“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19)
I love fall!
We’re in peak leaf-changing season here in southern Appalachia, and the colors around us are eye-popping. Buttery-yellow tulip poplars, tomato-red maples, bright-orange serviceberry trees, and cool-green hemlocks are tossed together in a salad bowl of visual delight. Drive slowly along the Blue Ridge Parkway with your car windows down, to savor the autumn palette along with the crisp, pristine air tinged only by a hint of frost and woodsmoke.*
Oooh, aaah. God does beautiful, creative work this time of year.
And so should we.
That’s not to say we can duplicate God’s magnificent, awe-inspiring handiwork. But as creatures made in His image, He has imprinted us with a desire to be creative as well. It’s in our DNA. In fact, He calls us every day to join Him in making new things.
Fall is the perfect time to flex our artistic muscles. Most of us are past the flurry of summer vacation trips, back-to-school efforts, and even lawn-mowing. It’s time now to start canning that bumper crop of apples, cooking pecan waffles (recipe below), whipping up a spice latte, pulling out the embroidery projects, carving pumpkins, or stacking up logs for winter. Cooler temperatures energize you to get out your camera, compose poetry, dance around a campfire, or paint an old barn.
Whatever you like to create, God is right there with you—He gently lifts your arm to tap your paintbrush, points out where to plant your foot on a firm rock, directs your eyes to a hidden fern, stretches your fingers around a smooth apple skin, brings ancient words to mind in cadence with a haunting melody from your heart.
He is the supreme Creator, the master Craftsman who invites us—nay, compels us—to create beauty with Him. He is the motivation behind everything we accomplish in His name.
How do you act on these impulses from Him? How can you know that what you’re doing is valuable?
First, plan for time away from your daily responsibilities. This can be as little as one hour or an entire day or weekend. Try to get out into His creation, whether in a city park or a national wilderness. There are few environments more stimulating than a grove of trees to get your imagination revved up.
Next, declutter your mind from all other distractions and nuisance thoughts. My friend and professional organizer, Angie Hyche,** shared several truths at a recent writers’ retreat about being creative, encouraging us to sweep all negative thinking out of our heads. We must start with an empty bucket in hand and a blank canvas in front of us.
Angie reminded us that only God creates. Satan cannot create anything, and in his jealousy, he seeks to rob us of our God-given talents as well. The crafty old devil plants fear, failure, envy, insecurity, procrastination, and slothfulness into our heads through self-deprecating beliefs and false identities such as “imposter syndrome.” Like mildew, his lies seep into the corners of our brains and feed on each other until we’re paralyzed into inactivity.
Instead, let’s focus our attention on God’s directives for His happiness and ours. He can accomplish all His purposes without us, but He designed us to join Him in achieving His goals. What is He calling you to make or say that will draw others closer to Him?
For example, a flower fulfills many functional roles in nature for insects and fruitfulness. But shouldn’t you also recognize its God-orchestrated beauty? Can’t you just imagine Him smiling and laughing at the wonders of His own artistic hands…and then pointing them out to you? How, then, will you share His splendors with the world?
When the source of our handiwork is our love for Him, all of our efforts become an act of worship. If our work shifts from drudgery to seeking His pure joy, we can know that we are embracing our relationship with Him and find that His penetrating light will shine upon what we do.
Express from your heart what the Holy Spirit reveals to you. Write, paint, dance, sing, build, or display your handiwork for Him…and for the one person whose heart will be changed as well. It might be your heart. Our reward is not money but finding greater access and influence into the lives of others.
“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2:15-17)
Like a skilled perfumer, blend together the resources God has provided for you today to create a sweetly fragrant offering. Take the talents and gifts He has bestowed on you and give them away liberally in your creations for others to enjoy. Always lead others to see Him in your work.
Release for yourself, through an unfettered mindset and a heart filled with love for Jesus Christ, the unbound freedom this fall to create!
Loving and creative God, Author of all things in the universe, what a privilege to join You in making new things. Empty my soul of drudgery and despair—even as I pick up the “paintbrush” of my work in obedience—so that I will join You joyfully in Your great mission to build Your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Show me Your glorious majesty and delight in Your creation, and let me find it in others as well. In the magnificent name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen.
© Copyright 2023 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
* Check out these spectacular fall 2023 photos of the Blue Ridge Parkway: https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2023/10/16/blue-ridge-parkway-closed-snow-and-ice-north-of-asheville/71210329007/?utm_campaign=snd-autopilot&fbclid=IwAR0HQqi1MiY689b4XOOmLxdaS8OX4Y_JNxgWhK6OFU5ILfblheOiuGn2TWI
**You can find out more about Angie Hyche and her organizing ideas at https://shipshape.solutions.
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Bonus recipe from me! Enjoy!
Republished with permission from Blogs.crossmap.com, featuring inspiring Bible verses about The Privileged Life: Unleash Your Creativity!.