Steven Yuan stands out as a guy doing his best to lean forward into living life well. He's passionate, creative, and very entrepreneurial. It's been a blast to watch Steven experiment with his career and throw out more than a few lines into the water to see what he catches. Enjoy this snapshot into his life, and take a few moments both to pray for Steven but also to reflect on what his life sparks in you:
SY: Since graduating, I've bounced from your typical office job doing graphic and web design, to campus ministry, to start-up competitions, to music production, to even my own t-shirt company. It's been a year of trying many different things, and feeling out my different passions.
I honestly think the most unexpected twists and turns came from the people I met. Just talking to people I normally wouldn't, and letting them know what I wanted to do, connected me with so many random people that took me down so many unexpected but exciting paths. One of the highlights was my friend Eileen, whom I met through a couple of mutual friends. She was extremely involved in the music industry and I didn't know anything about the SD music scene, but within a couple of weeks of sitting and chatting I was playing a show downtown, meeting all these crazy DJs and producers.
SS: What have you learned about yourself since graduating that you wish you knew back in school?
SY: I think the main thing I learned about myself was the entrepreneurial flair I have. I wish I knew that earlier before I embarked on pursuing a major in art haha, I think I would have joined a lot more clubs related to that as well.
SS: Being a creative type, how does your creativity intersect with your faith?
SY: Oh man where do I even begin? I think the idea of even being able to create is key component the the basis of my faith. I have been created by a God that loves creation. And because of that, I have been given the awe-inspiring right to create just like my maker can create. That is an mind-bending truth that He has instilled in me.
In addition, a big portion of my creativity stems from idea creation and making connections. So everywhere I go, I constantly see ways that Jesus connects in this way or that. Or I'll randomly think of new ways that people can encounter God and meet with Him. I feel as if my creativity intersects with my faith by allowing me to see how God Himself intersects with the world around me in unexpected ways.
SS: We know that God is into changing the whole world, but what's the specific slice that gets you fired up the most?
SY: There are many "slices" that move me, but I think the slice that gets me fired up the most is when people are redeemed of their sense of worth, and concurrently when people see what they are capable of in terms of loving others. I think a good example of this comes from my time doing campus ministry. One of the people on a team I was leading had come to faith his freshman year - I still remember speaking to him before he was a believer. While on media comma team his third year, a dream of his was to shoot a documentary about a thriving homeless community that worshipped and fellowshipped downtown on a regular basis. By the end of his time on the team, the dream had become a reality in the form of a 45 minute documentary detailing the lives of the homeless leaders and student leaders that had partnered together to make the fellowship a reality. Stepping back and seeing the transformation from when I first spoke to him freshman year to when he finished the documentary, I was blown away by how God had transformed this man to transform others. And I was blown away that I could be a part of that. This is just one for a few stories that really capture what gets me fired up. Stories of people realizing their potential to be used by God.
SS: What's challenged your faith the most since you graduated?
SY: The most challenging thing for me since I've graduated has actually been grappling with the feeling of needing to be accomplished in some shape or form. Often times, I feel like I don't have enough time to do the things I want to do, or I feel like I am falling behind in the goals I want to achieve. I feel that especially in our American culture of striving for excellence, I often get caught up in focusing my energy on my own abilities as opposed to focusing on what God is capable of. So I get discouraged easily when I compare myself to my peers who seem to be "farther along" in life than I.
SS: In what ways have you seen God use you to impact others through your work, and where do you feel like God might want to increase your influence?
SY: I think the most tangible example I have of God using me to impact others has been while I was doing music production and performance. The underground music scene wasn't necessarily a place of very much light, but I was able to bring of piece of that light just by being there and being a friend. There was one time when one of the local producers committed suicide and it rocked the music scene in San Diego. I was able to attend his memorial and though I didn't necessarily share the gospel to everyone, I was able to be there with his friends and his family to shed a bit of God's love and peace. In terms of where he might want me to increase my influence, I believe that he wants me to bring more of His presence into the office I work at presently. He's been calling me to be more relational with my co-workers and just get to know people. I feel like He's leading me through a season of what it looks like to be a co-worker that not only does his work well, but is also genuinely caring of the people he works with.
SS: What advice would you give for a college student getting ready to graduate and trying to figure out what to do? What should they consider when thinking about life after school?
- Try new and different things, you can't find your passion until you try it!
- Focus on where God is bringing you, not on where you need to be compared to your peers.
- Find an accountability group that can help you process and discern what God has been doing in your workplace
- Be attentive to the opportunities that God presents to you, whether that be in making relationships or in moving forward in your career.
- Pray daily, you will be able to hear God clearer.
- Take Sabbaths, you will not regret it. You are never too busy to spend time with God.
- Expect change, life after college is exactly that: Life after college. The 9 to 5 is very different than college life. Don't dread it, just be ready to adapt.
- Finally, rejoice in every circumstance! No matter what God is bringing you through, he is gonna bring you through it. Keep your eyes on the hope that is in Jesus Christ and you won't falter. "3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5