• Ellen Hopkin

Creativity in team work

Welcome to the Creative Life, Happier Life Blog, thank you for agreeing to this interview! Tell us about yourself...

Hi, I'm Sonia and have been married to James for nearly 15 years. We have a 13 year old son, 11 year old daughter and 7 year old twin boys. I also happen to be sister in law to Mrs 'Creative Life Happier Life' Hopkin! I am the Families Lead at Kerith Community Church, overseeing ministry areas of Additional Needs, Kids and Youth. You could say I'm a reformed 'Creativity Deny-er' ! Read on to find out more...

Here at CLHL we believe that creativity comes in all forms, from accounting to crochet! How does your creativity manifest itself?

I used to think I wasn't a creative person because I wasn't particularly into (or good at!) arts and crafts. I would hear people talk about the 'creatives' at church and that was a certain group of people which I didn't always fit into! I also wasn't the most neat, tidy or presentable when doing things such as baking - definitely more pinterest fails than pinterest inspo on presentation! (It usually tasted good though!) However I've since realised that creativity isn't just about the visuals, and that we are ALL creative - because we are made in the image of our Creator. On a personal level, I love to cook - to create a new recipe from inspiration I've taken from elsewhere. I love to create beautiful spaces in my home, pottering around arranging home accessories - and wishing I had the budget to keep up with my interior design desires!

I also have a creative outlet through my work as my church's Families Lead. 2020 has been tricky but it's pushed us out of our comfort zone into new areas of innovation and my role at church has allowed me to explore this. I've launched a parenting podcast, an online Kerith Kids TV episode every week, amongst other things. I'm now looking ahead to 2021 and how our ministries may look different post Covid - another chance to create something new, something different.

How do you think using your creativity enhances your well-being?

I sometimes find the creative process pretty stressful if I'm honest! There is a self-applied pressure to come up with something completely new and innovative, that hasn't been done before. In my working role at church I find my creativity flourishes best when bouncing off other people's ideas in a team setting. I also produce my best work under pressure, and God has always given me last minute inspiration! I've learnt to trust the process now in the waiting...

I personally believe that God is the only one who created something out of nothing. For the rest of us, we take inspiration from other people, from our situation, the world around us - even in the most innovative of ideas - so that has helped me to take the pressure off myself!

Despite my confession that I am not artistic, I recently decided to paint my own abstract painting for our home. I didn't plan it, I just went for it as I felt inspired. I found it a really relaxing process, to still the mind in focus on 'doing' something. Creating something beautiful on a blank canvas - not out of nothing, as it was inspired by other art work I had seen - but knowing it's unique and that "I made this" makes me smile with a sense of achievement every time I look at it! To slow down and create in that way, with no agenda, was a lovely antidote to the higher pressure to create that I experience in my work. *Makes note to do this more often* ;-)

How do you think using your craft helps you to connect with God?

I struggled to answer this at first because as a reformed 'creativity deny-er' I still don't really feel I have a 'craft' per se...I consider myself a jack of all trades and master of none! However whatever our gifts or skillset, whatever level we think we are - novice or expert - knowing I am using the gifts God gave me helps draw me closer to Him. I am so inspired by the people I interview on the podcast, God reveals to me more about who I am through them, and I have learnt more contentment in knowing I have stepped out and am doing what He has called me to.

Do you think God works through your skill? How?

I couldn't do anything of what I do without God inspiring me, pushing me on, giving me courage and telling me I can, when I say I can't. The podcast I launched earlier this year had been a silent dream of mine for a while. I am merely creating space for conversation with others, but I've received emails this year telling me how it has helped and inspired them. The same with other aspects of my role at church.

I wasn't sure at first how I could say He has worked through my pottering around the home grouping nice pretty picture frames, or recreating a dish in the kitchen that I once ate at a restaurant in California! But actually on reflection, those things help to ground me, bring me contentment - and through that He is able to use me as a more. If I'm in a good place, my influence to those around me will be more effective

Do you have any tips or golden nuggets of wisdom for any of our readers who may like to try accessing your creative skill?

I would say just go for it! I've had a few prophetic words about me finding and using my voice and influence, and I definitely do feel that launching the podcast this year is both a metaphorical and literal example of that. Back in January I barely dared utter that I wanted to do it, because I didn't want to be seen as pushing myself forward - but Covid forced my hand - and I have grown in confidence in who I am created to be, not just with the podcast, but in all areas of my life. When we begin to learn true contentment and confidence in who God created us to be - it overflows from us to all around us. Also I would say be who YOU are created to be. Not anyone around you. Comparison is the thief of joy!

Where can we find you using your creativity?

You can find the 'Are we nearly there yet?' podcast by searching for that or AWNTY on the usual podcast platforms, or check out the Kerith Community Church youtube for the episodes of Kids TV that we've put out this year! For my creative outlets at home you can find me at 100.....only joking ;-). Not sharing my address this time!

QUICK FIRE ROUND! The stuff we all really want to know!

Pen or computer?

Computer. Although this question does make me want to hand write a proper letter to someone!

Home or abroad? Such a tough one! Always would have said abroad, but 2020 and learning a deeper sense of contentment has brought me a new appreciation of home. Always fighting a deep sense of wonderlust. Ok, i have to answer don't I?!


Who would play you in a movie?

I'm told by others that it would be Drew Barrymore! Chocolate or cheese? Cheese; with a chocolate chaser ;-)

Thank you Sonia! So there you go, with so many wonderful suggestions, how will you begin to explore creativity?

If you try out any of our contributors skills, pop it on Instagram (@creativelifehappierlifeblog) and give it the hashtag #CLHLblog

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