How "Photography" Saved My Life...
As many of you know, I'm quite the introvert. But what many of you probably never knew was just how much of a fearful recluse I was for much of my life...
Since I was a child, I've always been extremely shy - to an extreme. Very fearful of everything, always the quiet one, always hiding, didn't say a word usually, except around my close family at home. I was crippled, really. Somehow I made it through my childhood, went to school, went to college. It was very painful, but I got through it with the help of my family, a few close friends, and of course, Jesus. But I had a bad attitude, and was consumed with selfishness and my own problems, lots of negativity. I was miserable.
I won't go through all the details of certain events in my life around this time, but let's just say there were ups, and there were downs. There were events that led me closer to God, and events and attitudes and decisions that caused me to have some major set backs in life.
It was through a particular "down" in my life that somehow I discovered an interest in photography.
That's where it all started.
Around this time a new journey of inner healing began as well. Looking back from the point I'm at now, it has been such a long journey, only now am I seeing the blessings of many of the crucial decisions I made during this time...
...More ups and downs, a little stretching here, a little growing there, a little more stretching...I started to push myself a little more to learn photography, it would get me out of the house. I was less consumed with my problems, and more consumed with wanting to be better at photography.
As an introvert (and I want to add that this was more than "introversion", it was more of a fear, a social phobia, an insecurity, a negative, self-hatred kind of attitude), when I slipped into a bad attitude, bad ways of thinking I would always seem to withdraw, hide away from people. That definitely happened from time to time, but over time, little by little, photography had become a tool that God used to help pull me out of that.
Fast forward a couple of years - I was led to the point of taking our photography business to a full time business. I remember taking that leap while thinking, "Ok, God, I can barely still have a phone call with a person, I can barely sit down and have a coffee meeting with someone without breaking out into hives. How am I going to do this? I'm not capable! IT'S SO HARD.".... and yet somehow He made me capable.
It was so little by little, situation by situation, pushing myself because I had to depend on Him, taking jumps, successes, failures, good times, hard times.... all I had to do was take that jump, trust in where He was leading me, letting go of trying to do it on my own, taking risks, pushing hard, lots of stretching, lots of growing....
...suddenly, like riding a bike without training wheels, I look and I'm doing it. I'm doing what I had to do to get the job done. I didn't think about it, I just did it because I had to. When I had the camera in my hand, I had a confidence that I didn't have without it. It was a strength that I know wasn't my own, until it became a true confidence within me, from Him. He never failed me, and I learned to trust.
When we named our photography business "Revival" I don't think we had any clue just how much of a "revival" it would be for us in our own lives.
God didn't leave me there..... He used photography to take me even further - more jumps, more "I don't think I can do this, God? What do you have in mind here?", when I finally surrounded myself with more of a community that I needed. People other than my family, my husband, one or two close friends.... yet again I was being pushed along that journey, stretched.... and God was using photography yet again as a tool to do that.
Aren't you just so thankful that God doesn't leave us in our mess? He loves us enough to patiently help us through it. He's willing to take us on a long journey to polish us into who He created us to be - to become who we've been all along and just couldn't see because of our mess. Once we take His hand and decide to trust, He leads us and before we know it, we get to a place in our journey and we stop and wonder how we even got to where we are. That's God.
Am I still an introvert? An "INFJ" personality type? Of course! I've learned that's okay. Am I still on a journey of growing? Yes. I'm thankful for it.