I think it takes a while to "find yourself." I realize that's a pretty weighty phrase that could have a different meaning for everyone. For me, "finding myself" is kind of like a realization mixed with an "I'm finally getting comfortable" feeling topped off with a "push" to continue growing. It's taken 22 years to pick up on a pattern of finding myself--- one day I feel as if I almost understand my purpose for this time, this moment, this season of life, and then, before I've fully grasped it, a new season has begun and I'm waiting for the next realization, trusting that everyone probably feels as dizzied by life as I do. 

Right now I've been thinking a lot about my identity as a photographer. In the beginning, photography was something I did with my 1.2 megapixel camera after school. In high school, I was the girl CONSTANTLY taking pictures- the documentarian. In early college, I was determined not to get overly involved in it to avoid growing tired of and uninspired by it. And now? I think I'm in a place where I know I've been given a certain amount of talent, a desire to photograph, and an intense passion to grow as an artist. Yet I don't want this to become entirely about me... I want it to be used to help others be inspired by the bittersweet passing of time- to encourage them to think, question, and discover  what this thing called life is all about. I want to help people find themselves and discover a meaningful passion for living, because we're all searching to some extent, and even though I am continually changing and just as clueless in a lot of ways, I do know that I've been exposed to and cling to something timeless & unchanging, yet more alluring & deep than anything else in the world: Faith in Jesus Christ. 

So... what does this have to do with self discovery and photography? I cherish my identity as a photographer, but that isn't my primary identity. I think of it this way: I have been purchased from Darkness. I didn't one day decide to, on my own accord, defeat the grip sin and eventual death had on me since birth. Being released from the chains of blindness & darkness has a price, and it is a price that I could never pay. Yet the One who COULD pay this price DID- long before I was born, Jesus Christ died on a cross, and His death paid the price for all of mankind. I have HEARD of this great work and I have  (by God's grace alone) BELIEVED. I am no longer bound by sin and death- I, like all mankind, will physically leave this world one day, but the Lord has promised eternal life to those who have believed in what He has done. I no longer belong to darkness- I belong to The Light! Which is why my identity as a photographer cannot be my primary identity. I am (ideally) an advocate for the good Name of Jesus Christ. How can I help it? "Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he has done for you." (1 Samuel 12:@4, NKJV).

Which is why I don't have to (and quite frankly, don't WANT to) worry about how many people are reading my blog posts, or contacting me about doing a session, or commenting on my FB photos. I have a greater purpose, and photography is only a tool through which I may be best used in this world. If my purpose changes, I pray I would be able to have open hands and willing feet. In the meantime, I still desire intensely to grow and develop as a photographer, although I pray it would become VERY clear if/when my vanity or pride is all that fuels me! With each session I shoot & with each new client I work with, I have the amazing ability to grow and refine both myself and my work. Which is why I believe more and more that the Lord has shaped and led all of this: I learn SO much about myself and my prideful tendencies, or misplaced priorities, to name a few not-so-wonderful qualities, but also how much I desire to please those I'm able to work and how much want to exhibit extreme loyalty & dependability to my clients. It's quite an adventure, and I'm thankful for every aspect of it! 

So, if you're reading this, I hope you'll continue to follow me on this journey, and I hope even more that you can grow along with me. Maybe I'll have the fortune of working with you down the road. I'll admit that this post has been a vulnerable one! For now, a new Facebook Timeline Header for my page. Enjoy :)

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