BY DAVID LAWRENCE
There are currently thousands upon thousands of memes floating around the internet with the tagline of “What I think I look like and what I actually look like.”
We can all relate to wanting to be something that we are not or living in an identity that is not ours. I’d like to say that my life reflects the way I see myself or the false reality of where I would like to be. In my head I should be doing something cool like fronting an awesome metal band or living as a full time freelance photographer who is able to provide a lavish lifestyle for both himself and his wife solely based off of his art.
However, I am neither of those. I am a newlywed, early twenty-something who just moved to Florida after living in Seattle the past 3 years. I’m living with my wife in someone else’s home (not to say that this is bad, because many of my friends are in the same place) and haven’t had a “job” in over a month. I don’t know what I will be doing for a steady source of income until I join staff with Artist Reformation in the middle of next year.
When people ask what I “do," it is easy to make up some line about being a photographer who is in transition with his wife as we spend time figuring out what we want to do “creatively” [insert an endless amount of hopes and dreams]. None of what I want to tell people is bad, but it doesn’t reflect our current reality which is not knowing what the coming months will entail.
I’m learning that it is easy to hide behind who we are not and where we think we should be instead of walking in the fullness of who we are created to be and where we are. The situation you are in may not be the best (it could actually be really miserable) but I ask you to reflect soberly on where you are in this present season. Don’t reflect on what you are lacking, where you could be, or who you could become. Reflect honestly on where you are right now because it doesn’t help you to hide.
The same goes for the things we create. Whether it be art, photography, writing, or whatever creative outlet we may choose, we are constantly comparing our work to what it could be, instead of what it was created for.
Can you imagine how different our lives, culture, and the world around us would be if we stopped creating in vain pursuit of meaningless things, but instead lived as we were created to? That then begs the questions: what are we created for and why? I challenge you to seek this out. Do not live to cast a false sense of who you are or what your art is. Challenge yourself! Figure out why and for what you were created and then allow your creativity and worth to flow from that.