And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
I haven't checked my photography e-mail account in about a week now so I decided to hop on there really quick and see if I have had any responses to my Craigslist adds for family photography sessions. I had a lot of junk e-mail, (the usual spam from Craigslist) and one that looked promising like a possible response to my add. I felt a little flutter of excitement and opened the e-mail only to feel quite crushed after reading it.
In short the e-mail was from someone (albeit another professional photographer better than me), who took a little extra time out of their day (thank you so much...) to critique my photography. They pointed out the flaws in my work and told me what I should do to get better shots. Basically, what I read was that what I have put my heart and soul into is not good enough for this particular person. I stood at my counter looking at the e-mail and unfortunately felt my heart sink with discouragement. I know my photography is far from perfect. I know I still have a lot to learn about manual exposures and post processing. I know that sometimes my lighting is off. I know that I am not a Photoshop Wizard. I know that there are a million other photographers out there better than me. Every day I feel the urge to give up. I feel the voices of doubt telling me that I am not good enough and that they are so much better....the voices that say that I will never get that good and that I shouldn't post my pictures because they are an embarrassment. I feel inadequate in so many things but, photography brings me joy regardless of whether or not my pictures are perfect. It is one of the only hobbies I have ever stuck with in my life and that I have cracked away at despite the enemies constant efforts to rob me of this love and passion.
I have come so far over the past 3 years since I started aggressively pursuing photography. I am so proud of how much I have learned and I am fully aware that I will always need to keep growing and learning. I will never arrive because I always want to keep learning. I will never be perfect because there is no such thing. I will never turn my nose up at another aspiring photographer and crush their dreams because dreams are wind beneath our wings.
All this to say that in spite of the fact that the e-mail was discouraging on many levels, I am also encouraged because in some respects the critiques that this person gave me are valid points (though I was already aware of these flaws). I do need to work on the things mentioned. I want to prove to this random stranger that I can get better and will! I want to prove to myself that I am not as weak as I once was. I am not going to let an obstacle like this, in my path hold me back anymore. The old me would have thrown the towel in a long time ago but, I am not that person anymore. I will fight for this dream! Dreams don't come easily right. We have to really chase them down sometimes. We have to overcome many hurdles, set backs, failures and discouragements. This is one dream I'm not willing to let go of. I see my future and I see photography in it all the days of my life. I see the people I will be able to bless with memories capture through photographs. I see that even if my name is never written in a fancy book that sits on someones table that I will still love what I do. I do this for me and to bless others and that is all. No fame needed, no star, no magazine publications, though all that would be flattering, that is not why I am doing this. Just being me. A mom and a wife with a camera and a little dream.
I shared this today simply to encourage all of you! Whatever your dream is, great or small, don't let it go. Don't let the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy, steal your dreams. Now don't get me wrong, being realistic is something to consider, but nonetheless, GO FOR IT! You will hear LOTS of voices in your head telling you to give up (not the crazy voices hopefully! haha), obstacles, people who mean well but, say the wrong thing and you may have to TRY TRY TRY to get there. Don't ever give up. If you know in your heart that God has promised this to you then don't stop till you get there. Sometimes there will be forks in the road and we will learn to go a different direction and we need to be okay with that too. Keep your heart open so that you can receive what God wants you to receive and not just what you think you should receive.
Carpe Diem my friends
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand. Psalm 37:23-24