and art call the reader to listen, be aware, and respond to creation through one's own art.

Buy from Amazon

Discovering Hope • Beginning the Journey Toward Hope in Chronic Illness

Scribbling in the Sand: Christ and Creativity

Michael Card

With Jesus as his model, Card shows how understanding God's creative imagination leads to a lifestyle of humility, obedience, and servanthood. Card articulates the story of Jesus through his "scribblings in the sand" and invites us to join him in following God's creative call through worship and community.

Buy from Amazon

Waves of Creativity

Waves of Creativity: A Gathering of Ideas on Creating with God

Allen Arnold

Creating new things with God starts with seeing yourself and your art in new ways. The Creator of galaxies, oceans, wildflowers, and stallions made you creative. He gave you an imagination. God invites you to pursue the very things you love with Him. That is true creativity.

Buy from Amazon

Discovering Hope • Beginning the Journey Toward Hope in Chronic Illness

Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice

Christine Valters Paintner

More than a book on photographic technique, Eyes of the Heart is about cultivating photography as a spiritual practice. The book goes through six themes connecting the medium of photography with the Christian spiritual life, inviting readers to a new way of viewing the world through the lens of a camera.

Buy from Amazon

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