I recently came across a cause championed by a professional inspiration of mine, former Mythbuster Adam W. Savage. He posted a video titled “Why I Make” and spent a minute giving the highlights of why he enjoys creating the things that he does and why he enjoys interacting with the work of others as well. The quest and practice of “making” is very in vogue these days, and frankly I couldn’t be happier about it! In case this particular pop culture subset has passed you by, I’ll sum it up as quickly as I can.
As happens with the advance of technology, more of it is making its way into the hands of ‘regular people.’ Things like large multi-axis CNC mills, 3D printers, and advanced manufacturing techniques that used to be reserved only for huge companies with billion dollar revenues are now fairly accessible to your average Joe with a small garage and a good budget for a hobby. The areas where this hobby of Making intersect with the pop culture sphere are exemplified in shows like Battlebots, fans who make movie props, and many other industries where the little guy is starting to break in (drones and small manufacturing companies spring immediately to mind). One of the great things about the Maker Movement as it’s sometimes called is that there is no barrier to entry; anyone can do it! The great thing about making is that it’s a category that really defies description; it covers art, music, inventions, and anything else you care to name. Anyone with a spark can take an idea in their head and try to make it a reality. As great as it is that everyone can make, I need to be careful because I find myself being weirdly protective of the term ‘making’.
As people around me know, I have a degree in mechanical engineering, and it’s one of the coolest things that God has allowed me to do (just after calling me to be the best husband I can to my lovely wife Madison!). Being an engineer is something I knew I wanted to do since high school, and I’m pretty sure my parents knew about a decade before I did. My childhood was literally built on Legos and assembling new pieces of furniture brought into the house. When I encountered a problem I know my parents could see the gears in my head turning away. Many years later, the vision was realized when I received my degree and the world opened up.
One of the reasons I love the ability to make is that I know it comes from God himself. The first verse of the Bible says that ‘In the beginning God created..” (emphasis mine). I know that the desire and ability to build something wonderful that didn’t exist before is innate to the very fabric of our being as people. We were created in the image of the master builder, the one who created everything that ever existed and will exist. I know that every person has the capability to make something wonderful, so why do I feel like I’m a gatekeeper to the process? Maybe a part of me feels that I’ve earned it. I spent 4.5 years of my life and quite a bit of money to get a piece of paper that says I apparently know a few things. I know about various processes and tools and have re-molded my brain to look at the world through a frankly very critical lens. In my mind, I’ve put in the time to be qualified as a person who knows what it means to make something. However, where I need to watch out is that while I know God has uniquely gifted me, he has also uniquely gifted everyone else! What I really want to learn how to do is help channel my ability and knowledge into others as best I can. I know that people out there are capable of building incredible and wonderful things and I want to help them unlock the potential that God has put inside of them. So then, I hope that if you know of an area of your life in which you’ve been gifted, I hope you can find the courage to share it with others!