ep. 27 | Creativity with Ruth Chou Simons
On this episode of the Journeywomen podcast I had the privilege of chatting with Ruth Chou Simons on the topic of creativity. Ruth is an artist, writer, entrepreneur, and speaker. She is the creator of the GraceLaced online art shoppe, blog, and the popular Instagram community where she shares scriptural truths daily through honest words and her hand-painted artwork. Ruth and her husband, Troy, live in New Mexico and are grateful parents to six sons—their greatest adventure.
Ruth and I talked about everything from the ministry of coffee dates to emulating Jesus’ creative pursuit of us in the way we pursue others. She said, “It’s not about how beautiful the actual product is. It is that your hands actually created something that is the vehicle in which somebody else gets to experience the grace of God.” If you don’t consider yourself creative in the traditional sense of the word, this conversation is still for you! Ruth shared how we can all express creativity even in something like a coffee date or a simple, handwritten note.
Tell us a little about who you are, what you do, and how you came to where you are today.
You are an artist, which is exactly why I wanted to have you on the podcast to discuss the topic of creativity. One of the things I seek to do in every episode of the Journeywomen podcast is to tether the topic back to what we see in Scripture. That said, do we see creativity in the Bible? Can you give us an example of that?
Can we reflect the character of God through our own creativity?
What is the aim/goal of expressing our creativity?
As image-bearers of God, are we all creative at some level?
What would it look like to use our creativity as a means by which to share the Gospel?
When/how might we see ourselves misappropriating our creativity and using it for our own glory instead of God’s glory?
For those of us who don’t identify themselves as creatives, what are some non-traditional ways we might actually be expressing creativity already? What are some things we might consider trying?
How do you continue to cultivate and protect space to create when you’re in busy seasons, like motherhood, working, or going to school? On the flip-side, how do you extend grace to yourself when you really want to create, but you aren’t able to make that happen in the way that you really desire?
How do you practice this as a family? How do you engage in creativity with your spouse? How do you encourage your children to create for God’s glory?
3 Questions I Ask Every Guest
What 3 resources would you recommend to someone wanting to develop their creativity?
What are your 3 simple joys?
Who has had the greatest impact on your own journey with Jesus?
Note Worthy Quotes
“A lot of things that are worth doing are worth doing slowly.”
“God chooses to tell us his story and his plan for creation and for his people through the details and through his handiwork… He didn’t have to do it that way… I think that’s something that causes us to realize how kind and how merciful God is. He genuinely chooses to meet us and speak to us in the language that makes sense to us.”
“It’s not about the medium or the amount of time or how great the product might be that we’re trying to create, sometimes we think that we just miss a project if it doesn’t turn out exactly the way we want it to turn out. But I think what we see in Scripture is that there’s so much to be said for the intention of creating. What the intention is and what the process is as we witness the power of creation.”
“We were created to reflect his (God’s) creativity. We were created to reflect his character. In his character is an intentionality and a desire to display his glory through the work of his hands, through beauty. It’s natural for us to really long for that.”
“We underestimate how much even in our own handwriting is our own, unique creativity.”
“It’s not about how beautiful the actual product is. It is that your hands actually created something that is the vehicle in which somebody else gets to experience the grace of God.”
“No one should underestimate the ministry of a coffee date.”
“We can emulate the way we’re pursued by our Savior by pursuing others with our creativity.”
“How do we woo somebody to the goodness of the Gospel through kindness? By displaying beauty in a way they don’t see easily in the world?”
“Is it possible that our artwork could be less about us and more about the glory of God? Could it be that our song could be something bigger than just trying to create a hit? Is it possible that our creative conversation can ultimately point to someone who has the answers, and not just me? In every way our creativity can ultimately reflect something or someone way bigger than ourselves.”
“We think once we get better we’ll have more to offer or more to say. But the reality is what we see in all of Scripture is that God uses people right where they are, surrendered to them, and he writes their stories for all to see right then and there. Meaning, we don’t get to receive all the glory for turning ourselves into the perfect form of who we want to be before we proclaim him. He wants the broken vessel that we can put together to use for his glory.”
“So if we feel like there’s never enough time, then it’s possible that some of the things that we’ve included in our 24 hours aren’t supposed to be there as the forefront and the priorities.”
“Guarding is often times equivalent to prioritizing. It’s not that we guard as in we’re possessive, like ‘I have this, this is MY time!’ but rather we guard and say ‘Okay, I’m going to make some adjustments and prioritize certain things. So if I prioritize this, be assured that something else will fall to the background,’ and that’s just the coming and going of our adjustments. And maybe we just need to get better about seeing that as acceptable.”
“As artists or perfectionists we look to the fruit. We look to the growth. We look to the bloom. I’ve always struggled with that and thought ‘This painting is only worth it if the end result is spectacular.’ … It’s amazing because I think the Lord has broken me of this by causing me to see how much the good stuff actually happens in the process that I don’t want to have to go through.”
“The sanctification that I know I want, the product, the person that I want to become, that great blossom of a person that I want to be, is actually literally found in all the pruning, tilling, cultivating, and all of the stuff that I’m not welcoming in other seasons. The only thing that remains true is the Word of God.”
“Unless we anchor ourselves to the truth and say, ‘These are the truths about who God is and I can rest in this always regardless of what’s going on.’ From there is when we can believe what he says about who we are.”
“We’re all made to worship. And so we’re going to worship something. Out of our worship comes the overflow of our lives and the work of our hands. If you have this one life and you have this one 80, maybe 100 years, and you choose and recognize that you need to lay yourself at the feet of Jesus and you will worship him alone. Then the more that you worship him, the more the out flow and the overflow into your life becomes the declaration of his goodness and grace.”
“Rather than looking left and right at new trends and fads, keep your eyes on Jesus, because he’s made us infinitely creative because HE is infinitely creative. We are not bound to materials or time or skill. We are only bound by who he has made us to be in light of him. The more you know your Creator, the more he opens up who he’s created you to be.”
“Our methods, our practice, everything flows out of what we believe about who God is and who we are.”
“The grace of God is the love of Christ and it’s personal. It can fuel everything I say, or do, or think.”
Look beyond your immediate art form and experience something out of your norm, like going fishing, going to an opera, or taking a cooking class.
Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart
Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner
The Pursuit of God AW Tozer
Grow in your theology
Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick
Ruth's Simple Joys
The great outdoors
Having conversations with those around her
Connect with Ruth
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Laurel Denise is a handmade jewelry and gift company that features Laurel's very tiny handwriting. Each Laurel Denise piece offers unique encouragement for a difficult time, a beautiful reminder to press on, or a meaningful way to treasure a memory each and every day. Founded by Laurel in 2005 after God spoke to her through a dream, this company is on a mission to spread true hope and joy one bracelet at a time. You can find Laurel Denise online at laureldenise.com and on Instagram @laureldenise. Use code "journey" for a 10% discount online until November 17th.
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