I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and praying lately to know how to best share my thoughts on this topic with you. Some of you have been with me since the beginning of my journey and some of you have joined me along the way.
I’m often asked how I got into photography. The question used make my heart stop and nearly bring me to my knees. It meant telling people that I hadn’t been a photographer since I was a newborn babe and admitting that I was a fraud; not an artist, not someone who felt a calling, just a normal human being that picked up a camera hoping to create an income to help support her family.
The truth looking back with the hard won perspective of the past year is that it was a calling, one that I didn’t hear, didn’t recognize, even while I walked the path. I thought I knew what I was doing – I was creating an income for my family, but He had grander plans. The Lord’s plan included cracking me open, laying my soul bare, and rebuilding me in his image. I now see that He is always in charge, it’s never been “my plan”.
As I started on my journey with photography I struggled to find my own art. I was a pretty good mimic. I studied hard to learn to use my camera and the tools to develop the images I took but as I said above, I always felt like a fraud. I was a technician going through the motions but I longed to be more. I felt a pull to dig deeper. I WANTED to be an artist and I didn’t know how. I felt like I didn’t have a creative bone in my body. You could have filled a bathtub with my tears. Over and over I tried different things, techniques, subjects, lighting. The upside was I began to master my settings and the light from which I pulled my images. But still, everything I did felt like someone else’s work. And no wonder… I was looking outside of myself for the answers. I scoured Pinterest, Facebook, websites, Flicker accounts, magazines, and forums. I hired mentors to teach me how to do what they were doing and all of it led to more confusion.
I was burned out. I was tired. I didn’t want to try anymore.
And so I gave up.
I decided to stop taking the pictures I thought I was supposed to.
My heart was broken and I needed to heal. I needed time and perspective. Instead of taking pictures of people I felt compelled to take pictures of landscapes. I watched the light. I marveled at the beauty that surrounded me. I listened to my broken heart and The Lord began to teach me, to show me what an artist truly is and what they do.
Artists are people. People who do work that matters in a way that touches the hearts and souls of others leaving them forever changed.
Everyone is an Artist. Everyone has something of value to share with others and when we realize that being an Artist is about how one does the work that matters the world shifts on it’s axis. At least mine did.
The Lord has given me a gift. One I was born with. He created me to create art… and he did the same for you. AND he has given us work that matters.
We can run here and there looking everywhere for what we think we’re missing and we will never find it because it is locked inside, waiting for us to “Be still and know that He is God.” All you have to do is trust Him and he will unlock it for you. He holds the key to your heart.
So when we stop being tossed to and fro by the waves of what the world thinks we should do, when we stop hanging on every word spoken or written by the “experts”, when we stop looking outside of ourselves and begin to trust that God has already given us everything we need to create our art. Only then will we find it. Your identity, your gift, the work that matters.
On this Easter weekend I declare, He lives! He loves you, and he has given you a precious gift – the same as he’s given each new babe who comes to this earth. You are an Artist! Go forth and do the important work that he has given you to do. Make a masterpiece!