Where does creativity originate in the human spirit?
Recently, I was in discussion with several acting friends and we were discussing what makes great actors truly “great”. One of the actors said that he believes you have to be truly crazy to be a great and inspired actor. As an artist, this is not the first time I’ve heard this belief, but is it really the true inspiration for creativity? Does it really take an addiction, an extreme mental dysfunction, or an angry social framework to be a creative?
On the surface, this belief appears to have enough support to make a valid case, but not when you look at creativity in its entirety. We’ve seen many examples that, on the surface, appear to affirm the idea that you must be deeply troubled to be a creative – at least a truly “great” one. Whether it is Vincent van Gogh, Heath Ledger, Kurt Cobain, or Mozart we have attributed art, creativity, and expression with the dysfunctions each artist wrestled with during their lives and not the greater narrative taking place.
If we are truly honest with ourselves, who among us does not suffer from some form of dysfunction, whether that manifests itself through anger, addiction, depression, anxiety, lust, greed, hatred, and fear? Would we consider these dysfunctions the “defining” characteristic of the art form we all participate in, which is our lives? Wouldn’t we want those watching our life story to see the entire human being and not just the dysfunction we wrestle with?
Brokenness does often find its voice through creative expression, whether that is in painting, music, acting, dancing, or another artistic expression. But brokenness is not the only reason we create, for if that is actually the case, there is nothing for us to do but revel in our misery. Creativity is of no use to someone with no hope, but true creativity isn’t completely summarized in the despair we feel inside, despite how it appears at first glance.
Creativity is the expression of the human spirit, despite it’s contradictions – full of brokenness, hope, fear, peace, pride, humility, grace, bitterness, love, lust, dreams, and failures – seeking purpose, meaning, reconnection to the Divine, and hope for our soul’s longings yet fulfilled.
We are created in the image of the true Creator of all time and space, an infinite Being who has no beginning and no end. As human beings we are designed to create, to inspire, to dream, to love, to hope, and to seek the face of God. You and I are no ordinary beings. As C.S. Lewis once perfectly said, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”
We’ve lost the connection to perfect creativity through the fall, the separation of humanity from our Creator. None of us are without evil in our hearts when we enter this life, which has caused our creativity to no longer be about perfect love between us and God, but rather it is an expression of the missing connection we once had and long to regain.
Often, creativity is inappropriately aligned with humanity’s various dysfunctions because we often sense the “heart and soul” behind the melody, the brush strokes, the fine craftsmanship, the dance, the movement, the beauty, and the passion within the art itself. But this is merely the heart crying out for who we truly long to be.
You were always meant to create. You have always been an artist. You were designed to be a reflection of the light of your Creator. You were meant to live in fullness and in eternity with the infinite Lover of humanity, expressing your love for Him in new and passionate ways.
Through Jesus all things are made new, and that can include your life, your story, and your future. He’s created this moment even now for you to turn to Him, to find shelter in his scars, to reclaim what was lost, and to find a new life in connection to Him.
Only in connection to the Creator will we truly discover our authentic artistry.