I really donʼt think of my self as a creative person. Most likely, it’s because I’m not. Not in the traditional sense anyway. But I do have friends and family who are. I have a friend who can see an old rusted out ʼ55 Chevy in a dirt field covered by rust and weeds, and see a fully restored Classic ʼ55 Chevy in a car show in Reno. I look at a ʼ55 Chevy in a dirt field covered by rust and weeds, and see an old ʼ55 Chevy in a dirt field covered by rust and weeds.
My wife Bj loves “do it yourself” projects. I can assist in the process of remodeling, but when it comes to picking out things like paint, carpet, or tile, I am going to be pretty agreeable. Unless she shows me the ugliest thing I have ever seen, in which case she is probably just testing me. I have learned to leave those decisions to the more creative types. I must say however that I have had my moments. Like the time in the 70‘s when the orange crate I used for an end table matched the wood on the empty cable spool I used as a coffee table. (That may have been my most creative work)
But one day, in the late 1980’s, I learned a very valuable lesson in the art of creativity. (actually it has more to do with the process of creativity)
I was standing in my front yard, which at the time was nothing more than dirt, and was ready to do some landscaping. I had a large front yard, and there was a lot of dirt. As I surveyed the situation, the creative juices began to flow, and I began to see the possibilities. Ok, it didnʼt actually. Not at all. All I saw was dirt.
I had no idea what I was going to create, but knew that I needed to do something. So I grabbed the wheelbarrow, filled it with dirt, and dropped it in a strategic location. (In other words, this place looks good) After moving a few more loads, I had enough dirt to begin my new creation. After two hours of meticulous shoveling, there it was. My first mound of dirt! As I was pounding my chest in celebration, I thought I might really venture out and see if I could expand upon this masterpiece. So I dug some holes at the base of the mound, and began to use some left over fence post tops that created a nice border. “Not bad”, I thought. Then, I remembered some broken concrete that I could use as a walkway near the mound, and hand picked only the finest pieces. I even added a few plants!
After a number of hours of moving dirt, inserting poles, adding plants, and laying concrete pieces, I was finished! It would never grace the cover of Homes and Garden magazine, but it probably wouldn’t scare the neighbors away. I would say it looked just as I had envisioned it, but that would presuppose I actually had a vision. I had no idea what it would look like. Not a clue.
There are some people who can look at a paint sample and see what a huge difference that color will make on the walls of their living room. They can look at one brick, and see the impact that new retaining wall will have on curb appeal. They can also look at a front yard with nothing but grass, and see a beautiful garden complete with 27 various kinds of plants, a small wooden wheelbarrow, two birder feeders, and a cute little concrete squirrel swinging from the tree.
And then there are people like me. We are “the dirt people”. We can be a source of frustration to those who have visions, because try as we may, we have a really hard time seeing the big picture. We have to learn to trust those who can see, to guide us through the darkness of the creative process.
God doesn’t always give me a vision for what He wants me to do, and rarely do I see the big picture. But I know that we are all called to use whatever gifts God has given us. Technicolor vision or not. So here is what I have learned.
Sometimes God will show you in great detail what He wants you to do. Sometimes you have visions, and sometimes you dream dreams. And sometimes… you just have to start movin’ dirt.
And that’s what I’m doing here. I honestly don’t know what this will ultimately look like. I didn’t have a vision. I just heard the voice of the Holy Spirit telling me to get my shovel, and He would provide the dirt. So here we go. Please keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times.
There may be times when you come here and say, “That’s pretty cool. I like that”. And there may be times when you stop by and say, “That’s just dirt!”. But either way, let me encourage you. If you’ve been waiting for that vision in 3-D, or for God to write it in in the sky, it just may be time to start moving your own dirt.