I was chatting to a successful friend of mine one day about why people prefer buying certain products above others.
He recalled an event he had attended at a wine farm. The decor, lighting and catering was all very fancy and impressive but he was about to leave, empty handed, when the owner caught him along the way. It was then that they got talking about the “stories” behind the farm, the wine and the family who make the wine. My friend ended up leaving the very fancy event with a large wine order and a smile. We concluded that people are overwhelmed with products and services everywhere they go. Because we are all inherently sentimental, we want to relate to our bottle of wine or home-made jam. There’s something exciting about knowing the creative story behind a product, which adds value to our experience and appreciation of it.
The story behind the Sikhululekile leather jewelry range that we have started selling, is one of those stories that I could relate to in more than one way.
Sikhululekile is a project by Toevlug, an in-patient rehabilitation Center in Worcester. The patients make the handpainted leather jewelry themselves under supervision of Sonnet Flynn, the Art Therapist and teacher. The proceeds of the jewelry sales goes towards buying music instruments for the class. Last week I had the privilege of visiting the Centre. Sonnet took us on a tour through the well-kept and tidy grounds. Watching the patient’s at Toevlug paint and make their own leather jewelry gave me joy beyond words, not because they were having so much fun, but because I know that the process of creativity brings healing and holds power!
Flashbacks from my own experience at a similar rehabilitation clinic reminded me of the hopelessness and depression I once faced as a young art student who had lost too much in too short a time to cope anymore on my own. The one thing addiction and other psychological issues steals from its victims, is creativity. Yet, the ability to create is a crucial component to being a purposeful human being. I thrive on creating a beautiful place for my family to live. I get inspired and excited when I manage to cook a new meal I find on pinterest. Even choosing different clothing items in the morning to compile an outfit gives me pleasure. When I am working on a new project, I wake up easily and excited to start working. Somehow I create the atmosphere with the emotions I choose to indulge in. The most menial tasks and activities of everyday life are filled with opportunities to create, be it a meal, a message to a friend, wrapping a gift, finding a solution for storing all those tupperware lids and even dealing with conflict requires creativity in saying and doing things in a way that they will upbuild and not offend. So can you imagine losing what enables you to do all these things? Thats how I remember feeling. The most creative activity in my life was conjuring up lies to convince myself and others that I was ok and that my inability to function normally had nothing to do with my drug/alcohol usage or my deteriorating mental state. I struggled for years afterwards until I finally surrendered and accepted Jesus and allowed him to make me new. Now, I long to become more like Jesus daily and in that I have discovered an endless supply of creativity and joy. My creativity is not dependant on me or my circumstances anymore, but on WHO I AM IN CHRIST. The only time I get a creative block now is when there are blocks between me and God. The blocks are usually things like unforgiveness and sin which are easily removed with repentance and forgiving others and myself.
The creator of heaven and earth made YOU in His image, so therefore YOU were made to create! In your own unique way. The enemy wants to steal our creativity because he knows that if he can do that we become crippled and lose our purpose. Maybe you don’t consider yourself to be an artist or a stellar chef or a writer, but I encourage you to stand up against the lies of the enemy saying that you are not creative. You were formed by God in your mother’s womb, and you have everything pertaining to life and godliness inside of you. (2 Peter 1:3) God wants to use you in a different way to which he might use me or others, but it’s going to be spectacular and it’s going to mean ditching the lies, facing your fears, repenting of your mistakes and forgiving 70×7. Turn your eyes towards Jesus, let Him reveal who you really are and what your purpose is. Therein lies your freedom. “Sikhululekile” means “We are Free” in Xhosa. Because the truth is Jesus and He WILL set you free. John 8:3