Sometimes people like to tell me about Mozart, the genius who started composing musical pieces at the age of 5.
Which is true. He would sit at the piano and play while his father would copy his new pieces down.
When he was 5, he wrote three pieces within a few weeks.
I am pretty sure that when I was 5, I spent most of the time scribbling crayon on the bottom of the kitchen table, shoving Play-Doh down my brother’s ear or hitting my friends with sticks in the backyard.
I have always loved reading and writing, but when I hear about incredible talent in stories such as Mozart’s, I feel inferior.
When you have been exposed to the contrast of success and the starting point, it can be hard to see exactly where you fit in.
Sometimes it comes down to motivation. I have gone through periods where it seems to be completely absent and others when it is all I have left.
In school, many seniors this time of the year find a sudden, hopefully temporary, faith in the YOLO philosophy.
Other students are realizing that they need to begin working in that class that they’ve been failing all year, and it drives them to keep going—to try.
But this is one part of our life that has a desperate dependence on our motivation.
It depends on the determination to push aside the urge to put in minimal effort and be more than mediocre.
This is our art. We are all artists.
I don’t care if your drawings are stick figures, or if you can’t carry a tune or if you hate everything on this earth except for Netflix. You are creative because you have been formed by the Ultimate Creator. You are an artist.
Now, destroy every connotation you have of that word.
Even every positive one.
Let your mind be a tabula rasa.
Okay, now we’re ready.
Humans conform quite a bit. We conform, however unwillingly, to our society and to the media and to our families.
But we aren’t solely controlled by nurture because even from the moment that we entered the world, each of us was different from any other human currently living and from every human who will live.
What makes us different? It’s our personalities, our souls, our beings.
In our creation, God, the master artist, made no duplicates, and no one will ever be able to be you.
They cannot feel anything the exact way you feel it or think something in the exact perspective in which you view it.
But we strive to grow our sense of empathy for each other.
And how do we do that? One way is through art.
Art is an outlet in which we pour out our personalities and individuality.
It is a way we reflect our existence as creations and fulfill our role as creators.
Every single one of us has a medium for the masterpiece that is our life.
And we should never, ever be satisfied with being mediocre. We need to develop our art and hone our skills. We have to glorify our Creator and not waste what we have been given.
Van Gogh didn’t paint Starry Night the first time he picked up a paintbrush, and he didn’t stop after his first five or six paintings.
Maybe you have not written a novel or mastered Chinese, but you are not mediocre, you are not average, and you are not just a product of where you came from.
We are born with our talent, our artistic medium, but it should not just represent the person who we are but the person we are becoming.
And don’t just think of art as painting or singing. Your gift is not even confined within the walls of your church building.
Your art could be your serious calculus skills or your ability to relate to and help other people. It could be preaching, or making coffee or leading people towards a cause.
Let your art express your lessons and trials, your victories and your defeats.
Don’t be satisfied with your skill level. Learn a new computer language, master the 540 kick, start that book you’ve been inspired to write for years.
If we are so caught up in the status of other people, we ourselves will never fully blossom into the person that we were created to be.
So, please, do not stop expressing yourself in your art.
Do not stop creating.
This is the outlet that you were given, and through it you can make a difference in this world and shine with the light of our loving Creator.