Today’s Word: ‘Creativity’ as in… what is it?

Go ahead, try to define it. I’ll give you a minute.

When we try to define creativity we often do so by referencing something that someone else has done, something that someone else has made, something that someone else painted, something that someone else formed, brought together, something that someone else created. There’s a hesitancy for many of us, I believe, to actually include ourselves in the definition. Rare is the occasion that someone asks us to define creativity and we respond,

“Well, hey, how about this IKEA bookshelf I just put together!”

Why is that so rare? Why is it so rare that we point to ourselves as an integral part of the creative definition (Sorry IKEA). Why are we so quick to point away from the creativity within us?

If we’ve been created to be creative (and I believe we have), and if we bear the image of the Creator (and I believe we do), why wouldn’t we point to the Creator’s on-going creative work in us? Most of us have probably had some experience of watching someone else “be creative” and thinking: “How on earth do they do that?” Or maybe we’ve wondered out loud: “Where does that come from?” or… “I could never do that, I’m just not that creative!” Or worse, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body. I could never do something like that!” Notice that the harsher the statement the more it’s connected to our view of ourselves as creative people. So what is the “that” that we refer to? Our small group was wrestling with this question of creativity.

We were trying to define it when one of our friends shared the experience of having asked this question in another setting. The conversation went back and forth for a while until one of them said this in response to “What is creativity: “Where something wasn’t, is…” (go ahead, read that again and just let it sit for a moment.)

“Where something wasn’t, is…” That’s really good, actually.

That’s really creative!


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