CREATIVITY IN DIFFICULT TIMES
Soaring through the Sore Times
by Ana Pereira de Vlieg
Would you be interested if you knew that Creativity empowers you to feast in the presence of your enemies? That it is a tool we have been gifted with in our DNA that can help us to process uncertainty and then stimulate hope and joy.
Some of what I share may cause your mind to link in with personal experiences you have had. My suggestion would be to have your journal ready to take down some of those nuggets. I have highlighted the possible exercises that you can start off with in your journal.
How do we get to SOAR in the Sore Times of our lives?
I have learn’t to practice some techniques that have helped me and may be useful for you.
When you understand the link between your relationship with God and your supernatural creative destiny, you will feel the power of art to heal and to help you.
You will also feel the power of art to bless and encourage others in times of need.
Creative people are photographers, dancers, musicians, painters, fine artists, writers and chefs. They are also people involved in drama, teaching, fashion and floristry to mention just a few. Creative people are also found in businesses, family, church life, entertainment, media, education, government, recreation, work and play. In fact, all of us are creative.
How do we begin to create?
How do we soar when it is difficult and the weather is turbulent and unpredictable.
How do we get rid of fear and replace that with faith so that you can embrace freedom and fun through creating?
How can we be influencers through our creativity and able to shift the atmosphere in our home and in others lives?
How can we use creativity to heal in times of loss and disease?
Questions such as these frame some of the articles I write. My prayer is that you will experience their answers in your own beautiful expressive and tangible way.
I believe we are on the tipping point of something new and as we sit in the eye of this storm, I invite Holy Spirit to settle in our hearts and in your homes as you begin to experience a loosening of God’s love, fun and freedom through Creativity.
TIPS TO SOARING ABOVE YOUR STORMS.
1 SHUT DOWN THE NEGATIVE AND SET UP : cut away the lies.
2 SET UP FOR TAKE OFF: preparing your safe space.
3 BE STILL: know God is real, seek His truth for you. Art as Prayer.
4 SHOUT OUT THE POSITIVE : declare the Goodness in your life…Art as Declaration
5 SOOTHE YOUR SOUL : be a Peacekeeper, Art as Manifestation.
Creating alleviates pressure of pain.
Creating encourages compassion and empathy.
Creating shifts our focus to new perspectives.
Creating encourages others.
1. SHUT DOWN THE NEGATIVE.
It is helpful to understand that in times of stress, one of the first faculties to experience psychic numbing is creativity. Yet it is the very thing that helps one to process real life situations and assist in healing.
I do not refer here to producing a complete artwork, although it has often been the case that beauty has indeed arisen out of the ashes. I will elaborate further in my next article.
When I sit still and begin to create I filter through three voices.
Our ‘inner critique’, is a voice that tells you that you are not good enough, skilled enough or clever enough to create. It is only ‘a’ voice and you have the capacity, grace and power through Christ Jesus to switch it off. I generally do not encourage rubbing out as every line my students and creatives make becomes important to the whole artwork.
But in this case, as you see these negative comments arise in your mind’s landscape – be free to take bleach and vanish it!
The other voice comes from your experience of a circumstance. That is your reality as you see and feel it. Creative acts such as writing and drawing helps you process and make sense of your inner and outer world. This helps you to make constructive responses to your situation. So in this case, I am honestly sitting in the safe and sacred place with God and expressing my pain of loss, of disappointment, of being hurt and also my joy, my passion and my excitement.
Creativity happens through both the agony of life and also through the ecstasy of life.
The most empowering voice to listen to is from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit because together they have the richest voice to define who you are in your circumstance.
More than an Overcomer. Victorious, Courageous and Brave hearted.
Are some scriptures coming up for you right now?
Jot them down before you continue.
The joy of the Lord is your strength…
Christ in me the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
Be strong and courageous for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.(Joshua 1.9)
We are not alone. (Psalm 68 is inspirational)
God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
Reading a part of scripture and doodling your response to that can be a very enjoyable and creative act.
The beautiful thing about knowing that you are all born to create is that it is in the fabric of your making. God first created the heavens and the earth. It was the very first action we read about. And the good news is that we are made in the image of God, male and female. (Genesis 1:27).
How do we begin to rub out the lies and draw in a new visual in our minds that speaks of peace and tranquility, that builds up faith in the midst of fear and difficult situations?
2 SET UP FOR TAKE OFF
To declutter and make space for the creative is the beginning of inviting this characteristic into your life.
Seek out a place in your home. Gather some art materials such as:
a colour pencil set, watercolours, pen, pencil, eraser, sharpener
sketch/drawing paper /notebook or journal
I love to associate creating to the act of entertaining friends over a meal.
You need to know you have all the ingredients necessary to be able to make the meal.
Your friend in these times is an encounter with God.
It has been said that creativity happens best on waking. You feel fresher, fitter and something about being close in time frame to your sleeping hours feels magical to me.
God whispers messages and broods a sweet song over you as you sleep and this is special to record and easily forgotten as the day gets stronger.
If however you feel your creativity rises during your day then having a space set up enables your time.
You can write a new story, draw a new shape, colour in a doodle, create a new painting or simply copy what is in front of you. To celebrate each new day is key.
We are told in scripture that joy comes in the morning. That His mercies are new and fresh each day.
3 BE STILL. ART AS PRAYER.
Be still, and stop your striving, surrender your anxiety because God is near and He is the I AM in your now. (Psalm 46.10)
I have mentioned the space of creating is time with God. If playing with God feels daunting I am here to suggest to you that He already knows your heart better than you know it and that He loves you beyond performance or perfection.
Take a look at Psalm 139. It will warm your heart. Try reading it in The Passion Translation of the New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs and Song of Songs.
You may be inspired to see a colour or doodle a image, as you read it. Look for words that jump out at you and doodle around this. Ask God to show you what is being revealed to you through that word.
Creativity requires authenticity and who better to be vulnerable with than with our Heavenly Creator that loves us recklessly, kindly, gently and knows our hearts even before we do. As I invite the Holy Spirit into my space to create, He meets me and my art becomes a prayer. Creativity provides the opportunity to meet God in a very deep intimate way.
What if you could imagine yourself in Gods freshly created garden?
What beauty do you see there? Where would you choose to sit?
Describe this or dream a little, be patient and wait for the images to come to mind.
If you wish to get further inspired read Song of Songs 2:8-13 (The Passion translation)
4 SHOUT IT OUT. ART AS DECLARATION
Come everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! For the Lord Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth. He subdues the nations before us, putting enemies beneath our feet. (Psalm 47:1-3)
Declaring God’s goodness and enjoying His freedom and fun leads us to a more secure place. Just recently I painted a childlike Rainbow of Hope over the skyline of our city as a prophetic painting onto our gate. Those that pass enjoy the colours and perhaps are reminded of Gods promise of protection and providence in their lives too.
Recall the way children run without fear and walk with confidence. The faith in children is inspiring and teaches me to play in our own creativity. To laugh after all is the best medicine. There is no such thing as a mistake. Every mark you make is significant.
If your work feels childlike, that is because it is! Your inner child is creating. This process is powerfully important. Be gentle with yourself through it. Be patient with yourself.
You do not need to have studied art in order to be creative and participate in this gift that resides within you too.
I travel with a tin of watercolours, pens and brushes. These are my companions and the first thing I pack before my clothes. I often share my tin ingredients with people I meet and it is those that have no prior experience that hold my gaze. They simply respond in an unfiltered, free abandon. The look of joy on their faces afterwards causes such excitement in me. It has to be God’s response through me for I barely know these travellers.
What fun! What freedom! What Love!
Begin with a pen or oil pastel on paper and make a line.
See your line as going for a walk, what direction would it take?
Would the line look like a dance? would it be continuous or sporadic?
Notice the feel of the crayon or pencil on the paper, the way it slides.
Invite Holy Spirit into your creativity page.
5 SOOTH YOUR SOUL – ART AS MANIFESTATION
Creating something makes the abstract become real. Making an artwork for me displays my emotions and makes something theoretical become real.
Each painting I begin is like diving into a new river. As I drop pigment into a pool of water, it gathers a life of it’s own…I love it! Something arises from nothing.
Thank God in everything, no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks; for this is the will of God for you (who are) in Christ Jesus (the Revealer and Mediator of that will). (1Thessalonians 5:18)
What if you feel too overwhelmed to create?
Here are some exercises to help shift your focus
Praying in colour or spider diagrams for those people God lays on your heart.
What about praying a portrait of someone a day over a week, a month.
You get to choose and author your project – whatever God lays on your heart.
I wonder what that will be?
What about praying for your country, what would the map of Africa look like?
Why don’t you print one the night before, ask God for words to speak life into your city and as you awake record what He shows you?
It is important to date your efforts as then you can trace things God has promised or revealed to you later. This builds your faith.
Statistics show that the act of making Art has proven to alleviate stress, increase tolerance, empathy, compassion, and alter the pain we at times endure both physically and emotionally.
My prayer is that you will encounter this gift of creativity and believe that you are indeed chosen, that you are significant, that you do have a hope and a future and that God in you is your destiny. Be blessed as you begin your journey. I look forward to receiving your stories.
Ana de Vlieg teaches, trains and transforms art-making into a world of therapy. Enthused to encourage Creativity in all peoples. She holds a keen interest in colour mixing, drawing one’s way into “seeing” and opening up opportunities to pause life whilst discovering the hidden “gold “within.
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