A new year lies before us, and I wonder what you are thinking as we make the transition. Is this good or bad?
I find a number of friends on Facebook portray 2015 as something to be put behind us as soon as possible! They have known heartache and loss in the past year, justifiably motivating them to look forward to better times. Others did not have a particularly bad year but rather look at the passage of time wistfully, seeing it as continuing a pattern of loss against which they quietly seethe.
On the other hand are the optimists who just like the idea of newness and opportunity. These are generally younger folk who are pressing forward toward new accomplishment and experience.
The thought that comes to my mind is simply this: time is not causation. In other words, time does not make things worse or better, it is just a measurement that frames our perspective on trends in our lives. But what are the causal factors in those trends?
One causal factor often left out of our conversation is the character quality of creativity. Yes, I am saying that without creativity your character is deficient! The simplest definition of creativity I have heard is that it is just the willingness to do something you haven’t done before. Without creativity, time degenerates into mundane existence as we do the same things the same way, plodding along in our well defined ruts. I hope you do not find that an attractive option!
In contrast, creativity brings freshness, even in an unchanged context. When we accomplish our goals with new methodology and a fresh perspective, the same accomplishments bring a sense of delightful discovery.
One area in which creativity is essential is relationships. Simply relating to people in the same patterns with predictable responses is the fast track to becoming mired in a stale environment where we lose sight of the delight we once knew.
Husbands and wives who do not bring creativity to their relationship begin to take each other for granted, losing the joys of discovering new facets of each others’ secret thoughts, joys and motivations.
Parents who do not exercise creativity in their parenting become predictable abusers whose children simply manipulate them by learned trigger behaviors.
Church members who do not approach their involvement with the rest of the body through spiritual creativity soon find worship boring and fellowship a bother. After all, what is the point if I just muddle along in my enduring trench of sameness?
Pastors who do not exercise creativity find themselves dreading Sunday and cringing at every ring of the phone. Don’t ask me how I know this!
One truth we must acknowledge is simply this: we shrink from creativity because it is hard! The deceptive pathway of sameness pulls powerfully on our sin nature. Creativity requires a commitment to walk uphill, just like all other qualities of godliness!
In the coming year, let’s commit to being godly in a way we may not have done before: by being creative. God brought what we call creation into existence where it had not been before. He has done new things in time and space, particularly in the incarnation we just celebrated and new covenant on which we reflect around the Lord’s table. We look forward to a time when He will make all things new. In meantime, we are admonished to walk in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
Try things you have not done before. Engage in relationship building with people you have not known before. Embrace changes in life with faith you have not exercised before. Carry out your ministries with methods you have not used before. See if you don’t make whatever 2016 brings into something to be looked back upon with fondness and delight, confounding those who look on without your faith and hope!
We have a creative God; may we reflect Him with our willing creativity!