Sunday, November 2, 2008

Creating Joy

I hope you all had a fun week sharing compliments with those around you! Thank you for your insight and examples of both sharing and receiving compliments.

You may remember that about a month ago, I referenced a talk given by President Dieter Uchtdorf (of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). In it he spoke about "two principles that may help you find a path to peace, hope, and joy—even during times of trial and distress." They are creating and compassion. We talked about compassion and service already. This week I would like to discuss "creating".

If you would like to read his talk in its entirety, click here. I highly recommend it. I love the way he speaks! This is what President Uchtdorf said specifically about creating:

"The Work of Creation
The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.

Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.

Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.

You might say, “I’m not the creative type. When I sing, I’m always half a tone above or below the note. I cannot draw a line without a ruler. And the only practical use for my homemade bread is as a paperweight or as a doorstop.”

If that is how you feel, think again, and remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.

But to what end were we created? We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy.4 Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things.

If you are a mother, you participate with God in His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching and nurturing them. If you are not a mother now, the creative talents you develop will prepare you for that day, in this life or the next.

You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us.5 The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.

What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.

If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it.

Nearly a century and a half ago, President Brigham Young spoke to the Saints of his day. “There is a great work for the Saints to do,” he said. “Progress, and improve upon and make beautiful everything around you. Cultivate the earth, and cultivate your minds. Build cities, adorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations. In the mean time continually seek to adorn your minds with all the graces of the Spirit of Christ.”6

The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you."

I love this concept in relation to joy. He is right, everyone has the ability to create something. And something of worth. I know of at least three photographers who read this blog and I think all of their work is amazing! I've always admired and envied my older sister's piano ability. When she plays it seems so effortless and amazing. My brother's wives made my little sister's wedding cake and I SO wished they had done mine. It was incredibly beautiful. My little sister just created a huge change in the way scholarships are handled at her university. I would have never had the gumption to put forth the effort she had to to accomplish that. Right now I have a cute Frankenstein hanging out in my window that was painted by my mom years ago. She used to tole paint a lot and I absolutely love all the things she created to decorate our home. Okay, so obviously, I could go on and on. The point is, I can think of so many different things that those of you that I know have and can create. Even when it's hard. This blog isn't something I ever imagined creating, but here it is. Of course, I am lucky because I have all of your help in doing this!

The two points that really stuck out to me about finding joy through creation are:

1. Don't worry so much about the outcome. Even if it ends up like "burnt toast" on the first, second, or tenth try, you still grow from it. And you can still enjoy it! Especially if you have a sense of humor about it like President Uchtdorf. I made my kids Halloween costumes this year. They ended up being A LOT more work than I anticipated and they didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, but I still enjoyed the process. And I was really proud of myself in the end because anything involving sewing is quite a stretch for me. And the kids absolutely loved the costumes and didn't care one bit about the imperfections.

2. I'm just going to quote this again-- "Nearly a century and a half ago, President Brigham Young spoke to the Saints of his day. “There is a great work for the Saints to do,” he said. “Progress, and improve upon and make beautiful everything around you. Cultivate the earth, and cultivate your minds. Build cities, adorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations. In the mean time continually seek to adorn your minds with all the graces of the Spirit of Christ.”" I love that. I think it speaks for itself.

So, what types of things do you create? What creations bring you joy? Have the creations of others brought you joy?

7 comments:

Kristen said...

I find myself saying I wish I could do this like so and so, rather than dwelling on the things that I can do. There are some things that I do well(such as- my husband calls me Bety crocker because he usually like what I make) and some things I wish I could do better like decorating and photography, but in order to lift ourselves up we should dwell on what we do well, rather than what we wish we could do.

Ketchesons said...

I also fell in love with his talk. I felt like I needed to create something before I made a comment on this post. Just a little background, I don't have musical talents, I guess I feel that way because I have never been expose to the theory behind, I never studied an instrument and or sang before I became a member of the church. I love the piano and wish I could just sit and play beautiful tunes. I have taken a piano class and some voice lessons. I am not good at all but love the learning process.
Last night I gave myself some time and learned how to play the 5 first measures of "If the Savior stood beside me" I can only play right handed and it's very choppy but I love being able to play it and sing along.
It made me so happy and filled my heart and today I have had a wonderful day. So,

GO and TRY it!!! create something new :-)

Cheryl said...

Thank you, Kristen, for bringing up a great point. Why is it so much easier to recognize talent in others than ourselves? You are right, it is so important to recognize and focus on what we CAN do.
Good for you, Belky! Thanks for the ispiration and encouragement!

Nik said...

Knitting is my hobby of choice, and I feel that it can be a blessing to others if I take the time to make stuff for my loved ones. It does bring me great satisfaction and joy.

Jen said...

I never realized what this desire was until I became a mother. Suddenly, the desire to create became a much larger force in my life. So, I embarked on learning a few new things, such as crocheting and sewing. My projects are certainly not perfect, but they are part of the process of creating and growing. In the past month of so, my new things have been put on hold as I have learned to create something else -- putting a company's financial books into organization from chaos. And, I've discovered in the process that I have always been and will be creating -- cleaning up a messy house, making a meal, encouraging flowers to grow, helping a child develop and learn, and on and on. Creating isn't just restricted to crafty or talent-show-type things -- mothers do it every day!

Becky said...

I've always loved doing things with my hands, yet at one point felt that taking the time to scrapbook or crochet was "wasting" timed. Then a few years ago I realized that developing my creativity was developing a god-like trait. It was no long wasting time (as long as my life was in proper balance).

I love Jen's thoughts. Some of my favorite things to create are family memories. And I try to remember that every time I put a meal on the table or help a child with homework or plan a FHE lesson, I'm working on becoming a better creator.

Linda said...

Thank you for reminding me of the simple and powerful message that to be able to create is a great blessing. Having something to look forward to always makes me happier and I really like looking forward to something I will be creating, such as this Thanksgiving when I have family coming to our home. Not only will we be creating lots of yummy food, we'll be making memories. We can create decorations, activities, games, photos, etc. And because I'm looking forward to it as a time to create rather than a "to do" list I think I'll enjoy it more than ever.