The first chapter of Genesis explodes with creativity!
God creates sun, moon and stars; banyans, baobabs and butterflies; macaws, mice and mastodons from a smile in his brain.
He creates the world in exuberance because that is his nature. He is a Maker, a creator.
And all of us are inherently creative, because we all have shades of the Maker in us. Our houses, gardens, outfits, meals, work, and budgets, all betray hints of the original artist’s creativity.
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Any creative person’s work will be enhanced if they align themselves with the master artist.
Not all of us will be Michelangelo or Fra Angelico, Milton or Hopkins, Handel or Bach (who were all Christians incidentally). However, spending time in the presence of the original creator, divinely enhances and super-charges us.
We become thoroughly ourselves, yet our work will shimmer with the presence of the Master. Which creative has not had the experience of the blog or the story basically writing themselves, of an electricity beyond ourselves racing through our fingers?
I used to think of writing as an art and a craft, a matter of reading, study, and conscious and subliminal absorption. And, of course, it is all that.
But what I rely on most now is alignment with the Master Artist. Before I write, I try to align myself with God, and get in touch with him, ask for his streams of living water to flow through me. I write best and fastest then, with surety, without excessive self-criticism.
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God’s account of creation ends with a vital and overlooked part of the creative process.
Isn’t that lovely? Though God was effortlessly creative, his creativity flowing from thought to word to product, yet, on one day out of seven, he came to a complete halt, the inspired author of Genesis tells us. He rested from “all the work of creating” (Gen. 2:3).
God made things to last. Though dodos, passenger pigeons, woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers have gone extinct, creation “in all its vast array” still glows. It’s a still a wild, wonderful world.
And God is still creating through us. Down the waterfall of the mind of God tumbles nascent ideas for Macbooks and iPhones with access to all the knowledge of the world in our pockets; blogs and stories, symphonies and comedies.
And if we like God want to produce fruit that will last as Jesus commanded us to, if we want to continue creating all our lives, then we too need to pace ourselves, to come to a complete halt, once a week, and rest from all creating. We need to let the Spirit reset us.
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How? Since God did not spell out how to keep the Sabbath holy, we can interpret it personally and honestly. I like to worship in community, but when I am exhausted, physically or emotionally, I send my children (since I consider that my Christian duty) and I spend that time praying alone. Reading my Bible. Or in lectio divina.
On Sunday, I do not create. I sleep in. I garden. Or walk. Or nap. A lot of napping. If ideas come, I jot them down, but do not refine them. I resist any work that will make me better-off, or better-known, or more successful. Or thinner! I just rest.
Sunday is a day God blessed, we are told in Genesis. A day to step into another economy in which resting is an activity, not a cessation from activity. In which magically a day in which one does nothing but rest is holy.
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Ah, Sunday. One day in seven in the divine economy. One day to acknowledge that we do not ultimately own our lives or our careers. We can not control them, not really. We cannot make ourselves rich or successful or famous or beautiful, or else the world would be full of super-rich, super-famous, beautiful people. Why even true art is beyond our control, or the world would be awash in it. And in this world of polluted food supplies, even our health is partially out of our control. Cancer strikes gourmets and gluttons; foodies and fast-foodies; billionaires and bankrupts. It’s as impartial as death!
In a world in which we control so little—not the date of our death, not the cells in our bodies, not the outcome of words, our stocks, or the fruit of our womb, what a sublime idea to take a day a week to rest, to let go of interminable striving, and enter another economy. On the day of rest, we enter the economy of the powerless who seek power from God, the economy of the tired who seek strength as they wait upon the Lord; the economy of the unconnected who seek God to connect them; the economy of the creatives who one day a week silence their words to make room for The Word.
And perhaps on that blessed, holy day, the spirit of God shall hover over the still waters of the quieted mind, shall wake in them words and visions which shall last.
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Ah, we lose our way; we become functional atheists in Parker Palmer’s phrase, when we believe that nothing will happen unless we make it happen.
But there is another way consistently recommended in Scripture, the way not of might, nor of power, but of God’s spirit.
What might that look like for me? It would mean that if I want to get a book commercially published, I must seek the Spirit about how to do this. Perhaps he will connect me to the right literary agent and publisher without my doing anything about it. May it be so!! Perhaps he will clarify whom I am to contact. It may well be a process as streamlined and efficient as the process of creation, (unless for my character as for Joseph’s and Job’s, he chooses to prolong a sojourn in the desert).
For my blog, the way of might and power is no longer sustainable. I am too weary for it. I must now do it by the way of the Spirit. Seek the Spirit for what to write. Seek the Spirit for how much to write (currently 5 posts a month, so I have time to work on a book). Seek the Spirit for how to share what I write.
He is The Spirit. He is not human. His ways, his strategies will be greater, more surprising, more out of the box than anything I could think of. And because he loves me, his strategies will be practical, sustainable, and not exhausting.
Roy and I need to seek the Spirit in our family business, for cleverness, for strategy, for thinking out of the box, because, again, time and energy are in short supply. We need his ideas, not our own.
I need to seek the Spirit for how to shed the extra weight that puts me at risk for colon cancer. Cancer seemed a far away thing that happens to other people. However, I now await the results of a biopsy. Being overweight increases the risk of colon cancer, as does being sedentary, or eating red meat, or too much fat. Yes, yes: Guilty as charged. Losing weight has never been easy, or else I would have done so. I have lost 21 pounds over the last 2 years, but my weight loss stopped around Easter. So how do I lose this pesky weight? I must seek the ways of the Spirit.
There are gurus who will tell you all this—how to grow your blog, publish your book well, grow your online business, and lose weight. It makes sense to skim their books; I mean why waste time reinventing the wheel?
But Michael Hyatt writes on Platform, but I daresay none of his readers have a platform like his. Jeff tells us how to get 10,000 subscribers; do any of his readers have that many? Dr. Fuhrman has a brilliant, but unsustainable way of weight loss.
These things worked for them. Each of us must seek the Spirit who loves us for what will work for us. My daughters love giving me advice, and I sing out in reply, “But I am not you. I am me.” So it is with other people’s strategies; they may not work for me for I am not them. I am me.
I must seek the streamlined way of the spirit, the way of minimal wasted effort. I think again of the intricate interlocked efficient universe in which nothing is wasted, created in the mind of God, spoken forth into existence over six… aeons.
I hear the voice of the Spirit when I am still and listen for it. I hear it when I wait and just hang out with him. I hear it in rest.
And on the Sabbath, the day I set apart for haunting his paths, I greatly increase my chances of hearing the wise, astonishing, loving voice of the Spirit.
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Over to you
Have you experienced walking in the ways not of might, nor of power but of the Spirit?
How do you experience Sabbath Rest?