Creative Soul Care

Edie Melson
Edie Melson

Everywhere I turn, people are dealing with stress. As the world has become more technologically advanced, life has gotten busier.

We have become a society that honors busyness and disdains play. The world around us is continuing to spiral out of control. The margin we have available for recovery and peace is shrinking. As we struggle to cope and search for answers, we’ve neglected the legacy of creativity that’s been passed to us by our Heavenly Father. This legacy isn’t frivolous. It’s foundational to the deep relationship with God we all need.

Busyness isn’t the way God designed us to operate. We function best when we embrace the rhythm of rest. But these times are supposed to be much more than just taking naps or getting eight hours of sleep every night. They’re times when we connect with our Heavenly Father without distractions. For me, that connection often comes through creativity.

Playtime with God

No, not hide and seek—we all know how that turned out with Adam and Eve. Instead, I’ve found the healing power of joy when I reconnect with the creativity God instilled inside me. God is the ultimate Creator. He’s an artist, writer, composer, and story-crafter with infinite ideas. But He doesn’t just invite us to view His artwork. His invitation is to join Him. And we can join Him. Our Heavenly Father’s creative genes reach deep inside us all. We see it in those who cook, find mathematical answers, or delve beyond what’s known in the fields of science and medicine. There is creativity in everything we do.

We’ve ignored His prompting to explore this creativity for far too long. We’ve labeled play as wasted time, forgetting that God himself ordained one day every week for rest and refreshing. If God sees the need, how can we be so bold as to disagree?

What Does Playtime with God Look Like?

Playing with God looks different for each of us—because we’re each unique. For me it may mean grabbing my camera and taking a hike in the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. Or pulling out my colored pens and pencils, along with a journal to doodle words and Bible verses.

For a long time, I resisted the artistic side of play because I know I’m not an artist. How? Because I grew up in a family of creatives and was exposed to art from the time I was born. My mother was an internationally known watercolorist and my father a classically trained musician who spent years as a woodwind professor and member of the Dallas symphony. After he retired, he pursued his second career as a landscape photographer. My sister and I spent our 1960s childhood traveling across the USA in the back of a VW bus. I’ve always loved to write, but doing art terrified me. I knew I’d

never be good enough so I avoided it—completely missing the point of creativity. We spend creative time with God not to become the next DiVinci or Brahms. The purpose is to explore God’s character as we stretch and grow, becoming more like Him.

Once I discovered that, I began to have some wonderful times with God. The creativity I let loose in the presence of God feeds my soul and has become an intimate and precious time. Often I’ve heard Him whisper new truths and how to apply them as I carve out space in my busy life to play. But it wasn’t easy to develop this habit.

The erroneous belief that recreation is pointless was deeply ingrained. I love crossing things off my to-do list and somehow, 1 pm: Doodling, with a check beside it didn’t seem the least bit productive.

But God didn’t give up on me. His Spirit called to mine as the busyness threatened to overwhelm my already over-full life. Once I began practicing fun time with God, it grew into a habit that I now keep high on my priority list.

You can play too.

Creativity can be daunting to some, especially, if like me, you think you won’t live up to expectations. But start small. Begin exploring your creativity and I know you’ll be hooked as you experience the priceless joy of hanging out with God. Below is an exercise to help you get started.

Here is a list of possible supplies you might need:

• Crayons

• Colored pencils

• Stickers

• Journals or sketchbook

• Cell phone camera (or regular camera)

• Bible or devotional book

An Exercise to Encourage Creativity

Begin by removing expectations. It’s the process of play, not the end result that matters. Give yourself permission to be messy and imperfect.

Invite God to join you and ask Him to bring to mind a word or phrase or Bible verse.

Write what comes to mind on a blank sheet of paper. Pick the colors you love and use them with abandon. Don’t let expectations of how something should look derail your experience with God.

When related thoughts come to mind, write those down. Just like any new endeavor, even learning to have fun takes practice. Keep playing. If doodling or coloring isn’t for you, try something else. Take a walk, grab a camera, sing a song— follow the path to your creative inheritance as you see where playtime with God can take you.

Edie Melson—author, blogger and speaker—loves to empower those who are struggling to find the God-given strength they need to triumph through challenging circumstances

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