storylineLast week I was at the Storyline Conference, which is pretty much the happiest place on Earth for creative people.

Experiencing Storyline was the same thrill as watching our kids experience Disney for the first time. Welcome to Disneyland, kids. Dance with the bubbles streaming out of the streetlights. Scream on your favorite rollercoasters. Laugh hard at the street theater. Eat a pancake shaped like Mickey’s head. Look! There’s Cinderella, right by Alice in Wonderland. Woody and Buzz are chatting under that tree.  Street-dancing, daily parades, and screaming are discouraged in the real world—but now you’re at Disney.

Creative people are discouraged in the real world. Watching hours of football is okay, but painting late into the night feels self-indulgent. You can Facebook for an hour, pressing your nose to the glass of strangers’ lives. Passivity is  safe, but self-expression is scary.

Storyline gives artists permission to create. Right now. Go and write your poems. Getting your story out is as important as you thought it was. You are allowed to make time to sing. If life got too busy for your piano lessons, this is your official invitation to make piano-playing your priority.

And look! Here’s an artist telling everyone at Storyline her story. Art changed her forever. These stories are like fairy tales for creative people. We are all so anxious for someone to give us permission to do what we love. The fairytales are our permission to hope, and to do.

And who’s giving the permission? Creative geniuses like Donald Miller, Glennon Melton, Shauna Niequist, Bob Goff, and Michael Hyatt. They tell stories about God saving them through art and truth-telling. To artists, these fairytales are as beautiful as Prince Charming waking Sleeping Beauty with a kiss.

At Storyline, these characters are so accessible. There’s Glennon, eating pizza with Don Miller. Michael Hyatt is standing alone at the edge of the auditorium. Shauna Niequist’s kids are running around. Bob Goff is hugging everyone.

We artists collect this inspiration like holy relics, smuggled away like holy souvenirs. We pack our suitcases with Cinderella’s tiara and Woody’s actual lasso, waiting to open them later for the invitation we need to create.

If you’re creative, this is your invitation. Go and create. Believe art is the miracle you need.


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