Creativity: Through the Eyes of a Child

Pure joy. That’s what I witnessed as I drove home on that cold February morning. Aptly named for sharp curves of asphalt paving the way through a mostly forested area along West Virginia’s Opequon Creek, Grapevine Road also leads past a few housing developments and trailer parks. I was coming around one of said curves when a group of kids came into view. It was below freezing that morning, but as they waited for the bus, it was more than their coats keeping them warm. When they saw my car, they began jumping up and down, yelling “Hi,” and smiling as they successfully garnered my attention. A mom stood on the hill above, coffee in hand, slightly less energetic in her stance. I smiled and waved, and after the next curve, they were gone. It was only a moment in time, one blink in the midst of an eventful day. However, months later, as the sun begins to warm the earth and the kid’s heavy coats have morphed into rain jackets, the image remains in my mind. Why?

Because childlike enthusiasm is a portal through which we gain not only a deeper relationship with God, but insight into our own creative vision. Romans 12:12 instructs us to “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep…spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Verse 13 continues: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” I can’t say whether or not the joy exuded by the kids at the bus stop was “spiritual fervor,” but the idea remains. Choosing joy, (which isn’t always easy) transforms our thought process and opens up limitless possibilities in our writing and other creative endeavors

In his Creative Way course for writers, Ted Dekker explains that “All true story is a transformative journey, not only in the characters but in you.” Children are in a constant state of growth, practically changing before our eyes as they discover the world around them with open eyes and soft hearts. As we grow, we more often find ourselves in our mundane inbox than on the playground of expectation. How much easier does it become to create worlds and stories when we are mentally open to joy and discovery?

Letting go of our worry and doubts leaves room for stories to flow, for the fictional world to come into being. If you struggle with ideas and creative thinking, consider a mindful approach. Purposely wipe from your consciousness the preconceptions of doubt and fear that take hold from negative life experiences. Focus instead on the things you’ve begun to take for granted. The steam from your coffee cup as it rises and dissipates in the cool morning air. The sunset outside the kitchen window. The rain drops on the windshield as they join forces and race across the glass. Viewing daily life in this way can reset our minds and allow us to delve deeper into the stories our Creator desires us to conceive.

The NIV Bible. Biblica, Inc., 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011.

Dekker, Ted. The Creative Way: Meditations. Outlaw Studios. 2016.

Audra Sanlyn

President, Capital Christian Writers Fellowship

Audra Sanlyn is the author of Impact, a Contemporary Fiction novel, and Through the Eyes of a Veteran: A History of Winchester, a biography/local history based on the life of her husband’s grandfather. She serves as President of Capital Christian Writers Fellowship, a writer’s group based in Centreville, Virginia. Audra uses her writing to spread the message of faith and to advocate for the rights of the unborn. When she’s not hanging with her crazy kids, she enjoys music, woodburning, and volunteering at her local pregnancy care center.