CHALLENGE: Create

There was a point in my life where it seemed like everyone else had astoundingly creative ideas, and I— well, I just didn’t.

I felt very dull. I was very dull, probably.

But there came a time when I realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t have ideas. In fact, once I became aware of them, I was almost overwhelmed by the abundance.

It was simply that I didn’t do them.

(Note: the doing of ideas is significantly more difficult than the having of them.)

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I suspect that there are more people out there like me- who have ideas but don’t carry them through. And you know what? That makes me feel sad. It makes me feel sad because I have come to believe that when we squelch our creative ideas, we are actually suppressing a part of ourselves that God meant for us to keep very alive- a place in our souls that is meant to be churning and boiling and quivering. I’m not talking about dumb ideas here. I’m talking about the ideas that are so alive that they could practically dance all on their own without help from you. I hope that you have one or two of those kinds of ideas tucked away somewhere close to your heart.

I have been blabbing on about ideas, when the title of this post is “Creation”. Ideas and creation are very closely linked. The ideas come first and creation occurs when we turn our ideas into something real. Not something perfect, but something real. We were created to create. We are made in the image of the Creator. The Creator brought you to life with his breath, and creativity and the desire to create flow through your veins.

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Let’s pause and think about our Creator for a moment.

God could have created the world any way that he wanted to. He could have snapped his fingers and a complete world would have bounced into place. But no. He took time.

It was a process.

Day by day, new beauties and systems were developed.

He took time to evaluate his work. He examined it closely. The morning stars sang together. Deep called to deep. The rocks cried out. The mountains and the hills sang before him. The trees of the field clapped their hands. The lilies of the field smiled serenely. The birds of the air were free and fed.

Piece by piece, the project came together.

He breathed over it all and life flourished.

Tov meod- It was very good. It was a very good idea.

Just think- this Artist made you in his image. You are like him.

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So why is it that we so often avoid our ideas and the process of creation?

Here’s the answer:

Because creation often looks like a whole lot of work to us humans. We come to despise the very thing that can bring us to life. We reject ideas for different reasons. Because the idea is too crazy. Because it’s not practical. Because we don’t have time. Because we don’t have money. Because we don’t have energy.

We have so many beautiful opportunities to create (to bring our ideas to life), and we just view it as work. I think that this is Satan’s doing- part of the fall and one of his greatest thefts. I think that he breathes a sigh of relief when we choose to ignore those ideas that whisper in our souls. When we dismiss an idea as unrealistic or impractical. God can dwell in those ideas.

If you never act on any of your ideas, and never make any of the things that you want to make or do the things that you want to do, you are depriving yourself. I’m sorry, but you are. You might be managing just fine. You might be managing your time well. You might be saving money. But you are missing out.

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We can create in many different ways. Travel, writing, learning, painting, lesson plans, gardening, cooking and baking, sewing, taking pictures, making videos, and relationships. (Side note- ideas and creation do not always produce something tangible.)

Here are several things about ideas and creativity for you to think about.

Don’t be fooled. In the world that we live in today, we have so much creative stimulation (ahem- Pinterest) that it is easy to feel creatively fulfilled without actually creating anything. Scrolling through idea after idea, and even pinning some of them for “future use”, can give me a cheap imitation of the satisfaction that comes from creating something. Challenge- actually create.

Create in familiar and new ways. We all create in different ways. I listed some of them earlier. Recognize the things that you take joy in creating, but don’t be afraid to try new ideas and different types of creation.

Don’t be afraid of processes. We live in a world where efficiency is valued. We always want the fastest and simplest way to do things. Creation is rarely fast and simple. It’s often messy. And time-consuming. And somewhat frustrating because things never quite turn out the way that you expect them to. (Or maybe that just happens to me.) Learn to enjoy processes and the results. Embrace the whole project, not just the finished product. Sometimes we gain more from the process than we do from the finished product.

There is a day

when the road neither

comes nor goes, and the way

is not a way but a place.

-Wendell Berry

 

Share your creation. The things that we create are not meant to be kept to ourselves. Art, food, writing, music, pictures, lesson plans, beautiful memories… These things were meant to be shared. They bring us together and they bring us to the core of who we truly are and they bring us to God.

Don’t exhaust yourself. I’m not telling you that you have to do all of your ideas. That you have to constantly create.  Sometimes ideas aren’t good ones. Sometimes it really isn’t the right time. I’m just saying that it’s good to pay attention to your ideas. Be slow to dismiss an idea that feels like it is bursting with life. Don’t let laziness or fear keep you from something beautiful.

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I think that heaven must be absolutely glowing with ideas and creation. Why wouldn’t it be? It is, after all, the birthplace of all creativity.

God, the center of all beauty and new life, lights that kingdom. I like the thought of heaven being a place for creating- for bringing ideas to life. For communal creation and individual creation, all free from the insecurities, jealousy, hesitancy, and fear that we bring to the table here on earth.

But for now?

For now…

I will be content and I will work hard to create right where I am.

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KITCHEN: The Humble Hot Dog

Fun Fact: I’ve been blogging since 2009. I was just a baby when I started blogging. I didn’t use enough capital letters, but at least I managed to use more than my fair share of punctuation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Blogging has definitely been a journey, and recently I have been considering what I want my blog to be like in this stage of my life. I considered what I think about, what I pour my energy into, and how I spend my time, and came up with several different categories: Kitchen, Devotional, Review, Challenge, New Places, Teaching, “How To…” In the future, you can expect to see posts that (for the most part) fall somewhere into those categories! Tonight, I am starting things off with a post from the “Kitchen” category. 

I’d like to draw your attention to an oft-overlooked kind of food.

The lowly hot dog.

A simple food that tends to be somewhat looked down on by adults and deemed acceptable for campfires, but only for campfires.

Certainly not a desirable supper item.

I’m here to tell you that I think we’ve been wrong about the hot dogs.

I think that they can be more than we have expected them to be thus far.  In fact, I know that they can be.

When prepared properly, hot dogs can be a simple and delicious meal. They are particularly handy if you have been working all day and are really hungry right now. 

Let me teach you.

First of all, you need to cook the hot dogs. Don’t boil them. Please don’t. It might just be a matter of opinion, but I believe that my alternative method is far superior to boiling.

Here’s what you do:

Fry them in butter. Yup. Fry them until they are well-done (reminiscent of the stage of doneness that they achieve when roasted over a campfire in the dark). Next, put barbecue sauce on them. Let them cook a bit longer, until the barbecue sauce and the hot dog, well, become one.

At some point while the hot dogs are cooking, toss some onions into the frying pan with them. You will never regret frying onions to put on your hot dog. That’s what I always say.

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I have never been able to decide if fried purple onions are horrendously ugly or somewhat beautiful.

While the dogs and onions are doing their final frying, dice some tomato. Now, I grew up thinking that everyone ate tomatoes on their hot dogs, but I now know that this is not true. I understand your skepticism, but I think that you should give the ‘matoes a chance. We’re all mature, culinarily-adventurous adults here, right? Take my word for it- the tomatoes won’t let you down.

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Pull out the buns, ketchup, cheese whiz zucchini relish, and honey mustard.

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And just… you know… put it all together!

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Serve with potato salad, lettuce salad, jello, perogies, mac and cheese… Hot dogs are nothing if not versatile. (Actually, I don’t know if that’s true. The versatility of hot dogs might be up for debate. I welcome your feedback on this matter.)

If I were you, I would strongly consider adding hot dogs to my grocery list.

(Be honest. Is there a tiny part of you that is craving a hot dog now?)