This photo honestly, accurately displays the level of craziness I’m about to unload with this post haha.. Hold on tight, grab your coffee, huff an oil, and let’s chat…
I used to think that I put all of my faith in God, but recently when it was time for me to disrupt my own comfort zone I got a big reality check on just how trusting I was being in Him. Can you relate?
Over the past year I’ve realized, faith is not simply saying….
I’m being called by God to do _____, but I’ll only do that when I get _____ to put in its place.
Toward the end of the year, I felt I was being called to put an official end to my photography business for the foreseeable future, but I was only willing to do that when we were officially granted an answer and were where we wanted to be with Kyle’s job.
Deep down, I knew that I was being called to bring the business to an official end now, and surrender this to Him. And I knew that it was so that I could transition into the new direction that I’m being called. However, I’ve been so scared to actually take action and let everything I worked so hard for go, especially before we knew what we would be doing next. Kyle and I understand that what he is working toward is not guaranteed, and if things don’t work out the way we want with that, I knew it would be amazing to be able to have a thriving business in the background still.
I also worried that I would want to have a photography business in the future when we settled down again, and if I said “I Quit” out loud (or wrote it “out loud”) it would impact the perception of my love of photography in a negative way. That really scared me about how starting my biz again would go in the future because I’ve put so much hard work into this. My photography business has been such a big part of who I am for so long. Some weeks it was way too big of a part of me, but in 2017 I had finally found a great balance of work…. and now… now I’m just going to walk away from it?!
This decision weighed on me heavily, and I really kept getting caught up in the little things. Thoughts raced through my mind like, “In the next 3 years I would’ve hit the decade mark!!” or “I have so much left I want to do and teach, no one will take me serious now.” Thinking these things made me feel like a quitter and a loser, and it was so hard to get online and pretend I felt differently.
More big questions raced through my mind for months.. “What if this doesn’t go as planned? What if we need the extra money? What if? What if?! What if?!?”
In the midst of this big internal struggle, I also liked to hide behind the move we made as me “doing my part” already. I felt as if I gave ALLLLL these other things up, and now God wants me to do even more?! That’s so not fair!!!
I would reason that I was sure I had done enough already, but that truly wasn’t me getting “uncomfortable” enough in this journey just yet…. and that wasn’t me trusting HIM enough yet.
For now, it’s just time for me to say thank you and tell you why choosing to encourage others is so important…
If you’ve been a client, shared a photo I took, commented nice words on my social media, referred a client to me, encouraged me after a long evening with a “great job!”, invested in equipment for me (looking at you, Mom and Dad, and Kyle) Just… THANK YOU!
I’m so grateful for the big and seemingly small (but still powerful) gestures that I have experienced in this journey. They provided money for my family to enjoy new experiences, the opportunity to capture amazing memories for my own family, a wonderful friend to do business with all of these years, a sense of accomplishment in something outside of the home for this teen mom when she felt so insecure, the opportunity to travel, the opportunity to teach, the chance to spread joy, and the most beautiful and wonderful community of friends locally and across the nation.
I have truly experienced joy + encouragement like no other during this journey. I promise that I won’t ever forget it and will continue to work hard to spread it.
Working together with the Rising Tide Society for our Tuesday’s Together group, taught me to put people first, and make sure to try to leave this industry better than the way I found it. It’s funny, because the first few posts I made in a photography forum when I was getting ready to open a biz, tore me to absolute shreds. I was devastated, embarrassed, and humiliated, but I didn’t give up. I fought hard to improve my work. (I had to really motivate myself to do that after feeling so put down. It was very hard some days, but absolutely worth it.)
When I officially started I didn’t know how I would ever make it past a year…
I opened my business, and went on to quickly experience both extremes of this new world– I was very sweetly encouraged to seek out the proper channels to make sure my biz was legit by a local photographer (aka Kelly), and I was also deleted by a big, local photographer whose worked I had adored for years. What happens next is great, because the person who encouraged me later became my wedding partner in crime, homeschool mama guru, and best friend, Kelly! We traveled together, laughed together, cried together, made a lot of What-The-Heck faces together and so much more. But the negative experience? Well, I honestly couldn’t tell you what the person who deleted me is doing right now, and frankly… I just don’t even care anymore ☺️
If you are reading this and running or starting your own business let me use this post about me quitting to encourage you before I finish.. #teachablemoment
In the moment, I know that the words and actions of negative people can seem so incredibly loud. Some days what they seem to think of you can weigh so heavy in your mind. BUT I’m telling you, GOD is good. He has a way of showing up and sending you those people you really need.. Not just people you need to survive, but the people who are going to encourage and help you THRIVE.
If I would have listened to the first comments on my work, I would’ve never started and this post or blog wouldn’t exist. If I would have worried more about a negative experience with a local photographer than the positive one, then I would’ve missed out on SO many amazing experiences and friendships!!!
I’ve spent nearly 7 years of my life bouncing back and forth between surviving and thriving with my own business… Want to know my biggest advice for thriving even when it gets hard?
Work just as hard on surrendering your worries and pride to God as you would with any other task! Have faith in His plan for your life and the direction He is steering it. If He is leading you down a path, then walk it joyfully and humbly. Make sure that you are always showing His love by being kind to others, without keeping score. Whether that means you are giving someone advice, encouragement, referrals, likes, a nice comment, a smile, or just simply holding your tongue when you want to be mean to them. Let His light shine with all you do. You never know who you are impacting with your words and actions, and no matter what hard feelings you may feel, we are all called to have faith in God’s plan and live for the glory of His kingdom… not our own. 💕
Until next time,
Courtney Abernathy – #RetiredPhotographer (lol)