Creative Spotlight: Abby Grooms
Abby is a student at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She's a writer as well as a worship leader at her local church. Abby never identified herself as a Creative person until her relationship with the Holy Spirit encouraged her otherwise.
What’s your journey as a Creative been - have you always loved writing? What other creative mediums do you cultivate?
I have always liked writing because I’m good at it. In school I always tested well in English and writing. It was something I stuck with because it was natural for me. I actually went to college and didn’t study writing at first. I had a professor tell me I was a writer - but I was studying a different major. So I took a class on writing and it jarred me - I looked at the world in a way where I didn't just observe but I wanted to create something from what I saw. It wasn't until my 2nd semester of college that I accepted that I’m creative. I have always been type “A” and I thought artists were a type of person that I was never cool enough to be. I never identified as a “creative” or an “artist” because I didn’t fit the general stereotype.
With singing, people enjoyed hearing me sing but I hated the pressure of performance. These precious old people at my church always said “oh you're so beautiful when you sing, sing at this wedding or this event” but the only place I enjoyed singing was at church. I got to college and I didn't sing at all because I had no church. I leaned more into the writing and the writing became the song of my heart on paper. I came up with some really beautiful things, but I would always came up with the best things when I would let myself go. It was the Holy Spirit working through me. I am simply the physical vessel. I rarely write about God unless it's my prayer journal. That’s where my own soul benefits from writing, from those intimate journals.
I was at Creative Team Night at my church and they talked about stewarding our creative gift and not doing that is disobedience. My solace in creativity has come from understanding that it's for the benefit of the Kingdom through the Holy Spirit. I’ve asked God to strip away everything that inhibits me from doing that. I find a lot in the Psalms, God points us to remember our identity in Him through expressing ourselves as Creatives - through song and music and heartfelt expression.
How are you personally dependent on the Holy Spirit within the creative process? Do you think that should look the same for everyone?
In order to have a creative process, I need to be dependent on him. My flesh is dry. I have asked God to strip me of everything that’s not of Him. I’ve prayed that consistently so it’s my reality. So when I have not invited the Holy Spirit into my process, the process is at a stand still. I feel when He’s not there and that tells me I need to invite him in. He breathes inspiration and He sustains me throughout the growing pains of the creative process. Also, when He’s a part of the process, it’s easier for me to tune out the lies of the enemy.
I don’t think that’s the same for everyone - there are people born with a brush in their hand, prodigies. That was never me. The enemy convinced me for a long time that I was never good enough to consider myself a creative. The creative process looks different for everyone, but the thing that’s the same is the steadfast love of God. That love will manifest differently for everyone.
Why should Creatives stay planted in a local church? Why do you think that is so hard for so many Creative souls?
For me, I know when I’m singing, I have such a fear of performing so I really need to remember singing, worship leading, is different. I pray that God would give the congregation ears to hear. That mindset can only happen for me in the local church. The church is my outlet for singing. Creatives are very internal and we worry a lot, trying to perfect something that is never meant to be perfect. That ultimately results in isolation. But we all need community, we all need encouragement. For a creative to be planted in a church means that they are a part of an inclusive journey. Creative Souls flock to the epicenter of the Spirit - where they feel something strongest. It’s their seed of inspiration. That should be the Church! Our ultimate inspiration is God. Creatives should recognize the significance of their work for the Kingdom, because we can be a physical outworking of the Holy Spirit through what we create. I believe all people naturally respond to their creator and the church should be a place where they can come to find that.
Any final thoughts?
It’s all through the Holy Spirit - for people who are fearful of not being good enough, God works through you - through your mind and gifting but also within the ears and eyes of those receiving. His command to us as Creatives is to be obedient servants. At the end of the day it’s not about how great you create something. It’s about Jesus.
There’s a song called “Clear the Stage” by Jimmy Needham - anything that comes between us and God is an idol, that can be your art. If your worship - through hyperfocusing on the medium or presentation - has become an idol, you need to be aware of that.