I did a photo shoot for COR the other day which was pretty exciting. Since we first moved here I knew I’d love to have this chance someday. I think photography is really important, but depending the direction you go with it can feel kind of like fluff. Using it instead to expose issues or to bring beauty to someone who has suffered a lot of loss could be powerful and life changing.
When the development director first contacted me about taking pictures of COR’s programs, I was ecstatic.
The morning of the shoot I woke up feeling grim and just thinking getting dressed felt like a big deal. Work all day when I could be enjoying Steve’s day off with my family, lugging equipment, and working with difficult lighting situations didn’t sound very glamorous.
Worse, yet, I was filled with insecurity and wanted to do nothing besides burrow under the covers. Why did I agree to do this? Now I’m feeling rough…how will I make it through the day? I don’t know if I have the skills. What if I don’t get the shots they need? I don’t think I’m qualified for this.
There are many days when I am weak and timid and self-doubting, but God is strong and confident and secure. I want to learn to exchange my thoughts for His thoughts about me.
That morning I prayed that God would give me strength, got dressed and headed to the mission. I got there a few minutes early and my brain was still racing with reasons that I was not cut out for this job. Mostly I was so afraid that I’d send in pictures that were sub-par.
Asking God to please give me a word, I reached for my Bible lying beside me and flipped it open. The story in front of me was the parable of the talents ending with the verse telling us that if we use the talents we have been given we’ll be given more talents, but if we don’t use what we’ve been given they will be taken away.
Doesn’t it just blow you away when God speaks so specifically to what you needed right in a moment??! It gave me such a rush and a feeling of protection to know that God knew how insecure I was feeling and gave me the encouragement I needed to hear.
I was praying as I walked inside that I would be faithful with the gifts He has given me and could find JOY in them. Maybe I felt like I only had a little strength…but I would use that little bit of strength today as long as it lasted. Maybe I felt I only had a little bit of skill…but I would use that little bit of skill for His glory.
It helped me remember that He would walk with me all day, that He would give me strength, that He was the one who had given me a creative eye and a mind for details and wanted me to do well.
The day went well. It was hard work, but I was stronger than I expected I’d be. I had an assistant who helped me carry gear and set up lighting and who supported me in lots of ways. There were situations that required flexibility and creativity, but God gave me ideas for how to work with them. Several people were angry with me for taking pictures, but God gave me peace (after some initial shakiness and more prayer) and I was able to keep moving forward.
Last evening I put together a small collection of photos to give to the development director and for the first time I realized that the pictures were solid. What’s really great, is how these pictures now feel like a gift from God. They aren’t about my abilities, but the fact that He will use us and give abundance when we’re willing to use the small gifts we have been given.