By Katie Helmreich
It is such a joy to be part of the Ponder Anew Facebook community, sharing as we go through the Hymn Journal together! I absolutely love seeing how everyone interacts with the texts, hymns, and artwork differently. We’re talking about beautiful things like being free to delight in this devotional time and to have fun in God’s Word! It’s exciting to watch as people dive in and embrace that freedom to create and experience as we ponder and process through art and prayer!
That light and breezy feeling of freedom doesn’t always come easily. It seems like it should, right? What could be easier than just letting go? But … if you don’t know how to swim it sometimes takes a bit to loosen your white knuckled grip on the side of the pool. I know that feeling.
Fortunately, you do NOT need to jump off the diving board if you’re not ready. Instead, let’s just dip our toes in together and chat about creating!
Creativity is already a part of who you are. You make things, write things, and you do things all the time. Creativity isn’t limited to producing novel or unique results. Its more a willingness to use what you have, fiddle with it, and respond to changes or challenges as they come.
Being creative isn’t working in a void, free of outside influence or example. You always start with something, even unconsciously: a lesson from your childhood, examples gleaned from your surroundings, someone else’s experience, a recipe or a plan.
That time you started making dinner only to discover you were out of the two ingredients and the chicken hadn’t thawed yet? You looked up a different recipe, you improvised using past experiences, you used references to find a faster way to thaw or cook the chicken. You rolled with it.
Maybe it turned out well; maybe it didn’t. But you were creative.
Being creative produces successes, failures, and a whole bunch of stuff in between. No matter what happens, if you learn something, the time and effort is never wasted.
Art can seem intimidating. But you’ve been learning in bits and pieces all along! Taking pictures with your phone, choosing what to wear, browsing magazines, decorating your home, helping your little ones draw … You are already doing it!
We sometimes get the impression that a person either just has “the knack” for being creative or they don’t; that art is all or nothing. The beautiful truth is, we can enjoy art at any and every skill level!
If you’re not in the mood to dive in, just dip your toes in the water. What’s your favorite color? What colors do you like to wear? Start there. Relax. Just play with those colors for a while. You know what you like, and there’s beauty in simplicity.
Underline and circle things. Add a little color here and there. Give yourself space to think as you explore without worrying about having an end goal in mind.
If you’re in the mood, look up an intro to colored pencils on YouTube. Try a little shading, or lightly layer one color on another. You may find colored pencils don’t feel like your thing. That’s fine; just try something else! Maybe you’ll prefer to use markers, acrylic paint, pens, or watercolors. You may fall in love with slowing down and coloring each tiny space. Maybe you’ll find it more satisfying to add color loosely and let the lines give definition on their own.
Try things. Keep what you like; leave behind what you don’t. Allow your sense of “your style” to evolve a bit. Ask questions. Go ahead and imitate the artwork others share if you want! After all, we learn almost everything by example. Just like baking a cake, YOU made it, even if you followed your grandma’s recipe. The art–like the cake–will still be uniquely yours.
Some things will work; some will take more problem solving; some will fail completely. It’s all an experiment! Art always is. No page is wasted if you learn something. Sometimes all you can do is laugh, shake it off, and savor the beauty of a fresh start on the next page.
Each page reveals a glimpse of who you are and how you are growing emotionally and spiritually. Your time spent in devotion reflects God’s glory no matter what it looks like!
Sharing this experience with a community of brothers and sisters in Christ is such a gift! Some are doing somersault cannonballs into the deep end. Some are swimming like fish. Some are working up the nerve to put their faces underwater. Others are gleefully paddling their way around the pool in their floaties. Some sit on the side, dipping their feet in, enjoying the cool water, visiting together and cheering on the swimmers!
But we’re here together and it’s amazing!
Featured image by Visual Faith™ Illustrator Katie Helmreich.