If you could do anything
What would it be? We were all asked this question in Kindergarden. I know my answer has changed since then, as many of ours has. I can recall my little brother saying that he wanted to be an ice cream man!
My answer came clear to me at around 13, the day I got my first camera. From that day on, I knew I was in love with photography. Later on, when asked what I wanted to do in life, I said, “I want to be a travel photographer”.
Let me tell you though, that dream has been through it’s share of criticism, challenge and disappointment. By, college, I was convinced that this dream was just too big for a number of reasons:
-too much competition
-photography is an expensive “hobby”, where on earth will you get the money for travel? Gear? Etc.
-you will be a starving artist, settle for something here that is steady and has benefits
“Ok, you know, you’re right”, I said. “That sounds so overwhelming. I don’t even know where to start.” I ended up majoring in graphic design in college, thinking that with this profession I could at least have a steady job that is art related. Not that I don’t enjoy design as well, but I eventually came to realize that it just wasn’t my passion. I am a firm believer in pursuing what you are passionate about. I have seen amazing things that have been done when the person involved is truly passionate about what they are doing, not just doing it for money or security.
After graduation, as many of you are now experiencing, have yet to or did long ago, you are thrown out into the real world. Perhaps it was easier to find a job back in our parent’s generation, but I realized quite soon after college that it was going to be a lot harder than expected. Sometimes we are under the impression that we are going to graduate and go right into our area of choice. Maybe some of us are fortunate enough to have that happen, but for a majority of us, we are stuck at the bottom of the ladder and as much as we fight to be higher, we have to take it one step at a time, literally.
I have been through my share of ups and downs already. I came out of college excited, enthusiastic and ready to take on my career as a photographer. The reality of what that meant hit me pretty hard the first couple of months out of school. Basically, everything that I had imagined the journey to be was suddenly put into perspective for me and seemed totally different than expected. “So, I can’t even shoot? What? All I get to do is hold your light for you?” Business? What do you mean? Yea, I know it’s a business but it’s more about the art, right? Shouldn’t I be shooting?”
I was a little (or a lot) discouraged to find out that the road to being a successful photographer was a LONG one and starting out, I probably wouldn’t even get to shoot very much. If you’ve ever seen “The Devil Wears Prada”, think of Anne Hathaway’s character in that movie. That is you, only you report to the photographer, and forget doing any actually photography. BUT with that said, you would gain invaluable experience and learn the ins and outs of the business, (just make sure you are getting the respect you deserve).
At that point in time, I was so idealistically thinking about how I wanted things to go, that I was frustrated at the thought of just being the sidekick who only got to carry the bags. I fell into the mindset of thinking that maybe photography really wasn’t for me. Maybe it was never what I had always imagined it to be. If it’s really all about business and no fun, why do that? So what now?
To make a long story (shorter), I have been through many plan changes, job changes, ideas, etc. since then. Nothing had quite been working out until…
I thought I had finally settled on what to pursue. But last summer, I spent 3 ½ months in Hatteras, where I worked a seasonal job, enjoyed the island life and attended a great church. The last week that I was down there, my pastor asked me, “What are you going to do when you go back home?” I had somewhat of a plan in my head, but still wasn’t super excited about it. I told him that my major was photography but I was yet to use that in a job so far. He told me that he knew someone who worked for a magazine. They were looking to train a new photojournalist. “You’d be able to travel the world, dude!” he said.
I was ecstatic! But the truth of the matter is, which I am learning more and more and am finally putting into perspective, nothing comes easily. HOWEVER, God does provide for those He wants to use for his purposes.
I was abundantly blessed to receive the camera gear needed to get things started as well as the opportunity to learn from some very successful photographers. I have a strong sense of calling to reopen my eyes to the dream that I have always had, but thought was a nearly impossible reality. Let me say again, nothing comes easily. As amazing as this opportunity is, there is hard work ahead, but when we know that God has called us to something, the hard work is a joy.
When I look back, I can see so many times where God was pushing me in this direction. I made the mistake of giving up too quickly when things seemed too hard. I am jumping in with both feet now, though I know it’s going to be a slow process. I may be poor for a while, I may be criticized and discouraged, but I know that God has me at this point for a reason and if it is His will, he will provide (which He has already proven over and over). The best thing that I have learned is not to rush it. Don’t expect everything now. Do what you love, love what you do and you will be recognized for it. Don’t settle for second best, because you will feel that in your heart. You will know that there is more. Go get it! But most of all, listen to God and let Him direct you. He knows the desires of your heart.
I wanted to share some verses I was reading this morning in Proverbs:
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3
“In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9
And in Psalm 37:
“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your ways to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” – Psalm 37:4-6