Do you ever feel like “one of these things is not like the other” is your mantra?
Well, that’s often how I’ve felt, especially in my family and circle of friends, until God opened my eyes to see the why behind the what of how I feel and think and function through an unexpected experience. I had the opportunity to accompany my husband to a dinner and lecture at his work, and honestly, went along to keep him company. I knew of the speaker, and was intrigued by his role as an artist and professor at a Christian college.
What I didn’t anticipate was discovering that this man would make sense of my whole life.
As he spoke about the power of habit and the meaning behind work, while describing the ways in which he sees the world as an artist and the purpose behind his work as a creative soul and tireless teacher . . . I had to hold back from expressing a few “amens” a loud. The tears welled up in my eyes, as I heard this man articulate the way he sees life and realized I found “my people” again.
I am still an artist. I can’t help but see the world, and all the objects and people before me, with a creative energy and sense of purpose.
For too many years, however, this artistic side of me has not been given a voice. It’s not be validated. It’s not found companionship with a similar soul sister. And, as a result, I’ve felt isolated and odd. After completing the Highlands Ability Battery, I began to embrace my wiring for the first time in nearly twenty years, realizing that my idea productivity is 95% and observation is 99% are both undeniable indicators of an artistic bent.
I was always an artist-in-hiding. All my electives in high school were in art . . . painting, photography, jewelry making. I wanted to pursue art as a major in college, but my parents rerouted me towards a more practical purpose — becoming a teacher. Yet, only a year into those elementary education classes and I knew this wasn’t for me. I kept my finger in the art world with more electives, accruing so many credits that it was easy to obtain a minor and eventually a major alongside the other passion burning within me, writing. I graduated with a degree in English, writing arts, and Art, with a concentration in graphic design, and yet where did I end up for my first job? Working for a biology journal as an editorial assistant making sure all the punctuation was in the right place. Not exactly a dream job for a creative soul!
The reality is that our calling and careers don’t always reflect the way God made us.
That’s a hard truth for today’s Millennials to swallow as much as it is for those of us still in pursuit of a sense of purpose.
Working a 9 to 5 job to put food on the table is the last thing creatives and Millennials want to do. It feels meaningless, and yet it is not. That awful first job taught me how to copyedit like nobody’s business, and later became an asset in proofreading my own book galleys.
The truth is that all the jobs I’ve had over my lifetime have been part of God’s work for me, laying the foundation for the next experience while refining a part of my wiring for His purposes. Even my “motherhood” career and the way I’ve approached my home-keeping responsibilities reflects His design at work in my creative soul.
My “artistic” wiring has never left me.
It is who I am. An artist.
It is how I see the world. As an artist observes.
It was simply embedded in a way I did not recognize nor appreciate, until now.
Finally, I can see that my artistic side is how God is using my gifting today.
I may not be a fine artist creating canvas-stretched masterpieces, but my observation ability is being fully utilized as a life coach, carefully asking inquisitive questions to help a client gain clarity about God’s masterful work their life.
We are who God made us to be, even if how He is using us is entirely different than imagined and totally distinct from those we do life with.
So let me ask you, my sister-in-Christ, how can you allow His gifting and wiring in you to manifest in all your roles and responsibilities? How can you let go of the expectations and embrace your reality?
How can you nurture His gift in your daughter(s), as they explore their creative side? Their analytical side? Their practical side?