Imagine you have a hammer, you love your hammer, it’s beautiful and new, and it can do so much. Building and creating; benefiting you, you bring it with your everywhere. You take your hammer to work, constantly admiring it, and enjoying everything it can do. But then things take a turn when you leave work, instead of focusing on driving, you are admiring the glossy coating on your hammer; instead of greeting your family you stare intently at your hammer; you pay close attention to it, but not to your loved ones; instead of being content with the little jobs and tasks at home you can’t wait until you can get back to your hammer. Time that could be spent investing in what you enjoy is taken over by intent, one-on-one time with your hammer.
And you are looking at me, puzzled and very confused, how this has anything to do with you? The story I just told was ridiculous and if such a person were so focused on a tool like that you would think they have mental issues. Now go back and re-read it, instead of reading “hammer” read “phone”, “TV”, “internet”, “computer”, “iPad”, or “screen.” You may be objecting to this, but perhaps, even despite the objections, you have an inkling at what I driving at: distraction. Replacing all the valuable, beautiful things God has given us, with a cold, blue screen reflecting off of your face like a failing sun on a murky, dead pool of nothing.
We are often oblivious to the result this behavior has on those around us, and on ourselves, but we are aware. I would like to introduce you to one area that is not as common: creativity.
As creatures and creation, our goal is to serve our creator through glorifying him and enjoying him. Personally, I like to think creativity is something that is exclusively and exquisitely human. Adam’s first task as the first human was to name all of the animals. A demanding job requiring a willing and joyful worker and a creative imagination; the first ever recorded job of any man: creativity. It’s stunning when you think about it, creativity comes out in every manner of our lives. In our speech, how we react to situations, how we spend our time, and what we enjoy.
Mournfully, screens separate us from creativity. The internet and really just about everything man made is not inherently evil, it is not inherently favorable either: it is the way it is used and it can be abused. The internet can be used for good or evil, as a tool, and only a tool. A hammer is not a bad thing, it can be used to build houses for the homeless, but it also can be used to brutally hurt someone: it is not the hammer, it is the way it was used. Like a pencil isn’t bad because it can spells bad words, and a gun isn’t bad because it can injure people: it was who used it and the way they used it.
Splitting away from your screens is an important way to up your creativity. Skimming, staring, and sinking in information is not the way to live life purposefully. This method actually decreases your creativity. I can prove it. After spending an hour on the internet how do you feel: inspired? Or bleh… Usually for me it’s the latter, even if I have been researching theology, or inspiring ideas. Decreasing internet time is a necessary step to furthering your creative reach. I probably don’t need to cite any studies for you to agree with me: we spend too much time doing nothing with time…on our screens.
Slowly decreasing the amount of time you spend on screens has so many benefits, for one you feel free, for another you free up time to do the things that really matter, making you joyful and content instead of bleh… and y…a…w…n… Using the time that would have been spent on social networking, looking up useless stuff, and just plain lolly-gagging can now be spent with a purpose: real live creativity.
One very exhilarating method of encouraging imagination is picking up something new. Preferably out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself.
*Reading a new book about something you are interested in, but have a very vague
*Painting, coloring, crafting
*Knitting, crocheting, sewing
*Writing, drawing, researching WITH REAL LIVE STUFF! Not on the net…
Imagine how refreshing a moment of making a new, summer recipe would be without constantly checking email! How awesome would a new painting (no one has to see) hanging on your closet wall be after an hour of relaxing music and paints? And really, if you have the time to be on Pinterest, or Facebook, or Gizmodo (fun to say, right?) for an hour, why wouldn’t trying your hand at drawing be more fulfilling? You will expand so much and gain creative energy which you can further invest in life. And just because no one can beat Doctor Seuss, this quote is awesome.
One friend of mine loves Dr. Seuss, and to be frank, who doesn’t? But what do you know about him? Why does that particular way of writing appeal to almost anyone? Why did he write that way? What was his real name?
You can pick almost any subject in the world to learn more about, learn about an art style, like the impressionists. Or the different eras of music. If you like a different set of things try reading a book on the history of modern day music, how to write rap, etc.
These are a couple books I would recommend on the subject of creating and freeing yourself.
- Present, by Keri May Lamar. Mrs. Lamar is a personal friend of mine and actually was the one who inspired me to write this, shares her story of her struggle with internet and being present.
- The Accidental Creative, by Todd Henry. Mr. Henry present ways to “create on demand” and to make the most of creative hobbies, desires, and jobs. This one is a very practical, here’s how kind of book.
- Unashamed, by Heather Davis Nelson. She pointedly dives at the fear of all fear: shame, once you read this book, you will understand how shame grips everything we as humans do, and how we are free from it in Christ.
Present and Unashamed are easy reads and the Accidental Creative is a bit longer, but definitely worth it. Other incredible side effects of trying something new will may include…
Boosted confidence. Lets face it, in this day-and-age confidence levels are dropping, while no culture has been perfect, we focus so much on “who am I?” and “who am I not?” and “who should I be?” A “me” focused world is always one that is afraid and insecure of who they are.
Expands your understanding. In the book of Proverbs the words “wisdom”, “knowledge” and “understanding” seem to be key pillars the whole of the book is written upon. They all fall into a similar category of knowing and choosing deliberately, with wisdom. Understanding your abilities and skills gives you yet another means to glorify God, because who gave them to you in the first place?
You won’t get bored. No one takes pleasure in boredom. As creatures made for work, we crave purpose, when work and purpose are taken away and we are left to skim and suck and slip through millions upon millions of gigabytes of meta-data. Bored out of minds and denying it constantly.
Satisfaction. “All men die, but not all men live.” Very true indeed, but in a world that is encouraging us to “follow our hearts” (which lead to sin) and “follow our dreams” (which lead to darkness) sometimes we are afraid of “living life to fullest.” Dear brothers and sisters, a full life is one where Christ is your main focus, and God is your fulfillment. Enjoying the wonderful things he has placed within your grasp and using them for His glory. What could be more satisfying?
We utilize more. All those wasted, lazy neurotransmitters, brain cells, and muscles will be reawakened, perhaps not all at once, and not all of them will be, but using them for creativity and imagination blesses us, we feel clearer, more focused, and we take advantage of the blessings bestowed upon us.
It forms a habit. All of the blessings mentioned above will become less of a novelty, and more of a daily wonder as we continue to press on with creativity and imaginative focus. The best part of everything that we do should all boil down to glorifying God.
Speaking of glorifying God, I am getting baptized on Sunday! Yay! I will probably write a post soon about that and I apologize for not posting sooner. Have a wonderful day!
Blessings in Christ,
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- Image 1: my photography
- Image 2: https://www.colourbox.com/preview/4487922-hand-holding-hammer-isolated-on-white.jpg
- Image 3: http://mxcdn02.mundotkm.com/2015/09/redes1.jpeg
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- Image 9: http://www.relatably.com/m/img/i-am-bored-memes/6d22265cf604105f1be5fc86186bd41aa0fd44e333a3b7fbc3e6d518a7597d52.jpg
- Image 10: https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Assessing-Life-Satisfaction.jpg