The most common two questions people ask college students are (1) what is your major? and (2) what do you plan to do with that? In other words, what job are you preparing for and committing to that will, hopefully, ensure a healthy and comfortable life for you in the future. It seems to automatically put us in a box; and that box being our career. I think the better question is, “what do you not want to do with that degree?” Who said we have to choose one thing? Who said we have to do the same one thing for the rest of our lives? What if our possibilities were endless? What happened to passion and excitement? It seems as if college students are increasingly choosing material outcomes over passion when choosing a major; meaning they may be passionate about a certain form of study, yet there may not be “any well paying jobs in that area” or “it’s really hard to go anywhere with that”. When in reality, doing something we were never called to do just to “make more money” or “be more successful” will lead us to loose vision and passion for life.
So, we feel this pressure. Pressure from our family to get a well-paying job and sustain ourselves. Pressure from our colleagues to excel in our area of study. Pressure from our professors to go far; to “make it”.
While this pressure may not be entirely bad, it can easily turn us from living for God to living for the opinions of man. To clarify, being intentional is good. Intentionally doing something to please another person is good as long as our hearts are in the right place. The question lies in our focus. Where does our fulfillment come from? Does it come from the approval of humans or the approval of God?
Galatians 1:10 says plainly, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant” (NLT). The bible is clear that our focus needs to always be directed toward the approval of our Heavenly Father, or else we are not a true disciple.
Recently, I have made the decision in my life to change my major from Liberal Studies (elementary teaching) to Art. Since this decision, I have received criticism from many people including family members, and even complete strangers. Their question, “What do you plan to do with a degree like that?” There we have it – pressure. Expectations that, in their minds, will remain unmet no matter our efforts. I soon began questioning my own decision; hearing the lie that I had chosen something that “wouldn’t make me educated” or “useful to the world”; that I needed to choose something more “intelligent” in order to make any real impact. How is doing art loving people well? What impact does it have on the world, or even eternity? Insecurities began to arise in just the second day of my semester as an official Art student.
That night, I was driving home late lost in my thoughts. A voice interrupted me that literally look my breath away and made me cry tears:
“Are you living for people or for me?”
The question seemed to hang in the air, as it was in that moment that I realized I had a choice. With all of my heart, I responded to God that I choose to live for Him.
His response: “Then stop doubting and questioning why you are doing Art. Obey me.”
Those few words changed so much in my life; giving me a confidence to walk forward and a new perspective to find joy in the journey. I know that God intends to do so much in and through me that people will look at my life and say:”You have done all that with an Art degree?” Thus, another way for My Father to receive all the glory. The truth is, without God, I am nothing and I can do nothing. I know that worldly knowledge is nothing in comparison to heavenly wisdom. One can be obtained by strength of man, the other supernaturally through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, why Art?
My answer – because Jesus.
Because it is what Jesus has put in my heart ever since I was young. It makes my heart come alive. It is something I am passionate about, and enjoy doing. It is a way of worshipping my Father. Why would God call me to something that I didn’t have a passion for?
I don’t say this lightly – but I want to change the world. I want to leave a mark on this earth that ripples into eternity. With this in heart, the enemy has tried to mock me by asking what the eternal purpose art has, and how I can make any real difference in pursuing a future like that.
Art is a beautiful and extravagant character peice to the Creator of the Universe. Look around at our world. The intricate patterns in our hand prints. The vibrant colors of a rainforest. The sculpted mountains. And just look at the sky. Have you noticed the different colors, shapes, and textures – how no two skies are exactly the same? That’s because Jesus paints them. “The skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1). There is this song that I love, the lyrics say “the universe was made just to be seen by my eyes”. God could have chosen to make the universe gray and bland – but he didn’t. Because He isn’t gray and bland- He is full of vibrancy and beauty. He is the best artist in existence. He was the first sculpture, the first painter, the first carver, the first drawer. He sculpted every single one of us from dirt. He “knit us together in our mothers womb” (Psalm 139:13). Art has been from the beginning. There is no Eden without Art.
In John 14:3, it says that Jesus is going to prepare a place for us. We know that Heaven will be full of art – something we can’t even comprehend. Art is eternal, and it has power.
So, I choose not to allow success and money to become an idol in my life. I choose to daily live following the voice of My Father as He leads me into my calling and destiny. And that, concisely, is why I am an Art major.