Since Christmas day, my daughters have spent countless hours perched on stools at the kitchen island- molding, shaping, giggling, and concentrating. Captivated by the one-dollar packs of modeling clay they found in their stockings, they’ve forsaken all else: the ninety-dollar American Girl dolls, the DVD’s, and toys. I’ve watched the clay morph from neatly packaged blocks of color into flowers, animals, sea creatures—and my favorite—the dinosaurs.
Why are the girls working so hard on these creations? Certainly not to impress people. Were it not for my sudden inspiration to put a picture on Novel Journey, no one would see them at all. It isn’t to build something that will last. At the end of the day, all the creations get squished into a Zip-lock baggie and put away. The young artists’ clay-shaping isn’t some kind of “ministry” through which they hope to bless others. And obviously, it isn’t for money. They don’t get paid for their labor.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. The girls are just having fun. Finding joy in creativity because they are made in the image of their Creator. Enjoying life as only children can. Only an adult could suck all of the fun out of art.
If you are like me, with the new year’s dawn, you have writing goals and deadlines looming over you. Finish that novel, edit that rough draft, do some publicity… With all that pressure, we sometimes forget to have fun, but I believe God does want us to have fun. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Sometimes our writing is an act of obedience or sacrifice. Through the ups and downs of the writing life, God teaches us to have patience, to persevere, to take criticism. And hopefully our work will bless, encourage, and entertain others. But writing is also a gift God has given us to enjoy. Words are the clay we can play with—shaping and reshaping until we have something in front of us that makes us smile. In 2007, work on those goals, but make one of your goals be to find joy in the gift God has given you.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.