a divine partnership

Erwin McManus

Despite my certainty now, I did not always know I would be a writer.

Elizabeth Gilbert made a sacred vow of writing around the age of 16. Elaine Fraser she knew she wanted to be a writer at age 10.

Not me.

Don’t get me wrong. Have I always loved writing? Absolutely. Has it always been a part of my life? Sure.

But I do not have a definitive moment in my childhood where I knew that this is what I wanted to do with my life.

Instead I have had quite a journey to uncover my own creativity. And that should not surprise me, because I am all about the journey.

Part of my process has included Big Magic moments. Elizabeth Gilbert’s idea of Big Magic is that creativity involves things that we cannot fathom. Things beyond our understanding.

I am referring to the supernatural, the mystical, the inexplicable, the surreal, the divine, the transcendent, the otherworldly. Because the truth is I believe that creativity is a force of enchantment – not entirely human in its origins.

Elizabeth Gilbert

I agree with her.

Why? Because I have experienced it.

And arguably the most important Big Magic moment for me was a turning point in my journey to become a writer:

I was in a planning meeting for an Easter service. Just taking notes, ’cause you know, I’m not creative. When the leader turned to me and asked “could you write something for this service?” Flustered by his question, I answered “no” automatically.

As the conversation continued on and swirled around me. I found myself, no longer taking notes, but gathering words, images coalescing on the page. I was in the room but not really present. I was in another space altogether.

I have no idea how long it took. But eventually I looked up. Joining the conversation again, I addressed the leader. “I’ve just written this,” I said, “will this do?” And I handed him a fully formed poem.

That was, without doubt, an unlocking for me.  It opened a part me that had always existed, but that I was totally unaware of.

So yes, I agree with Gilbert that creativity ‘is not entirely human in its origins’. But unlike her I know exactly where my creativity comes from.

In fact when Rob Bell interviewed Elizabeth Gilbert for a podcast on this book, she turns the tables on him and asks him about his understanding of creativity.  His reply is this:

In ancient Hebrew consciousness the world is unfinished and you take part in the ongoing creation of the world … God is looking for partners.

Rob Bell

What Gilbert struggles to name, Rob Bell puts his finger on.  The divinity in Big Magic is our creator God who asks us to be partners with him in creating the world.

Author and speaker Erwin McManus, puts this so well here: “We were imagined to imagine and created to create. And the God who is creative does not see creativity as a limited commodity that only belongs to him, but he placed it inside each of us in His image and likeness.”

So I am joining my creator on the creative journey,


Big Magic Discussion Question:

Erwin McManus says “you were created by God to be His instrument to usher in all that is beautiful and good and true … to create beauty that inspires the world to life”. If you take this on board what does that mean for your personal creative journey?

PS: links to all book club posts is here