I want to start with a verse from the Bible. Wait, don’t tune out. The Bible is a great book of ancient wisdom. Some say God even dictated some of the words to specific people. (Start with Matthew if you want to dive in.) I was reading through Exodus, which has some really difficult passages to read. I struggle through a lot of it. But, the other day I read Exodus 31:3. In it God says, “I have filled him with the divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, to design artistic designs.” Then I read a commentary that was in the margins of the Bible I was reading and it said, “The first person the Bible mentions as being filled with the spirit of God was an artist.”
The commentary went on to say (I was reading a Bible called The Spiritual Formation Bible by the way) that, “It is a common thought that art is simply a fringe benefit of society, something that occurs when there is enough leisure time left over from the essentials to produce it. The Bible knows nothing of this sort of thinking.
God’s art is right in the middle of everything, not on the margins, and it is in fact what is essential to Israel’s existence and identity.”
I was blown away. As a creative person, in life as in profession, I can’t believe I had not heard this before. I have been drawing, designing, singing, writing songs, stories and articles for years and have never heard this! How is that possible?
We as a culture put focus on business, making money, leadership, sales training, getting from point A to point B, conversion rates, sales funnels which are all important. And I know amazing people that do those things well and that is their “Art”. But design and creation is not something that is less important than those things. It is not just something for the margins. It is equally important and I think divinely inspired. The fact that an artist is the first person the Bible mentions as being filled with the spirit is amazing.
I am 37 and I never thought of my self as a “creative” until just a year or so ago. I always wanted to make things for sure, but I never thought about it like a label. I just made what I wanted to make. I made a lot of things because I wanted too, not because I wanted to be called a “creative” or some crap like that. I just make what I want to make. I write what I want to write. I follow the muse if you will.
I think I would ultimately define a creative person as someone who has something inside that needs to get out and if they aren’t getting it out, they are unhappy and discontent. It’s like Jon Lee Hooker’s father said, “He’s got the boogie boogie in him, and it’s gotta get out!”
I am now a creative director of a team with amazing designers and creatives, but I have a secret. For the first 10 years of my career, I didn’t even want to be a designer! I hated it honestly. It felt like I just knew how to use Photoshop better than the business person, and if they could do it, they would. Then I moved and got a new job with some really talented designers who always wanted to be designers! It was really fast and there were so many unbelievable designers that I was like “oh, that’s what a real designer is.”
I wasn’t sure I was one of those. I started believing the lies, “I am not good enough to be here.”, “I fooled them into hiring me”, “they don’t know I didn’t even want to be a designer”. Then over time as I was honest with people about this, I started to realize being a real creative is not about being a designer or musician or video editor. It is not about the medium, it is about how we think and I think it is for everyone. It is about creating something from nothing. It is about getting something that is inside my head or someone elses head out! It is about making existing things better. It is about evoking a feeling and moving an audience from one place to another. I am definitely one of those!
It’s not just about doing a job, it is about a way of life. A way of thinking, not a label. I had always been creative. I just never called it that. I just liked making things I wanted to make. Once I changed the way I thought about “creativity”, and looked at everything including my work this way, my life changed. I help people get what is in their heads, including mine…out.
Creative is a way of life and it is divinely inspired. In Exodus, a human, helped the Creator of the universe get what was in his head out into the world. What an incredible honor it is to be called a creative.