Security and transparency.
I’m 90 percent sure that if I left those two words on a discussion board somewhere, our society, our generation could go on and on about those subjects for quite a long time.
It’s sad to think that many of us lack these two things, especially when we have a Father that completely provides the first and just longs for us to display the latter. But unfortunately we have somehow arrived at a point where it is very hard to posses both of these traits; this year’s election being a magnificent example of such.
So here I am, a complete two years since I set off on a journey of jumping off the grid of any type of institutional structure to search for my purpose in the Kingdom. I am here to be transparent with you, and tell you about the kind of security I have.
In hindsight, it’s completely stupid that it took me this long to realize who I am, and what I was created to do. All stupidity was on my part, of course, not the Lord’s. He was whispering directions to me all long, but I was looking for a different set of instructions than the kind that He was giving me. He was giving me the kind that said: “1. Be honest with yourself, and realize the talents that I gave you in order to be who I created you to be. 2. Trust me with everything. Forget worldly security and walk out on to the platform of my security.” But I wanted the kind that come with furniture on how to put it together. I wanted: “1. Apply for this job. 2. Make this much money. 3. Life will make sense within the realm you have always seen it in.”
Now, to be clear, our basic command from Jesus is always the same no matter what. “Love God. Love People.”- basically. Thank you Church of the Highlands One t-shirt. But I also believe that we are all constructed with certain talents, quirks, and perspectives to add to the Kingdom. Our God is a God of details, and there’s a reason for it.
Now, to get on with my story… The past two years have been pretty painstaking. All of this could have been avoided if I just would have been honest with myself about these truths: 1. I am a massive dreamer. I never met anyone that can imagine as big, lavishly, and dramatically as I can. It’s a blessing and a curse sometimes. 2. I’m creative. I’m artsy. I’m actually pretty good at it.
But instead, growing up, I chose to fall into the belief that artsy professions don’t make money and that they don’t add value to society. In 6th grade, I knew that I wanted to be an architectural-interior designer. By 7th grade, I had decided that job couldn’t even serve the Kingdom in anyway and that it wouldn’t make any money anyway. I fell even deeper into that belief during high school, that by the time I was in college I believed that I needed to go to law school so that I could be a leader in politics, and THAT was how I was going to change the world. (Sidetone: with Donald and Hillary running this year, I couldn’t be any happier that the Lord lead me out of that!)
All along, I struggled to muster up everything I could to make my resume law school worthy. I was in a sorority, I was a Capstone Woman, and I took every pre-law course I could. However by senior year, my plan was beginning to crumble. With one, simple legal writing class, I realized that law school was not only the last thing I need to do, but it was also the last thing I wanted to do. Finally, this was the first time I was honest with myself.
But I kept on trying to be “important” aka: have a good job that society honored and made a decent salary. So I scrambled to form a new plan, because this was the first time that I didn’t have plan, and good gosh that was terrifying. I completed a last-minute application to go to graduate school, and by the grace of God was admitted, but at the time I was just happy because I figured this allowed me to remain in some type of structure. I thought surely this would directly lead to a cool job with a company or firm, and that was good enough! Not law status, but I was alright with that.
In the meantime, I had been privy to design and photography classes. Deep down, I loved them. I even considered switching my major to advertising during my junior year, but didn’t because that would’ve been crazy.
I’m really trying to summarize this at the moment, but honestly, I was miserable. I was trying so hard to become something that I felt was important and the dumbest part of it all was that I was basing it majorly on a worldly definition.
So when I graduated, I felt like I had been abandoned. My plan wasn’t working or moving forward. I compared it to “feeling like the train tracks had just run out”. What I didn’t see was what the Lord was doing. I didn’t see that He was given me a new structure. I didn’t see that He was breathing new life into my creativity. I didn’t see that He had given me a unique set of skills. I didn’t see the dream that He was trying to give me.
Two years ago, school was over, I was jobless, and didn’t know how to function without a completely packed schedule with a side of a massive to-do list. I had no requirements. All I would do was wake up, eat breakfast, read His Word, spend time with Him, work out, and write this blog that I haven’t had much to do with since February of 2015. What was happening, was He was trying to show me a new way of life. One that wasn’t strictly determined by my old, worldly, structure. It was one that He was knitting together.
But I only got dumber. Even though I loved my days of being creative and writing, I didn’t see the value in it. I didn’t see how I could make a difference. My life had become so quiet. So I floundered once more to find a career. I tried more internships, and even worked as a personal trainer just to make some money. All the while I was disregarding the gift the Lord had given me. On top of that, I felt like the Lord had quit talking to me which led to a desert season that went from May of 2015 to January of 2016. I was so confused and so distraught. Really, if I had just gotten quieter, I would have been able to hear the Lord’s direction. Pretty silly, considering He had already imposed a whole lot of “quiet” in my life already.
Now I do believe the Lord works ALL things, even our lack vision, together for His good. And He did this for me during this time. Every experience I’ve had up to this point has helped give me ideas upon ideas upon ideas because of the unique insight I’ve gained through each job. Praise Him, for that.
However, even after I fractured my tibial plateau during the winter of last year and was unable to work as a trainer, I still was reaching to find “normal” structure. Somehow, I finally had enough nudges, whispers, and all-out neon signs to use my gifts and do freelance graphic design. During 21 Days of Prayer this past January, I had a dear friend and mentor come out and say “you should do this!” With nothing to lose, I had just enough gumption to start my business.
The struggle didn’t stop though. This past spring, I took part in a Freedom Group at Church of the Highlands (highly recommend to anyone- even the “experienced” Christian). Going into it, I knew that Freedom Group sought to further sanctification at whatever level it could. I just didn’t think that would include dealing with my self-critical attitude about who I am and what I was created to do.
After a lot of prayer and tears, I finally had the courage to step out and be a freelance graphic designer. I didn’t care about the money I’d make, or the lack of status I’d obtain, I just wanted to help people brand their ideas and companies, and to dream with them and help them, in turn, be themselves too by clearly communicating through their brand. One leader in my group told me to “do what made my heart sing”. And design does that for me.
In the process of sorting out this new plan, the actual plan the Lord wrote for my life, I was still struggling with fear. I asked questions like: “how do you freelance? how do I make this into a living? what the heck is happening?!?” – more or less I FREAKED. So I did the only thing I knew to do. I prayed for ideas and the Lord sent them. He sent them in ABUNDANCE.
For last several months the Lord blessed me with a job that would help me have a steady paycheck while I built up my business. When I accepted the job, I figured it would take me a couple of years to finally make the transition from that job to full-time freelance, but I quickly learned that it was one final lesson. The security in that job was just what I longed for, and I could see myself settling into it quite nicely, but I wasn’t using my talents. It would have been extremely easy for me to get stuck there, but I was so unsatisfied and so unhappy. So finally the Lord brought me a few more clients, and I finally have the courage to step out on my own.
Truth be told, this is a post that has been several years in the making. I wanted to be able to write it as soon as I had graduated with my Masters. If you were a previous reader of the old “The View From Here” blog, then you know. It’s been quite the journey. After a while, I just stopped writing because I was getting to pessimistic. But thank goodness we have a God that loves us, and is gentle with us, and that works miracles so that even when we need to go through the process and take the long way around, He can redeem the time and opportunity that we may have missed.
I have learned several things that will always stick with me about who I am and the purity and rawness of Jesus’ love. He is so patient and so good, and then we come along and rip ourselves to shreds just trying to be important. For years I grew up saying that I just want to be “normal”. This was partially because I grew up with a special needs sister, and my home life wasn’t exactly average. But the older I got, the more I meant that in a way that was hypercritical of my ability to dream big, be creative, and see things in a way most people don’t. But recently, while talking with Jesus, I’ve finally gotten to a point where I’ve said, please don’t let me just be normal. I can finally say with all honesty, I want to become what the Lord wants me to come, no matter what that may entail.
So here it is, everyone. This is the plan that has been in the making for my whole life. The plan that He has knit together. We (the Lord and I), bring you Chaslee Designs.
(Check out the website here: chasleedesigns.com )
Thanks for reading,