My Review of “Called to Create” – A Book by Jordan Raynor
Before I get to my review of Jordan Raynor’s book “Called to Create,” I wanted to first introduce myself. Hello, my name is Bob Severns. I have–what I have always referred to as–a sickness…a never-ceasing-deep-seated desire to create. Whether it be playing musical instruments or composing, creating new characters or silly situations in acting, producing fun videos, sharing the written word, doodling, inventing new ways to do things, or combining any of those methods with my love of technology, I desire nothing more than produce creative works that glorify God and better the emotional and spiritual state my fellow man.
This desire has been inside me for as long as I remember. Even as a toddler, I understood the power of ministering to the emotional state of others through improvisation and comedy. I was the baby who smashed an plate of butter on my head just to make my family laugh. I danced and acted on the professional stage before the age of ten, and instantly felt “at home” or with “my people.”
The reason I call the desire to create a sickness is because the desire to create unfulfilled keeps me awake at night. My brain constantly is brimming with creative ideas for stories, products, new art, and new ideas for businesses and services. It is overwhelming. But, this desire unfulfilled has crippled me to a depressive state many times–usually concurrent with long dry periods of “non-creation” in my life. As you will see in a bit, I have been made to feel that this desire to create was something that I needed to suppress, was something that I needed to ignore or that I needed to get over in order to be the smart responsible father, parent, or man of God that I should be.
Because a lot of my creation energy expresses itself in the musical and performing arts, I have been given loads of “good advice” from friends and family regarding career and life:
- That field [whether it be music or acting] is too competitive
- You are not talented enough
- You don’t have the look they want
- There is no security in that
- You’ll need a real job to fall back on
and my ultimate favorite…
6. Being an entertainer or any creative type for that matter is not a calling worthy of God.
I have been told from the pulpit and from “spiritual mentors” that someone with my talents is pretty much limited to being a music minister or a preacher. But I never felt that either of these vocations would all me to fully express all that God has equipped me to do. I was told that any other expression of these gifts (that I felt God placed on the inside of me since birth) would be “selling out to the world” or would be outside of the will of God for me. I have even been told that my desire to uplift, inspire, and minister to other’s emotions through performance is not ministry, but is nothing more than wasting my life being a “foolish court jester.” I felt like God made a mistake when he made me. I felt like he created me with a desire to create and that true holiness meant that I had no outlet to express this desire if I wanted to fulfill a ministry in Him.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and family. I know that any advice they give, they give lovingly. But something doesn’t add up when I have “lovingly and regularly” had my hopes crushed by these same friends, family, and even members of the clergy. I feel that either they do not have or understand this desire to create, or that they too had the desire, but have deadened their own senses to these urges so much and they want me too as well. Misery loves company, right? Why have I listened to them for so long when everything inside me says that this “advice” was bull?
If Jordan Raynor’s book did nothing more than validate that this burning desire to create was not only God-given but a reflection of His own creative image, it would be worth the cover price 100 times over. But this validation is exactly what I found within the first few pages of the book, and this is just the start of what this book did for me.
This book so clearly encourages the reader that their work as an entrepreneur and creative can honor God as much as the pastors, preachers, evangelists and missionaries. This book contains practical questions to ask when discerning God’s calling for you.
But this book also identifies some of the pitfalls of working in the creative world. It shows us that when our motives are pure and when we desire to glorify God and not make a name for ourselves, we are free to serve others with the fruits of our creativity. It then discusses practical ways to create disciples and share the gospel of Christ. It also encourages us to create with eternity in mind. We need to create products, processes, art, that will live on after the first Earth passes away.
To say that I enjoyed this book is an understatement. This book has helped me feel like I was not a mistake. I feel that I am fearfully and wonderfully made to continue to do creative works in the image of my Creator. I am more excited than ever to get going.
If you have that desire to create on the inside of you, I would encourage you to prayerfully read this book. It is an awesome tool to unclog the rivers of life and creative energy inside of you and helps you to understand that there is a place and a commission for you to bring your unique gifts to the world.
Jordan, your work is truly anointed of God. Thank you for heeding the call to write it. You can learn more about the book at the awesome website www.calledtocreate.org. You can also follow Jordan on twitter at @JordanRaynor.