Creativity, joy, and Rebekah playing the ukulele: more on “happy”

God created humanity in God’s own image,
        in the divine image God created them,[b]
            male and female God created them.

Genesis 1:27
being happy

I wanted to follow up a little more on my “How to be happy” blog from a couple of days back.

The post mentioned how research consistently confirms the teachings of Jesus in terms of serving others. If you want to be happy, put others first; if you want to experience joy, spread love around; if you want to have a position of honor, serve.

But there is another element that contributes to happiness in a big way, and that is the creative arts. Music, painting, photography and more. Either producing or immersing ourselves in beauty and creativity.

Cocobolo ukulele

Again, and this is no coincidence, such appreciation of beauty is powerful because it takes the focus off of self. In so doing, people find contentment, satisfaction, and joy.

One of my personal happy places is when I am in the kitchen, preparing dinner, and I hear Rebekah in the background in her study, headphones on, taking a ukulele lesson or practicing some piece of music or chord sequence.

I walked in yesterday and asked what she was working on. This video is how she replied.

It is this engagement with beauty that speaks directly into our souls and – I believe – tells us something important about the nature of God.

Honoring God’s image in us:

Human beings, we are taught, are created in the image of God (I have an entire book on the subject, “In God’s Image“).

God is not – cannot – be defined/limited by observable physical characteristics. And, consequently, God is not readily “visible” in ways our five senses can easily perceive. So, then, maybe one way we can honor the image of God in us is by mirroring God’s attributes?

Attributes like love, obviously, along with grace mercy and compassion. Also, one of the most consistent and wonderful things about God is that God is creative; God is The Creator.

Maybe, then, we reflect the image of God with the most integrity when we, too, are creative – as well as loving and compassionate? Maybe this is why exposure to the creative arts makes us so at peace and content in our own selves?

The connection with happiness/joy:

Regardless of the logic behind the idea, research demonstrates that art and beauty and creativity are positively correlated with peace, with contentment, with joy, with essential and inner happiness.

– Rebekah standing in front of Van Gogh painging

Stand in front of a painting by Van Gogh. Visit a local art gallery. Listen to a symphonic orchestra. take an unhurried walk in a park. Scroll through some beautiful photographs. Look into the sky – long and hard – on a clear night. Let the ocean speak to you on a blustery day.

God speaks through creativity. God lives in Creation. We were designed to interface with the joy of beauty and the creative arts.

These thoughts on peace and happiness and living well are ongoing. We always have the opportunity to grow in every way – DEREK

some ukulele photos to enjoy (Cocobolo and Blackbird Clara):

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