Exchanging the Try-Hard Life for Creativity and Rest

Do you give yourself permission to be purposeless? Unproductive? Playful? Creative? Or do you feel the pressure to make sure everything you do, spend, create, and grow has some greater meaning?

This has been one of the great struggles of my adult life. I grew up in a culture that was bent towards productivity, academic accolades, and financial success. Those values deeply shaped how I saw this world and myself.

When I came to know Jesus as my Savior in college, I let go of the try-hard life but adopted a warped mindset that “dying-to-self” also meant, “dying to everything fufu.” If it doesn’t have a quantifiable impact for the kingdom, it must be a waste of time, right?

I became a workaholic for Christ on a mission to save the world. Can you relate? Yet God sets before us the example of both creativity and rest. He created the world in six days and declared each day’s work good (Genesis 1). On the seventh day, He completely rested. Total. Utter. Rest. Can we say the same for ourselves?

We are made in the image of God – created beings knit together by the Creator – designed for both creativity and rest.

That “ah-ha” overwhelmed me as I was wandering through the studios in Asheville, North Carolina’s River District on a restful weekend away from work. As I took in each creator’s work, I saw the beauty of our Creator unfold, especially in the gallery of Molly Courcelle. In the secret corner of every piece, she penciled in a reference to a particular bible verse, inviting me to connect with God as I took in His creativity manifested in her.

The old tape playing in my head threatened to steal joy, so I turned to the Lord and listened to His still small voice: “I, the Lord Your God, am a creative God. I spun this world together through my creativity. I merely spoke, and the heavens were created. I breathed the word, and all the stars were born. I make everything beautiful, including you. I knit you together in your mother’s womb. I made you, in my image, to enjoy creativity for the sake of my glory and unadulterated joy.”

Whether we create with paintbrushes or words or food or hospitality or science or math or medicine or law, the invitation is before us to enjoy the creativity of God in us. To make it our act of worship. To declare it good. And to pause and rest before we go back to creating again.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, may we let go of the try-hard life to relish in the joy of You, Your creation, and Your creativity in us. May we be content to do our work for a day and be satisfied with it, also declaring “it is good.” May we learn to rest well. May we discover that creativity is good even if it is only for pleasure and not yielding a quantifiable product. Help us, God, to be more like You, a creative and awesome God.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Continue the conversation with me at Girlfriends in God, where this devotion was originally published.

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