Recently I’ve been coming across a lot of stress and effort poured into finite-izing creativity- and it’s been an itch I have been aching to scratch out. People who seem extremely eager to organize and put creativity into boxes that shouldn’t be touched or, let out to breathe at all; those guys make me hyperventilate a little. Now me on the other hand, being someone who’s lived life with a come-what-may attitude, I’ve gotten quite used to last minute requests to conduct adorations or lead praise and worship or write anything at all (why hello, JesusYouth lifestyle- turns out I’ve been expecting you my whole life- jk, please don’t kill me). I also thrive under pressure, so the “trial by fire” is something that forces the creative in me, into hyperdrive and almost always chases away any sense of an organized flow of things in my life. I can’t help it, I was wired this way, you guys!
And here’s the thing- for me, saying “Yes” to an ever-creative God, translated naturally to going on lots of ever-creative adventures. Why would it ever mean anything else? We’re dealing with a God who makes one wild dandelion different from the next! If He couldn’t stop himself from being creative with dandelions that get mowed down every week, why would you think, He’s going to stop being creative with the gift that He died for, that is life? Of course He won’t! As Bishop Barron once commented that, just like Mary’s fiat was an acquiescence to a great adventure, so is our ‘Yes’. Yet how many times do we fall into the trap of seeing God’s adventure, as a major inconvenience to our humdrum 10-year plans. Such boring old “adults” we are, rather than being truly like children, who trust their parents for their daily bread. But I looove living this way (maybe to a fault)- it’s just unbelievable to watch unfold before you, how beautifully the Lord works in the moment-to-moment, flying by the seat of your pants efforts of daily lives. How He weaves together the threads of humanity and, uses others to supply your needs to overflowing, and in turn uses you to do the same for others- Every. Single. Day. Breathtaking is one word that comes to mind. There is just no stumping an infinitely creative God.
To come back to the creative, I saw in my own life, how when I completely forget the tune of a song that is cued for me to start right now in the middle of adoration- it’s a moment to embrace earnest prayer (if only for my memory loss) and inspire a very creative singing of old-school tunes. I see how the Lord shows up in every moment, without fail, like a father closely following behind his baby who’s just learning to walk. I also think it taught me how to trust God, in a very real way, in the smallest of things- and led me step by step, to eventually trusting Him on the really big decisions. Again, made sense to me. How could I trust God to lead me onto a totally different career path, if I didn’t trust Him to help me lead a simple adoration? Or if I couldn’t trust Him to stop the crack in my windshield from spreading, till I could afford to get it fixed? Or calling on my trusted all-round-engineer (Mother Mary) to miraculously hold together my dying college laptop till my last final, to fall apart on me. For me, He’s always shown up when I cast an upward glance. I’m in Therese’s boat for this much at least.
As someone who doesn’t see visions or hear God’s voice, I often liken my “hearing” God’s voice as similar to the ‘creative’. But just like a random new tune or turn of phrase that, pops into my head from nowhere, His voice just appears. I know it’s not me, laboring for hours on the idea, or me making it up- because it’s suddenly there and I’d never thought ‘it’ before. Not sure how theologically correct that it (don’t get me kicked out of the church, fellow Catholics), but that’s how I can best describe “hearing” God. Which to me makes sense. It also makes sense that He communicates to each of us, in such a unique way. Of course the infinitely creative God, would find infinitely creative ways to talk to us. Why would he be boringly formulaic- that would be rather anti-climactic in fact. I’ll come back to the creative though, because in an increasingly PC world, where beauty is one of the few transcendentals left to draw people in to God, we cannot abandon God in the creative now! We need the infinity of words, phrases, music and art that, He brings forward, in a more jaw dropping way, than ever before.
I turn on the radio (especially Christian radio) these days, to find the same music spun in so many de-ja-vu inducing ways; buildings turned into flat slabs of inexpressive concrete in the name of minimalism (even my beloved Catholic churches that are built like square concrete buildings, with no beautiful acoustics (that in old churches, make the hair stand on my neck); and everyone pouncing on the same trending meme/look/music to further their own agenda, with a fear to be absolutely original. Rather than crunch God/ “Christian” into the current trend, in a barely passable way, we should ask Him to show us the infinitely creative ways He could move things along. But of course, beauty takes bravery and patronage. It forces us to ask, “Why?”- a question so rarely asked by anyone but 4 year olds these days. So I decided this year, at the very least, to be brave enough to build up beauty, and to encourage the truly beautiful when I see it. And we can all do this and, support a brilliant, but starving artist out there. I just really wanted to support someone who makes something so uniquely beautiful, it would be like supporting the budding Michaelangelo or Bach (eg. Audrey Assad) or Flannery O’Connor (eg. Marc Barnes), brilliant monks like Aquinas (maybe Matt Fradd’s, Pints with Aquinas?) of our time- we so desperately need it! So be brave, let God spill into your creative and help beauty thrive 😊
PS: Maybe in the comments, I’d love to hear about someone who makes something beautiful that, you totally love and who’s art you cannot stop stalking.