I’d never really thought much about the idea of “creative genius”. Then I watched this talk from TED by Elizabeth Gilbert. She tackles the notion of creativity and genius, and how the worst thing we did, was place the genius in the creative.


The most extraordinary aspects of your being don’t come from you, but are on loan to you; to be passed along to someone else when you are finished.

I am naturally gifted. It’s how God created me; how he wired me. But there are moments when my work becomes something more. Something bigger than my natural giftings allow. She called it transcendent. There are times when God shows up, and transforms my work. He gives it a deeper beauty, and deeper meaning.

There are weekends when I’ve produced my part (the art, and maybe the title), then the rest of our service planning team connects the dots with songs, drama and message. God takes what we did and breaks hearts and transforms lives. I just did my part, and God magnifies it to do the unimaginable.

Confession: there have been times that I just “phoned it in”. God still takes that work and changes lives. I have no joy and satisfaction in those moments. I rejoice in those changed lives, but am secretly frustrated that my heart wasn’t in it.

God doesn’t need me to do his work. He can use any Joe Blo designer who is willing and available.

If you want this to be better than it is, you have to show up and do your part of the deal. If you don’t do anything, that’s okay. I’ll keep producing, because it’s my job. But this won’t be brilliant unless you do your part.

The most brilliant, stunning and remarkable work doesn’t come from me, but when God comes and does his part.

Removing the genius from the creative takes away the responsibility of trying to repeat those divine moments on our own. It’s a huge weight to feel like we must constantly blow minds with our work, but it’s not our job, nor in our ability that do that. When God comes, he makes what we do better. That’s his part.

The flip side is that it also takes away the narcissism and ego that build up. It’s not me and my gifts that transformed those lives; that made something so beautiful. It was God and his work. I cannot and should not take credit. I was just there and available for that exquisite moment.

Do you have a story of how the God showed up and magnified you work/efforts? Are you available for those “exquisite moments”?


~ by mitchbolton on April 27, 2009.

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