The year was 1992. I was a college student at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up and the pressure to declare a college major was looming. The problem was that every time I took a career assessment I fell into a random catchall category for people that were well rounded, flexible and diverse. Those tests never gave me any direction and I really needed direction.
I knew what I liked. I liked people, I liked psychology, and I liked helping others. What could I do with THAT combination? One idea I had was art therapy. According to the American Association of Art Therapy, art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, and increase self-esteem. It sounded interesting.
The psychology and counseling part I knew I could master, but I wasn’t sure about the art part. I had always loved art but didn’t have any formal training other than what I received as part of the standard curriculum in the public school system. Upon recommendation of my career counselor at the time, I enrolled in Two-Dimensional Foundations of Art for a trial course. If I was good at it, I could major in art therapy and thus formally declare what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I started out the semester excited and apprehensive. I was so excited to be in a college-level art class and I had no idea what I was doing. The instructor was a middle-aged gentleman and an adjunct professor who did not care for my style. In summary, the class was a total disaster for me. The instructor criticized my work so harshly during class critique that I ran back to my dorm room in tears. Mid-way through the semester I realized I had absolutely no shot of getting a good grade. I made my way to the administration office and changed the class to pass-fail so it wouldn’t affect my GPA. At the end of the semester I received a C- in the course, my lowest grade ever in college history. Thank goodness it didn’t affect my GPA. I felt blessed to have gotten out alive and decided I was a terrible artist due to the instructor’s comments through the course. If art meant constant public flogging, I wanted no part of it. That instructor literally changed the course of my history and scarred me for years. I felt embarrassed and belittled in the class and swore off ever doing anything art-related ever again.
Fast-forward to 2014. I was now an adult in my 40’s with an MBA and a career in marketing and public relations. That year I watched a young lady paint the face of Jesus during an inspiring Easter service of celebration. A spark ignited in me and I started burning again with the desire to create. I had a breakthrough, a major breakthrough. All of the sudden I began painting. With no formal training, just the joy and color in my heart, I began painting. Below is a summary of my work in the past year. Sometimes I wonder what my old instructor would think of these pieces.
Have you listened to negative voices? Did you let those voices change the course of your life? Did you let those voices tell you “no” when your spirit said “yes”? It is a NEW year. It is 2015. It is the year for anything. This week, think about what you really want to be. Think about what you really want to do. Now, don’t let anyone negative stand in your way. Listen to your inner spirit. Listen to the Holy Spirit and create.
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