Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The artist within

For a number of years, at least since college, I've recognized that I'm not drawn toward the conventional. Much to my irritation, there hasn't been any one career I've felt I could "fit" into. Some artsy friends I know, when shopping for a shirt, pick out a fairly plain tee to which they can add the special touches they prefer: vintage buttons, a funky pocket, colorful stitching. Then, they say, it will be the perfect shirt. Well, that's pretty much how I feel about what I want to do in life. People always seem to want to know, what am I going to do with that MA in counseling? When will I get a job as a counselor, they ask? Their faces convey an amusing degree of shock when I reply that I didn't get my MA to be a counselor. I used to find this interchange mildly frustrating, but that was before I started getting in touch with the artist within.

You see, I love to write, to take pictures, to play guitar and create songs, to love on people, and to observe the world and find some way of creatively expressing what I see. And I've spent way too much time wracking my brain, trying to figure out how to use my degree in a creative way and still make money. But I just haven't found it yet. What I have found, however, is the grace to be content in being an artistic person, without having it expressed in what I do for a living, at least for the time being. Sometimes, I think, it's even more enjoyable this way. Not that I don't envision this changing. I can see travel, encountering the lives and stories of other people, writing, photography, and perhaps even speaking engagements as part of some uniquely crafted "shirt" someday. Thankfully, I no longer carry the burden of making it happen on my own. As I continue pursuing God and keeping my eyes open for opportunities, I believe things will start coming together, in much the same way an artist paints a picture. Bit by bit, stroke by stroke. As with a painter, it's not just about the finished work; its about the process of painting, the joy of creating and expressing.

I never understood how much this comes from the nature of God, because I never identified with this nature in me. The more I understand and appreciate the artistry of God and His creative process in the world and in our lives, the more I recognize how the way I'm wired reflects my Father. I'm like Him. I think we try to fight this, often unknowingly, because of the culture we're in. Generally speaking, we are shaped and conformed to fit a mold, to choose a specific (profitable) path, to set goals and not to deviate from them. We squelch the creative artist within that defies being narrowly defined or restricted, in favor of security and practicality. It's not that this is bad, per se; it's just not the whole picture. Not at all.

I've become a lot less frustrated since I've been coming to embrace the way God has designed me. It may be difficult to explain it to others, but I really don't feel I owe anyone an explanation. It's just exciting to understand more about who I am in light of understanding more of the limitless facets of God's personality. If we are ever "bored" Christians, we are sadly missing out on God's personality, because He is the furthest thing from boring. We may become bored with church, bored with religion, bored with life. But if we want to rise above boredom, the surest way to do it is by throwing ourselves into the pursuit of knowing the Person of Jesus. And at this point in life, I am particularly fascinated by His creative genius and how He has built that into me, intended for unique expression. Knowing this certainly brings Ephesians 2:10 more to life: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Friends, we are far from ordinary!

1 comment:

  1. B-Ber,
    please keep these coming ...
    you are blessed in your talent, a gift is in your phrase.