Spiritual Arts: “But I’m not artistic!”

As I explained in an earlier post, I never thought I’d be good at abstract art. I can admit I’m artistic… God gave me a natural inclination and passion for art and it was clear to me from the get-go. But even when I was very little I always aimed at drawing something, people mostly, or animals, or objects, or interiors. But abstract art? Drawing “nothing”? I never did that. I didn’t understand it, and so, I never really tried it, and the odd time when I did, I would promptly destroy the evidence, feeling silly for trying and being convinced that I had somehow missed it. Like I said, I never thought I’d be good at abstract art. Many people will say, “But I’m not artistic!” But here’s the real kicker…. we all are. We were created that way!

We are all called to be creative. Those of us who are Believers will agree we are created in the image of God.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27

We can also agree that God is a creator, having created the heavens and the earth and everything in them.

So we know that creativity comes from God; we know that creativity is not something God “has”, but rather, it is something God is. It is not something that was bestowed upon Him by some higher power as there is no higher power than Him, rather He is the embodiment of it, much like love. God doesn’t “have” love, God is love. In fact, it is one of His names. The Hebrew name for God, Elohim, means “Creator God”. If we are made in His image, we are also made to be creators.

We can also see that within His creation God has made us “in His image”… in other words we are representations of His own likeness, much like the painstaking realistic artwork I spent my childhood honing. But anyone who has seen anything non-human in the natural world around us will know that there are endless abstract creations which He has clearly delighted in placing around us. Take a look at a tree… any tree! Look at the clouds. The waters. The terrain of the earth. Look at many undersea creatures. Mountains. Grain. Vegetables. Flowers. Even our insides. The list is unending. Have you ever just looked at something that you see every day, like a rock for example, and thought, “who came up with this?! It’s so obscure and yet so perfectly perfect!” Abstraction rules on the earth, clearly God has an affinity to it.

Today this post is meant to encourage any of you who have shied away from artistic expression because you believed you were not gifted with creativity… those of you who’ve ever said or thought, “I’m not artistic”, or compared yourself to others to whom creativity seemed to flow more easily. We are all artistic. Some take more time to develop their creativity than others. For some it spills forth almost uncontrollably, for others it is a small ember that glows almost unnoticed. This ember can be fanned. Some are told from an early age or made to believe that they do not possess any artistic ability. Some people don’t care for this type of artwork or that type, and some appreciate this type more than that type. But all forms are valid. Creativity doesn’t reach a boiling point and then plateau, it can constantly go higher and reach further. Luke 6:38 says, “For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” It’s as simple as practicing with what you’ve got and suddenly you’ll find you have more! The beauty of creativity is that no matter what measure you have now, it can always, always increase!

“The human ability to create art is a powerful reflection of God’s own creative capacity. Good art is very powerful, having the ability to speak of God’s existence in a way that transcends words. Only then does it have the strength it was intended to have”. Ravi Zacharias

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