By Aaron Tiger
We are a nation of consumers. I don’t mean that just in a shopping or eating sense. I mean that in an information and entertainment sense. We have more access to information and entertainment than ever before. My kids have access to hundreds of kids’ shows at any minute. If my sons want to watch Lab Rats or Handy Manny, they can do so in an instant on numerous devices. If you and I wanted to watch Saved by the Bell, then we had multiple opportunities, but they were still limited. We could watch from 3-4 on TBS, or we could watch it Saturday morning and that was it. Plus, we were limited to whatever episode they decided to show us. Now if I want to watch the “I’m so excited” or “Zac Attack” episodes, I can do that instantly on any of the 7 screens that we have in our home.
So, we consume, and we are building a nation of kids who are used to consuming. Netflix assumes you want to watch another episode. We can listen to podcasts at 2X the speed, and blogs like this one push out content every week. Content is available, and we are consuming it. Consuming quality content is incredibly important. Learning is vital to growing. That is why when someone goes to college or graduate school reading is such a vital part, because he or she needs more information on the topic. My life has been changed by consuming content. I have heard great preaching that has spoken to my head and my heart. I have read books like Renovation of the Heart and Good to Great that have changed my perspective in incredible way. Ted Talks like Brene Brown’s on Vulnerability have influenced me greatly. However, even consuming quality content needs to have purpose beyond helping us to grow, and that purpose is to create and contribute.
When Michael Phelps was dominating the Olympics, there was a lot of talk about his 12,000 daily calorie diet. Why did he eat so much? He ate because he needed to utilize all the calories he could for energy during his races. If he was not exerting the caloric intake, then he would have done what most Americans do and gain significant weight. How many of us are becoming fat on content and information? Unless you are a contestant on Jeopardy, knowing a lot of information will not help you unless you give it away or use it to create something.
The natural outflow of consumption should be creation.
The ability to create is a gift from God. Yet for many people, creation is not something that we often get to do. In a good portion of our jobs, we have tasks to accomplish instead of ideas to try. We go home, and we follow a recipe instead of cooking from scratch. At school, pressure is on teachers to teach to the test, instead of teaching in a creative manner that helps students learn to the best of their ability. Being creative is part of being made in God’s image. In Genesis 1:26, when God says, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness,” the primary image of God that we have is that of creator. When we are creative, we live into the fullness of that original image that resonates at the deepest levels of our souls.
Adults do not create as well, because we have been trained to replicate and produce results. So the best place to learn how to create is to watch a child. Where we see a cardboard box, they see possibilities. We see a tree, and they see an adventure.
We need to turn our consumption into creating. What are some easy ways to do it?
- Write something. You have wisdom to share, so share it. Join our team of contributors at the918.org. Just email Aaron that you are interested.
- Try Bible Journaling. Don’t just consume the content of the Bible, but create something with it. Ladies, you are invited to a Bible Journaling Event this Saturday.
- Go outside and run around. Imagine you are a Super Hero with your kid or grandkid. Build with legos. Pretend you are a tea party.
- Cook with no recipe. Maybe it will taste awful, but use your imagination and intuition and create something new to you. All great meals began as an experiment.
- Make up a story as a family. When I put my oldest son to bed, I tell him the story of Banana Man and Apple Dude. Recently, we started telling the story together, sharing in the plot development that way we both get to be creative.
- Create art. Color, paint, and draw when you have time. Instead of scrolling through facebook when you have 10 minutes, utilize apps like Rhonna Designs, The Drawing Desk, and Recolor to create. Last year, my wife Heather utilized these apps to create posts to share on Instagram and Facebook to encourage and inspire others.
Aaron Tiger is a minister at FUMC-Tulsa, a dad, a husband, and a child of God. He is the lead contributor for the918.org.