“Art is not about market demand… The world doesn’t need another band, per se. It doesn’t, strictly speaking, need another book or another photograph or another album. The general world population will survive without one more stage production and one more gallery showing.
This is the thing though: you might not.
We create because we were made to create… if you were made to create, you won’t feel whole and healthy and alive until you do…”
Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet*
I’ve long been obsessed with the thought that we were made in the image of a wildly creative God. One who imagined aardvarks, and giraffes, and anteaters. One who crafted waterfalls, and rainforests, and deserts, and mountains. A God who thought Florida would be the perfect opposite to Michigan, pouring sunshine on one, and snow on the other. One who took an endless palette of colors, and poured them all into the Great Barrier Reef. A God who decided that blue was the perfect color for the sky, adding a vibrant set extras for the morning and evening.
Our days on this earth are a journey of discovering the character of God and then working endlessly to adopt those characteristics into our own. We were made to be like Him – to be grace-givers and truth-speakers, lovers, forgivers, and mercy showing freedom-seekers.
What is God like? You be like that, too.
I love that Yahweh created all of existence with His words. Even though He could have thought it, merely willed it, or even breathed it, I love that He spoke it. I think there is something sacred and anointed about words, and I can’t not throw myself into the world of mixing them together.
And so I write. I write because I believe in the power of words. I write because I believe that when truth is spoken, written, or sung, lies become smaller. I write because I believe that words have the ability to reshape the way we think. And because the way we think is the prototype of the way we live, I think this reshaping is a process worthy of my best time and my deepest efforts.
And, maybe, a reason bigger than all of the others, I write because I need it. Because when I don’t write I feel as though I’m keeping from Jesus the most vulnerable and formative thing within me.
I write because I can’t not.
I’m wondering this morning about your Can’t Not. What is the thing you find time to do, no matter how busy the weeks become? Or the thing you long to do, even when the fear nearly suffocates your will to do it?
What is the thing you can’t not do?
Cause that’s what you were made for. Can you lean in a bit, and listen close? You were made for your Can’t Not. That place where your passion and your gifting crisscross. The intersection of your biggest dreams and your deepest joys – that’s your Can’t Not.
And you can’t not do your Can’t Not – you have to.
I need you to do your Can’t Not, because when you do, I believe a little more that I can do mine. When I see you believe Jesus for the big things, I get antsy in my monotony. When I see you create, I see the Creator pouring out of you and makes me want to overflow, too.
It’s not about what the world needs more of. It’s about what makes you feel whole, and purposeful, and creative. It’s about doing with excellence the thing you Can’t Not do.
Now let’s be clear: all of this, it’s not about you.
It’s not about glorifying, gratifying or bringing honor to self. It’s not about promoting your talents, as lovely and unique and irreplaceable as they are. It’s not about doing something so that others will notice you and think about how amazing you are. It’s about doing something so that others might notice you and think about how amazing God is.
And that’s the best part. The beauty is that when you do your Can’t Not, when you dig deep into the things that make you come alive, you reflect the God who Couldn’t Not make you, and you do it in a tremendously lovely way.
There’s no escaping it: you were made to create.
Go find your Can’t Not and get after it.
*Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way is so, so, so worth your time.
(Originally posted February, 2015.)