Creativity and Consumption

My thoughts today extend from my post on Netflix.

Creativity and consumption: I’m aware of a constant balancing act between the two as I juggle work, marriage, friendships, family, church responsibilities, my dreams and the needs (or desires) of my own body.

My heart says, “Write a poem.” My body says, “Watch Netflix for a few hours.”

My soul says, “Try a new recipe.” My flesh says, “Get a Quarter Pounder.”

One part of me says, “Start a conversation with that person.” The other part says,”Just keep reading your book.”

Consumption. There is so much out there for us to consume- various forms of entertainment, Internet content, social media, fast food, sweets, and so on. These things are an important part of how we unwind and connect with others, but consuming too much can lead to anxiety and depression. When I spend a lot of time surfing the internet or watching TV, I become discontent with my own life as I compare my circumstances with those of celebrities and people who don’t exist, or I start to want things I don’t have and don’t need.

Creativity. Over the past few days I’ve been thinking about the many manifestations of creativity. I could write a poem, decorate my living room, cook a meal, start a conversation, build a relationship. I often long to be creative but shirk away from the effort and concentration that is required. When I get home from work I just want to flop in front of the television, but oh! if only I would push past that inertia and choose to spend even a little time making something new. The results are worth it: peace, a feeling of accomplishment, renewed energy.

I know a family in which the children don’t watch TV… and these children are some of the coolest I’ve ever met. Their creative skills are highly developed- they sing, draw, play the piano, create videos, cook meals. They can have great conversations, from the three year old on up. I contrast them with some of the students I see in the high school where I work- faces in their phones, earbuds forever in their ears, unable or unwilling to respond to a simple greeting.

Both consumption and creativity are part of a balanced life, and social media, the Internet, a trip to the movies- these do connect us. However, when we share something that we’ve created with others, and vice versa, our souls are fed in a deeper way. And we are meant to create, aren’t we? We are made in the image of the Creator.