How the Lego Movie Tells the Story of Creativity

I knew I liked Legos, but I wasn’t expecting this. I’ve been watching movies with my kids for ten years now, and with the glory days of Pixar apparently gone, my expectation of wonder for The Lego Movie was weak. The beginning didn’t offer much, either.

But, toward the end, a twist. (Spoiler alert!) All of a sudden, the animation turned into live action, and in the midst of the climactic scene, an amazing moment that perfectly captures the story of creativity:

Like Emmet the Lego says, each of us truly is special. It sounds like a cat poster, but it’s true.

We’re made by God, in the image of God, with the power of God, which means that we have in us the power to create great things. The moments of wonder we seek in life aren’t just dreams to dismiss; they’re within our grasp. This isn’t just motivational nonsense; it’s the actual nature of who we are as humans. We are born with the power of creativity, and it is a great power indeed.

As children we exhibited creativity every day.

The problem is that, just like the dad in the scene, we lose our spirit of creativity. It hasn’t been taken from us; in fact, we freely give it up in exchange for the illusion of control and power. Scientific studies have documented this loss in great detail. Academics call it the “fourth grade slump.”

I think the problem is primarily spiritual. Perhaps we still play with the toys of creativity, but as we grow up and take on the slings and arrows of the world, we replace a maker’s mindset with a manager’s mindset. It’s less risky; our goal becomes keeping the things in our grasp tightly ordered. We decide order is better than uncertainty. We don’t want people messing with our stuff. We Krazy Glue everything down.

But the thing is, Krazy Glue doesn’t help. When life is glued down, nothing happens. There’s no wonder in that tightly ordered world. And as it turns out, perfection is an illusion, anyway.

You don’t have to be the bad guy in your own creativity story. Put down that Krazy Glue. Start making something new and different. Throw away the instructions. Take a risk. Because, as Emmet says,

You are capable of amazing things. Because you are The Special. And so am I. And so is everyone.

 

The story of creativity, and how to reclaim yours, is the subject of my book,  Think Like a Five Year Old: Reclaim Your Wonder and Create Great Things, which comes out this winter with Abingdon Press.

 

We are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things.
God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.
– Ephesians 2:10

 

About the Author

Len Wilson

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Christ follower. Storyteller. Strategist. Writer. Creative Director at St Andrew. Tickle monster. Author, Think Like a Five Year Old (Abingdon).

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