Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Exercising Your Creator Muscle

I've been exercising my creator muscle a lot lately--knitting and crocheting and baking and writing.

It's a muscle I haven't worked out in a while. After taking it out for a run the first few days, it was tired and stiff--a definite ache in the muscle--but endorphins none the less. I was creating. I was making something again, something unique that had never been before, and it felt good.

When there is a big change or life gets a bit stressful, the first thing I usually throw out the window is my workouts. And I know, I know, you exercise junkies out there are screaming through your computer at me, "That should be the absolute last thing to go! Exercise reduces stress. It produces endorphins. It makes you feel better!"

Yeah, I know.

But exercise also means getting out of bed before I want to get out of bed and making my body move when all I want to do is curl under the covers and ignore the world for just a few more minutes.

So my Merrells gather a bit of dust and my workout clothes stay neatly folded in the drawer and I get a few minutes more.

Then I remember...exercise produces endorphins and reduces stress and maybe I should get up out of bed and go for a run. Maybe it will make the world seem a bit rosier and I'll be a bit less stressed.

Taking those first few steps after a long time without exercise, my body always feels heavy and cumbersome and I wonder about turning around and heading back to bed. I don't really want to do this. Why am I doing this?

A few minutes more and my body doesn't feel so heavy. A little farther and I can feel my muscles loosen and grow accustom to the rhythm of foot to pavement. It begins to feel natural and drives me forward. Oxygen is moving through my lungs and I'm starting to feel alive. The road before me and nothing behind. Yeah, this was a good idea after all.

Our creator muscles are a bit like that. We think about using them. We imagine all the wonderful things we could create if we only had the time, but too often those ideas get listed out on the dusty chalkboards of our minds never to get crossed off, only to get smudged and partially erased until we can't read our own writing anymore and remember what the idea was to begin with.

It is far too easy these days to allow our creator muscles to atrophy.

With every modern convenience and the guys over at Google and Apple doing all the creating, why in the world do I need to create? Someone else can do the creating for me. Besides, I'm not a creative person.

I happen to think we are all creative people. I think the ability to create is part of the Creator God's imprint upon us. We were made to create. We were made to produce new ideas and to compose music and to fashion art and to invent inventions. Creation is part of who we are as humans.

I love connecting with my creator friends. They inspire me to keep creating and to exercise the muscle in ways I never would have thought of without their influence.

My friend Cheryl-lyn is a soon to be hobby beekeeper. I love that. I love how she's choosing to stretch her creator muscle, to connect to her father and her childhood, and to maybe someday teach others how to stretch their creator muscles through beekeeping.

My father is constantly inspiring me to create, using his creator muscle in his quartet, his drama group, his Friday afternoon "Amazing Story" talks... Sometimes I wonder if there is a way to get him to put the creating on pause.

And then there's my friend Patrice who stretches her creator muscle thinking up wild and zany ways to encourage women to dive deeper into their walk with Jesus and to develop a deep love for the Lord--wild and zany like repelling off buildings kind of zany.

These creator friends of mine inspire me to keep dreaming up new ideas and new creations. To keep writing. To keep baking. To keep creating whatever it is I want to create and not to let those ideas get smudged and erased off my chalkboard without first getting crossed off in accomplishment.

Creating doesn't mean being crafty. It doesn't mean being arty. It doesn't mean being musical or being a talented writer. Creating can mean anything you want it to mean, after all, it's your creation. But definitely be a creator of something.

What ways can you exercise your creator muscle? It may ache at first, but once you've used it a bit, I promise it's so worth it. And if you don't like what you first exercise your creator muscle with, try something else. Just keep creating. You'll thank yourself for it someday.

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