Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m not creative?”
I have. When I hear someone say it, I often ask myself, “I wonder what they mean by that. Do they mean that they are not making art? Or that they don’t have time to think about creative things? Or that they don’t like projects?”
Usually, the context for “I’m not creative” is from someone who sees a craft idea and does not want to make that craft. They would rather not have it in their home at all or prefer to buy it ready made. I think what they really meant to say was “I don’t like to make crafts.”
Can you see the HUGE difference in these two statements: “I do not like to make crafts” vs “I am not creative?” There is an important difference. One declares your preference not to use hot glue and felt, while the other is kind of an unkind thing to say about yourself. Making crafts is not the same thing as being creative.
I would like to suggest that we change the way we talk to ourselves from “I am not creative” to “I am creative.”
To me, when someone says “I am creative” it means that they identify as someone who makes something, thinks something, or does something that wasn’t there before, or combines existing elements in new ways. Creating is integral in our ability to problem-solve, think, build relationships with other humans, reproduce, eat, and to exist in the space around us.
We are creative because we are the children of God, who is the great Creator. As his children, we are innately creative.
We can create both positive and negative things in our lives. I use the word “Creative” to mean the positive things we intentionally incorporate in our lives.
I have been thinking about the idea of creativity for years and took some time to write a list of ways that people can be creative. It was an important exercise for me. Many things on my list pertain to my role as a wife and mother and professional teacher.
Consider making your own list of ways that you think people can be creative so it is a custom fit for you.
Here are some positive examples of creativity.
All of these creative things are actions that we take as people, present in the situation, using our senses and brains to do something new.
Problem-solving. Have you ever found an inspired solution? If so, you were being godly and creative.
I remember one difficult sewing project. I was fitting a jacket made out of a wool blanket to my husband, Stan. The hood and shoulders did not fit and he asked me to fix them. I got most of it right and then got stuck with how to make the hood fit. Keep in mind that this was a several-day process.
I’m not going to lie. I was very frustrated. I cried and prayed and was pretty angry about not knowing how to do it. In the middle of the night, I feel like I received inspiration from God about how to do it. I saw a diagram as if it was drawn on the jacket about where I should cut and reattach the hood. I even saw how much I should cut off of each section. I got up in the morning and finished it, and it worked exactly. It fits him very well now. (He has worn it maybe 3 times in 10 years since it’s been finished, ha ha.)
Have you ever problem-solved to fix a car, finish a math assignment, cope with a difficult co-worker, or design an appropriate laundry system for your family? Then you were being creative too.
Cooking. In her book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat Samin Nosrat gave a great example of creativity in cooking (p. 198)
“A great recipe, like a great photo, tells a story and tells it well. Lesser recipes may not connect all the dots. There are plenty of reasons for this, and while some of them may have to do with the skill of the cook or the accuracy of the recipe tester, or frankly, whether the recipe has been tested at all, they’re not important. Simply put, no recipe is infallible. You are the one cooking, you are the one who is present; you are the one who must use all your senses–most of all common sense–to guide you to the result you hope for. Over the years I’ve constantly been amazed by the way good cooks give up thinking critically and independently when they begin following recipes.
“Instead, once you’ve chosen a recipe, don’t let your own intimate knowledge of your own ingredients and kitchen and most importantly, your own taste be overridden by what you’re reading. Be patient. Sitr, taste, adjust.”
I love this quote because it shows that it’s the human, fallible, experienced, imperfect, decision-making parts of us that make us creative.
Here are more things from the list.
Having original thoughts and ideas
Seeing something in a new way
Seeing someone in a new way
Making music (composing, playing, improvising)
Keeping things in order
Creating systems in a family
Cultivating relationships with other humans and God
Putting together a cute outfit
Serving (buying a pizza and taking it to someone who had a hard day)
Thinking positive self talk in your own brain
Building a healthy body through diet and movement
Encouraging and building people up
Speaking kind words
Showing up at an event that’s important to a child or someone you love
Creating digital photo books
Reading (Creating a well-read mind)
Choosing meaningful presents
Sharing quality time
Gathering others and helping them make connections
Building the Armor of God
Leading forums or discussions
Setting goals and working on them
Creating travel itineraries
Going on family outings and making memories
Surfing. My awesome cousin is a surfer. He creates the most stunning photos of waves, sharks, and the ocean.
Developing a new skill
Practicing an old skill that you want to retain or improve (guitar?)
Arranging the furniture and decor in your home
Processing our shame (naming it and reframing it)
Creating a healthy relationship with our bodies
Fixing broken things
Planning the family schedule
Digital editing and graphic design
Learning to manage our own emotions
Helping kids learn to manage their emotions
Tidying and cleaning
Planning activities for kids
Making scientific discoveries
Making soap, lip balm, lotion
Thinking outside the box
Using computer programs
Writing computer programs
Making a robot or simple machine
Making speeches or giving talks
Acting in a play or movie
Choosing a positive attitude when life seems hard
There are hundreds more. What is something else that is creative that you are passionate about?