By Krista Sison
Since I was in kindergarten, I have wanted to be some type of artist—a painter, an architect, a graphic designer—and now I am a fashion designer. Most people in my life made me feel silly for wanting to pursue a career in the arts… telling me that it was impractical, too hard, or full of disappointment. I would get wide-eyed (as in terrified) looks when I would tell people I was going to art school, or moving to New York, or moving to LA. I’ve battled these doubts my entire life. But most people didn’t see it the way I did…
At a young age, and even to this day, I love the idea of being an artist—just like God, Our Father. He was the ultimate Creator. He dreamed up our entire being, and made it happen. I admire the imagination in all his creations. I mean, c’mon, God made YOU, and ME, and 7.4 billion other beings just like us, but at the same time, made each of us an individual.
Because of that, being an artist makes me feel the closest to God.
It makes me feel as though I am serving my true purpose in life to carry on His visions further and further. When I try to be something different—something that everyone else wants me to be—it makes me feel unfulfilled. A well-known philosopher Thomas Merton once wrote,
A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For being what God means it to be is obeying Him. It “consents,” so to speak, to His creative love… The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like Him.
When I read those words, they give me great comfort because we are all called to our own individual journey. We are called to be sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, students, teachers, coaches, artists, musicians, nurses, doctors, and SO much more. He has designed a path for each of us.
Since I did take the road less traveled, I often struggle with finding my place in everything. For me, the big question is: Where am I free to be Catholic AND an artist? I think about this every day. On one hand, I have a strong Christian community in my family and friends back home; on the other hand, I also have a wonderful creative network in my co-workers and friends from art school. However, I have yet to find a place where I can be respected (or merely even exist) both as a Christian woman and as a designer. It’s rare that I can talk about art with my friends that I made through church, and honestly, none of my close friends from school are interested in talking about God. The search constantly has me wondering…
does this place I am looking for even exist?
The hilarious part is that the answer is so simple that it doesn’t seem possible. It’s like when you write out a word, but it doesn’t look right on paper so you ask someone how to spell it. The space that I am looking for is anywhere and everywhere. I remember my pastor telling the congregation, “We keep trying and trying to be LIKE God, but he has already made us in his LIKEness, which means that he already LIKES us. He wants us to be exactly who we are, wherever we are. He never meant for us to be part of ourselves in one place, and a different person in another.
Despite how easy the answer is, I constantly have to remind myself that it is okay to be my full self, and to give anything less would not be serving God. If you have been taking part in #BestLentEver, you might remember Matthew Kelly speaking about the paradox of happiness.
He says, “We know the things that will make us happy, but we don’t always do them.”
Sitting in praise and worship a few days later, I was still thinking about this paradoX. Ironically, the reason why I even ended up at praise and worship was because of Kelly’s words. The pastor talked about God’s promises, and how we are able to fully understand those promises through our obedience to God. In 2 Peter 1:3, he says,
His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. Through these he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.
BOOM. There is the answer. This passage tells us how to fuel happiness in our daily lives… how to cultivate our relationship with God. It is not enough to simply say, “Yes, God, I love you. I believe in you.” That is just step one. I need to continue to show my love and obedience to God through our actions! In doing so, I remind those around me to act on their beliefs too. Although it’s sometimes a bumpy road, I need to trust the Holy Spirit, and let it guide me in the things I do and guide me towards God’s gifts that Peter talks about.
The Holy Spirit has been so unbelievably present throughout my entire adult life. Without the Spirit, I wouldn’t have survived art school, or New York, or LA. Yet, here I am, nearly 3 years later, feeling more fulfilled and more confident in my purpose as I have ever been.
As my dad would say… “The Holy Spirit did that.”
So… how do you fuel your happiness? Is it through excessive eating, drinking and gossiping? Or is it through church, work, fitness, or art? Try to evaluate what in your life makes you feel full and what makes you feel empty. Today, do 3 things that make you happy, and observe the difference it makes in your spirit.
Lastly, remind yourself not to judge the things that give other people joy, because in doing so you are belittling that person’s God-given purpose. Embrace the differences that make each of us an individual, because those differences were decisions, not mistakes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Krista Sison is an fashion designer living in Los Angeles, California. She loves taking participating in anything creative and anything outdoors. She is a strong advocate of living simply and sustainably. Currently, she is building a company focused on providing sustainable, domestically made products at an accessible price. If you are interested in helping her cause, please consider taking her survey: https://kristguanlao.typeform.com/to/aB3aXV.