My Winter Break from photography as been fabulous. Does that sound bad coming from me? If you can believe it, I think I’ve only picked up my camera twice since December. A long break from it all I have learned was greatly needed. I am in no way stating that photography is a burden or a strain to me. Its just that last Season I was quite consumed by it. Its all I thought about. Its the only work I really cared about. And after a while of enjoying a passion, sometimes you need to step away for a little while to recuperate. This Winter Season has been that way for me. And it is good.
Which leads to something I am about to tell you.
Being that I have set down my camera for rest, my spiritual life has taken the reigns of all my attention since the beginning of the year. I’ve been keeping quite about this, and there are still some things I am not ready to reveal just yet. But I must tell you the truth: I have been struggling. Actually, I’ve been struggling for a long time. Not in my area of my craft, but more in the area of purpose. It so happened that the beginning of 2016 is when God decided it was about time I found out about it, since I am so slow to learn often times.
This season as been one of questioning everything I do and why. I’m afraid to admit that for the past month, I haven’t wanted to do photography. I kept telling myself, “Erin, you have got to get your new pricing and system up and going for Spring. You have to have your ducks in a row, prepare, spend some money on marketing, spend more money writing up legal forms and do your Portrait Business the proper way.” I’ve invested more time educating myself in how I am to go about breaking free from the hobbiest standpoint and onto the professional one. I was up and ready to go, when suddenly something changed inside of me: I didn’t want to do it.
What? Since when? Have I not been giving all I could, investing into reaching the breaking point? Have I not spent thousand of dollars into equipment and educating myself to be where I’ve always dreamed of being? Yes, I have. But something changed, which is why this Winter break was much needed. I first believed maybe it was fear. Thats pretty common is it not? Yes, there are still some things I am unsure of, but you take the time to learn so you won’t be in fear right? Been there, done that. But I realized that wasn’t the problem.
Putting photography aside for just a moment. Earlier this year, I had a conversation with a friend of mine over dinner. I don’t remember how we got onto the subject, but I began confessing a lot of dreams and desires that I have had inside of me since I was a teenager. They were still there, buried away a long time ago. I had once been in a place where I did not believe I could ever live them out. Without realizing it, I gave them all up. Or buried underground. I settled. Sometimes you must in order to provide for yourself for what you need, of course. That I did, but I buried them away for way more than that reason alone. For the past 4 years I played with those dreams and desires and decided it was time to grow up and let go. My thought process was,” You’re an adult. You cannot have everything you want. You cannot do everything you want. Thats just life.” Almost all of 2015 I have worked to re-train my thinking so I wouldn’t face disappointment anymore.
It never worked.
During this conversation with my friend, she asked me, ” Why aren’t you doing these things? If God has placed passion inside of you, why aren’t you doing anything with it?” Of course I began to give the same excuse pattern I’ve been telling myself all these years. The usual,”I have to have a job,” and etc. I’m sure you can name a few from your experience yourself. She continued to edge at my heart, which I believe was God through her saying, “But thats when you step out in faith. It starts there.” Our conversation continued through the next hour, and then I left for home. I cannot recall everything we discussed that night, but I will confess that I left crying. I cried to myself and to God on the ride home. I literally felt that I have wasted my time and it was too late for me. Once getting home, I talked with my mom about the night. I confessed everything my heart once had a passion for but stopped feeding it and I watched it all die. I did not know what to do.
To make a longer version of this short: this experience has felt like an awakening time for me. The past few weeks have been filled with much prayer and alone time with God. I am greatly seeking His direction and clarity in my life. He’s been assuring me of my purpose made for Him through Scripture, and why I do what I do for Him…and not for myself. He’s revealed that He is listening, as well as revealing sin in my own heart that I was unaware of. He’s been dealing with me. He’s calling me. I can’t say it any other way, other than stuff has been happening. And its getting deep.
Bringing it back to photography: I have finally admitted to forcing myself to do a lot more than I wanted to believe. I didn’t know why I didn’t want to pursue photography this past month. I actually forced myself to create a new pricing plan and legal plan because I thought that this is what I was suppose to do. I’ve been pursing this thing this long, you don’t just stop now because you have a feeling of not wanting to do it. People expect me to do this. Whoa, did I just admit that too? Oh my gosh, this is getting way too personal.
I’ve written all of this to say this: I don’t believe God is leading me to Portrait Photography full time. There. I said it. Bam.
Four nights ago, during my quiet time with God, I felt Him asking me to verbalizing confess every single passion I felt burning alive inside. For the first time I had to examine all my heart and actually say into words, before God, what my passions were. “I want to do photojournalism. I want to do photojournalism through the church, or through some ministry out there in the world that really needs a photographer. I want to do studio work, and not just the standard portraits like I’ve been doing. But the kind of work that is so dramatic that it brings you to tears ( to some of y’all this probably sounds weird, but let the dramatic artist be who she is ). Landscape Photography is something I have invested little time in and I want to do more of. Anything that has to do with any area of Ministry and Media period is what I confessed to God. And I could feel inside as I confessed every single one of these dreams a lightness upon me and a great amount of peace. Through much prayer, Scripture and Jon Acuff books, I believe God is calling me to do something.
This is about all I can confess to you right now. Part of stepping out in faith is taking some action. This action that I speak of will be revealed at a later time. Don’t worry, I am and will still be doing Portraits. I’m not discontinuing that. However, this does explain my absence from social media as I continue to seek the Lord.
“ Say to Archippus,‘ Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” Colossians 4:17.