Our identities as image-bearers and creatives go hand in hand

Words by Jayda Hooge

What if I’m not creative?

This was a major self-doubt that I fully believed in high school. Once, during a game of Telephone Pictionary with friends, I tried to draw a cow and much to my chagrin, everyone thought it was a platypus.

Safe to say, my drawing skills left something to be desired. I also wasn’t particularly gifted in music.

It felt defeating to accept that I wasn’t creative or artistic, but I was sure I wasn’t, so what could I do? My thoughts didn’t stop there. I often wondered why I wasn’t good at anything. Why didn’t I have a visible talent or gifting, when so many of my friends and classmates clearly did?

I had made so many definitive statements about myself. “I’m not creative,” “I don’t have any talents,” “I’m not musical.” The list goes on.

Yet, over the years God started revealing to me that I had a wrong perception of who I was and who He made me to be.

He has shown me that I am creative when it comes to problem-solving. I didn’t just magically know this one day, but I started to realize this as I tried different things, like working at a daycare and summer camp.

People started to recognize this skill and encourage me. Gradually, I came to realize that God made me with this ability and has been giving me opportunities to grow in it.

He has reminded me that I love writing and showed me I have a love for using photography to capture beautiful moments between people and stunning landscapes. He even asked me to trust Him with my voice, which I was convinced was rubbish, and led me to sing on a worship team at Bible school.

For me, all of these examples took trying new things and then continuing to do them over months and years. I wasn’t an excellent photographer right off the bat, but I enjoyed it, so I continued to take photos of friends and to read up on different techniques.

Now, I do engagement and family photo sessions. Even if these things aren’t obvious to us right away, that doesn’t mean that we don’t possess creative qualities. 

My point is, you may have to try something new to find out what your creative niche is. Then, you’ll need do that thing a lot. Watch tutorial videos on YouTube, take a class, get together with friends for a day of creating. Just because you aren’t artistic, doesn’t mean you’re not creative!

One of my friends is more analytical than artistic. His expression comes out through writing, watching movies and discussing them with friends, and playing sports.

He told me, “I think all it takes to be creative is to do something. You won’t see a lot of things hanging on my wall, but I actually feel much better about my life when I’m trying to find ways to create and enjoy life in the ways God has created me to.”

Your story of creative self-discovery probably looks very different from mine, but that’s okay!

We’re all made so differently and beautifully. God is the great Creator and we are image-bearers of God (Genesis 1:27). That means we have His characteristics coursing through our veins.

Our identity, self-worth, and dignity come from God, because He created each of us and He created us in His image.

As I think about my friends and how different they are, I can see how creativity shows up differently in their lives. I have friends who cook creative meals, friends who find inventive ways to encourage and support others, and friends who explore unique fashion choices. Some create welcoming spaces for hospitality while others come up with imaginative ideas for their businesses.

I think a lot of us know this on a head level, but do we believe it about ourselves?

Do you believe God made you wonderfully and with purpose?

Do you believe He made you with something to offer?

Do you believe you can use your thoughts and actions to glorify God?

I don’t think it was a coincidence that as I began learning about how I’m creative, God was also affirming my identity in Him. For a few years in a row, He spoke tenderly to my heart over and over again, until I started to truly believe that I was loved, that I belonged, that I had a purpose, that He chose me and delighted in me.

If you’ve unsure how you were created to be creative, ask God to show you! Invite Him into your daily life of school, work, and hobbies. Take time to sit in His presence, seeking His voice.

I believe that knowing our identity in God and resting in His love goes hand in hand with living our best creative lives. This glorifies Him.