Sunday, February 4, 2018

Creativity for Well-Being 1 - Shining Your Light Into The World

Created in the image of The Creator, we are all creative, and indulging our creative passions increases our sense of well-being. Each Sunday this month, I’ll be sharing ideas and inspiration for using your creativity to draw closer to the Lord, to dive into the Word, and to live the abundant life. I’ll be using illustrated Bible journaling examples, but keep in mind that these principles apply to all forms of creativity. So, let’s get started! 

Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Every time I turn on the news and hear of another terrorist attack or mass murder, my heart breaks . . . again! We are living a difficult world right now. There have been so many senseless attacks and killings over the past couple of years! Do you ever wonder how you can shine your light into this world that’s seemingly filled with hatred and evil and dissension? And what can we do to process our own fear and sadness to maintain a sense of emotional well-being in these dark times? 

Creativity can be used to address both of these questions as it (1) helps us process our own painful emotions and feelings of helplessness and (2) provides a way for us to shine our light so that the Lord will be glorified.

Engaging in a creative activity can lead to a more positive state of mind and help us process our feelings and reactions. Many times after a tragic event, artists around the world will produce paintings, cartoons, images, songs, drawings, photographs, etc, as a way to process feelings, protest atrocities, and support the victims.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Centers, Alan Jackson, a popular country music singer, wrote a song entitled Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning to process his thoughts and emotions. That song not only became a number one hit, but it helped many others deal with deep emotions. It also reminded us all that love is the answer with these lyrics - “But I know Jesus and I talk to God, And I remember this from when I was young, Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us, And the greatest is love.

After the attacks in Paris in 2016, many illustrated Bible journalers around the world chose a scripture to represent their prayer for that city. They drew or traced the Eiffel Tower in the margin of their Bibles as a reminder of the brutal attack. Each time they see that page, they are reminded to pray for Paris and of the promises they’ve highlighted in the Word. During a year filled with reports of racial unrest here in the States, I painted a United States flag in my Bible as a reminder to pray for our nation and claim the promise in Psalm 33:12 – “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (You can see that page on my blog HERE.)

Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” We can use our creative gifts to do good and shine our light so that the Lord will be glorified.

I know of a local group of quilters who got together and used their creative gifts to complete rainbow colored quilts for the families of the victims of the shooting that occurred at a gay bar in Florida a couple of years ago. None of these ladies knew those individuals, but they recognized that each name on the list of victims represented a human being who left behind hurting loved ones. Rather than judge those victims’ lifestyle, they chose to process this atrocity by producing beautiful quilts to acknowledge the family’s loss and to let their light shine across the miles in a gesture that spoke volumes of love! Less than a month later, five police officers were shot and killed here in the Dallas area, and those ladies kept right on sewing and quilting to gift the families with quilts covered in the blue hearts that represent law enforcement.

There are so many other examples of creativity being used to do good – families baking cookies for first responders, card makers sending handmade cards to hurting families, graphic designers creating icons and images to be used as remembrances, etc. If you know of other examples of how individuals have used their creativity to shine light into our hurting world, please share them in the comments!

And this week, ask yourself - how can I use my creativity to process deep emotions and shine my light into the world so that God may be glorified?

[This is part 1 of a four-part series that I first shared in an Abundant Life/Well-Being Facebook group several months ago.]

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