Why nurturing our creative edge can be scary, but vital

Photo by Dmitry Dreyer on Unsplash

Years ago, a fellow alum noted that there is a kind of creative edge that characterizes the culture and students of Goshen College. I agree.

I’ve recently discovered the writings of Julia Cameron, whose seminal book (amongst many) is The Artist’s Way. A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. She writes in the opening chapter:

“For most of us, the idea that the creator encourages creativity is a radical thought. We tend to think, or at least fear, that creative dreams are egotistical, something that God wouldn’t approve of for us. After all, our creative artist is an inner youngster and prone to childish thinking. If our mom or dad expressed doubt or disapproval for our creative dreams, we may project that same attitude onto a parental god. This thinking must be undone.” (Emphasis mine.)

The founding of Goshen College in 1894 (then the Elkhart Institute) was a spectacularly creative act for our Mennonites forebears who took this leap 125 years ago. Perhaps this is one reason why creativity continues to be a noteworthy aspect of our campus culture.

I view this creative edge as crucial to who we are, and a big reason why I love this place. It is now in our new mission statement! And now as president, I admit that it is also a little scary. This ‘inner youngster’ has certainly gotten us into some deep waters in the past, and no doubt, will again. But I know from experience that it is okay to be a little scared. It tells me I am alive.

Being made in the image of the Creator God, we are meant to create. As another writer, Barbara Ueland, wrote 80 years ago:

“Why should we all use our creative power. . . ? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.”

How are you using your creative power these days?Rebecca Stoltzfus