"You are not creative."
I have been living in a box for a good chunk of my life with these words hanging over my head.
The box of un-creativity
It all started in my first Senior High art class. Wearing my heart on my sleeve, I was ready to find out if I was a truly creative soul. My first task was to decorate a blank canvas.
I felt uneasy with this enormous responsibility. I knew that whatever mark I made could not be taken back and as soon as I started this sheet would never be blank again. There were endless options as to what I could imprint on this canvas. I wanted to make sure I picked the right thing.
Making the decision to paint a face, over the next two classes I put my heart and soul into this piece.
Finally, with knees knocking and heart beating out of my chest, it was time to present it to the teacher for her "artistic" approval.
I laid my creation on her desk, exposed with nowhere to hide from criticism. I could feel the piercing eyes of my classmates on my back. This was it. I was going to find out if I was the creative soul I always felt I was.
To my complete and utter disbelief the teacher took one brief glance, picked up a paintbrush and blemished my work! She reloaded her brush and did it again and again and again. With each jab of the brush I felt as though my hopeful heart was being speared with a knife.
My anticipation for future creativity began to leak out all over the classroom. The teacher, completely oblivious to the wounded student in front of her, picked up my canvas and pushed it into my hands.
Jerking back tears of disappointment I returned to my desk and to a box of un-creativity that would define me for 8 years.
The moment everything changed
One day it hit me. God didn't have an instruction manual when He created the world.
"Duh" you might say, but I mean wow! He simply created without rulebooks, techniques or anyone else's artistic approval. He created for 6 days, stepped back on the 7th to take a look at what He had decorated the expanse of nothing with and smiled.
He created from the depths of His being and what appeared was breathtaking: dimensions, galaxies, mountain ranges, sounds, sunsets, gerbils, rocks, and mango trees. Wow.
Abandoning the labels
My realization of God's unrestricted capacity for creativity astounded me and rehabilitated me completely.
Despite my urge to write, act and tell stories I had spent 8 years believing I wasn't creative. All because of a few lousy experiences with teachers who didn't realize what their actions and lack of encouragement were saying to a vulnerable, questioning youth.
In an instant my box of un-creativity was shattered to a million pieces as I encountered the creativity of the One who made everything, including me.
I realized that if I was made in the image of a God who could create such mind-blowing creations, then I was indeed the creative soul I had always hoped. I realized everyone has a little creative soul inside of them waiting to create something!
It dawned upon me, if God didn't need an instruction manual, rules, techniques and the approval of others in order to express His creativity and make something beautiful, neither do we. Of course rules and techniques help refine crafts and can give us creative tools for further expression but we can certainly start without permission, training and approval because creativity is simply part of the human condition.
You ARE creative
Okay, so painting isn't for all of us, and to be honest it really isn't for me. But creativity can be found anywhere – it saturates every part of life. Stories, clothing, recipes, music, and water transport – all of these things had to be imagined and created by someone.
Maybe you aren't a painter but you are a creative storyteller, builder, strategic thinker, business planner, actor, designer, music maker, cameraman...?
We are all made in the image of God and each one of us has a creative expression to contribute to the bigger creative landscape of life.
Two years ago I started writing and acting again. I now feel completely free and excited to create. Wow, does it feel good! I know now that I was never meant to live in a box of un-creativity.
Don't get trapped in the same box I was in. You ARE creative. Abandon the labels the world has placed on you. Acknowledge your origins and follow the example of the best Creator of all time; let your own style of creativity change the world.
"The biggest struggle you will ever face is to ignore the lies that feel so familiar." – Rachelle Dekker
Charlotte works as an actress, model and writer. She is a current Miss Universe Australia and Miss World Australia contestant. For more information visit www.charlottegoiris.com and 'Like' her page on Facebook: Charlotte Goiris to receive regular updates.
Charlotte Goiris' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/charley-goiris.html