This is what I am focusing on as I head into the weekend (and into the future in general!). I am such a planner and I try so hard to always make the right decision and be a few steps ahead. I fear regret. I fear feeling like I’ve failed. So I push myself so hard to have it all figured out – and have it figured out ahead of time. I’m continually working on having the understanding (and acting on it) that God knows so much more about where my life is headed and the purpose I’m meant to serve.
I recently made the decision that I was no longer going to accept any weddings. I’d done a few, and since I have been really enjoying all of my portrait sessions I wanted to try to focus my business more and stop trying to “do it all”. I was listening to the advice that I was hearing and reading from other photographers and felt that I should try to find a niche or focus my photography offerings. So I did. I made the decision that weddings were not going to be a part of my business moving forward.
Wouldn’t you know it, but in the two months that followed, I was asked by 5 couples to shoot their weddings. Now for a full-time wedding photographer, 5 wedding inquiries in two months might not be much. But for me, that was a lot. With the first request, I felt confident (and a little proud of myself for sticking to my decision) telling them that I was so flattered, but that it just wasn’t in my business plan at this point.
Then the next request came along. I just kinda laughed at the timing, and gave my response – offering to do their engagement photos, but passing on the wedding.
When the third request was offered up, doubt started to creep in. Was this really the right decision? I had felt so strongly about it, but now I was starting to wonder. But honestly, I was wondering for the wrong reasons. I was wondering because I knew that was a real investment that I was passing up. Time, money, experience. The potential to build myself into a wedding photographer like the ones whose blogs I follow.
The next request got me more toward the point I think I should have been seeing all along. I started to wonder if my decision wasn’t in line with God’s plan for me and for my business. Clearly I was still focused on my own plan because I still respectfully declined to photograph the wedding.
Thankfully for me, God is persistent. And apparently He realized I needed a little more of a kick in the rear for me to see His plan. That kick in the rear came in the form of Emily. A sweet but frantic bride-to-be who was in the stressful situation of needing to find a replacement photographer 3 weeks before her wedding day. My husband knows Emily and we’ve met before, and I was aware that she’s a woman with a servant’s heart for God. Before I had even finished reading her message, I started to have the feeling that there was something to this. I told her to not stress any more and that although I was not focusing on weddings, I would most definitely do hers (if I could move a senior portrait shoot). My heart just couldn’t stand knowing what she must be going through.
I told her to not worry – that God would provide. I just didn’t really think it would be through me. Her response blasted any shred of doubt or disbelief that God was telling me to open back up to weddings:
“I’ve been talking to my fiancé Joe and we’ve prayed about it, and we really feel like this is the right thing to do. Getting good photos of the day, and capturing the experience is so important to me, but more than that is having the day be a fun, easy experience that is centered around God and our future together.
I was reading Joe your emails and he agreed that someone that would give me the advice you did, and help us out of a tough spot is someone we want to be a part of the day we start our lives together.”
I was floored. And humbled. And so grateful for the way that God works in my life and the way He is moving in my business. And so grateful for the most wonderful clients.
Tomorrow is the day that God’s work in Emily & Joe’s life is evidenced by their vows. Tomorrow is the day that God’s work in my business is glorified by the memories I am able to capture for Emily & Joe. And tomorrow is the day I take another step to allowing God to lead me.