Creativity Lessons: The Wilderness

I have a theory…

If God the Father is love, then the Holy Spirit must be creativity. And if He is, then Jesus’ life is not just a model for how to walk with the Spirit, but also a model for how to “harness” creativity. This post is the first of a series of posts about creativity lessons we can learn from the Gospel of Mark…


1:12-13 “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days.”

The first thing the Holy Spirit does before Jesus can start His ministry is send Him on a wilderness retreat. He’s by Himself–no friends, no wifi, no music, no coffee. The first lesson here seems to be that in order to harness creativity, you have to have time where you’re alone, separated from the rest of the world. Every artist needs their own “wilderness”. It might not look like going into the desert and fasting for 40 days. But whatever it is, it’s critical to your creativity.


On a strictly psychological level, it frees up your mind to introduce you to the ideas it’s been catching while you’ve been busy with everything else in your life. Sometimes the wilderness happens to us without us expecting it and we have no choice but to create. J.K. Rowling got delayed on a train ride and spent the proceeding four hours coming up with the idea for Harry Potter. Other times creativity itself drives us into the wilderness and doesn’t let us out until it’s done with us. George Hendel locked himself in his room for three weeks when he wrote Messiah.


But what would happen if we made going into the wilderness a habit? Instead of waiting for life or creativity to drag you kicking and screaming into solitude, what if you intentionally set apart time to be alone with your creativity?


Like I said before, your wilderness doesn’t have to look like a 40-day desert fast. It could be a media fast, shutting yourself in your room for a day, or literally going into a forest and camping out for a weekend. Whatever it is, as a creative you need time where you can pull away from the distractions of this world, be alone and hear from God. After all, if He really is creativity, it can’t hurt to hear some of His ideas.



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