I’m a hot mess—with 72 browser tabs open and 16 InDesign files I’m working on simultaneously, my brain is often in a state of creative chaos. And while organization has a place in creativity (can we name our files properly, please?), so does the chaos!
I recently came across a footnote that struck me, from Psalm 104:26 of the New American Bible, Revised Edition. It says, “God does not destroy chaos but makes it part of the created order.” That’s refreshing! God embraces my chaos and delights in my creative process. (Also, go check out that full footnote, it’s a fun one!) God CREATED US OUT OF CHAOS. So, how can I harness this quirky mess into something inherently good? How can I take this disorder and clean it up into something beautiful?
We creatives tend to amass chaos and then try to tame it through thoughtful design or useful execution. Disruptions happen often, and instead of becoming annoyed or angered, we should welcome them as stepping stones on our journey. Especially in the creative process, disruptions can lead to major breakthroughs. Imagine never brainstorming, never talking through ideas, never stepping outside your comfort zone! Artists exist and thrive because of the chaos that God allows to remain. Inspiration isn’t something that can be turned on, which is why creative professions are often difficult to navigate.
Another Biblical passage that offers me fruitful reflection is in Ecclesiastes 3:3, “a time to tear down, and a time to build.” Can this describe havoc in our creativity? Maybe it is the time to tear down when we need to start over or reset. It’s refreshing to manage our expectations to include tearing down or breaking up what isn’t right. When chaos threatens to overtake an idea, we can deconstruct it and pluck out the good parts. The fruits of our labor are subjective as artists, so we may deem it necessary to stop fully and begin building from scratch.
As a final thought on chaos and its place in our lives: showing mercy is the epitome of approaching and embracing chaos. By going out into the world and finding the chaotic, the messy, and those in need, we can show mercy only by extending understanding that it has a place in our world. God intended it to remain, even though he made us from the chaos itself. With God at the forefront, we can maintain some order even through the most chaotic and turbulent moments.
Lord, help us grow from our creative chaos, and flourish in Your created order.