“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
From a young age I was blessed with the gift of artistic creativity. My creativity invests itself in many ways: crafting, sewing, writing and drawing. You name it and I can do it. If I do not, I will teach myself.
Before starting college, I always made time to express myself creatively. At any given moment you could find me making a pair of pajama pants, painting on paper weights or doodling in the margin of my homework assignments. I never imagined not having the desire to create. But, with the start of college I made every excuse to not pop out my sewing machine or do a quick sketch. You have too much studying to do. Art is for visual art majors not math majors. You might distract your roommate with the noise of the sewing machine. All of these things were not true. What was really stopping me from embracing and sharing my gift? A simple but dangerous word: Fear. I feared what others would think of my work. I feared expanding my creative capabilities. I feared being unique.
I limited my creative splurges to semester breaks in the confines of my own home. However, this was not enough to release my creative spirit. The second semester of my sophomore year was the hardest for me. I was taking a heavy course load and struggling to stay afloat. I remember thinking about how much I was not myself. Everything I did was to fit into some mold of what I thought people wanted me to be. It was only in my brief moments of creating that I felt like myself. At the completion of the semester, I knew that things would only get better for me if I let go of fear and replaced it with faith.
My passion for creativity was not coincidental. God had blessed me with this gift and I was going to continue to struggle with my sense of self if I did not embrace and share it. I had to have faith that what God had placed in me was sufficient. No more trying to be someone I was not. From then on, I took courses that helped me to explore my creativity. I allowed myself to be inspired through fashion and art magazines and blogs. I would spend Friday nights sewing and designing while watching Project Runway. I made visual art that reflected who I was and displayed it in campus galleries and culture shows. I received support from my peers and even began selling artwork. My grades also improved tremendously as I made time for my gift.
Now that I have graduated from college, God continues to remind me that my gifts are not to be kept secret. Creating is an act of worship and communication with God. When I create, I feel close to God. I started Sharifa Creates to share my creative gifts and document my journey as God directs me in using them. Through this blog, I hope others can be inspired to create and if nothing else, embrace and share their own gifts.
Also available to read in About Sharifa Creates.