Welcome to my first blog post! I don't have any big plans for this blog, and it certainly won't be fancy, but I have been reflecting a lot since my birthday last week, and with all of snow days recently I am going a little stir crazy. Being a wife, mother, full time teacher, and part time photographer, my posts will probably be few and far between, but I hope to provide encouragement to anyone kind enough to take the time to read them. Blogging is all the rage, and I have a lot to say on this cold, snowy day, so here goes...
I thought I would begin by sharing a little bit about myself and why I love photography. It's no secret that I am a follower of Jesus. Like many Christians, I have been striving to put Him in the center of my business and my life. I feel that God has given me a love for photography to minister to people. The opportunity to meet and get to know so many new people is inherent in this business. As I meet you all and offer to pray for you, many have been willing to open up and send me specific prayer requests. I am so grateful to those of you who allow me to share in your struggles and joys. One thing I have noticed in these instances, when speaking with other photographers, and even in speaking with people outside of my business, is that there is usually a theme throughout the struggles. That theme is fear.
I have spoken with many people recently who have been full of so much fear. I completely empathize with this because, I go through times frequently where I am fearful. The great thing about being a Christian is that we don't have to fear. We don't have to rely on ourselves. We have HIM to rely on.
What drives you? What motivates you? Why do you do what you do? Our motives will never be 100% pure. We are human. I would be lying if I said I didn't shoot for myself. My photography is my art and way of self expression. It feels amazing when people 'like' or comment on my work on social media, because it so personal to me. I feel like my work is an extension of myself. When others enjoy it and appreciate it, I feel validation. But, if I am only doing this for myself, that's when fear sets in. That fear can be paralyzing. What if people don't like my work? It is inevitable that many won't. What if someone critiques me? What if I make a mistake, or worse, what if I fail altogether? Those are real concerns and quite likely, given that I am human and I make mistakes on a regular basis.
Here is the best part: Because of Jesus, there is no failure. He makes up the difference where we leave off. No matter what you do, photographer, office work in a cubicle, teaching, engineering, volunteering, artist, stay-at-home mom, doctor, pastor, scientist, blogger, factory worker, underwater basket weaver, whatever. Do it for Him and you CANNOT fail.
Does this mean we won't make mistakes or that we don't have consequences? Of course not. Making mistakes and being able to see the flaws in yourself and your work is not a bad thing. The ability to be discerning with yourself and others is a wonderful gift, IF you can do it without passing judgement. Consider yourself enlightened to be able to see your flaws. God is revealing what He wants you to work on to make yourself better. It does mean that when we face the consequences of our mistakes, we can rely on Him to carry us through. I can't even imagine how hard life must be for those who don't know Jesus. If I thought that I only had myself to rely on, with all of my weaknesses and imperfections, it would be debilitating. HE is perfect. HE makes up for all of the things I lack. When I live and work and strive for HIM, there is no failure or rejection, only fulfillment.
Do not allow your flaws to make you fearful. Do not allow your fear of making mistakes or failure to hold you back. I think most of us have a tendency to look back at our old work and cringe. We can see the mistakes we made. Rather than be embarrassed by mistakes, I try to be excited about the growth I have made. Those mistakes are God-given tools for improvement. If we let fear of mistakes get the better of us, we will stop producing work, and that in turn, will stop us from growing in our talents. God gave us our gifts and interests to be used for His glory. Allowing fear to hold you back will keep you from glorifying Him. The times that I am able to give my fears to God, I find, are my periods of greatest growth and achievement.
Feeling sad, confused, or down is valid. Those are emotions that should be felt and processed, not pushed aside. Yet, I believe FEAR is from Satan. It is a tool he uses to hold us back from achieving all that God wants for us. Go ahead and google what the bible says about fear. You will be blown away by how many times it is addressed. God knows our struggles. He loves us and wants to help us succeed and has given us the tools to do so. In order to use these tools for His glory, we have to push our fears aside. We have to trust Him, and know that His will for us is not just good, but GREAT!
I am currently doing a bible study called 'Restless' by Jennie Allen, with a small group of amazing women. So much of what I have learned about my own fears recently has been a result of this study. If you enjoyed this post, go check it out for yourself!
I'd like to leave you with some of the scripture that has comforted me most when I am fearful. God's Word can be like a mother's arms wrapped around her child to soothe her from a bad dream. I hope you find these verses comforting and inspiring. What fears do you have that I can pray for you for? Post them in the comments for me! What are your favorite verses to find comfort? I would love for you to share them in the comments as well!
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4
Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11-13
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:6
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12: 9
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23
About Tara Fletcher:
I am a natural light photographer in Southwest Michigan. I am a wife, mother, follower of Jesus, music teacher, and lover of people. I love the honesty and authenticity of children. I believe you can never have too much conversation, coffee, chocolate or wine. I find my motivation in God's Word and sharing His message of grace and mercy with others.