throwing away joy...
Lately I've been throwing away my joy. Completely and wastefully throwing it away. I know, it’s so ridiculous! It makes me upset myself, even though I'm the one choosing to do it. It's kind of a cycle I've let myself become trapped in, sadly, and I'm struggling to get out.
I have a photography business, one that I'm proud of and love having. This year marks my 12th year in it, although the last few have been slow and quiet. It used to be busy, so busy that I couldn't take on nearly as many people that contacted me, my schedule was so jampacked. Then I had three kids in four years and practically slammed on the breaks so that I could focus on them. My youngest just turned three and I'm aching to get my business rolling again, not to be as busy as before, but to be steady.
The problem is, the game has changed a lot in the last few years, as far as getting out there and getting clients. Social media has become the main way to reach potential clients, and honestly, I'm just not good at it. I feel incredibly irrelevant. On top of that, and worst of all, I've let myself become paralyzed by comparison. Comparison is the very thief of joy. There are so many incredibly talented photographers in the area, and their work is always on my Facebook newsfeed and Instagram feed. I admire them, and I follow them to support them - but seeing their work and how busy they are just reminds me that I am NOT. I compare my light schedule to their (seemingly) packed ones. I let the devil whisper lies in my ear that I believe, about how inadequate I am, how unwanted I am, how I just can't hang anymore. I've thought about completely quitting so many times, even though I love photography and my business is a dream I've had for so long.
straight from hell...
It saddens me how deeply I let these lies get into my heart, but I also struggle to be free of them. This trap of comparison is dangerous and harmful, and it's straight from hell. When I believe these lies, I cannot hear the truth that God so desperately wants me to hear. When I cling to the feelings of not being good enough, I forget how valuable I actually am. I'm overjoyed and thankful when I book a new shoot. But that doesn't last long when I head down the slippery slope of measuring myself against others. The truths God wants for me to listen to are so precious and so wonderful - that my value is in Him. That He's gifted me and I can be so proud of that, regardless of my schedule. That He has a plan that He's leading me on, if I'll follow. That I am made exactly the way that I am meant to be, and others' success does not take that away from me. That His timing is what I should trust and count on, even when I don't understand it.
for His victory...
This battle is not an easy one. It's a tiring fight, and one I lose so many times. But in order to get the sweet gift of joy I so desperately desire, and to free myself of this weight of constantly comparing, I HAVE to fight. I fight with the truth that God so lovingly reminds me of. I praise Him and cling to His Word even when it's so hard to believe it. I worship in the midst of the valley because I know He is there and will carry me through. The enemy wants to keep me tangled in lies and isolated, but God can use this attack for His victory if I allow Him to be the loudest voice. It's incredibly difficult sometimes, but it's more than worth it to reclaim my joy and live in the victory that God created me to walk in.
Carly is an adventure-seeking mama who always has a smile to share. Carly has served as the lead photographer for By Design Journal for the last year, and is passionate about honoring women and providing a space for them to feel loved and accepted. When she isn't caring for her three children or snapping pictures, she's planning her next trip (probably to Disney World) or spending time with friends.
Photos by Carly Kristin Photography.