I don’t know exactly when or why this began, but people are now using the word “creative” as a noun to describe themselves and others. As in:
“I’m a creative.”
“We provide marketing solutions for creatives.”
And so on.
I get what it is they’re trying to say. Maybe you work in an artistic field, such as writing, or film-making, or design, or photography, or dance, or whatever. You do artistic things – perhaps you do them for a living, perhaps it’s a hobby (or an obsession, let’s be honest) – so you call yourself “a creative.”
But this use of the word “creative” is bad theology, pure and simple.
We are all, as humans, created in the image of God. That means we are all imbued with certain inherent qualities, such as dignity, worth, and yes, creativity. God is a Creator God, and He made us all to be creative, too, just as He is creative.
To claim the title of “a creative” implies that people outside of the arts aren’t creative, but nothing could be further from the truth. It takes enormous amounts of creativity to be a software developer, an engineer, a mathematician, a parent, a teacher, a businessperson…the list could go on. For many people, it takes a lot of creativity just to get through life.
Words matter, and the way we use words often reveals our beliefs about ourselves and God. Our theology around the word “creative” matters, too. Over the past few years of leading the arts ministry at our church, I’ve heard this sentiment too many times:
“Oh, I’m not creative. I’m just a ___________.”
“I wish I were creative.”
“I’ll leave that to the creatives – I just do ________.”
And so on.
How much we miss when we don’t believe that we are each creative! Exercising our God-given creativity is one of the most satisfying experiences we can have in this life. (And it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the arts. Hint: not everyone’s an artist…but everyone’s creative.)
Not only that, but when we flex our creative muscles in whatever manner that we were each uniquely created to do so, then we start to become who we were meant to be, which means we begin to flourish. And when we flourish, we help the people in our lives to flourish, too.
Don’t buy into the idea that some people are “creatives” and some aren’t. It’s an adjective, not a noun, and it applies to each of us. Yes, some of us exercise it more than others. Some of us apply it in ways that appear more obvious than others.
But don’t belittle your own creativity and giftings. You are creative because you were made in the image of our Creator, and only YOU can fulfill the purpose that you have here on earth. We will all be the richer for it when we each embrace and express our own creativity.