Home schooling our children was such a rewarding experience that by the end of each school year, I was willing to do it another year. The beginning of each school year was a different story, though. Every year frustration took over as I faced the task of setting up the new school year. I felt overwhelmed, drowning in details — all those books to look through, subjects to plan, music lessons and sports activities to schedule, a house to manage, a home school support group to lead, and on and on…
Then one year, in the middle of the annual mess, I read the first chapter of Genesis in the Bible. As I read, it struck me that Genesis 1 not only says God created the earth, it also describes the creative process. For in the beginning, God started with a giant massiveness that was “without form.” It was empty and covered in darkness. That sounded just like what I faced at the beginning of each school year!
Then God spoke out His thoughts and began making separations. He created light, then separated light from darkness. He named things: He “called the light ‘day,’ and the darkness He called ‘night.’” The next day God created “the expanse.” He separated the water under the expanse from the water above it, calling the expanse “sky.” The next day God made another distinction: “land” and “sea.” And He did something with the land: He caused it to produce vegetation.
And so it went. God began with a formless void, then made separations and distinctions. He developed patterns. He established routines. He gave names and meaning to what He had created.
I realized that every process that people normally label “creative” involves these same activities. A composer selects certain rhythms and notes from a chaos of notes and rhythms (separating, distinguishing). With these he develops patterns – musical themes, harmony. An artist selects certain media and then creates form and pattern where once all was formless and meaningless – just a pile of tools and background materials like paper, tile or clay
What I was really facing at the beginning of each school year was an opportunity to fulfill my creative nature as someone made in God’s image. So, instead of getting frustrated with the formless void, I needed to rejoice. For this was the start of another adventure in creativity. I needed to work with the process and trust the God of the process. Then, as I worked alongside Him, that creative process would produce a kind of new world.
The school year would not remain a formless void. I would be able to make separations, to establish patterns and routines, to bring form to what was formless and meaning to what seemed meaningless. I would be able to turn chaos into order, and even, God helping me, to cause life and growth within that new order.
So I’ve learned to start thanking God now whenever that familiar sense of frustration hits. Whatever project I’m working on, that’s My Clue that I am, once again, facing the adventure of creativity.
©1998 Becky Cerling Powers Reprint with attribution only
(This article is reprinted from My Roots Go Back to Loving, a collection of faith-based family stories originally published in the El Paso Times. To order send a check or money order for $5 per copy to 140 Hemley Road, Anthony, TX 79821.)