I don’t know at which point in my life I started using my imagination to take me on adventures far and wide, to achieve feats which seemed unattainable in my reality and to meet people I don’t normally see in my daily life. It’s just apart of me. I have stories, songs, poems, and series and movie concepts- some of which I have written down and many which I have stored in the corners of my mind. My procrastination, abject shyness, and constant second-guessing or paralyzing self-doubt have stopped me from sharing most of them with the world. Although my seemingly chronic daydreaming is being cured by age and responsibility, there are still remnants and I zone in and out from time to time.
However, as I grew older, I started seeing my creativity as more of a distraction than a gift, believing that it removed my focus from the important things in life. I believe that many young creatives can relate to this. What is worse is that when I became a serious (note the word serious) Christian I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my creativity. Should I turn my secular poems and stories in Christian ones? Should I become more expressive of my creativity? Should I become less expressive? I took a creative hiatus and told myself that I should direct my energies towards more worthwhile pursuits and then, quite ironically so, I started being given platforms to write. It seems that I couldn’t escape from the creative part of myself.
A good starting point for anyone who has ever felt the way I felt is to realise that creativity like many other talents and abilities such as singing and what have you, is a gift from God. I really don’t think that God is really in the business of endowing us with creativity so that we can fight it. This is something that a fearlessly and fiercely expressive cousin of mine recently reminded me of. He endows us with these gifts so that through them He may be glorified. To choose to not use them would be tantamount to withholding my praises and my worship from God. Yes, I said it (or rather typed it). Actress Letitia Wright’s story has also been an inspiration for me. After becoming a Christian, she took a break from acting because she wasn’t sure if it was God’s will for her life but God eventually led her back to her passion, most probably, because He gave it to her in the first place. One thing that I didn’t do when I experienced my dilemma was bringing forth my passions to God in prayer. I adopted a viewpoint of creativity and creative pursuits that could have been legalistic or even worldly (this country is not always kind to its creatives)-what is for sure is that it definitely wasn’t godly. If creativity is your gift then allow it to be led by God, not by you and your society.
So, is secularizing selling out, some of you may ask? This is a harder question to answer. Although it is important to use our creativity as a form of worship and giving glory to God, I don’t believe you would be serving Him by creating Christian art simply because you feel it is your duty as a Christian to do so. God inspired creativity shouldn’t come from a place of obligation but should flow from a place of love so that it is able to touch the hearts of other people. There is also a misconception that God can only be glorified in spiritual activities. We constantly strive to separate our spiritual lives from our daily activities, forgetting that God is present in both. He can be glorified in our workplaces just as much as He can be glorified in churches. I hesitate to give a yes or no answer to this question but to repeat the point that I mentioned before what I will say that Christian creatives should submit their gift before God because He knows what you ought to do with it.
Go ahead, embrace your creativity! Don’t run away from it. Don’t allow yourself to be deceived into thinking that God didn’t create you to create. God, Himself is a creator and since we are created in His image and likeness He has given us the ability to create.