Yesterday, I officially announced the end of my almost 12-year professional photography career on every conduit of the interwebs I have had going for myself in order to be fully established as a professional photographer of portraits, weddings & engagements, food, real estate, headshots, music album design, model and acting headshot & portfolio building, birth announcement and newborns, and business branding and marketing.
To say that it was hard for me to both craft my letter of exit and farewell to all of my previous and prospective clients and then push the publish button and make it go "live" on all of my web presences would be a serious understatement. I have spent weeks thinking about doing what I did yesterday and then hours putting everything into words the way I did and then way too long just staring at my computer screen and blinking cursor trying not to throw up as I hovered over the publish button.
|This is what I looked at and prayed about and then looked at again and then prayed some more about (again) before I was finally able to officially say sayonara to the very thing that I felt defined me as a visual artist.|
You know why I did this all? I did it because of what is pictured in this picture snapped not too long ago. It was taken with my husband as we were sitting in church together and starting what would be a long but very fun day scurrying around town to keep up with our increasingly busy family schedule and rapidly diminishing amount of "free"time to do a little more of what we would rather be doing.
As I alluded to here on Monday of this week and as I have said more explicitly on all of my exterior web presences (devoted to my professional photography career and endeavors), I am "quitting" being a professional photographer in obedience to what I feel like the Lord is calling me to do with my time and talents as a creator made by Him and for His glorification. As it stands, I actually don't even know what He really wants me to do but all of the prayer and meditation has told me very loudly that He doesn't want me being a photographer anymore. I cannot tell you how sad I am to walk away from something that has fulfilled me, affirmed me, confirmed me, and encouraged me to be the visual artist and even professional art educator that I am today.
And because I know that God's timing is everything and it certainly doesn't happen the way I wish it would happen - like, me looking at my own watch (or phone, for that matter - I don't even wear a watch!) and then saying, "Now, God? How about NOW? Wait... OK... now, RIGHT? *ARGHHHHHH* WHAT IS TAKING YOU SO LONG, GOD?!!!!" I know that this change I am submitting myself to is one that will be both painful and maddening at times. I KNOW that I will end up feeling like I was so obedient to walk away from something that the Lord has been SHOUTING to me to stop doing that I will have the expectation and the open hands to receive whatever He has for me as soon as possible and (pretty much) immediately to make me feel not so empty handed without cameras in my hands. And when he doesn't give me all of it? I know myself and I know that I will get mad and accuse Him of abandoning me and then I will ball my hand up into a fist and shake it at Him so that then my hand isn't even open to receive the things He has for me when it is finally time (HIS time) for me to receive them the way He had always planned to begin with.
But because He is so merciful, so faithful, so gracious, and so unconditionally loving, He will not walk away no matter how mad I get at Him and threaten to walk away from Him. I know that He still and always will be a God who will receive me and provide for me no matter what the circumstances and even if that provision doesn't look like something that fits into my life so perfectly shaped the way that my professional photography career did? He will fill in the gaps and I will feel whole despite the fact that I broke a part of my life off for Him. This is because I can have nothing else other than the precious saving grace of my Lord Jesus Christ and that will be more than enough for me.
Today I am doing something a rarely to never do. I have a (sort of) surprise day off and I am taking it to do something of leisure with people I love. Truth be told, it's very VERY hard for me to do anything other than work myself to the bone. I am probably an easily certifiable workaholic. To date (I turn 34 in a few months), I have worked upwards of 35 jobs at major names and institutions and have had what would qualify as three esteemed by completely separate and almost unrelated CAREERS. I don't say this because I am bragging but more to admit that I am insane and I am a workaholic so much that the reason why I have had all of that to my name is because it has never been unusual for me to work seven days a week at two but sometimes three different jobs. I just... ... ... I don't know how to not work. I don't know how to not be busy. I don't know how to NOT occupy myself with anything other than something that most people would call work. And I don't know how to be happy if I am not working.
But here's the thing: who do I think I am anyway? I mean, God - the most incredible designer and amazing creator the world will ever know - HE didn't work Himself over and not take a break? He most definitely observed the Sabbath and rested and scripture tells us/me that and why have I not be obediently observing that? I'll tell you why. It's because I am constantly feeling like I have to be in "survival" mode (and why? I mean really - that is just ridiculous) because my well-being and the comfort of my living might not just be jeopardized but at stake. (Seriously? Seriously. I am not kidding.) I am also guilty of lusting after and indulging myself in "really nice things." I mean... well, I don't know that it is so obvious or apparent but I know (because I know myself) that it my life in recent years has been much more about what I have physically over what I have as anointed, informed, and provided by my faith. While starting out photographers and even ones who haven't just started out and have been in business for a little less than half a decade might be struggling to keep their businesses pulsing in the face of a struggling economy, I have (praise the LORD!!!) not been one of those photographers. This is been because I know the Lord has provided for me but also because I have been in the business for so much longer than many of my competitors have so I am not building a business so much as I am just being the one that I have built long before it was a struggle to do so.
Anyway... I am not dropping what I do here at Dream. Pray. Create. (don't worry) or my other business venture because I firmly believe (because of lots of prayer and meditation) that both of these things are very much integral within the grand scheme of what and how the Lord wants me to be a visual artist for Him. And I guess... that's that? Time for me to stop working for today. Learning how to say when and actually saying when are things I am working on. No time like the present to start doing what I should have always done.