Manifest Destiny

Guster once again has become the soundtrack to my summer. And as I am thinking heavily about the future and what that looks like for me, it just seems appropriate to post a bit of where I am at on here…

I never know how to start what I want to say because it seems too interconnected to everything else, that there never seems to be an appropriate starting point.

Well, in 2 weeks I will move into my apartment with some of my closest friends from college. We will get organized, reconnect, make some food in our little kitchen, and celebrate this unknown dive into our last big adventure as students at our university. It is terrifying more often than not, to look out past May and realize the consistent schedule that has held for the past 16 years will be broken, and a new schedule where i will live for the weekends and the intermittent but rare time off will begin… until who knows? I take my final breath? No more summers where I rotate through random jobs and meet new people, and get a bit to relax. I finally have the opportunity to seek out to do day in day out that which I have been preparing myself for for the past 16 years:

….

Now that it’s here it’s a lot foggier as to what that is exactly.

To live. That is what I do want to do. Not taking any year or opportunity for granted, but that is easier said than done, and monotony whether in school or the realm beyond, still strikes, and maybe that isn’t always a bad thing?

I look at my job options. As an artist they seem limited to my actual skill set if I do intend to pursue the art world. I am a studio artist, drawing, painting, and printmaking. So where do I begin? How do I even dive when I can’t see the water pool to dive into? I guess I have a year to find this pool, and to jump in and hope that God grants floaties… because I am not sure how to swim out there yet. Maybe it is all a lot more intimidating now than it will be in May… I hope so, but I think the thing even besides jobs that actually saddens me is this: My friends who I am so close to and love so much, will suddenly scatter across not merely the continent but the globe, and once again I will have to let go of my community to find a new one in the flesh. Long distance friendship works, but it will be sad to see the end of living together and doing life together, draw as closely as it has. Already friends are marrying and moving away ready to start their husband-wife journey, and it again is a bit mystifying to figure out how I will fit into this giant web.

As much as I probably sound terrified, and sad, I am still excited and know the time is right and that GOD is so faithful and will not let me lose all of my friendships, and that he will provide direction and job opportunities in his own time. So I guess this is the perfect time to learn how to really embrace and enjoy the present and let the future come as it may.

But for now I will seek him here and now… and enjoy what is today.

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The Summer Hummmms

Home for the summer and happy about it. I have recently finished my junior year of undergrad and am looking forward to and also hesitatingly at the coming final year. Who knew life could fly by as it has… and as I am sure it will continue to? I have processed, learned, seen, and experienced so much. I cannot fathom what is to come. Ironically there is a fear that somewhere this exciting learning and experiencing will somehow end when I leave this academic insitution- but deep down I know better. No way, the journey is beginning. Right? 21 … almost a year older and I have more freedom to do and be who I have always dreamt of becoming? the problem is now I am less and less sure what that really is. Haa. Guess it’s time to start figuring the next step out and slowly but surely all else will fall into place. Goodbye Junior Year, it was good, it was great, time for new lessons and adventures.

The answer is YES.

So the other day a friend of mine reminded me that I was taking a passage of scripture out of context: ‘God will never give you more than you can handle’. I was using it in relation to a stressful week and trying to give my dear friend hope that this too shall pass, and beyond that she will not get crushed by the weight of these projects. The passage is in context of temptations, not heavy burdens. So this got me thinking… will God ever give us more than we can handle?

I realized the answer is entirely a loud and resounding YES. Yes he will…

He gives us more than we can take on our own… but it is impossible for him to give us more than we can take WITH Him. In fact when I am so stressed that may just be Him reminding me that he is present and is walking with me, and to re-give him my burdens. That to me is a beautiful thought… and so I wanted to share.

Update on Life

Junior year has started out well and I am in the process of slowly settleing into my positions and wing. I see God moving in new ways on this campus; gently leading us, as a community, on both large and small levels into deeper relationship with HIM.

Junior year feels a bit surreal in that I have officially entered the 2nd to last year at Taylor and have friends (my age) getting engaged and married and applying for grad schools and jobs!!

I am 21, the age I never thought I would be, and am feeling like I am officially truly starting to become more of an adult. It is fun and scary and surreal all at the same time.

I love school, especially my art classes! I am blessed to be heading to India for J-term on a missionstrip (that I AM SOOO EXCITED ABOUT!!) and am in the process of preparing for that!

I am involved in Women’s Ministries, Global Outreach Cabinet, WOW Cabinet, and am a Discipleship Coordinator in my dorm.. I feel a bit overwhelmed but God has given me so much peace its been great!!

I am also in the process of working on 2 personal art series. 1. a series on refugees the other is in the brainstorm process, but it is on the 12 disciples and is meant to encourage men on campus… we will see if it does! haa!

So that is the quick update!!

Blessings!!
Sarah

Creator Heart

I have struggled for so long to figure out why art is important. Does it have a necessary and beneficial purpose that helps society? Can all art be useful? All of these questions lead to the biggest question for myself: why am I an art major?

It seems to be a constant battle in each art student’s spirit. The daunting question that parents, students, and teachers always pose is: ‘ooooh soooo… what are you planning on doing with your art major?’ … and possibly what is even worse is the lack of ability to reply. I believe this may be what causes the most frustration among us. We can give some answers … maybe teach, but if that were truly the case we should be art ed majors, or approaching grad school applications, in order to be qualified as teachers.

We could say we want to create and make a living from our creations, through gallery life, but I know that I am not alone when saying that for some of us that is not our true desire. We do not long to simply create. But how does one explain it?

and how does one sustain themselves, or potentially even a family upon that?

I have not reached all answers for those questions yet, but I had a wonderfully encouraging conversation with a fellow art major this morning, that helped me understand a few things about art, and who we are as humans, and who God is.

Here are some things that I have come to know:

As an artist they say you use a different part of your brain to think,  process, and work from. I am convinced that even though you may be using a different part of your brain, the biggest part invested  is your soul.

There is a different point of investment and connection that cannot be replicated in any other activity or study that I have experienced. When we tap into that part, and we sit and observe nature, human activity, or even simply color and pattern we are engaging with The Creator’s heart. It may be cliche but I have learned to see God in so many new ways through creating and processing art.

I meet God in art.

To experience and attempt to imitate and learn from the greatest artist of all… how cool is that..

when this happens I believe we are tapping into a part of God’s heart that he has placed within the artist. When we see the art created we tap into what he has put in all of us. It seems to speak to… possibly the eternal part of us?

I’ve been wrestling with why art has survived tens of thousands of years to this day and age. From the cave paintings to the current modern art, it still is relevant and valued by society. And the only answer I can come up with is the fact that God is somehow in it. That he meets us there. He perpetuates it. It connects with the soul.

My mom and I went on a mother-daughter outing to the art institute in Minneapolis while I was visiting home. While we were there, we visited the cultural sections as well as the ancient European, and modern. And as I was wondering through the African, Indian, Asian,  Carribian, and European sections I began to realize something: I noticed that all cultures early art forms were created with almost a sole focus on the deity they worshiped. It all started out as a form of worship or offering, documentation or expression toward the god in which the culture believed.

So where is art today and how is it being used by God? What is it purpose today?

I am not entirely sure what happened to me when I realized that but I made a clear decision in my mind that all my art, from now on had to have purpose and meaning and a connection to the Father and his heart.

I want my art to inspire and make others aware of various issues around the world. I want my art to help raise money if possible, or be used by God to call others into his work. I want my art to not be my art…

God decided to inspire others in the same way. Another friend of mine is doing a show on a social justice issue as I was inspired to this summer as well. Two other friends of mine asked me to join them in an out side of school show where they (might) be using their various artistic mediums to compliment a show based on raising awareness for refugees and human trafficking. Another friend of mine invited me to be an honorary member of a school cabinet that was focused on raising awareness of all the various mission opportunities in the world, and to set up an art show in which students campus wide can participate! In my church in MN the worship leader has a vision to empower and encourage and incorporate artists gifts in the church worship. God is starting something anew. It is not new, but he is reviving the art and it’s usefulness.

He told me to be in this major, he told me to have patience, and to trust.

I am so excited.

Being Vulnerable

Vulnerability is something that has been on my mind a lot. Even as I write there is a girl crying, beautiful in her vulnerability, and also as I write I am recovering and processing an incredible weekend of vulnerability and brokenness.

There is an annual conference that takes place on my campus that brings students from around the country into our dorms and academic buildings for a weekend of spiritual reflection and renewal. They ask for students from campus to apply for small group leader positions and I applied this year with my friend and he and I were so hit by God and the brokenness and the beauty of honesty and vulnerability.

God really humbled me and I was reminded about how much of a mess I am, and yet I was able to celebrate that because – even in my mess God has not forgotten me or rejected me- instead I have found that that place- that place of repentance and borkenness is where God loves to meet me. He can use our weaknesses to demonstrate his glory!

On that weekend I saw God personally remind me of his love for me, I saw Jesus use another one of his children to express his love to a hurting son, I saw Jesus speak through my co-leader and remind a daughter of God’s delight in her, and I saw another son and daughter catch a glimpse of God’s glory and his love for them too.

After one of our sessions with our group I cried for a good hour or more- out of hurt, joy, and just because I was overwhelmed too.

So now even a week later after projects have come and gone and I am still finiding myself dwelling and processing everything. And in the midst of this intense blurr of ‘end of the year’ busyness I find myself hardening and forgetting all of the lessons God has been teaching me.

I guess as I process all of this I realize that that is one thing that lacks in most communities: vulnerability, expression of hurt, and the freedom for confession. I am reminded that it is so easy to keep this mess hidden. To look like you have it all together- to keep everyone at a certain distance. So how do we break into our own hearts and become bare souled beings? I guess it is only through the grace of God when he unlocks our hearts, but I think a lot of it has to depend on our trust in his unconditional love and the placing of God’s love in our lives as a higher value than the love of man. I am praying for more vulnerability in my life, and in the lives of those around me. So that we are free to encourage and love one another unconditionally.

True love cannot take place until we see the good, bad, and the ugly and can love in spite of those things. I want to see growth and freedom take place- healing to take place!

This is part of the reason why I wanted to write this down: I don’t want to forget what God is doing or the lessons he is teaching.

I also wanted to celebrate it with you! 🙂

GOD IS DOING SUCH COOL THINGS!

🙂 well I guess that is the blurp of thoughts for now- as well as a vague brief update as to what is up in my life! 🙂

blessings.

The 7th Day

I am seeing a clear difference in who I was before and after my entry into life in the United States. When I lived in Europe I remember sitting in my room enjoying writing in my journal or simply listening to music. I was not in a hurry, and life was not crammed with things to do.

I can distinctly remember that among my many observations of American culture I realized that there is a certain pressure (that I began to give in to) to fill my time. It is good to be busy, was the message. Now before we go on- I want to clarify that I am not going to blame the States or my school for my issues with overcommitment and stress, that is my own responsibility, I am just saying that rest is not valued in these cultures as it was in Europe. A lot of this change might also be greatly attributed to simply growing up and becoming an adult with more and more opportunity and responsibility.

I love opportunity and since so many amazing opportunities and good things have come my way it has become hard to say no.

I have become an  incredibly gifted overcommitter and have neglected and completely underestimated the need and even the concept for rest. So God had to spell it out to me.

This is what I have been learning and have begun to value: REST. This year I have really out done myself on the overcommitment level, and as much as I can sit back and laugh at my stupidity and can also see some of the awesome blessings that have come from my various responsibilities, I am also reaping the consequences and am learning that this was never meant to happen again.

So this is this is where I now stand: the 7th Day is essential and meant for good.

Psalm 32 hit home the other night… I felt like God was telling me to look it up and I did, and the entire Psalm was something I needed to meditate on, but for the purpose of this blog these last couple verses applied perfectly:

7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Selah

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.

9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.

10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD’s unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him

I have found that along with busyness comes much worry and I never thought that I would be that horse or donkey when it came to rest, but I can see myself turning into that ass that needs that bit pulled into a place of rest! Why is it that I need to be forced into rest? It is something I feel we long for, and yet refuse to sit in. Along with the worry and the lack of rest, I have found that I begin to take life more and more under the control of my feeble hands – instead of entrusting God to stand beside me and help me carry my burdens. So all in all this lack of rest destroys my mental capacity, it keeps me from processing even the blessings that are coming from my involvement, friendships are compromised, and exhaustion and burn out begins to take control.Worst of all however, through this busyness I end up spending less and less time with my Savior.

There is hope though, because as the last verse in that passage says, those who trust in God are surrounded by God’s unfailing love- and that message in itself is incredibly encouraging.

So I am trying to not fall into this incredible busyness over and over anymore, and to TRULY rest, regularly. It is not easy though- I  must fight this addiction to opportunity and hold myself accountable to this stillness… this peace.

Heck, if the GOD OF HEAVEN needed rest- what in the world makes me think I could or should do without it?

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