When I worked at an ad agency, the office was split into two parts: account services and creative. The account services side of the office was painted in grays and steel blues and was usually quiet enough that you could tell who was walking up behind your cubicle by the click of her heels. Separated by a physical wall, the creative side was a different story.
The creative department was painted in oranges and reds, and as you walked from one end to the other, various music – from headbanger rock to blues to country – covered up the sound of even the noisiest sneakers.
I worked on both sides of the wall during my time at the agency, and much as my administrative skills pull me into the world of spreadsheets and reports, I loved being part of the creative team.
I mean, they had the ping-pong table. And the kitchen. And the color. And the music.
So when I looked at the options for the first breakout session at The Orange Conference today, picking one was a no brainer. I signed up for Creative Practices for Storytelling, Ministry and Life with Jeanne Stevens, pastor and church planter at Soul City Church in Chicago.
It wasn’t until I sat down and got myself situated with my clunky old laptop and big briefcase bag that I realized I’m not really a creative.
I was, after all, sitting right next to the quintessential youth pastor/worship leader type, with his moleskine notebook, dusty boots, tight v-neck shirt and faux hawk. Just to make sure you get the full picture, I was wearing my typical black pants and polyester shirt with practical shoes. And I was sweating, because it is humid in Atlanta, if you didn’t know.
But no sooner had I let that thought settle into my brain that Jeanne said, “How many of you have said, ‘I’m not a creative person'”? Busted!
She went on to share myths of creativity, tensions in creative efforts and the responsibility of creativity – as it applies to everyone, faux hawk or not.
Jeanne reminded us that there is a divine connection between God who is creator and you who are creative. “Your creativity is not your own,” she said. “Our creativity comes from God, a source separate from us and greater than us. God has called us to co-create with him.”
So, no more pressure about being creative or not. We are all called to creative pursuits, whether that means painting a canvas, building a spreadsheet, leading worship, managing a sales team or developing preschool curriculum. We are made to create.
I walked away from this session with tons of great tips and a bucket-full of inspiration. But the three main takeaways were these three simple (KIDDING.) tips:
Stop worrying and start to imagine.
Stop repeating instead of start something new.
Stop comparing and start embracing your unique contribution.
That last point is the one that resonated most with me, and I plan to write more about that soon. But for now, I’m going to leave you with this question: What were you made to create? Whether you’re a blogger, an accountant, a musician, a teacher, a mom – or all of the above! – you were made to create. So what are you creating?