God is a maker. Throughout all eternity God has been creating new and wondrous things: the stuff of legends, the stuff of dreams.
Within each of us dwells the spark of that same creator spirit. Some of us draw, others write, others weave, and others move. But every time we create something, we are worshipping an eternal artist who sees our work and calls it good.
You were created to create. Its undeniable. And I believe your ability is unmeasurable.
I have been drawing since I was small. I have 2 art degrees and 20 years of experience using them in youth ministry. I’ve made plenty of art based projects, among them The Path and companion books from Forward Movement right now. To me, creating has always been an act of worship.
When my pencil is on the paper, my only concern is keeping my hand in sync with my mind, so that over time, the two come to a state of union. I count my heartbeats to anticipate the rhythmic push of my fingers against the will to keep the lines straight. My breathing is measured, pulling in and releasing when I need it to flow with the grace of the arc I am making.
It’s a beautiful moment. It is a moment when God wraps arms around you and whispers a smiling moment of encouragement to your whole being. I hope you have had moments like that. Everyone deserves them.
You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep.” Romans 13:11
Drawing, singing, dancing, writing… building, making, dreaming: they all have a common effect. They make you see the world around you more clearly. When I was drawing for The Path, I was seeing stories in a whole new way. How could I show entire chapters of the story of God’s redemption of the world? What images were we to use?
I read and re-read each of the stories, and each time I became aware of something new. Each time, I saw more clearly some part of this story through a new lens. I would wake up and become excited about creating part of God’s story. Each sketch was like waking up and seeing what God was trying to do through all of us.
I’d like to share with you the warmup process of preparation to draw. Do this with your kids, do it with coloring books, do it on your lunch break. You will wake up and see something new each time you do.
Preparing to Draw
Take deep breaths, and feel how your body opens up. Become aware of the movement of your bones and how your muscles pull them when you breathe. Feel the movement of the air as it enters your nose and throat and lungs and imagine how your body pulls the oxygen out to be used in the furnace of your soul. Massage your hands. Feel the connections and the movements, taking a second to feel each pulse of energy that races up your wrist with each kneading finger.
Close your eyes. Relax the muscles around your eyes and keep relaxing them to soften your face. Your eyelids will want to open, but don’t let them. Relax those muscles more until you feel your whole body relax with them.
When you open your eyes, look first to the blank paper in front you, even if it’s only a napkin. You will immediately be bombarded with images to fill it. Most people just shut those out. You, my friend, will just start doodling what you feel.
Keep to simple shapes: boxes, circles, stars, spirals, triangles. Put them together to form some kind of image. Give it rules and repetition. Give it meaning by thinking of people you want to surround in creative, loving power.
Let the drawings tumble out of you. Don’t let your hand get tight, don’t let your shoulders tense. When you start feeling frustrated, stop and breathe in a big breath, massage your hands a second or two, close the eyes, and when you open, look at your space. Something will pop out. Draw that.
In the end, you will have created. You will have learned something about yourself, and you will be humbled at what God has created through your clumsy, tired hands. I know I was amazed and perplexed every time I printed a finished piece for The Path and Pathways of Faith.
You were created to create. In whatever way God is leading you, I ask you: spend time with your family and make something.
[Editor’s note: Roger Speer created the Pathways of Faith coloring book, companion to The Path, a distillation of Holy Scripture into a single, readable story. The Path also has a companion Family Storybook. All are available from Forward Movement.]
What do you create with your family? By yourself?