Creating in Repentance

BY WILL FOSTER

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What does it mean to be a creator who loves the Creator? I have struggled deeply with this question in various ways for 31 years.

I think that a lot of people discount themselves as “not creative” or having not a single creative bone. But wait, we are ALL created in the image of the Creator! We each have opportunities to create everyday. Because our bones are handcrafted by the Creator of the universe, we all have creativity fashioned into us uniquely.

I say I have been creating for 31 years because that’s how long I have been alive, though I have had many doubts about my career as a professional creator. I even got to the point of selling my camera, lenses and some of my gear a few years back. I was done, ready to hang up my hat as a photographer. I was jealous of what other people were making – professionally and financially – and bitter that my work didn’t seem “good enough”. I thought I deserved to be where they were. I spent countless days and months consumed by depression because I couldn’t control my situation.

So, what does repentance look like? The golden question I’ve been so afraid to answer…

Shivering in my weary skin, sweat beading down. My invisibility cloak is starting to tear, my heart feels like it is about to be ripped out. I try to hide. Have you ever tried to hide your sin? What happens? Well, for me, it’s like an infection slowly eating away at my leg, the skin rotting, muscles ripping. If I don’t go to the doctor, my leg might just fall off. Romans 6 talks about being dead to self and alive in Christ. This means that when we choose sin, we are choosing our old, rotting, dead bodies.  

There is so much more.

The beautiful work of Jesus. The creativity involved in becoming a man who expressed the glory of God. He was humble, homeless, and respected before anyone really knew who he was, before they knew he was God. He was soft when needed, and hard when needed. He creatively used stories to teach the people who they were and who he was. The good shepherd who came to save us, from us.

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The things that drove me to depression are all things that Jesus did humbly and with joy. He may not have been the best carpenter, but people loved him. I may not be the best photographer, but people value me. It’s still TOUGH, but the important thing is that the work of Jesus is so much bigger and better than what I often strive for.

Learning to see what Jesus has done has helped me understand his glory through the things around me. I have never created a mountain, separated water and land, and among the many things I have tried to make, I have NEVER made anything living from dust. Yet he still came to me and initiated a conversation - a relationship. I get to worship the God of the universe, and I get to create in his image, and enjoy the life He has given me. I don’t have to be jealous because of the mountains, but I get to rejoice over God’s creation in person. Praise Jesus!

*2ND PHOTO NOTE: The photo of the hands above is a photo that I took on accident when doing a study on hands for a graphic design that I was working on for a kids camp taken August 2008. Nothing special, just asked my friend Troy if I could borrow his hands. Then God had a different plan. That I would create a potentially iconic photo of repentance that rippled throughout my life since. This photo has ended up in so many places, churches, bulletins, CD covers, even Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback’s personal blog. I usually find out about it through friends, because the artists don’t give me credit. Just as I don’t often give God credit for His works that I reflect with my camera.