Is it wrong to rejoice in something you've done well at? Is it boasting? Pride? Should I just be quiet? Stay Calm and Carry On?
Think through this one with me. After all, we all create.
Sure, our creations are different and certainly they reflect a vast variety of personalities. But we all create.
My sister-in-law is a fashion designer, other friends are potters or painters, fiber artists or doodlers. Rachel Hrinko recently illustrated a favorite new hymn in this way (that I think is actually going to help me memorize it better--yay!):
Still other friends are songwriters or videographers or web designers. A select number are authors, bless them. And let's not forget math and music are on the same side of the brain: those mathematicians deserve some credit for their creative genius with numbers.
And though some aren't employed in a creative field, they craft as a hobby or plate up beautiful meals for family and friends. They come up with bulletin boards or great games to reinforce important concepts for kids in their class at school or church.
In a recent interview regarding songwriting, Paul Keew discussed the reality of each generation continuing to create as responsive praise to God's working in our hearts, in our communities, in our world. I loved this quote: "As long as God is still working in me, I've got to keep writing."
Yes! I completely agree. As long as God keeps working in me, I'll keep writing too. But when I finish that work, what is my biblical response to be?
Well, let's think about it biblically. What light does the Word give us regarding this creative path?
In the beginning ... after each day of Creation, God as the Originator and Designer of it all said, "And it was good." When he got to mankind, He said, "It was very good." We were made in His image. That is an amazing thing! And the more we learn about the intricacies of His design, it is fascinating and incredibly good.
Part of being made in His image is being creative--capable of imagining, planning, and creating. When I create, I am reflecting my Creator. I love getting to point the praise back to Him! Solo Deo Gloria, after all! To God ALONE be the glory! Still, I rejoice that He allows me to create and that He uses creativity to reflect Who He is and to point us again and again and again to Himself.
I'm not surprised as I keep thinking through this that I find help in the collection of wisdom teachings called Proverbs.
I love how the virtuous woman "perceives/sees that her merchandise/trading is good/profitable" and rightly so, for "her works bring her praise at the city gate" (Proverbs 31:18,31). She's our example, right? So, this is biblical to rejoice when your work is good.
As a creative person, you make value judgments. You have to in order to hone your craft, to get a product worth sharing. It's subjective, for sure. We don't even always know what we're going for when we start. But, usually, in the end, we know when we've got a good thing.
Proverbs 13 also teaches us about "the longing fulfilled [being] a tree of life" and "the desire accomplished [being] sweet to soul" (verses 12, 19).
And I'm sure there's more, but I want to apply it... because I can hardly wait to share this with you.
This week, I finished the final revision of my historical novel, Voice of a Servant. Well, I'm sure there she'll still have one more round of revision once she finds her editor, but she's to the point where I am satisfied and excited to introduce her to an agent. Please pray with me as I take this next step on an exciting adventure. Wahoo!!! "The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul!" For sure.
Voice started about six years ago. We were in what I refer to as a muddy water time in our lives. And God gave us healing by adding to us a delightful little boy we named Jordan. I was nearing the completion of my second Reflections for Teens Bible study, No Matter What, and could not get the story of Naaman off my mind. The Lord seems to do this for me. As I complete one project, He burns a new theme on my heart. And I start researching, drafting, and finally writing.
I took a three year semi-hiatus from writing during this six year time period while I taught Resource Math and English to middle graders as a means of teaming with my husband to put him through seminary faster. I'd write once in a while, after everyone else had gone to bed. But I only had so much energy. And too often I was finding typos in those late night sessions.
When our third son was born almost a year and a half ago, I transitioned back to substituting and came home to be with him ... and to write.
Family is still priority. I love picking up the boys at the end of the school day and spending time with them. I love having dinner ready (most of the time) when my husband gets home from work or studying. And believe me, they're all rejoicing with me in this "desire accomplished."
I am thrilled. And I'm not ashamed to say this is a great story. Inspired by historical and biblical realities, Voice of a Servant puts flesh on the sketches in Scripture. It makes me understand and love God's Word more.
It is my prayer that this book will do the same for you and your young readers. The intended audience is middle grade and young adult (probably ages 11 and up). But we all know adults love MG/YA too!! ;) I know I do. So I'm excited about where this book will go.
I am almost literally jumping up and down. Thank you for rejoicing with me.
What has the Lord accomplished in your life recently? Comment below or email me at vineandshoots [at] gmail [dot] com. I'd love to jump up and down with you too!
And, by the way, I didn't list all my friends' names who are creative people, but you most certainly will enjoy following the links within this post and exploring various ones of their studios, websites, and blogs.