I have hit a wall with my work that requires one of two things from me: mass production of what I’m already doing (a task for which I’m too tired), or a well-planned, very careful push to do better (a direction that scares me to death). I know the basics, and they have been enough for me – but there are photos I have seen others take that are still in my heart to try and make myself.
But I know this: I can’t just push forward because I have a goal I want to achieve and leave my heart behind. I’ve been groping about for something real, clinging to “Alleluia,” because it’s the only thing that makes me come alive, heart, soul, and body right now.
I am pretty broken back here, and I fought broken long enough that “whole” seems out of reach. I feel LESS. And EMPTY. And HUMBLED. And HOPEFUL.
I have been mulling “choice” around lately. What choices I have in front of me, how past choices have affected me today, whether I can choose again.
I think about photography classes, weigh film against digital, outsourcing against partnership or doing everything on my own, unschooling against conventional school, church against knowing God. I choose what photos I will process and deliver; I am learning to choose what I shoot instead of shooting everything. I choose my clients and my clients choose me – this is what my brand is for, to make that choice easier for both of us.
All choice involves risk, because choice is born of “one and not another.” Sometimes it feels better not to have choices, to see everything laid out in front of you. But my restless heart won’t accept safety – it too often requires legalism. I crave freedom won in grace to choose what I will live, believing that so long as I live in God, my work is praise and glory.
I’m not sure when I “chose” to try to make my name bigger. It was subtle, based in envy, and a belief that I was meant to be more than I am. I may still be meant for that, but my brand was never meant to define me, or to leave God out.
He said GO this year – but He also said He would go before me. GO didn’t mean *I* had to make my life happen all by myself. Greatness that you win for yourself comes at a price, and I’m not willing to pay it. I won’t lose myself and everyone I care about to pursue an identity God hasn’t given me.
He’s filling me up again in this breaking. Teaching me not to hate, helping me let go of jealousy, letting me be very small so I can take others where they are and love them deeply, the way He does. He wants me to SEE, and to LIVE, and to LISTEN.
Professionalism, as I understand it, isn’t an erasure of self. It is simply a mature approach to keeping promises, being honest, and clearly communicating about your expectations. It isn’t “saying this thing” or “acting that way.” It is being you, confidently, kindly, and humbly.
And you know, I can choose each one of these things where I am. They aren’t dependent on finances or ability or brainpower. These things come from a heart at rest, from a heart that shows up after the to-do list is put away.
It’s a risk, choosing to become less, to allow Someone Else to shape my destiny – but I am beginning to see that shaping it myself is a bigger risk. Not seeing, not living, not listening is a bigger risk.
I am going to try something different. I’m going to CHOOSE what photos I take instead of trying to get ALL OF THEM. I am going to take more care for my settings, my backdrops, my client interactions. I’m going to WRITE. I’m going to listen to my heart, to the Alleluia and the things that make me come alive to God. I’m going to follow desire instead of obligation.
And at the end of the day? I’ve got a pretty good bet that I won’t be alone.
Linking up with Joy today for her Life Unmasked.