(Yesterday’s article, was the more mystical version of this same content. This one is more flatfooted, but i am practicing naming the same spiritual content in different styles to learn how to “minister the word” to different learning styles, and types of people. And also, because it seems to help me remember the content more succinctly, when i name it in several ways. Thanks for your patience, now on with the show…)
The relationship between creativity, freedom and true identity needs to be named clearly. Our true identity is the core self as God sees it, and for us to know it, we need to allow God into the whole self. For us to know ourselves, we need to see ourselves accurately. For this to happen, we need to let God into our perception or imagination. Once, He enters our creativity, we experience His Freedom and our perceptions of ourselves become more accurate.
So when art making becomes part of your spirituality, you are able to picture yourself more truly. That is one of the gifts of knowing God in your imagination, it gives you a better picture of yourself. It also gives you a more accurate image of others, your neighborhood, your city, and your nation. You start to see more through God’s Eyes, and have a clearer focus and the right lens through which to behold.
One place to meet God is through our creativity, or in our imaginations. God wants to relate to us in this area. When we do, we experience His Freedom, and can start to play with Him in the sandbox of our true imaginations. We also can start to have a clearer image of our true identity. By inviting God into your imagination or perception, you start to see yourself more as He does.
God wants an uninterrupted relationship with our whole selves. He wants to walk with us to the market, to talk with us while eating, and to enjoy us as we create. Art making is not separate in this way from our spirituality. We do not just make art for God; we make art with God. That’s my point here.
Often we have many blocks around meeting God in our imaginations. Guilt or unconfessed sins of how we used our imaginations; unvalidated creativity; fears of failure in this area or success; simply not knowing that we could know God in this area; fear of misusing this area (which is really a self focused fear, in that it tells God that i don’t believe you can change my use of this area) etc. There are many stones which need to be rolled away. We roll them away by asking His Spirit to reveal any sin in this area of self; inviting God in, then blessing ourselves in this area to meet God. When we invite God in, there are usually these patterns: dusting off dormant parts, cleansing misused parts (confession), then activating the imagination as a place to meet and relate to Our God. The basic order is: healing through confession; cleansing, washing off false filters and grime in this area; and restoration or reactivation of the imagination. This is where we get to start playing again with God in this area, and can enter the sandbox of the imagination again and enjoy God there!
Jesus is Lord of the whole self. He is Lord over every dimension of Reality. And He is One or integrated, and is therefore the integrator of our entire self. God loves the whole person. He loves us in every area of ourselves. And every area is saved and restored by His Cross and His Life that enters in through it. He wants to know us and walk with us in every part of who we are. That is true spirituality. Authentic spirituality is when that part of ourself is in authentic relationship with God!
To help people get free to meet God in their imagination, or through their creative process requires different unblocking for different people. But the goal is that this part of your relationship with God could be alive and more fruitful.
Dusting off our creativity, is mostly about waking up dormant or unexercised symbolic muscles. That comes first. For whatever reason, if we have stopped or stunted our growth in this area, it can go dormant, and need to be reawakened. This can be done through permission and just playing again in this area. There is often some healing at this stage, as their is some grief at having not played around with God in this area for so long. There is also often the need to be given permission and validation of meeting Him again here. The coast is clear, go meet Your Creator there! Then, in His Name, validate any unvalidated areas in your creativity and imagination.
Cleansing of our perception usually involves confessing places we have allied with the enemy, or practiced partial or false seeing. This cleansing may, for some lead to a correct perception of themselves firstly! This is where it connects with identity. If we meet God in our perception, we can then see a truer image of ourselves–ie see ourselves more as He sees us. That is crucial. We need to have His Picture of ourselves.
One can do self portraits at this stage, or prophetic fashion–ie ask God how He wants you to dress today in order to express and “try on” how He sees you. One can do photos of self at this stage also, and really try to photograph yourself from His Perspective. You can use any art medium to behold yourself through. Sometimes, i like to use ones I’m not as good at, just to make it about perceiving well and to not worry about perfectionism or making “good” art. It’s more freeing for me, at times. No one will see these, so give yourself permission to just do it!
As we come to see ourselves more accurately, we also can look out and see others more through His Eyes. We come to see others more in their true image. This is a healing gaze we now carry for others. For as we see others as they truly are, we free them up to become and move into this truer image; to the degree that they allow God’s gaze in! That is the ministry of beholding.
Lastly, we activate the imagination fully. Light it up, and let it be an ongoing part of our relationship with God. This is where a fuller integration of your creativity and spirituality takes place. This is like permanently turning the lights on in a projector so it becomes an ongoing part of our spirituality.
It also generates great art which we often will want to show others.
Confessing, inviting God in, and then activating and playing with Him are core repetitious patterns in any area of self development. But when applied to the imagination, they take unique forms. We often, for instance, don’t know about sins of the imagination-especially if it has been shut down for a long time. Apologize to God for not allowing Him in sooner! Then get on with playing with Him in that space!
This third stage is the funnest, in that your creativity doesn’t have to question itself, and can just move in the atmosphere of your relationship with God. All of HIs Love and acceptance enters, and art making becomes playful and life giving again, as it was intended to be!
It is massively freeing to know God just wants to hang out with us in every area of who we are! And as He does, we spill this freedom over on others we meet along the way! Enjoy the journey in knowing and loving the God who imagined the universe, and then created it. And made you in His Own Image!