I believe curiosity is a powerful key to personal and spiritual growth.
Curiosity is a humble posture that sees the unknown as a frontier awaiting our arrival. Creativity prepares us to explore, to create, and most importantly, to learn. It is by nature playful and inquisitive, following the bread crumbs of discovery and reflecting on the questions raised by each expanding insight. This journey can become endless, because each quest-ion contains another quest waiting for us to engage it.
Dictionaries define curiosity as wanting to know something, which describes intrinsic motivation. The apostle Paul said, “I want to know him (Christ) and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). That’s healthy curiosity applied to discipleship—a lifelong intimacy with God. Curiosity awakens us to mysteries and draws us towards the other, the new, the more, the different.
We can’t grow as people without venturing further than we’ve already been. A deceived soul is satisfied with its current understanding and experience.
A curious soul is a growing soul, attentive to the oddities of life, to thoughts, people, places, feelings, circumstances, words, conversations, and patterns. It looks for things that stand out, moments that wink until we wonder. It forms questions about the nature of things and eagerly embarks on the new pathways opening before it.
Curiosity says, “Hmmm… is this a trail? It seems like a trail. I wonder where it came from? Where does it lead?I wonder who put it here, and why?”
As we grow older, curiosity begins to feel like a distraction from ‘real work.’ We are increasingly drawn to the security and routine of what we already know. But that flittering hunch, that “hmmm,” that “huh”, that half-hearted “what if?” or “I wonder…” might just be a wardrobe door, barely ajar, beckoning us into our own Narnian adventure.
Without curiosity we settle into the pursuit of mastery. But mastery without mystery is drudgery, and we are almost always the poorer for it.
We must become like little children, says Jesus, to enter into and fully enjoy the kingdom of God. Curiosity relishes the fact that the things we are consumed with now aren’t the only things there are, and certainly not the most important things to consider. It embraces the reality that sometimes—maybe even all too often—the things we aren’t thinking about yet hold the greatest promise, power, and potential for our transformation and impact.
Curiosity is our God-given release valve so we can escape narrow thinking, narrow choosing, and narrow living.
At the same time, we must admit that curiosities can become escapist distractions, dead-end trails dissipating our focus to the point where we’re not creating or doing or making useful progress in the here and now. This is why curiosity must always eventually make friends with other, equally important virtues. Without merging with discernment, wisdom, creativity, productivity, prayer, and generosity, creativity can’t reach its full potential and purpose—or can be led into outright deception and darkness.
- When curiosity links arms with discernment, it asks, “This may be novel, but is it true?”
- When curiosity becomes wisdom, it asks, “Does this truly matter?”
- When curiosity embraces creativity, it asks, “What can I make with this?”
- When curiosity steps into pragmatism, it asks, “How can this help me?”
- When curiosity informs prayer, it asks God, “What am I still not seeing?”
- When curiosity sparks generosity, it asks, “How can this help others?”
All that to say, if your life feels stale, it’s probably time to re-engage your creativity. How do we do that?