Loving Work

By Hillary Asbury

Whoever said “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” was full of baloney.

I love what I do, and I still do all kinds of things that feel like work! I love painting, and I love serving people and churches with my art. But I work all the time. I maintain websites, professional profiles, and subscriptions. I’m self-employed, so I maintain the business side of everything I do. I draw up and negotiate contracts. I make drives out miles away for conferences and meetings about commissions. I edit my work digitally and send files out for print. I network, exchange business cards, and shake hands. I research, read, brainstorm, and work up sketches for projects that are never picked up. I post on social media and market myself and my work. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining, and I really do enjoy doing some of these things. But when I first thought “I’m going to be an artist!” (and again when I started down the road of liturgical art) all of that extra work was not what I saw in my naïve mind.

I just wanted to paint.

Well… paint, and hopefully be able to support myself by doing so. Ah, but there’s the rub: that “support” word. In order to support myself with my work, I absolutely must do all the things I mentioned above. These days, I spend more time doing all that other stuff than I do creating art if I’m honest. Someday that might change.

For right now, though, there’s a lot of leg work to do.

It’s something that many creatives have to come to terms with. As much as I might want to spend my days in solitude, locked up in a studio with my paint, I can’t really afford to do that. That’s not what I’m called to do either.

We are not promised a happy life or a job we love.

 We are not promised comfort or days filled with work that doesn’t feel like work. We are often called to do many things we don’t want to do. I have been very blessed and entirely privileged by the chances I have been given to develop my skills and build a future around the work that I want to do. And we are blessed to be a blessing to others, which means I’ve got to do those parts of my job that I don’t like doing—the ones that feel like work. The chance to do exactly what I want to do for a living is an enormous gift, and I can’t refuse to serve others with it.

So, I love what I do. I also work a lot. I’d be willing to bet that you do too.