So far we have covered the idea that you were made unique (June 6th) and that you were made for others (June 26th). Today’s instalment is about the fact that we are made to make, we are creative beings.
Whether or not you believe the world was made and whether or not you believe Earth is the only planet with intelligent life or not it is undeniable that the defining feature of our world is human thought.
Humans are the not the biggest or strongest creature but we rule. Our world is a world conquered by humans, by human endeavour and technology – a land of cities, concrete, cars and computers.
This conquest is a result of the fact that we are conscious, thinking beings. We do not just live to survive, to eat and reproduce, we are aware of who we are and what we are doing.
This human consciousness is the most extraordinary feature of our extraordinary world – our world is a human world, shaped by human creative power. We were created to create, we were made to make and the simplest expression of this is our ability to make choices.
We each make hundreds of choices every day. Many of them will be made on auto pilot so we don’t even realise we’ve made a choice, many will be the same choice we made the day before.
Today you decided what to wear, you’ll decide what to eat. We decide who to talk to and what to say to them. We decide how we’re going to handle different situations, how to react to the baffling email, the screaming toddler, the guy who cuts us up when we just want to get home.
Every day we have this myriad of choices and they add up to our lives – will we deal with that habit? Will we take that opportunity? Will we just do what we normally do?
We can veer to two possible extremes – one is the control freak – the domineering boss, the helicopter parent, the tantrumming child.
The other extreme is the victim, the passive recipient, self-pitying, denying responsibility.
We need a middle way – to accept responsibility for our choices without trying to force our will on the universe. That means realising we need to take initiative but also to seek advice, to choose to listen, to reflect on the consequences of what we’ve done and be willing to learn.
In the jargon of the workplace it’s called a commitment to continuous improvement. In plain English it’s accepting we’re not the finished article.
We should always keep growing. We should keep growing in knowledge so we can be better at the things we can do. More importantly we should keep growing in character so we handle life better. Put this together we should be growing in that stuff of being blessed to bless – knowing more of God to receive more and having the heart to pass it on.
Life doesn’t stand still. No change is not an option. It’s either good change or bad change.
Take gardening as an example. Leave a patch of land and some change will happen.
One of our neighbours doesn’t mow her lawn. She said she wanted a wild flower meadow. She got weeds. Even a wild meadow needed seeds – left alone the seeds were from weeds.
Another neighbour mows their lawn, weeds their flower beds and plants flowers. Their garden is lovely. You reap what you sow.
The Bible is full of analogies from nature. One is that God is the vine that we need to be connected into. If we are, there will be good fruit in our lives. If the fruits not good we need to look at what we’re rooted into.
The good news is that God as the master gardener is able to uproot and graft us in. He promises the right sort of growth but that means letting him dig some weeds out and sowing his kind of seeds.
The church is his soil for good growth to start to happen – healing from the old wounds, a community of hope. A safe place to be who we really are.
So we are conscious beings. Our existence goes beyond our subsistence. We don’t just live on auto pilot. We are created to create.
We make stuff all the time, we make breakfast, we make plans, we make conversation. We are not just driven by our basic needs but by our imagination, which offers endless possibilities of what can happen next.
Each of us has this creativity, which needs to be expressed. We don’t have to be a singer or an artist, we might be a great baker or gardener or story teller down the pub. As much as we all have to do the mundane stuff there are times we should find the essence of who we really are. With me it’s the fulfilment of getting an idea down onto paper in a way that it grows and becomes more than I saw it could be at the beginning. Once in a while I’m writing and it takes on a life of its own.
It’s not just that we need to be productive for the world to work. The need to work shouldn’t be a curse. Our time and energy and innate abilities are made to be expressed through us being productive. We should stop chasing comfort and pursue fulfilment.
As a wise man once said we were made to be producers and not consumers. That way we take some responsibility for getting good stuff to happen rather than just waiting for it to fall into our laps.
So what’s the product waiting to come off our life’s production line? We are all makers and we can all make a difference.