I will be the first to admit that something I struggled with in my college years was how to reach out to people. I often found myself thinking “do I go out and party with my friends and get caught up in the decisions they’re making, or do I stay home and have my friends view me as the “typical Christian” who is no fun in their eyes?”
Recently I’ve been readdressed with this issue and thinking about it a lot as I’ve seen students I know struggling with the same thing. I’ve noticed a trend in students thinking that if their friends are going out and partying, that they either have to go out with them, or just stay in and not hang out with them. In reality, those are not your only two options. There are other ways of reaching out to your friends than partying with them.
A couple weeks ago I went to a conference called L’Abri with the 20-something’s group at The Crossing. One of the talks that I went to was about creativity in homemaking. The speaker talked about expressing the creativity God has given each of us through different areas in your life, whether that’s in your home, the way you dress, being hospitable, etc. Edith Schaeffer, Francis Schaeffer’s wife, called this “the hidden art of homemaking”, which she defined as art found in minor, every day areas of life.
Our God is a creative God. We see that right away in Genesis 1 when God creates the universe and everything in it. Not only that, but God created us in his image (Genesis 1:26) and gave man a mandate of creativity in Genesis 2 when he commanded Adam to “work and keep” the garden. This creativity seen in humans is not something that was only pre-fall. We see numerous accounts where the Bible describes various acts of creativity. For example, 1 Kings 7:16-22 describes the pillars that were at the entrance of King Solomon’s temple.
“He also made two capitals of cast bronze to set on the tops of the pillars. The height of the one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other capital was five cubits. There were lattices of checker work with wreaths of chain work for the capitals on the tops of the pillars, a lattice for the one capital and a lattice for the other capital. Likewise he made pomegranates in two rows around the one latticework to cover the capital that was on the top of the pillar, and he did the same with the other capital. Now the capitals that were on the tops of the pillars in the vestibule were of lily-work, four cubits. The capitals were on the two pillars and also above the rounded projection which was beside the latticework. There were two hundred pomegranates in two rows all around, and so with the other capital. He set up the pillars at the vestibule of the temple. He set up the pillar on the south and called its name Jachin, and he set up the pillar on the north and called its name Boaz. And on the tops of the pillars was lily-work. Thus the work of the pillars was finished.”
It’s passages like these that I used to skim through or skip over, but it is in these passages that we can see creative acts that reflect the creativity of God.
Edith Shaeffer puts it this way. She says, “there should be a practical result of the realization that we have been created in the image of the creator of beauty.” Or in other words, we should express the fact that God made us as creative creatures and learn how to practically express our creativity in our life in ways that will glorify him.
So how do we winsomely reach out to people in creative ways? One way I enjoy doing this is through cooking. I may not be the best cook, but I love cooking for others and being able to serve my friends in that way. Not only does it give me a chance to serve my friends, but it also is time spent getting to hang out with my friends in a different way. However, cooking a meal with or for your friends is not the only way to reach out. There are numerous ways, whether that’s having a crafter-noon, going on a walk or run, having a jam session or playing some sport you both enjoy. Don’t get pigeonholed into feeling pressured to choose between either partying with your friends who party or staying in and not hanging out with them at all. Find areas in your life where you can express the creativity God has given you and your friends, and use that common ground to reach out to people in new ways.