Compass Resources for Embracing Creativity

“Unused creativity isn’t benign. It metastasizes.”   – Brené Brown

Have you ever wondered why children seem to have an endless supply of imagination and playfulness, while adults often struggle to tap into their creative side? Is it possible for adults to lose their creativity completely? Does it even really matter?

If you’ve ever wondered, you are not alone. As adults, we often find ourselves caught up in the demands of life, leaving little room for self-expression and the joy of creation. The urgent trumps the important, the calendar dictates our hours as the days fly by faster than we can count, and no amount of creativity stops the bills from coming or the deadlines from approaching.

But here’s the catch – the God-given creative energy we are born with does not just fade away as we age. It isn’t a commodity that can be traded or replaced with something deemed more useful for adulthood. Creativity flows in each of us, but when left untapped or ignored, it does something fascinating – it morphs.

Benign Creativity

Researcher and storyteller Brené Brown has dedicated her career to studying shame, guilt, and vulnerability. In an recent interview, she shared, “Unused creativity isn’t benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorrow, shame.” As we age, the creativity that is so easy to tap into as children is often left sitting, overshadowed by life’s pressures. But it can’t stay still. Left to its own devices, it slowly creeps into our thoughts, feelings and viewpoints.

Anxiety begins to surface. Anger begins to fester and wrongdoings from the past – those we have done and those done to us – race to the forefront of our thoughts faster and faster until that anger turns into rage. Grief becomes a bottomless pit with endless sorrow quickly chasing it. Our embarrassing stories from the past become shame-filled memories that play on repeat in our quietest moments. Not wanting to feel like we are the only broken souls out there, our judgments of others come quicker, harsher and stay around longer.

Face the Fear

Are you ready to acknowledge that you allowed your creativity to metastasize into detrimental emotions? You buried it due to societal expectations, fear of failure, and a need to conform, instead of nurturing it and allowing it to help you express yourself.

But burying it did not make it go away. It simply allowed it to spread in unhealthy ways and grow in the dark places of your story.

The question arises then: how do we reclaim our creative power and transform the negative and critical creativity into something positive and liberating?

Reclaim Creativity

Reclaiming our creativity starts with giving ourselves permission to let go of judgment and expectations, and intentionally create spaces to cultivate a mindset that values the process over the outcome. Then, seek out like-minded individuals and a community that will provide the support and nurture needed to reignite your creative spark and bring about transformation.

In Scripture, there are numerous references to the divine nature of creativity, starting at the very beginning of Genesis with a Creator God who not only made the heavens, earth, sun, moon, stars and animals, but also tells us “God created mankind in his own image (Genesis 1:27).” As beings created in God’s image, we are inherently creative. When we neglect our creative inclinations, we deny a fundamental part of who we are.

It’s Worth the Risk

Stepping into self-discovery and genuine connection with others to reclaim creativity requires intentional action and attending a weekend retreat with The Crucible Project is a great step on your journey. Through guided exercises, you’ll have the opportunity to peel back the layers of accumulated grief, rage, judgment, sorrow, and shame, allow yourself to release these burdens, and make room for newfound healthy creativity to flourish.

It is never too late to rediscover your innate creativity, release pent-up emotions, and find a renewed sense of purpose. When we embrace creativity, we unlock new perspectives, the ability to challenge existing norms, and find innovative solutions to problems. Creativity brings joy and fulfillment to our lives and enables us to connect with our authentic selves. As you learn to reharness your God-given creativity intentionally, you’ll uncover unique gifts, passions and talents that have been lying dormant within you, waiting for the space to thrive once more.