As I have shared in the past, I often struggle with the idea of creativity. Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines creativity as, "the ability to make new things or think of new ideas."
Yet, I find my relationship with creativity is not nearly as simple as Webster's definition sounds. I would not label either my work or myself as 'creative'. And often, as I listen and read all sorts of wonderful blog posts and sermons, this feeling of creative inadequacy is reinforced.
This week while perusing the web, I stumbled upon The 12 Most Stifling Reasons You aren't as Creative as You Could Be. I admit that I have an extreme aversion to lists, (if you looked up "P" in a Meyers-Briggs dictionary, there would be a portrait of me!), nevertheless, I found this one to be particularly helpful.
The first item listed as an impediment to creativity was the inner critic. Wow! Reading that was like manna from heaven. Often times in my work, I am my own worst critic. I will write and rewrite an article or sermon several times, without even saving the draft, because I do not think they are perfect. That is a problem.
So often in church work we are more worried about something being perfect and we leave the good things undone. When our programs, sermons, or even our ministry plans do not feel 'perfect', we abandon or at worst inadvertently sabotage them. As a church, we want to do the most amazing thing- so amazing that we will pass up good things waiting for that one amazing thing- only to find that the one amazing thing is not attainable in the way we imagined. Then when we cannot achieve this perfect idea or program, we start to think we are not as creative or innovative as we thought, and we really do become less creative. In life and ministry, we should all take heed of Voltaire's admonition, "the perfect is the enemy of the good". We can never really be creative if we always try to be perfect.
That said, one of the more poignant issues the post raised is in its final addition to the list, number 12 - Relax. This is not something that is easy for churches (or people) to do. I find this language really resonates with me, "The art of relaxing is like the art of surrender, or the art of allowing." It reminds us that in order to be creative, in order to be all that we are created to be, we have to let go and create space for the movement of God's Spirit. Then we can focus on what really inspires our creativity.
What are your struggles with creativity? How do you relax and make room for the movement of God's creative and creating Spirit?