About three weeks ago, I realized that I had been lying to you all.
I ventured down to Williamsburg the first weekend of February for an engagement session (an engagement session which will be featured on the blog Monday!!). I parked at the visitors center and rode the shuttle over to meet my happy couple. Once we finished their session, I boarded the shuttle again to find that I was the only passenger. I am a huge talker (if you havent already noticed!) so the twenty seconds of silence that we had experienced so far on the shuttle felt awkward and I decided to kill the silence by simply asking “How are you doing today?”
That simple question was enough to spark a nice conversation for the remainder of the ride. The driver, James, then asked what brought me to Williamsburg that day. I told him that I was a professional photographer and had just finished an engagement session in the area. James’s eyes lit up as he quickly turned back to glance at me with joy in his eyes. “You’re a photographer?! I am a videographer!” he said. The utter excitement in his voice and eyes was one that I have seen a hundred times and one that I have projected myself. The joy of being able to talk about your passion with someone that “gets it”.
He shared his story with me then listened as I shared mine. I spoke about my journey in the last year and how amazing it has been. He sent a smile in my direction and said “Isn’t that great that you get to do what you love!” My response was the same as it is whenever someone says that to me or congratulates me on my business… I said “Yes, it has been such a blessing in my life, thats for sure!”
“A blessing” – And thats when it hit me… that I had been lying to you all this entire time.
I will often write about passion and drive and chasing your dreams. I write about these things because a year ago I never thought that this dream of mine would be attainable. A year ago, I never thought that I would be this fortunate to be a business owner and do what I love. I write those things so that the person that is in the exact same position as I was a year ago, will know that there is hope. All of those words are true- but I have been leaving out the most important part…
I dont think that my success is only due to my hustle + my actions… Instead, I believe that I owe a lot of my success to the sweet Lord above.
Lets take a look back into the past a few years ago.. I have always considered myself a religious person, but I never acted on that or understood just what it meant. Some days I wasn’t even sure if I believed in God. In the beginning of 2015, I was feeling very low. I was unhappy at my job which was affecting the other aspects of my life and I was just all around miserable + angry. One day I finally decided that I didnt way to be that person anymore…
I began thinking of what actions make me happy. What was something that I could do regularly that would get me excited and fired up about life?? Whatever that thing was, I knew that I needed more of it in my life and I was determined to do so. I finally realized that photography was that thing so I started putting more and more effort into it and a beautiful thing began.
Sounds perfect right? Happily ever after?? Not exactly… I became frustrated. My frustration stemmed from the fact that I felt as though I was living out dual identities. Monday-Friday I was one person (miserable and erratically emotional) and on the weekends when I had sessions with clients, I was a whole other person (full of joy and purpose).
I didn’t understand how to join the two together and I didn’t understand which path was meant to be mine and I was just all around so confused! I decided that if “I couldn’t figure it out, then what the heck, why not see if God can figure such a tough one out!” So I started to pray. And I started to read the bible. And I started to listen to more gospel music in hopes of bringing that joy to my soul.
Problem fixed right?? Not exactly..
One day during my 40 minute commute home, I was on the verge of tears or screaming + decided that before I called someone to complain about how angry I was by my day, I would “put a little bit of Jesus in my life”, so I plugged in my phone to begin streaming music + the first song that comes on is a song that I didnt like, but I figured that my day couldn’t get much worse so I let it play. And in that moment, for the first time ever, I actually HEARD the words they were singing.
” I could hold on, I could hold on to who I am and never let you change me from the inside. And I could be safe, I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home, never let these walls down. But You have called me higher, You have called me deeper, and I’ll go where You will lead me Lord. Where you lead me “
Those words spoke to my heart so deeply that the tears started to pour down my face. I realized that while I had been praying and reading the bible, I had never actually let God into my life. I was doing what I thought I should be doing but I wanted to remain in control, so I held on tight to it. That song spoke to me in a way that made me realize what I needed to do.
So I began to pray. I prayed so hard as I spoke to God and continued to cry. I prayed that I would find the courage to let go and give my heart to him fully. I prayed that I would be able to listen to Him and follow the path that He had created for me without allowing myself + my thoughts to get in the way. I continued to cry and when I finished my prayer, I continued to sing to Him and that sweet song was on repeat the rest of the afternoon.
From that moment on, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. It wasn’t easy at first to feel so out of control by not having every detail planned out.. But in letting go of control, I found myself again, and I grew closer to Him each and every day.
Weeks after that day, my business began to pick up. Weeks after that, I was so busy that I was having a hard time keeping up with two full time jobs. So I continued to pray that He would guide me to make a change that was necessary in my life. That decision was to go part time at my day job and continue working on growing my business. I was taking a huge leap of faith because I honestly had no idea if that was the right decision. I felt it in my heart that it was the right path to follow, but the reality of finances questioned the decision..
I moved forward + followed the desire that I knew He had folded into my heart and you know the rest of the story because here I am today!! My relationship with my dear husband, the happiness I experience in my business, the joy I feel in my heart on a daily basis, the compassion I feel in my soul, the desire to be more + help more + serve more so deeply rooted inside me… All of these things were blessings that I had never fully understood but now am so covered in.
So now you know, and now I have set the record straight… The secret ingredient that has brought more joy and happiness to my heart than I could ever have possibly imagined is not the number in my bank account, its not how many flashy things I own, its not about how thin I am or how pretty I am or how many followers I have on Instagram, its nothing to do any of those lies that we tell ourselves… Its my new hound faith, my trust in the Lord, and my ability to let go and give it to Him – because the truth is that He can handle it, even when I can not.
If my story speaks to your heart the way that song spoke to mine, I would love to chat with you. I would be happy to pray with you. And I just hope that I am able to spread the joy to others that God has made plentiful in my heart.