When Anxiety kills Joyful Creativity

"ACTION!" My older sister yelled from behind the camera. I preceded to try to spout off some lines that were loosely prepared beforehand, with my accent that could not be linked with anywhere on this planet, I thought I was hilarious.

I was probably around nine years old, my older brother (who would co-star with me) was about 12, and my sister would have been 14. We were an odd bunch of homeschooled kids as we ran around making this cinematic masterpiece. "This is so fun," I thought as we got ready for another scene that we decided ought to be in our film. It was fun, expressing our creativity, acting, and pretending.

Yes, of course, there were contentious moments whenever we tried to create something as a sibling team, and yes, sometimes, these things would end with someone running to mom (probably me), but that's not what I remember most.

It was about having fun and enjoying being able to do something creative, even at a young age, that was my passion.

God designed us to create

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

The Bible begins with creation.

The almighty, gracious, loving, and creative God breathing into existence all that is out of nothing.

Each plant, carefully crafted and beautifully painted into the soil. Each animal, created to live amongst one another, some overwhelmingly large with great strength, others small yet incredibly sophisticated.

Our God created what had never been conceptualized before. No borrowed ideas, no outside inspiration, God is the ultimate and purist creative.

However, His creation was not complete there.

Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female, he created them. Genesis 1:26-27

He created us in His image and to image him, to show His character to the world, and to be a reflection of his glory to all creation. Furthermore, He calls us to reflect His beauty, love, justice, mercy, and glory.

God has created us to create.

But something has gone drastically wrong.

Joyful creativity has been exchanged in an attempt to gain love and acceptance.

I want to share with you an example of this from my own life to draw this point out.

At this point in my life, I am releasing new content on a very regular bases.

Videos, blog posts, Instagram pictures, Instagram graphics and stories, impromptu teaching and encouraging videos, and the list goes on.

In doing this, expressing my creativity has become a weekly exercise, and I try to approach each piece of content with a desire for innovation and freshness.

In the midst of this, there's an inner war within me.

I desire to create content as an expression of my love for God and others, with the prayer of reaching, encouraging and inspiring those who watch, listen, and read what I create.

This is where I want my creativity to be flowing from.

However, I've found that too often, I use this creative outlet to seek my desired acceptance and love that my soul craves. When this happens, I am attempting to calm my internal anxiety, feelings of loneliness, and feelings of rejection, with dutiful creativity.

A creativity that is weighed down by outside pressure, the desire to be loved and accepted, and our sense of worth we associate with our art.

This is not joyful creativity.

Dutiful creativity is characterized and fueled by the pursuit of love and acceptance.

Joyful creativity is characterized and fueled by God's love, where we can be entirely secure.

God is calling us to reclaim creativity in our lives

Today, God is calling us to create. To create well, to strive for excellence, beauty, and meaning. Joyful creativity fueled by knowing and embracing the love and acceptance we already have in Christ.

We don't have to be weighed down by the expectations of others, ourselves, and the anxiety that can come from that.

Because of the Gospel, because Jesus took our penalty for sin on himself, because he has adopted us as His children, we can create without worry.

Our father is looking down on us with grace and waiting to see how we use the gifts he has given us.

It would be a shame to continue to let our creativity be held back, so today, I'm praying that you embrace God's gift to you of joyful creativity.

Thank your creator, and enjoy creating!