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'The Creative Call' by Janice Elsheimer
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How to Recognize Your Creative Calling

Janice Elsheimer
Guest Writer

CBN.comThe Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer (Shaw Books) was one of five finalists for the 2002 EPCA Gold Medallion Awards in the "Inspirational" category. Elsheimer wrote this, her first published book, as a response to her own "creative call" to use her writing talent for encouraging other would-be artists. The books theme is that our talents are given to us as a means for growing closer to God, not just as a "responsibility" or a source of guilt.

Readers who are gifted in all areas of creativity are invited to answer their own call to reawaken the artist within themselves. Today, offers readers an excerpt from her book, The Creative Call: An Artists Response to the Way of the Spirit.

From the Introduction

When I was young I found a kind of salvation in two forms of creative expression: writing and playing the piano Teachers and parents said I had a gift for writing and a talent for music, and even as a child, I felt that these gifts were from God, that they were not just something he gave to me but something that came through me. When the music seemed to move beyond me, or when my writing produced just the right effect, I felt uplifted, light, complete.

Playing by Heart

I recall memorizing Beethoven's "Für Elise" for a recital when I was nine. That hauntingly beautiful music taught me why learning a piece by memory was called learning it "by heart": Only after I had committed a piece to memory was I free to explore the emotions elicited by the music. Until I knew a piece by heart, I could not put expression into it, expression that came from my heart, that breathed life into the notes and turned my playing from an exercise to an art. I often wondered how my friends who didnt have music or writing in their lives handled their deep feelings. What did they do "by heart"?

(Years later) I embarked on a career as an educatorusing my creativity and love of language to touch the lives of so many others. Still, no matter how successful a teacher I may have been, I always had a feeling that there God wanted more from me."To whom much is given, from him much will be required." (Luke 12:48, NKJV)

Our gifts are not from God to us, but from God, through us to the world. When we fail to use these gifts, we suffer the same way a person accustomed to regular physical activity may feel pent up, out of sorts, and off-balance after going for several days without exercise. When we try to live without exercising our artistic gifts, we may feel restless and empty. Life lacks fullness. Something buried deep within longs to emerge.

"For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me; inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst. I must speak and find relief; I must open my mouth and reply." (Job 32:18-20)

I believe that one reason creatively gifted people spend a disproportionate amount of time and money in psychotherapy is because they havent spent time doing their art. Although the healing value of counseling should not be underestimated, sooner or later, once we've done all the work of looking into the past and trying to understand how we arrived where we are in life, we inevitably come face to face with ourselves and with God.

Whatever your talent, if youre ready for God to reveal to you His vision for your life as one of his artists, if you are ready to bring that talent into the light where the Holy Spirit can infuse you with the breath of Heavenif you are ready to start playing by heartread on.

From Chapter Three: Awakening

All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded. (Exodus 35:10)

The fear of not being "good enough" can keep us from using our talents and gifts, especially if those gifts have lain dormant for quite a while.

[But] it is not our place to decide for ourselves whether we are "good enough" [Instead], ask yourself, "How dare I question Gods plans for me in his world? Who am I to presume to know what God can or cannot do with my talents?"

Exercise 1: Visions and Longings

What were your favorite things to do when you were a child? ... Try to remember the activities you really loved and looked forward to doing. List as many of these as you can in the next five minutes. [Do this in your journal if you need more space.

Exercise 1 helps us realize that all of us were given the gift of creativity. Even if our talent is as seemingly mundane as keeping a beautiful yard or a lovely home, we all have simple gifts we can choose to either develop or bury. God gave our talents to us for a purpose, his purpose, and its not important that we understand what that purpose is before we start becoming productive artists. What is important is that we accept the talents God gave us, develop them, honor them, use them, and not bury them.

As we awaken our talents, we might do well to follow Solomons advice in Proverbs 3:5: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Our own understanding is likely to generate a long list of reasons for not doing our art. Trusting in the Lord is the key to moving past all the "buts" that keep us from acting on the desires of our heats. Those desires are from God. Believe it.

Commit your work to the LORD, And your plans will be established. ( Proverbs 16:3 RSV)

Order The Creative Call: An Artist's Response to the Way of the Spirit

This article is adapted from The Creative Call. © Janice Elsheimer. Used by permission of WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved.

Ms. Elsheimer welcomes comments and communication via email at Her book is available on

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