Last week, a graphic designer at my church approached me to ask for my input because he “heard I am a creative and communications guru”. I immediately wanted to correct him and assure I don’t actually know what I’m doing most of the time. The next day, I sat with another creative as we worked on a re-branding project. We unintentionally started talking about when people call us creative, a writer, or an artist, and how quick we are to deny that. I have always viewed this friend as an artist, and suddenly she was trying to correct me when I called her one.
A couple years ago, I took an online writing course with author Ann Swindell and in the first class, she said this: the first step to being a writer is to own the name of a writer. She told us we were all there taking her class because we are writers, not because we wanted to become writers, but by signing up for this course, it proved we are already writers so it’s time to call ourselves what we are. Talk about a convicting first lesson.
It was convicting because I realized immediately how hard it is for me to own the titles of my desires. I don’t do any of them professionally or even have a lot of experience in them, so I believe the lie that I cannot call myself what I am. They feel more like hobbies or small seeds planted in me with roots hardly deep enough to produce any kind of fruit. The more I have discussed this with friends, the more confident I am that this concept goes beyond just writers. Whatever the title may be for you, fill in the blank. Photographer, baker, mechanic, stylist, or designer, why is it difficult for us to own the names of where our desires lie?
Wherever your desires lie, I believe everyone is creative. Maybe some of you don’t identify with that title, but I would challenge that. We were all created by a Creator to create. He created us so that we may create as an outpouring of His Spirit in us. We create for His glory. It is engrained in us, and maybe not in the obvious artistic way we view creativity. Some seasons will call us to create differently. Maybe for students it’s a strong work ethic, research papers, or cups of coffee to share with others up late studying. For young adults, we might be called to create peace in a stressful work environment, empty laundry baskets, or a cake for your best friend’s birthday party. We are all creative and we all create.
I hesitate when people refer to me as a creative or writer, when deep down, that is all I want to be called. I think we are nervous to own the title out of fear that it may not be true. What if we don’t deliver or meet the expectations? What if it turns out our desires are meant to stay hidden in our hearts and never anything more? I am making the proclamation for you that those questions are lies. God created you intentionally and thoughtfully. He planted dreams in you as a way for His glory to shine through to others. He does not give us desires to keep hidden, but shared in whatever ways He allows.
We downplay ourselves rather than own the name we so desire to be called. It is time we own it. Owning names like creative, designer, poet, builder, or artist does not mean you are the best or work in the skill professionally. It does not mean you are an expert. It simply means it is a passion instilled in your deepest desires and you are living it out in whatever way that may look like for you in your life. Living it out or owning this name looks different for everyone and will even vary for you in different seasons of your own life, but whatever it looks like, it does not make you any less of that name.
Owning my calling to be a creative is a daily battle. Some days, I’m really good at it. I grin, claim my work, and thank God for my gift of creativity. Other days, I’m frustrated and ask God why he didn’t make creativity come more naturally to me. Recently, I have been trying to own it. Even though I don’t make money for my work or know everything there is to know about writing, I am a writer. I am a creator. I am a graphic designer. What names are you denying but long to own? Declaring these names is the first step in accepting the desires God has given you, and He is waiting to see the ways you will glorify Him through your work in who He has made you to be.
words by Lauren Grindstaff and photo by Hailey Pierce