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    The Light-Bearers

    Learning to lead, love and serve in creative ways. January 27, 2022 Lieutenant Olivia Campbell-Sweet

    This contemplative piece will encourage you to consider and implement the process of creativity in all areas of your life. As image-bearers of God, creativity is our birthright, given to us from the Creator himself. Let’s explore this together.

    The story of God begins with five simple words: “When God began to create” (Genesis 1:1 CEB). We are created beings living in a created world that the Maker himself has declared is “good.” While all of creation reflects God’s goodness and is woven together with purpose, beauty and identity, we are the only image-bearers: “God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them” (Genesis 1:27 CEB).

    We are made in the image of a good God, in the image of a Creator. We have a divine birthright to creativity. We each have a brightness that has been woven within us—the capacity to breathe life and light back into dark spaces. Through creativity, we will bring Light himself into the world.

    Made in the Image of God

    I have always loved the arts. Some of my most significant childhood memories are of visiting my local art gallery and library to participate in their various art programs. In elementary school, I had a teacher who championed my work and my voice. Most vividly, though, I remember tearing up an art piece, feeling inadequate about what I had created.

    In high school I became heavily immersed in the vocal music program. While my involvement in the visual arts decreased, I see the influence of creativity in other aspects of my life. As a young adult I taught swimming lessons, creating lessons that took toddlers on deepsea adventures. I also used my creativity to develop and implement peer-based health advocacy campaigns for the public health department. At 18, I began teaching English in a prison, developing resources to engage my students. At university, I always chose the creative project option and even used my love of the arts to compare Harry Potter and Jesus.

    I am not an artist, but I am a creative. There is a distinction. My life is not built around the products, but rather the process, of creativity—of joining with the Holy Spirit in all aspects of my life. To tackle parenting, leadership, pastoring, marriage, friendship—all of it—in creative ways. In partnership with the Holy Spirit:

    • I take risks, try new things, reach out to strangers and tackle injustice. I develop new programs or initiatives to meet the needs around me.
    • I love my child, asking for inspiration to ignite joy, compassion and patience.
    • I lead others, reflecting the nature of the Father and offering grace to myself and others when the mark is missed.
    • I engage with conflict and seek to find solutions or reconciliation.

    Light continually bursts into the earth when God’s creations, his image-bearers, understand their identity as creatives, when they lead, love and serve in creative ways.

    I am made in the image of God. You are made in the image of God. I am a light-bearer. You are a light-bearer.

    Cultivating the Light

    It can take time and effort to initiate creativity within our everyday lives. We may find ourselves stuck in everyday rhythms, feeling disempowered by our schedules, abilities or lack of connection. You may be thinking: “I don’t have the time or space to get ‘creative’ ” or perhaps, “I don’t know how to tangibly do that.”

    But we are not alone—we have been given unlimited access to the Holy Spirit within us. The Father delights in connecting with us. Take a moment to centre yourself before God. Ask him for his vision to look closely at your life. Ask him for his wisdom to discern where creativity may bring light back into this world.

    He looks at you, his creation, and says that you are good. Start exploring your creativity by considering the following:

    • As God’s image-bearer, how is creativity woven within you? How can it be used as a tool to bring God’s nature to this earth?
    • What is your posture toward creativity? Do you believe it is part of your identity? If so, how does it make an impact on your daily life? How could it have greater impact?
    • Where does the Holy Spirit want to breathe life back into your life? What does partnering with the Spirit look like in this process?

    Let’s explore some further questions with the Holy Spirit. You may wish to respond to the questions below in your head, in your journal or through art. However you choose to respond, do so with confidence, believing that God is present:

    Everyday Life

    • Where do you travel weekly? What would it look like to take a new path? Try it and see where God’s creation delights and inspires you.
    • What is something you have wanted to try but have put off? Do it! Make an action plan with concrete steps if needed.
    • What is going on in your community? Think of a current issue and ask God: “How can I breathe life and light back into this space?”
    • Does your environment make you anxious, frustrated or lifeless? How can you cultivate an environment that encourages joy and peace? Then consider how you can invite others into this space.

    Relationships

    • Consider your weekly schedule: add intentional time with your children or spouse.
    • Think of a challenging relationship. Ask God: “How can I better reflect your nature?”
    • How is parenting going? How are you reflecting the nature of God to your children? Where do you need help?
    • Connect with a friend: plan an online games night, monthly check-in or read a book together. How can you cultivate creativity in your friendship(s)? Talk it out with one another and, of course, with the Holy Spirit.
    • How can you surprise a friend this month? Who would you like to encourage?
    • Consider a problem in your relationship(s). Ask the Holy Spirit for vision and then problem-solve together. Make an action plan and write it down.

    Ministry

    • Are you operating on autopilot? What would it look like to re-engage and be present and intentional with your ministry?
    • How and why are you serving? Are you serving out of necessity, frantically seeking to meet the needs of a ministry or church? Are you serving out of delight and in ways that feel empowering and healthy? Reconsider how you want and need to spend your time and energy. How can you be the best light-bearer?
    • As a light-bearer, what new path do you feel God wants you to follow? What darkness does he want you to help illuminate? How can you lead others along the way?
    • What is a darkness that is present within your ministry or church? What does it look like to be a light-bearer in this space? How can you partner with God to breathe light and life into it?
    • How are you prioritizing your family or relational needs within your ministry? How are you keeping your own light burning brightly? Consider your self-care routine.

    Employment

    • What is something you have always dreamed of doing in your workplace? What is a way that you can bring this dream to life?
    • What is a current organizational need that you could help fulfil using your gifts or abilities?
    • What is something that isn’t going well within your work environment? What would it look like to have challenging conversations or address this issue? Process with the Father.
    • Is your employment draining you? What do you need to continue to be a light in this space? Consider: asserting boundaries, a reduced schedule, a brighter space to work in, more help, confiding in a safe person about your struggles, seeking a new way forward.

    Light and Life

    You are made in the image of a good God, in the image of a Creator, who breathes light and life. Your identity is grounded in the love of the Father. May you partner together and breathe life back into spaces void of the Light. May the creativity inside you become activated as you consider what it means to live life as a created being who leads, loves and serves in creative ways.

    Lieutenant Olivia Campbell-Sweet is the corps officer in Trail, B.C.

    Illustration: Lt Olivia Campbell-Sweet

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