When I first became interested in photography, and as I began to pursue it as a hobby, I followed a lot of photographer's blogs. I watched any FAQ videos they posted, read every Q & A blog post, and daydreamed about styled photo sessions. At one point, maybe around my freshman or sophomore year of college, I remember telling my mom in a crescendo of excitement, "I want to be the Jasmine Star of Iowa!" (Ok, all in all, to be "The Photographer" of Iowa is really not that large of an aspiration…but for me, that was dreaming BIG!!)

As time went on, the Lord thankfully used school, Perspectives, dear friends & mentors, campus ministry, and his word to pull me back from photography. I realized that my identity was becoming more wrapped up in photography than…well, than Him. Than who He said I was. I had held on so tightly to these dreams, the desire to be seen, praised, to perform well in pressure-filled situations, and other things. I compared my work to that of others…and my value as a photographer, and as a person.

Woah, girl. Slow it down. That ain't right.

"So, cool, Amelia. Thanks for sharing. But so what?"

I was reminded of this today. By, of course, another photographer. He posted on his instagram a note & apology, as he is taking some time off, and it struck a chord with me. 

For the past few years I’ve been trying to create these beautiful photos and appearance to mask my mess of a life and emotions. I’ve put up this shield and mask to the world for too long.

Thankfully, I do not believe this is true of my life. But it got me thinking! What am I hiding from the world? What am I running from? Because, let's be real. We are all running. From something, to something, and most of the time, it or they will fail us eventually. Photography might not be my current mask. But is ministry? Is social media? 

I don't want to get lost. 

I want my life to be genuine. Messy, but beautiful, because it is real. I want to be real with people. Real about my struggles…and my joy! Real that I make mistakes (I'm in ministry, I am learning lots, and making mistakes. AND THAT IS GOOD.) Real about my dreams—the desires God has placed in me. 

 

Friends, let's run to the light together. I don't want to get lost in the competition in photography, or in climbing the corporate ladder to make a name or lots of money, or in feeling that I have to prove perfect to be in ministry. Each of those are ways we can be lost, can lose ourselves, and who we're made to be. I am not lost—I am found. And I want to stay found, safe, in the arms of my Jesus!

(Also thanks to this article for the thought provoking words today!)

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