Creativity As Beautiful Waste

As part of our series on ‘Beautiful Waste’, Crystal shares some thoughts around the beautiful waste of creativity.

Creativity – it’s one of those words that everyone has a different understanding and definition of and a very different relationship with.
The concept of creativity excites some, bores others and petrifies those who don’t see themselves as “creative.”

Yet we would all agree that creativity has great purpose and plays a very special and important role in our world. We can all appreciate that it is creativity that has given us great music, striking art, incredible buildings… and the list goes on. The greatest gift that has come to us through creativity is Creation itself.
And scientists and psychologists can tell us how the product of creativity is good for our health and well-being over-all, especially when we get out into creation.

Yet, if we are not careful, creativity can be relegated to “usefulness” where we begin to begin to view it only through the lens of what it can accomplish. And when we do that, the richness and the subtle power of creativity wanes and is even lost.

God is the ultimate Creator. We create – whether that be in the realm of the arts, in science, problem-solving, the medical field, etc. – because we are created in His image.

But what do we see in God as Creator? Much of what he created has great purpose and usefulness , this is true. But how much of what he created could essentially, be viewed as waste?

When we think of the variety of mammals and birds, or more questionably, of insects and reptiles – not all is needed really. When we think of the variety of landscapes and climates, or types of bodies of water. How about the staggering variety of colours? And why do snowflakes need to be each one completely unique and different to the other?

And then there’s us – humanity. Not one of us is made exactly the same. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just simply clone us?

I would suggest based on the evidence, that God delights in “waste.”

And this is the beauty of creativity in prayer. Yes, creative actives serve a beautiful purpose in prayer of helping us connect with God at a deeper level. Creativity in prayer helps us focus, gets us past the distractions within our minds and past the walls we put up in our heads and hearts. Creativity in prayer is like a key that unlocks the door of our innermost being, our true heart, our most vulnerable places. And it teaches and permissions us to pray in many ways in any place.

A beautiful example of this is when I was asked to do a session on prayer and set up some creative prayer “stations” at a ministry in the northeast of Scotland that seeks to help provide community and support for women from a particular council housing estate. One of the ladies tried out “Letting Go,” an activity where we give God our worries by dropping a stone in a bowl of water. She shared with us all how much peace she felt after doing it and how she was now going to throw stones into the sea on her daily walks as a way of continuing to release her worries to God!

But prayer rooms and prayer weeks are filled with creativity that is essentially waste.
Whenever I am responsible for a prayer room/prayer week I face the conundrum of what to do with all the artwork on the walls, the lovely origami prayers that people have painstaking folded in to a bird… and all the other signs of prayer through creative activities.

And more often than not it all goes into the bin (recycling of course!).

It could be seen as waste. But God delights in it. His Father’s heart rejoices when his people not only take the time to meet with him, but express a part of themselves that looks like Him with no other intention than connecting with Him. And because He is worthy of it.

He sees it as beautiful waste.

Crystal Cryer

Crystal Cryer originally hails from Oregon, but now claims Scotland as home. She is the National Coordinator for 24-7 Prayer Scotland. She is also part of the Prayer Spaces in Schools Scotland team as well as the Central Church family in Edinburgh, where she is based.