I led an overnight creativity retreat in early October, and had high hopes for what would happen when a group of artists got together for
a weekend of listening to the Holy Spirit and creating art. The reality actually exceeded my expectations.
Thirteen artists from Indiana and Ohio met at Teter Family Retreat in Noblesville, IN, a hidden rustic compound ringed by cornfields and forests and within walking distance of the shallow White River. I’d never heard of it even though it was 40 mins from my house.
Friday evening started with worship from our friend Jason Barrows, a talented local singer/songwriter. I spoke about what God is doing in the arts, our place in the New Renaissance and touched on some of the concepts in Finding Divine Inspiration. We did some creative exercises, and spent time praying for every person present, while Jason created acoustical magic with his guitar. The Holy Spirit’s presence was sweet while we went around the room praying and blessing each artist. Jason said he just kept getting interesting ideas and riffs from God and kept playing until the last person left for their cabin.
Saturday morning we walked through the process of learning to listen to God, with plenty of time to practice each step. Developing the skills for learning to listen to the Holy Spirit is the foundation of everything we do in these creativity seminars, and it always creates a sense of peace and centeredness that often surprises people. Creating art is a wonderful experience, but seeing artists really get how loved they are but their Father, no matter what they do or don’t do, no matter if they never make another piece of art, brings the greatest sense of fulfillment. Later in the day we took that sense of love and acceptance and a heightened sensitivity to His voice and did create art. And these artists were ready fly! Every one came loaded with materials and expectations, and jumped right in to the collaborative exercises. First we paired up and took a moment to pray for our partner, asking God to give us a picture for them. Then we took a few minutes to sketch or paint, etc, what came to mind, trusting that it might be from God. Then, partners switched to pray for the other person and repeat the process. One pair burst into uncontrollable laughter in the middle of their exchange, leaving the rest of use serious, earnest folk to wonder what could possibly be so funny in such a moment. Later, the two came up to show the pictures they’d drawn for each other. They struggled to contain themselves as they explained that they had prayed the night before for several specific things and the drawings they did for each other had–incredibly–referenced each thing. These were women who had never met before this weekend and I don’t believe had ever done an exercise like this.
I had encouraged everyone the night before to ask God to speak about what seemed to be holding them back in their creativity. One of
these laughing girls said that she asked God why certain things were not happening in her life, and she felt He said, “Because you haven’t asked!” So she made a list of four things she wanted to see happen. The picture her partner drew was amazingly detailed, full of symbols and images, and it addressed every single thing on her list! Laughter broke out around the room. The other woman had a similar experience. Her picture illustrated and affirmed words and prayers that were spoken over her the night before that her partner knew nothing about.
There were similar stories from others and I was thrilled once again to witness how God loves to speak to and through us when we trust that He will. By the end of the retreat there was this wonderful sense of community that had developed among us. We really did get a taste of the joy and promise of Kingdom Creativity. I really didn’t want the weekend to be over.
Thanks to the folks at The Church of Praise for providing the food for the retreat, Betsy Potts and Cathy Freeman for organizing it, and Betsy and John for all their hard work.
For information on speaking engagements, seminars and retreat weekends, contact me at scott@FindingDivineInspiration.com.