Called to Create? How Discovering Your Why Helps You Lean Into Your Design
Businesses have vision statements and project plans. Teachers create curricula and benchmarks. In the working world, we see clear paths and boundaries for how companies and individuals do business. The creative, though, who is living her everyday life needs a different path. So, what do artists do? They have a Called to Create document clarifying their “why.”
While I’ve written words and been creative all my life, I didn’t call myself a writer until my mid-forties. Before now, I defined myself by the roles I filled - mom, teacher, homeschooler, ministry volunteer. Woven in each of those roles were creativity and a heart that longed for more opportunities to cultivate it. I just didn’t know how to get there.
Today, I am a writer and tell people so with joy. I am also a photographer, painter, mom, teacher, and a million other things. You too? Yes, our lives are busy and full of responsibilities, people we love, and little time for more.
On the rare occasion, though, when we have a chance to tap into our creative side, our hearts lift with joy and our burdens seem lighter. For me, that looked like craft projects with my little children, using my camera on vacations, or the rare visit to a museum. However, the idea of calling myself an artist or creating time in my schedule to pursue creative endeavors felt, well, indulgent.
Today, I have a different view, but it’s been a long road to get here. Even today, when I sit down and stare at a blank page and no ideas are coming, I need a reminder of why I do this at all.
The Inner Struggle
My husband is an engineer, and he rarely struggles with an inner critic that causes him to doubt his work. In his free time, he loves to fish and hunt and never shies away from telling people about his hobbies. When a carpenter sets down his hammer and watches a show with his wife, he would still confidently tell you he is a carpenter. A teacher is still a teacher during summer break when she has no students. A marketing manager has office hours and takes vacations.
What about us creative souls?
- She has written words her whole life, journals and letters, but would never call herself a writer.
- When life got hard, painting was a safe place for her to heal and process. Today, she still sketches on everything and loves art. Yet, if asked, she downplays not just her ability but its importance in her life.
- From poetry she wrote as a child to the songs she hums to her children today, music is a part of her soul. However, the idea of sharing that art at her church or telling others she writes music is a foreign concept to her.
We struggle to flourish in our creative design. Yet, deep in our hearts, we long to cultivate a life of purpose and beauty that includes creativity. How do we make progress? It takes a mindset shift and a few timely reminders to keep us on track.
Discover Your Why
Several years ago I created a Called to Write document for myself. From inspirational quotes and scripture to tracing a path of creativity in my life, I gathered the arrows that pointed to my creative call. At the end of it, I wrote a commitment to myself and God to steward those gifts for the glory of God and the sake of others. It’s now posted on the wall behind my desk where I can have a visual reminder of my “Why.”
Would you like to create one? Here’s what I included.
Oh, the words that have been written about creativity, art, and the gifts God gives! Find your favorites and pick one that particularly inspires you.
Take some time to think through why your creative endeavors are important to you. Whether they simply help you be a better version of yourself or you love to use them to serve others, write a 2-3 sentence summary of why you want to put a priority on creativity in your life.
Over the years I’ve gathered scripture verses that pertain to my writing life and ministry. They keep me on track, remind me of God’s goodness and love, and encourage me to stay the course. Choose one or two verses that point you to our creative God and to your creative design.
Every life is unique. How has God woven creativity into your life over the years? Include interests as a child, hobbies, work you have done, difficulties you have faced, pursuits, people, and events that have shaped your creative design. Do you see the arrows?
Along the way, people have recognized your creative design. Trace those open doors. Look for people connections, memberships groups, accomplishments, awards, or opportunities you were given to use your gifts.
Words of Affirmation
- Have others commented on your ability to use words/art/music/dance/crafting?
- Have others consistently come to you for counsel or advice on a particular topic?
- Who believes in you as a writer/artist/creative?
- Where have you noticed that your words/art matter in the world?
- (Yes, your children count.)
Are you beginning to believe what God says about you and your life as a creative individual? Write a commitment to yourself and God to steward those gifts.
Lean Into Your Design
Take your time thinking through this Called to Create document. Pray to seek God’s wisdom and discernment. Consult with trusted family and friends. Journal and reflect on what lies in your past so that you can lean with confidence into your future.
Finally, friend, you are on a journey. I’d love to walk with you as you cultivate a life of purpose and beauty. I have several resources available to encourage and support you.
Connect with me online. Instagram is my playground. I love visual arts, video, and connecting with you. Come over and say, "hello!"
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