Creativity, as a principle, is baffling. It is the manifestation of free will. A lot of people are challenged by being creative or not. I think I have beat this horse enough, but everyone is creative by design. The breath of God in your life, is Christ-likeness entering your body. As an image bearer, you carry creativity in the depths of your being.
Free will plus creativity is what introduces everything into existence. For example, when man chose to listen to evil in the garden, through man’s free will, death was introduced. In return, the Potter’s response was to repurpose death by rendering it powerless. Man chose separation while God’s response was to rework death and give life abundantly. Creativity is a dance. God, for days, created with His voice. It wasn’t until man that He put hands to dirt and put His life into man. We were made to dwell, creating forever alongside our heavenly partner.
Creativity then becomes one of the greatest tools against evil. Free will which brought with it a twisted reality, allows new creation to make crooked paths straight. Consider it this way, man was created to rule and reign with authority that is both spiritual and physical. Jesus returns the authority of earth to man after the masterpiece of the cross. Spiritual authority comes through communion with Holy Spirit who comes on the scene in Acts 2. We, though one, live in two realities. The only other being that has authority both physically and spiritually is none other than the Godhead. Three parts, One, God walked with us in the cool of the day and became flesh through Jesus. There is no other being with God given authority to create, physically and spiritually. The enemy cannot create. The enemy can pervert, deceive and bargain to overtake the authority of man, but evil does not have ultimate power. Therefore, creativity is the threshing floor for cultivating authority over darkness and a power tool for the expansion of the Kingdom!
When I was 7 years old, I chose to accompany one of my best friends at the time to see “The Bride of Chucky.” The movie was horrendous. I was struck with fear for years, thinking that this possessed doll was going to murder me in my sleep. Moving into my teens, I went with a group of my peers to see “The Grudge.” Again, my heart was devastated. For months I was unable to sleep in my own bed. I imagined the characters from the film appearing at the foot of my bed. These two movie encounters happened before my actual relationship with Jesus began. They became training ground for my imagination. When these images showed up, my heart had the opportunity to slay them. Fast forward to my sophomore year of college, and I was not doing well. My heart was being rewired and I was medicating in any way that I could. Self-confidence became the mask for what had become depression. I was beginning to question my worth. One of my friends invited me to go see a movie entitled “The Rite,” all about the rite to exorcism in the Catholic church. Looking at my track record with horror movies, the sane answer would have been “no”. An hour or so later I found myself engulfed in a new spiritual experience, this time identifying things inside of me accompanied by a soda and some popcorn. This film tore a hole in the lies I had been agreeing with. Fear once again attached itself to my life. I returned to my dorm room and confronted the opposition with scripture and a mind set on the truth that Christ had set me free.
I share this story as an extreme example. It is personal, but still nuanced. There were pieces in these story that perverted my understanding of creativity. Saying yes out of naivety at age 7, saying yes out of a desire to be cool at 13, and saying yes at age 20 because I truly had nothing left made me susceptible to the dark side of creativity. And yet, the Lord redeemed these experiences by empowering me to use His weapons as tools to defeat fear. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18. The most loving thing for me in those seasons was to encounter the Lord, one on one and to allow him to creatively rework these pieces of art and redeem them for me. It was some of the most humbling training I had ever been through, because it was the Lord solely at work in my heart. He was reshaping my understanding for the reign and rule of creativity.
Am I endorsing using horror movies as a creative training model? Absolutely not. What I am endorsing is that everything that has been perverted can be reworked and redeemed. As creatives, we have the opportunity to bring the Spirit that was breathed into us and breathe it into our creative pursuits so that more people can experience the love of God.