Recently, I’ve been feeling the pressure to have a “niche” or a “thing”. It feels like there’s a constant stream of messages asking “what’s your calling?” and “what is the unique contribution to the world that you make that no one else can offer?” I think we’ve begun to believe the lie that there is just one lone and solitary role or activity that we need to find in order to fulfil these questions. When we do this, we limit what we’ve been made for and constrain the potential that God has put in us.
Late last year when I was in Italy, I learned a little about Michelangelo. As I stared up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and took selfies next to his statue of David, I realised just how versatile Michelangelo was as an artist. He was a sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer. He didn’t limit himself to just one stream of art but branched out to engage in many practices. I also love that he thought very little of painting as an art form but still managed to produce one of the most famous frescos in Renaissance art, that’s just not fair!
I’ve often beaten myself up about not having a “thing”. I like drawing and writing and painting and leading groups and teaching and making and cooking and planning and strategizing and dreaming. I don’t fit neatly into a box and will flick from project to project. But I wonder if it’s actually a good thing to have a variety of passions. To have a number of passions that you don’t have to pick and choose between. Those projects that I play with and just mess about on, when I flick from venture to venture – they all matter.
I don’t want to limit myself or remove any part of my interests. Let’s not stress about the grander vision or how it all links up. Lets be released from the worry of the overall picture or unity. What unifies your work is the fact that you made it. Perhaps your calling is many things. To be a painter and banker and father and writer. To teach children all day and to write music at night. To work in marketing 9-5 and at 8pm, to mock up a website or 2. Perhaps it’s not either/or. Perhaps we really can have both.