I recently had the opportunity to sit down with a group of local creatives and just enjoy each other's company. We shared our stories, our backgrounds, our business and creative struggles and our hopes for the future. I normally love these meetings, but for whatever reason my heart just wasn't in this one. My brain jumped from thought to thought, not entirely sure why I was there or even if I fit with this group I normally love.
And then my attention was caught by the story one woman told. She is a women I admire and respect personally, creatively, and spiritually. I have never heard an unkind word from her. She is unfailing positive and kind, always encouraging, always offering a smile. She is one of the most welcoming women I know. Any one who meets her at the shop she works in, or a show where she is selling her beautiful work, walks away feeling like they have bee seen, like they matter.
She was telling her story about how she got to what she was doing now and how she has always been an artist and a painter. And yet, when she got to college she didn't study art, she studied ministry. She shared how she felt like art wasn't good enough because, "we have to do something big for God" and it was, "soul crushing." And I wanted to cry.
I think we all have felt that way at some point. I wonder how many women still feel that way. How many women are serving in ways they were never created to because they have bought into the idea that there things we do that are "ministry" and "God's work" and then there is everything else? How many women are dying inside because they have been told that their gifts at passions aren't "right"? How many women are missing out on the work God has prepared for them because it doesn't look like what they, or others, thought it would?
I looked at this woman and thanked God that she listened to God's prompting. That she used her passion for art to teach children. That she paints beautiful things that brighten the lives of so many. That she is there, in that place, offering herself and her gifts to others. She allowed herself to see past a narrow interpretation of ministry and in the process found the work that God had created her for.