Joy is a verb

A few weeks ago my friend over at http://www.wetoatmealkisses.com invited me to join her book group reading ‘A Million little ways’ by Emily Freeman.  I’m so glad she did.  This book articulates so many of the feelings I have always had about the vital role of creativity in life and how we are all creators in a variety of ways.  Apart from a few doctrinal disagreements I have with the author about Adam and Eve and the fall, I felt this book was full of truth.  We are all called to be creators.  It’s what makes us come alive and brings us closer to God, closer to the joy that we are created to have.  Man is that he might have joy – it’s our purpose!  For me, and I suspect, for many people, joy is found not just in passive experiences but also in creating, infusing love and passion into things I do.  Joy is a verb, it’s something that takes action or at least some investment of the heart.  It takes noticing what makes you happy, and acknowledging it.  Sometimes it’s not easy to do that while we are stuck in the rut of the daily grind or rushing on to accomplish all our good works.  It’s easy for me to feel like a divine creator when I’m doing something artsy, with no interruption, but what about when I’m making dinner and still clearing the lunch mess off the table?  This book helped me remember that even the most mundane tasks can bring joy if I can look at myself as a creator in the image of the great creator, an artist bearing his image, even in those moments.  Sometimes I say I used to be a dancer, but that has never stopped being true no matter how long it’s been since I took class.  I am still a dancer, I’m always a dancer at heart, because to me, Dancing is when I am putting my heart and my art into what I do, making small actions meaningful.  In that way I can be a dancer while tucking my kids in bed, making a meal, or even cleaning my home to make it more beautiful.  It all depends on the amount of heart I put into it. If I am a creator, it also means my yearnings to create, dance, sing, write, and discover are as divinely appointed as my home making is.  It’s all part of who I am meant to be, a reflection of the creator.

A snippet from the book:

“Exploring desire might be uncomfortable for you.  In one way, it almost seems cruel to ask you to access this part of your soul, because really, on earth, there can never be complete satisfaction of your deepest desires.  To imply that there can be is unfair and untrue.  But hope does not disappoint.  When we recognize the place where our desire runs parallel to that of Christ’s, then we will live in the midst of the now-but-not-quite-yet with a peace that goes beyond our ability to understand. When we rescue the dreams of our childhood and respect the hope of things to come, we are agreeing with (God):  I am an image bearer.  I have a job to do.”

It’s a scarcity mentality that keeps me from creating sometimes, not wanting to even think about what I might desire for fear that I won’t have enough time, energy, or ability to create according to my desire.  It’s true, especially as mothers with so many responsibilities.  We may not even get to finish what we start.  But isn’t the process worthwhile?  Isn’t the practice of creating worth it, the joy in the journey?  And nothing is made without God, so we have that hope that he will join us and make us co creators with him.  But we have to take a step, examine our ideas and our inspirations and be willing to act.

What will you create today?  Is there a way you can bring the artist heart in you to play in your every day doings?

If you can, take the time to read ‘A million little ways’ – your creative heart will thank you!

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