Practically Creative

Rev. Michael Duncan encourages NCWA writers.

Do you feel like you’re just spinning your wheels? Wasting time? Do you sense that your writing is little more than an exercise in futility? You’re not alone. One of the greatest struggles with any creative endeavor is finding the will to continue.

I was raised by a father who, perhaps, was the most practical man on the planet. He possessed great skill with words, both speaking and writing, and yet he pursued a career that held no outlet for his creativity. I asked him, once, why he never became a writer. His answer stood me on my proverbial head.

“Son,” he said, “a real man doesn’t chase after stupid dreams.”

With that thought neatly tucked away in my subconscious I spent the next thirty years fighting a war between the practical and the creative.

Don’t misunderstand; my dad was a great provider and a hard worker. But he had dreams that died in silent pain. Thirty years after his comment I found that I also languished in the silent pain of dying dreams. The iron words of my father hammered against my soul and beat down the nearly vanquished dream of becoming… well… of becoming more than a mindless robot doing what was necessary for survival. I feared my dreams were about to die.

God, however, entered the battle between the practical and the creative. He opened my eyes to understand that He was creative and loved creativity. For all the practical realities that exist in the world (gravity, air, etc.), God still made the platypus. If that’s not creative, nothing is!

Every night God paints the sky in crimson and orange. Every autumn He transforms the lush green into dazzling gold. Why? Scientists will tell you their perfunctory reasons, but I believe it is because God loves to express Himself in His creation. We are made in His image, so expressing creativity is a part of the Divine heritage.

There is no war between the practical and the creative. Both exist in God and must exist in you. As you write, you’re not simply spinning your wheels and accomplishing nothing. God looked upon His creation and said it was “very good” and that included the platypus. When God looks at your faithfulness expressed through the gifts He gave you, He says the same thing: “very good.”

Your creativity must be set—even locked in—for the glory of God. No other reason is relevant to Him. Even as Scripture says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). When you are set for God’s glory, don’t worry about the practical aspects of it. I may never become a published author—it doesn’t mean I give up trying. I keep writing, creating, striving to hone my gifts so that God will be glorified in my efforts. That, alone, should be sufficient for any Christian.

(Since this article was originally written, I have published my first book: STARTING OUT: A Study Guide for New Believers.)

Rev. Michael Duncan


This post appeared November 1, 2009 on Author Haven. Used by kind permission.

Pastor Michael Duncan has spent over twenty years preaching and teaching God’s word. Rev. Duncan has served on staff in four churches and currently is the pastor of Mountain View Baptist Church in Darrington, WA. He is an alumnus with the Christian Writer’s Guild, a contributor to Author Haven, a blog geared to the encouragement of writers. He has been a member of NCWA since 2008. Visit his website and his blog.

His first book, STARTING OUT: A Study Guide for New Believers, was recently published with WinePress Publishing.

6 thoughts on “Practically Creative

  1. Michael. Thank you for the reminder that our creativity is part of the nature of God in us. I needed this reminder today. Thanks for the post. The timing is perfect. Blessings sent for the success of your new book. Gigi


  2. Excellent – it is amazing to me how messages from our past can have such an influence on our thinking in the present. And putting what we do in perspective of God’s actions and words gives rest to such troublesome messages from our past given with the best of intentions. Marlene


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