1 John 3:1a “The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God.”
Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
So because we are children of God we have God’s nature. The first thing God did was to create. Therefore, as both children of God and bearers of God’s nature, we all have access to child-like creativity. Some of us have lost our way and forget how to access it. Maybe we forget what it means to be a child or what it means to be creative. I’m hoping this post will help you find your way back to your child-like creativity.
Listed here are some characteristics of children along with some scriptures and quotes that will help you to see how these characteristics will help you find your way back to your child-like creativity.
Children Are Vulnerable and Rely on Trust
Children are, in many ways, at the mercy of others especially when they are quite young. They rely on others for food, shelter, protection, love. Later, they rely on others for guidance as well because of their limited experience of the world.
We are also like little children. We can get hurt or lost or make wrong decisions. We may fear our basic needs might not be met. But, as little children rely on the adults in their lives for these things, we are called to rely on God for these things. He wants to be our Father. He calls us His children. In that way, He is calling on us to trust Him for protection, love, guidance, and provision of our basic needs. But what is more amazing is that God not only wants to be our Father, he wants to be our Abba.
Romans 8:15 "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’”
"Jesus told us to call the Lord and Creator of us all Abba. Not only Father or Sir or Lord, but Abba-Daddy-the small child’s name for Father. Not Dad, the way Daddy becomes Dad when the child reaches adolescence, but Daddy, the name of trust. But how can we trust an Abba who has let the world come to all the grief of the past centuries? Who has given us the terrible gift of free will with which we seem to be determined to destroy ourselves? We trust the one we call Abba as a child does, knowing that what seems unreasonable now will be seen to have reason later. We trust as Lady Julian of Norwich trusted, knowing that despite all the pain and horror of the world, ultimately God’s loving purpose will be fulfilled and “all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” And this all-wellness underlies true art (Christian art) in all disciplines, an all-wellness that does not come to us because we are clever or virtuous but which is a gift of grace.” – Madeleine L’EngleChildren Play & Create
For the child, play is hard work and it’s how they learn about the world. They get fully absorbed into whatever play world they are in and fully engage in their emotions of delight and frustration and in imagination and determination. As a former preschool teacher, I’ve watched children even ignore their basic needs of using the bathroom to continue uninterrupted in the “work” at hand.
We are called to work and play as well. In Genesis 2:15 God puts Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to “work and take care of it.”
"Our work should be our play. If we watch a child at play for a few minutes, seriously at play, we see that all his energies are concentrated on it. He is working very hard at it. And that is how the artist works, although the artist may be conscious of discipline while the child simply experiences it.” -Madeleine L’EngleI remember playing with dominoes as a young girl and I loved to set them up and watch them fall. It took a lot of practice and I always wanted to make my designs more complex and intricate and I would play/practice/work on it for hours at a time trying to get the results that I wanted. As an adult, that continued practice is considered discipline but to the child, it is pure, passionate play.
As part of their play, children create. They build towers and draw pictures. They use toys and everyday objects in ways we hadn’t thought of. That is creativity. They see something in their minds that doesn’t exist and then create it in their play. It is so natural for a child to do this. I believe part of it is because they haven’t had the experience in life to figure out what the world considers possible or not so they just do and create and play as it pops into their head without the barrier of “can’t” and “impossible” and “doesn’t exist.” They just bring it into being!
"Creativity is … seeing something that doesn’t exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way become a playmate with God.” - Michele SheaWe are called to the same thing. Forget the words “can’t”, “impossible”, and “doesn’t exist” and just do it! Create with God and become His playmate!
Children Expect New Ideas
Children love to learn and explore. They unabashedly ask why a thousand times a day trying to discover and learn. They don’t worry about the whys. They are just full of wonder and curiosity.
"A child is not afraid of new ideas, does not have to worry about the status quo or rocking the boat, is willing to sail into uncharted waters.” - Madeleine L’EngleThis reminds me of the children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. If you are unfamiliar with the story go watch this quick read-aloud over on YouTube It is quite a bit like a child sailing into the uncharted waters of his imagination but eventually returning to the comfort of predictable routine where his loving parent provided love and nourishment – just like our Heavenly Father. After our hard work and play of creating and imagining, our God will refresh and restore us with love and provision.
John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
God will prepare a safe place for us to be with Him even during a wild rumpus or when we are lonely or sad.
Psalm 46:1-3 (NLV) “God is our safe place and our strength. He is always our help when we are in trouble. So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken and the mountains fall into the center of the sea, and even if its waters go wild with storm and the mountains shake with its action.”
Be open to new ideas and revelation and unchartered waters. Don’t fear them but know that God is with you in these new places. In the book I co-created with Kathleen Schwab, Messages from God: An Illuminated Devotional Kathleen writes (in the voice of Jesus):
"You can keep up with your responsibilities, but letting go of your expectations and control of your life allows Me to carry you to unknown shores. You can go places with Me that astound you. There are undiscovered lands within your relationship with Me, places not reported by others, places entirely new. You can experience these new worlds with Me if you simply let it happen."
But, what’s even more fun about children, is not just that they are hungry for new ideas and revelations, they expect them! They aren’t surprised when they finally figure something out, they actually expected that it would happen at some point. They may be surprised about the actual revelation or fact, but they are not surprised that the revelation or fact appeared.
Children Spend a Lot of Time Absorbing
Ever hear the saying that children are like sponges? That’s because they are. Just watch a little child at the grocery store. They will unabashedly stare at people and situations. They watch, they listen, they observe and they make all kinds of connections about what it is they are being exposed to. Some of these connections will be right and some won’t be, but it doesn’t stop it from happening.
We too could benefit from the same sponge-like quality of children. We may not want to start staring at people at the grocery store but watching and listening to what is going on around us – being fully present in the moment – is going to feed our creativity, learning, and ability to make connections.
Psalm 119:18 "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”
Proverbs 20:12 "“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.”
Children Find Things Adults Pass By
"Children find things that adults pass by because they haven’t lost their sense of wonder or adventure.” – Theresa DedmonHave you ever tried one of those hidden picture books with a child? Or have you ever read with a child and they see some detail in the book that you visually glossed over? Children see the little things, the details, the things that stand out just a little bit. And then they’ll stare or ask why! Their ability to see these little details enhances their play and imagination.
I hope some of these ideas help to spark your creativity. Come back next week to enjoy Part 2!