Creativity: A Key Component to Fulfillment

A couple of months ago when I read Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity From a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes (August reading), I was intrigued by her thoughts on one thing that spurred on the feminist movement: the lack of creativity in the life of the homemaker.

Let me give you some background, to help you understand her line of thinking. Before the Industrial Revolution, many families produced out of their home. Whether they were soap makers, farmers, gardeners, weavers, you name it, the production happened inside the home and usually involved bartering and trading of services with other families that produced something different. Entire families helped and had a part in the family business.

When the Industrial Revolution took place, the men left the home to work. This changed the entire structure of the family. No longer was the home the center of production and of making money. While the money was being made elsewhere now, the home was still an important place, but that would soon change. The men leaving the home was the beginning of the gradual shift away from the home.

Then came along those wonderful machines that eased women’s work load. (Thank you!) Marketers targeted women more than anyone else during this time. Each new thing that made life easier, also meant  women didn’t need to do it themselves. Obviously a wonderful thing. But the shift in the home being a center of creativity to the home being simply a place to stop off overnight cannot be overestimated in the sense of a woman’s fulfillment.

Women went from baking their own bread, making their soaps, sewing their clothes, gardening and preserving their own goods, bartering with neighbors who made other goods to, essentially, shopping. Now they could even buy a box to make their cake and not worry about the ratio of flour to sugar. When cars became common place, they no longer created at home, but spent their days driving around to pick up what they used to make themselves. This was exciting at first, but eventually this would lack fulfillment.

And rightly so.

Creativity is deeply embedded in the nature of every human being. This, I think, is biblical. We need only look at the vast variety in plant and animal life to know God loves variety and creativity. And we are made in His image. We need to be creative.

A benefit for us is that, thanks to the Industrial Revolution and the feminist movement that later followed, we get to have a choice in how we are creative. We don’t have to spend our days making things to keep our family alive, healthy, and warm. But we could if we want.

There are endless ways to be creative. We can, well, be creative in how we are creative! There are many ways to use our creative energies, but I think it is important that we do be creative.

Just a few ways we can express our creative bent:

  • Cooking: Trying new recipes, making up recipes, trying a new-to-us vegetable, cooking from scratch instead of a box, etc. Many people love creating in the kitchen.
  • Decorating: We can creatively express ourselves in our homes.
  • DIY: Pinterest is loaded with DIY things. I think there is a sense of satisfaction that comes when we’ve made something ourselves instead of buying it.
  • Writing: Maybe your dream is to write a novel someday. Spend fifteen minutes a day jotting down your ideas in a journal. You might be surprised what comes out of that. Maybe you just want to write in a journal. Not for others’ eyes, but just your own. Many wonderful works of poetry that we enjoy today were found after a person’s death. They had simply written to express themselves, only later did it benefit others.
  • Working: Either working outside the home, or working from home is a great way to be creative.
  • Crafts: Maybe you are the crafty sort. You can put some creative energy into making things.
  • Sewing: maybe you enjoy making things out of fabric.
  • Art: Do you love to paint or draw? When the kids paint, pull out your own paints and paint along with them.
  • Music: playing an instrument or composing music.

There are endless ways to express creativity. I would love to hear your ideas in the comments.

But the point is that as a human being we need to be creative. As a mom of littles it is important that I make opportunities and find the time to create. It is when life gets monotonous that I tend to be unfulfilled. I love putting some creative juices to work in my kitchen, in my home, or writing for this blog.

This is for another post, but being creative with and in front of your children is also very important. They will benefit in amazing ways by seeing that you are a creative person. And all those Lego creations they are making? You might be surprised how much they are practicing the art of creativity.

I often have to be intentional about it. It doesn’t just happen. I have to make it happen. But I think it is important to use our God-given creativity in some way.

How do you find ways to be creative in your life? How does it benefit you to be creative?

Photo Credit 1, 2

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  1. I hadn’t really thought about this much before. But I agree that creativity is a key component of being fulfilled. And having little ones means it requires more intentionality. I like being creative through writing, cooking and even through organizing.

  2. Like Steph, I hadn’t really thought of it like this before. It totally makes sense! Maybe that’s why I just borrowed several things from mom (i.e. glue gun, paints, etc) to *make* my fall decorations. And why my relaxation time yesterday was spent making satin flowers from old bridesmaids dresses (thanks for the idea, Christa Threlfall :). And why I experimented with making my own recipe last night and felt so much better about dinner. And why I made my own laundry soap last week. And why I feel so much better about my home since regaining strength and energy to be creative, and. . . YES!! This post makes SO much sense! :) Things don’t run nearly as smoothly for me if I don’t use some creativity. *Lights come on in head* 😉

  3. This was a wonderful post. I agree. I was raised to be a sahm. It was what I wanted…until I had an 18 month old, a new born, and no life beyond baby care and diapers. I was very depressed. During that life stage, some light came on. I realized that I needed to revel in my homemaking. To see the potential of my home. That vastly changed my outlook and attitude. I still occasionally get stir crazy, but my home is my refuge. My primary sphere of ministry. My hub. And I am blessed and happy and at peace.

  4. I think there’s an overall trend of getting back to creativity. For instance, Etsy. And seeing how other people are getting creative tends to inspire us to our own creativity.
    Great thoughts, Johanna!

  5. Edith Schaeffer’s Hidden Art of Homemaking is a great read on this subject. :)

    • Yes it is! It’s been a few years since I have read it so it should probably go up for a re-read soon. :)

      • Just read this post today, but the book was also on my mind as I read your thoughts on this topic. And it’s been waiting to be re-read for a year now, but it’s next! I read it for the first time 3-4 years ago, and it greatly helped me in my view of creativity, especially her intro with the basic idea of: God is a Creator; we’re made in His image; we are created to create. And all her varied examples definitely got my wheels turning about how to keep my home warm and beautiful to all who enter.

        I know I have discovered how refreshing both baking and gardening are to me. I am definitely NOT a “crafty” person, but as my girls are getting older, I am enjoying finding ways to let them “make something” without too much hands-on for me. (It’s also fun to just get down and do it with them sometimes too!) I have dreams of learning to knit, so maybe some year the girls and I can learn together!

  6. It’s so true that we need and are made to be creative – just having written something keeps me going “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” for weeks, and I also love inventing my own recipes – and painting – and playing the piano – and now learning violin together with my 5-year-old :). It’s true, though, that we have to be intentional about it. It’s impossible for it to just happen amidst the day-to-day to-and-fro!! I love the idea of sitting down and painting alongside the kids when they’re painting… and I see you like baking with your children. (I have to make an effort to do that, because I like to bake quickly and efficiently, and when my little ones “help” me I end up taking twice the time!! But that’s part of the fun, right? :) Thanks so much for your thoughts!!

    • I love that you are learning violin along with your daughter. Yes, I do love cooking/baking with my kids. It definitely makes a bigger mess and takes longer but I find it is worth it! Of course, there are days when I have to get dinner on in a hurry and I don’t let them in the kitchen! :)

  7. I loved the history traced through this post! It makes so much sense to see where we’re at from where we’ve come. I recently started a blog and I’m amazed at how much fun I’m having with it, my own little piece of entrepreneurship. Today, I plan on creating pumpkin bread. But first, to get outside for a walk with my kiddos… Thanks for this inspiration!

  8. Good point! I love to knit, and it does help keep me from coming unraveled. :o)

  9. Great Post. My favorite way to insure I am filling my need to be creative is by keeping what I call my “on the go craft bags” stocked. One has yarn and needles to make dish cloths while my hubby drives. Another has headbands and buttons to make button headbands while I watch the kids play at the pool (don’t worry mine are all old enough to swim well). I also have a larger bag filled with my locker hooking that I grab for play dates at a friends so I can work on my trivets while we chat the afternoon away. These things help me fill my creation need in a way that does not eat into other pressing areas of life.

    • That’s a great idea to have bags ready to go for certain activities. My kids are still at an age where they need constant supervision when we are out, but I’ll keep this in the back of my mind for future!

  10. I just read this post! My mom (who grew up in Germany) shared with me that her mom and girlfriends would get together once a week to mend clothes and chat, or do creative sewing. Then she said, ‘I think women go and shop together to get at that creative need, but instead of making we just buy.” Loved it, so true. great post. : )

    • Your mom has got it! And I do think that that is one big factor leading to the resurgence of natural/homemade lifestyle. (obviously there is always more than a single factor, but..)


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