Have you ever just went for a walk out in nature, just to explore your surroundings? Unencumbered by phone or other technological devices, except for maybe a camera? And as you’re out on this walk, have you ever just taken in your surroundings, not so much just being aware of, ‘I’m on a sidewalk. Oh, here comes someone, I need to step aside so we don’t crash into each other!’ But really just paused your thoughts and really appreciated the beauty around you? Have you ever stopped and pondered where that beauty comes from, really appreciated just being alive? Back in 2009, I went on a retreat with some friends down near Ash Cave (that’s where I took this photo, during the time my then-roommate and I were out on a nature hike). As a writer and someone who loves to play around with cameras, I tend to see things a bit ... differently, you could say, than someone who is, say, an architect or someone who likes to refurbish old vehicles to their former glory. But it all boils down to one thing: Creativity. We all, each of us, has something to offer the world in terms of art.
Art isn’t limited to just painting, or just writing, or just building. It’s so many things, and the question came up during a conversation: do we stop to wonder where that creativity came from?
Given we’re all created in the image and likeness of God, it stands to reason that He’d extend that desire to create things into us, too, when He created us. In Jeremiah, it says, ‘Before I created you in the womb, I knew you.’ That’s heavy, isn’t it? Stop and look at a tree sometime, or even just appreciate a simple dandelion (before you pluck it from your garden). Each little thing we take for granted that’s around us, we should stop and take it in. Appreciate the intricacy of the details of the colours, the designs. There’s no happenstance reason for it being there. It had to come from Somewhere, right? God gave us something He didn’t give the animals or even the other plants: the ability to notice the beauty of our surroundings. There’s something oddly beautiful about seeing old buildings or even a cluster of weeds in the dirt straining toward the sun. Our Lord is a Creative, Himself. He loves to make things so much, He shared that part of Himself with us. I once read a quote, ‘Our talent is a gift from God. What we do with that talent is our gift back to Him.’ (Anonymous)
God didn’t just look at a list of specifications for each of us that He wanted to include in terms of what we’d look like or enjoy in our free time. He thought more about the intricate details of our personalities, too. He thought of the music we’d enjoy if we’d play an instrument, our favourite colours, all of it. God wanted to include as much of Himself in creating us as He knew our finite little minds could handle. So, one of those things was that creativity that He, Himself, possesses. One of the coolest things about our relatability with the Almighty is the ability to take a few bits of seemingly odds and ends and making something elaborate with it. For example a hank of yarn and a couple of knitting needles. Or some fabric, thread, and a machine with a needle. Within minutes (or depending on the project, hours, days), you’ve taken something in your mind and brought it into fruition.
Next time you’re out with your family, or even by yourself, stop and breathe in your surroundings. Take in everything. The birds chirping, the trees, the animals, even the insects (yes, even the irritating ones). Take it all in and whisper a prayer of thanksgiving to our Father for all He’s given us, and for the talents you, yourself possess, because He’s the Author of all that we are and have.