Define the (Creative) Relationship

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As creatives, we pour a little of our soul into everything we create. Over time, this will either develop us or destroy us.

Healthy creativity is a harmonious relationship that generates and multiples life through creatives and their creations. We invest life into our art, and it reflects life back to us with compounding returns, giving us a greater capacity to create over time. But if our relationship with creativity is unhealthy, our art can feed on us like a cancer, demanding more and more without ever giving back. We don’t realize it at first, because as creatives, we love to create – it’s what we were “born to do”. But it’s easy to lose focus and get pulled into destructive obsession. Unhealthy creativity breeds insecurity and mistrust that ultimately disconnects us from community. If we’re not careful, the thing that once gave us life and purpose, can become the enemy. Unbridled creativity will imprison our minds, crush our hearts, and exhaust our souls. So how can we protect ourselves against this negative spiral?

Creativity is like any relationship: it needs to be defined and continually evaluated through the lens of truth in order to thrive.

Our art reflects our story, but it does not define our identity. As creatives we must know our true identity. Who are we? Why do we create? Where does our creativity come from? What are our strengths, weaknesses, dreams and nightmares? The answers to these questions lay the foundation on which we build relationship with creativity. Without a solid foundation of truth, our relationship with creativity can be destroyed with the slightest bit of turbulent untruth:

  • “Your work doesn’t matter”
  • “You have no talent”
  • “You’re wasting your time”
  • “You’re a fake”
  • “You need to make it perfect”

These are some of the lies that creep into our minds if we allow our creations to “define the relationship”. Creation never defines its creator. As creatives, we must define our relationship with creativity on what we know is true. We all have baggage, but it doesn’t have to weigh us down. Identifying our wounds can strengthen our creativity because they serve as a map to guide exploration on our creative journey. These trigger points illuminate difficult terrain in our life so we can better prepare to navigate safely through them, while creating art that helps other people on similar journeys.  It’s not just about us. Our relationship with creativity impacts our relationships with people – to either draw us into encouraging community, or drive us hiding into isolation.

Healthy creativity enables us to evaluate and release our afflictions through a process that helps repair the broken pieces of life.

Guatemala Peace Memorial - Photo by Scott Owen Moore
Guatemala Peace Memorial – Photo by Scott Owen Moore
Guatemala Peace Memorial - Photo by Scott Owen Moore
Guatemala Peace Memorial – Photo by Scott Owen Moore
Guatemala Peace Memorial - Photo by Scott Owen Moore
Guatemala Peace Memorial – Photo by Scott Owen Moore

Here are some truths that lay the foundation for my relationship with creativity:

  • I am broken, I live in a broken world, and I cannot repair any of it on my own
  • My creativity comes from God the Creator as a gift that flows through me, not from me
  • I am valuable to my Creator and my life is a reflection of His greater story, despite my often inability to see the bigger picture
  • My Creator does not require or expect me to be perfect, but I often wrestle with perfectionism
  • I am a hard worker and often find it difficult to rest, so I need to “build it into my schedule”
  • I have freedom in my creativity to explore without fear of failure and rejection
  • I often have visions of creative projects that are larger than I can accomplish on my own and am called to trust others in the creative process
  • I am an introvert, but I need (and thrive in) community
  • I create to help me process my journey and help others process theirs
  • We are all at different points on our journey

What about you? How is your relationship with creativity?

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Showing 4 comments
  • Josh Collins

    Just tweeted this line “Unhealthy creativity breeds insecurity and mistrust that ultimately disconnects us from community.” So good and true. Beautiful words here Scott!

    • ScottOwenMoore

      Josh, thanks for your encouragement AND joining in community with me. I appreciate you!

  • Troy McLaughlin

    Boy, Scott that voice that says you’re a fake is one that rears it’s ugly head a lot. It’s in those times I try to cling to the Father’s love and assurance that He loves me without regard to anything I do or produce.

    • ScottOwenMoore

      Troy, thank you for sharing! I am thankful for God’s grace and unconditional love that give me the freedom to explore without fear of losing what is most important – my identity in Him. Thanks for investing in Project Pastor to inspire authenticity in pastors! I’m very passionate about authenticity in mission. Check out if you have not done so already.

      Great Peace!

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