Creativity in Emotional Extremes
“Often our best creativity comes from the extreme emotions that we work so hard to avoid.”
I believe it was legendary music producer Phil Spector that once said that there were only four songs we could ever write; I love you, I hate you, go away, or come back. He wasn’t all that wrong. Those emotional extremes probably produced most of the songs that you love.
Often we are taught in our lives to avoid our emotional extremes, but in my short life it’s been in those places that I feel like I’ve created some of the best art of my life. Whether celebration or hurt when I allow myself to feel those things deeply it produces something in me and something emerges that clearly and powerfully communicates what I’m feeling.
As a Christian I believe I should constantly be creating better art because as a Christ-follower my goal is to live in a perpetual state of emotional extremes. Let me explain. On the positive side I have a hope beyond all hope. I have a hope in Jesus Christ and because he is my Savior I will live forever in eternity. There is no greater joy, no higher high, no more euphoric sense than to know Jesus as Lord. So there I seek to draw from the emotion of that truthful and extreme joy. But on the negative side I also live in a state of brokenness. Broken for my own sin and the sin of this world. Broken for the lost who without Christ will be sentenced forever to the most broken place. That brokenness draws me to an extreme place of sorrow and sadness only to be restored to extreme joy by the fact that I have been rescued by my Savior and the sin I weep for has been atoned for in full. It’s not cyclical. It’s paradoxical. One doesn’t lead to the other, but the truth is that both exist simultaneously and drive me to deeper realities of each other.
So here I sit in a state of perpetual paradox desiring to exist in 2 emotional extremes simultaneously. That is my desire as a believer in Christ. I want to live in the highest state of celebration and create art from that place, but I also want to live in the state of brokenness that God desires (Psalm 51:17) and create from that place as well.
I believe this desire to be exclusively Christian because only through Jesus can I find joy in brokenness and brokenness in joy. It is a paradox of extremes that I am grateful to navigate. Most people who sing of brokenness do so to alleviate it, but as a Christian I do so to celebrate it. Most people who sing of joy do so in hopes that it will never leave, but as a Christian I do so that it may drive me to deeper brokenness. As these extremes grow in my life I hope the power of their expression grows as well and that the power of that expression would better serve the Kingdom of God.
(This post is from thoughts on worship leader creativity and is reposted here by permission.)
Testing the comment installation.