I am seldom happier than when I have creative projects on the go, at least once they are taking shape and I can see the end in view. The joy of creating is only rivaled by the joy of beholding the finished product and realizing, "It is good". Do you suppose this is a way we share God's likeness? When we create, whether it be a quilt or a sketch, a clean window or a tasty meal… we are exhibiting that which sets us apart from all other creatures; we are displaying the image of God, the ultimate Creator and designer of every good thing. We are fulfilling our design, and it is good!
"And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good." Gen.1:31
I finished a long-standing project last night. The process was not fun, but it was needful. I had to pin myself down to a deadline to get it accomplished. I guess you could say it was a creative project, but the grist I had to work with was not of my own choosing. It was a tangle that needed sorting, defining, straightening—a messy mental project. Critiques are like that. Not only must you sort another's thoughts and words, and weigh them against your perception of God’s thoughts, but you must capture your own voice in words and then order them in such a way as to present an honest but not caustic perspective—one that will bring clarity (and hopefully the mind of the Lord) to benefit the hearer, not merely generate dissension! It is a relief to have it finished. This was a creative task I've felt compelled to take on for months now, but have squirmed out from under till now. For creativity, even a critical book review, [“Face to Face with Bill Johnson”], makes one vulnerable to criticism and disapproval too. It reveals something of what's inside its creator, for better or for worse. The fear of man can stifle it. A word aptly spoken is not always a welcome word. And yet there is this calling to create…and this deep satisfaction when it is finished….
So I woke this morning to my quiet interlude with joy. The robins were singing before the sun had fully risen. I reflected on the joy of creating and remembered God's words to Job, hinting at the creative joy He knew as the foundations of the world were laid:
"…when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" Job 38:7
I read on down through Job 38 listening to the marvel of God reciting the glory of all His creative genius. Take a minute today to do the same. What an incredible chapter, a set of chapters actually..."things too wonderful for me, which I did not know"…awesome! And Job's heart is transformed in the hearing and the yielding to His awesome Creator's right to do what He wills…Glorious passage!
I was tugged away from my solitude to put the Red River cereal on to boil, and found rare sunshine streaming in my big kitchen windows. Residue from my last cleaning attempts was all too obvious. Can't have that! Vinegar to the rescue! And then the outsides showed their dust and next thing you know I'd whisked outside to the fresh, song-filled air and hit them with Car Wash solution and a good hose down, while the Red River simmered on the stove. Water streaming, making rainbows. A perplexed but patient husband looking out through all the water on his happy wife creating beauty for the joy of it…
Back inside I put on my happy Saturday song (even though it's only Friday!)—Fernando Ortega singing 'This Good Day':
”This good day
It is a gift from You.
The world is turning in its place
because You made it to.
I lift my voice
To sing a song of praise
On this good day.”
The day is just beginning. A quilt top lies wildly beautiful on the living room carpet, awaiting just its borders—hopefully today?! A piece of watercolor paper is at the ready in my new creative space—Joshua's old room-- begging for the pale yellows and pinks to flow to orange on its face…This new day with all its creative possibilities lies before me. What joy!
“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them." The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Ps.126:2-6
For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. Ps.92:4
"May the Lord rejoice in His works." Ps. 104:31
From the archives…for more thoughts on joy, see: Fresh Joy