I longed for the day of discovery. I knew it must be stashed somewhere, maybe hidden under a rug, or hung in a lonely closet? The awful thing was, the longer the search the more elusive the answer seemed. My hopes of ever finding my prize dripped away with every day of drudgery.
Would I ever find it?
Was I not told again and again that there is some magnificent plan at work? A destiny I was shaped to embody and gloriously fulfill?
So tell me, who has hidden or stolen it?
That’s how so many people feel, chasing dreams, looking under every stone, hoping that finally their day will come and the lottery of life will open its treasures.
We know we have a creative gift, a great and significant destiny calling us upward and onward, but life’s rough edges have worn our resolve to the bone. The idea of stepping up and stepping out used to be an exciting prospect, pregnant with hope, but today it’s just frightening. Another disappointment may be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back.
Plastered against a backdrop of screaming voices on the internet, pulling you in every direction with inflated promises and the next glistening opportunity, the bombardment can be wearing.
The grand design can be shaved thin by many devilish tools.
It comes from all directions. Satan is not choosy. If diminishing your sense of worth works, that’s his tack. If keeping you frantically chasing the next shiny object in the hope that your breakthrough is hidden behind yet another sales page he’ll plaster your life with endless opportunities to pry your credit card from its pouch until your resolve, or your bank account, runs dry.
On the other side, it can be the drip, drip, drip of discouragement that silences the awesome creative spirit within you and causes you to crawl into a shady place – the shadow life lived through others who have made the break.
Rough words from a tactless teacher, disbelief from parents and friends, a string of failed experiments that appear to bolster the secret fears we harbor about our potential.
The list goes on.
Creativity is applauded on the one hand. The kings and queens of expression are lifted up as almost otherworldly examples of human genius. Meanwhile, on planet earth, creative aspirations are often frowned upon.
Creatives are lampooned as dreamers and folks who’ve lost touch with reality. What makes you think you can make it as an artist, an author, an actor? Why would your message be of interest to anyone beyond a tiny insignificant crowd?
Perhaps I am laying the mud on thick here. I do so for a reason. The devil is no pansy. He holds nothing back in his war against the image of the One he hates.
Satan has no power whatsoever to create anything of value. All he can do is heist the genius of God’s image-bearers and twist their inherent creativity in lamentable and destructive ways.
I urge you to pick up spiritual arms and wage war against his lies.
You are a unique and marvelous gift to humanity, and there is no other in history who can offer what you carry to the table.
Martha Graham, the pioneering dancer said:
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
You carry a priceless treasure on the inside. It is your creative nature. The very image and likeness of the One who made you.
Like the lost coin of Jesus parable in Luke chapter 15, it must be reclaimed.
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!” (Luke 15:8–9 NKJV)
So many souls are lost to eternity. Many more never live their life, even though redeemed and secured. Their bright creative light is dimmed and hidden.
Don’t allow satan to keep you in the dark. Light your lamp and search incessantly until you find that spark you once carried. That missing piece that fits all else into place.
Your redemption is not just an insurance policy, it is an invitation to live fully and freely here on earth, adding value to the world through the unique expression that bears your name!
How do we find that lost coin of creativity?
I would love to be able to tell you that there is a click-finger solution to this most pressing of problems, but there’s not. For all of the easy-quick-cheap-effortless answers the marketing world wants to foist upon you, the reality is that it takes work. If it were easy, effortless, and cheap everyone would live in the luxury of fulfillment, joyously sharing their authentic self with an adoring audience.
Back here on planet earth, the process of discovery is often layered with dirt.
Roadblocks and reasonings.
Fears and failings and feelings and fumblings.
Discovering your awesome is like digging dirt. You sometimes need to shift a lot of earth before you hit the precious vein that carries your voice to the world
The lady in the parable hunted tirelessly until. You need to do the same.
The journey can be challenging. The temptation to turn around and head back to the village with your tail between your legs will press upon you at times. Shame will sneak up on you and poke its bony finger in your face, spewing a river of “I told you so’s”.
But the prize is worth the work.
The delight is worth the digging.
Not just for you, but for the ones you will help and encourage.
There are not many devotionals that stick with me for decades but one story I read in “Streams In The Desert” by LB Cowman, has never left me.
The author relates this far better than I can, But I will try.
It pictures a small girl who finds a cocoon. Inside she can see the encased butterfly struggling to escape its woven womb. Thinking to do the exhausted creature a favor, the girl carefully slices the cocoon and waits for the beauty of the full-formed butterfly to take wing and grace the world with its wonder. Instead, the pitiful creature falls from the opening and dies, limp and helpless in her hand.
The struggle, the pressing against resistance, the pushing and straining to break the mold and finally find the full expression of its nature, is the very thing that pumps the blood into its crumpled wings and allows it to fly when finally the casing cracks.
I believe it’s the same with our personal gifts and full-formed personality. It becomes encased in layers of resistance over the years, and the playful believing child is wrapped out of sight. The dreams still call to us as we grow, but when we respond we discover that it is not easy.
Being yourself, without fear and full of faith should be a cinch, right?
I have found that it is not. It is a great quest to reclaim and rediscover your beauty and let it fly.
Harness the resistance. Let it squeeze a deeper reality from the depths of who you are as a child of the Creator. Understand that the pressing through is all part of the great Creator’s plan. That your mess and your message is often intertwined. That your journey will be the very thing that helps others to reach their destination.
Paul speaks of this in the book of Philippians:
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12 NKJV)
Pressing forward, meaning “endeavoring earnestly to acquire”, to take hold of all that Christ has taken hold of you for.
Do this daily. Building habits that respect your dreams and hopes. Disciplines that lean into the person you believe yourself to be. You are willing to face the prospect of a hard climb at times, or a long dig. Your desire to write or sing or paint or dance overrides the world’s baying discouragement.
Dear creative friend, make your desire to make something beautiful a priority. Don’t back off.
Whatever your circumstances may say, whatever voices stand in your way, push through them, pressing toward your own mark, those set by the planting of God in your heart.
For me, it’s being a writer.
This post, these words, are part of my pushing the cocoon. I feel the creative juice flowing through my veins as I do. Even if hidden from the world there is a bursting beauty that will one day break out and bring something remarkable showing down.
Some days that’s easy to believe, other days not so. Sometimes it feels inevitable that the breakthrough will occur. Other days I feel more like a caterpillar curled away and reluctant to emerge.
The important thing is to keep pressing regardless of the feelings.
To recognize that there’s a unique expression only you can bring. And do all you can to transform your ideas into action.
For you, it could be words on the page each day, images painted, sketches done, instruments played, or a new song sung. Keep digging. Keep pushing.
You are special, and no one else can go deep enough to draw you out. It is a hero’s journey you alone undertake. Others may help and direct. They may even act as guides. But at the end of the day, your love and wonder is not going to be a pale reflection of someone else’s experience, it’s a glowing testimony to who God has made you, and you alone, to be.
This treasure, maybe lost for years, is reaching for your attention. It is the treasure of creativity calling to be recognized and released.