fearless creativity…

A few years into college, I met someone who changed my life.

He was not a public speaker.

He was not one of my professors.

His name was Matt, and he would become my best friend.

I met him at a YoungLife meeting one week, through a mutual friend, and we connected through our shared love of sports.   Matt was smart, very funny, caring and had a wicked fall-away jump shot.  But the thing that struck me most about Matt was his creativity.

He was an amazing writer, a very good artist and they seemed to flow out of him so easily.  Then he introduced me to his brother, Graham, who just happened to be an old middle school classmate of mine.  As I started hanging out with Graham as well, I noticed the same thing in him.  Creativity seemed to flow out of him through his writing, his amazing artistry and even through his athleticism.  And when you got them together, their creativity would raise to even higher levels.

And what confused and amazed me was that it was fearless.

Fearless creativity.

You see, I was raised to be a perfectionist.

If it could not be done perfect, then it should not be done.

And from an early age, that perfectionism found its way into my creative juices and polluted them.  When I would draw, it would be dimensionally perfect or it would be thrown away.  I became my worst critic and soon stopped creating, just so I could avoid criticism (mainly from myself) and comparison (where I knew I would come up woefully short).  But inside, I longed to create, to design and to express myself artistically.  I would admire people like Matt & Graham, but always assumed that they simply belonged to a special group of people specially gifted by God to be “real artists” and I was not one of them.  I accepted it, but inside my heart hurt.

But when I started hanging out with Matt & Graham, I started to see that I was wrong.

These two guys were not a part of an exclusive “God’s Artists Club” but instead were products of a different upbringing.

Soon I began to start watching their family and found a loving place where creativity flowed without critique or judgment.

Their parents, both writers themselves, would let their boys express themselves through art, music, writing and even athletics, all without insult or rebuke.  They even allowed us to completely trash their basement when we decided to make our own movie and needed to make sets.  They opened their living room to poetry gatherings, worship groups and just times of hanging out.

Creativity had free reign in their home and their boys were a living result.

Even today, both men are using their incredible talents for The Lord.

And this is the kind of legacy that I want to create in my family.

Most of the time when we talk about “legacy”, we think of spiritual depth, Biblical knowledge or walks of obedience and dedication to The Lord.

These are all incredible things that I do hope to pass along as well, but for me, I think the greatest cry of my heart is to pass along a legacy of creativity.

To my children, and their children, and even their children.

Three generations of open and fearless artistic expression.

I want to raise my kids to create in whatever way they feel led, whether it is through art, writing, singing, dancing, or anything else their imaginations can conjure up.  And somewhere far, far away from the perfectionism that has haunted my inner artist.

My princess Abbie is an amazing writer and loves to sing her heart out.

My son Zach is a very gifted artist and is a genius with LEGO’s.

My second son, JT, is only two, but has already shown a love of drawing.

And how will my Tiny Tim express himself?

I cannot wait to see and pray I can create a home filled with beauty and expression.

How about you?  What do you want to pass along to your kids?  What kind of environment do you want to create in your home?  I would love to hear about it.

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~ by kuiperactive on April 25, 2014.

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