The yellow polish meltdown

I talk about creativity a lot. A whole lot. It is my job, after all, to make a case for creativity and convince folks that it’s a relevant approach to ministry. But sometimes my own heart has a hard time soaking in all that creative talk. Here’s an example:

I ran out of time getting ready for our most recent Make.Do. vision party so I didn’t get to paint my nails yellow (you know, to represent the lemons) like I’d planned. I told myself it wasn’t a big deal… no one was going to be looking at my nails anyway… I just needed to let it go… But no matter how hard I tried, the horrible catastrophe of unpainted nails was putting a dark cloud on my entire morning.

I started talking to myself in the car. Seriously, Jo, calm down. NO ONE CARES! Why does it matter so much? Then it hit me. The yellow nails were proof of my creativity. They set me apart. They draw attention. They’re my creative “status symbol.” If my nails aren’t yellow, how will anyone know that I’m creative? How will they trust that I’m capable of developing a ministry based on creativity? I will look like a total phony!

I couldn’t believe all the ridiculous thoughts that kept flooding my mind. I knew better than this. I knew none of it was true. Was it? Then the shame rolled in. I was such a hypocrite! Make.Do. is founded on the idea that EVERYONE is creative, but feeling the need to prove my creativity (through something as superficial as yellow nail polish) was undermining everything I was about to share at the upcoming vision party.

Needless to say, the vision party went well. Everyone created beautiful things. And no one gave my nails a disapproving look.

My recent experience is evidence that misconceptions about creativity run deep. Please tell me I’m not the only one! Over the next few weeks (or months, or years) we’ll be taking a closer look at defining, expressing, and sharing creativity. I hope you’ll join the discussion!

Guinea pigs

I met Kristen, executive director of The Ebby House, for coffee around October last year. I’d heard about the work she was doing with young women who have aged out of the foster care system and wanted to bounce the Make.Do. vision off her experience. At the end of our coffee-conversation, Kristen said, “Well, whenever you’re ready to get started, I’ve got some guinea pigs for ya!” This was the VERY beginning stages of seeing this dream become a reality (I mean, Make.Do. didn’t even have a name yet) and I was no-where-near ready for guinea pigs, but Kristen’s insight, excitement, and encouragement helped give me courage to keep moving forward.

Six months later, I was finally ready to take Kristen up on her offer; and yesterday, with jewelry supplies in-hand and prayers of excitement flooding my heart, I brought Make.Do. to The Ebby House. We had three residents and four mentors crammed around the table. The next two hours were filled with fabric buttons, resin flowers, conversation, frustration, gluey messes, laughter, encouragement, concentration, and lots and lots of beautiful creativity. They were the best guinea pigs EVER!