Remember New Years? Roughly 6 short months ago. Somewhere, someone had pushed that magical "restart" button that we all seem to react to. With it comes fresh intentions, lofty goals, and high expectations for ones self. I'm not against that. Why not commit or recommit to achieve great things? Sometimes we fail, sometimes we grow, but either way our intentions are usually in the right place. I'd love to say that this year has been / is going to be my most ambitious yet! I'm going to simply out do myself and blow all your minds with my wild pursuit of creative adventures across the globe. But that's simply not going to be the case. Not yet.
For the last couple years I've been struggling with the growth rate of my business. I'm in this weird limbo of being so impressed with how it's grown, and yet at the same time frustrated at myself because I know it could be growing so much faster. With proper marketing, consistency, and obviously high quality work you can become a really big deal really quickly these days. I've personally seen people who started around the same time as me just blow up with followers and popularity, making them highly sought after in the photography industry. They're hustling hard and reaping the rewards (and rightly so!). But that's not me. Not yet.
If we're going to be entirely transparent (which is the goal with this post), up to this point I've had very little clue what I'm doing. You don't just randomly start a business at the age of 18 and know everything that will make it work. Heck no. But you learn as you go, and I honestly have been living a bit off the "fake it 'til you make it" philosophy. And really, doing just fine! Now I'm starting to get it figured out, so it should be time to shoot for the stars right? Right. But not yet.
Trust me when I say this: I really do want to be shooting weddings of my dreams in far off lands with epic landscapes and eclectic people. I honestly do believe the Lord will open up those opportunites of adventure my heart longs for (I mean, it's already happened twice oddly enough!). I honestly do think that through this "job" I will be able to meet and hopefully encourage more people than I can even imagine. Just not yet.
It's probably high time I tell you why not yet... "Ya Rachel, quit your rambling would ya?"
To put it simply, I'm tired. I've been tired for as long as I can remember. 3 years ago after a lot of searching I finally got a diagnosis of Lyme disease. I acquired it to my best knowledge around the age of 10 (Thats 13 years if you want to count) from what I'm guessing was a spider bite. If you don't know what Lyme disease is, don't fuss. It's okay. Basically it's a very intelligent bacterial infection that lives in your brain and your blood and likes to wreak a little havoc. It's different person to person (I'm very lucky comparitively), season to season, and even day to day. My biggest issues with it are chronic migraines, chronic fatigue, issues with information retention, joint and muscle soreness, general roving pain, bouts of anxiety, and as of late digestive issues. A real "life is like a box of chocolates" sort of deal if you know what I mean. Me and my pals have joked for years about how I'm practically an 90 year old woman. I'm sure I'll think differently when I'm 90, but for now it's a pretty accurate and humorous comparison to keep things sensical.
Here's my problem: I'm pretty sure I'm a go getter. I'm pretty sure I could be wildly passionate about photography. I'm pretty sure I'm adventurous and a social butterfly and daring and ambitious. But until the day I'm healed (which I remain expectant for) I have not much choice but to be a cautious dreamer. I have to guard my fragile physical self and my limited supply of energy. I have to pace myself so as not to burn out. And some days I just have to burn out and try again tomorrow.
I'm not going to lie, I get discouraged and frustrated when I can't accomplish what I think I "should" be able to do. That applies to both business and life in general. "If only I could give the things and the people I care about my all, how much more impact could I be making?" But I read 5 little words by Lara Casey that really resonated with me. It's okay to grow slow.
Wow. Of course it is! I don't have to be in a rush, or hustling to "keep up" with my industry, or shooting 30+ weddings a year to be meeting and encouraging new people. I just need to be me, and grow at whatever pace is comfortable and feasible. I won't say I'm content with my situation. No way. I'm continuing to believe for full healing, restored gusto, and permission to chase my dreams with wild abandon. But until then, I know I'm doing everything I can with everything I have and that needs to be enough. Plus, I don't do it alone. I have an incredible husband who serves me tirelessly doing everything he can to lighten my load and my mood. I have a vast community of friends and wonderful family who endlessly pour out their love, their prayers, and their encouragement. And above all else I have a mighty God who is so so so so much bigger than any inconvenience I may encounter here on earth.
The funny thing is when I have a camera in hand and am shooting I very often do feel freedom from my burden. It all just melts away for a while as I focus on the task at hand. I adore that. I adore the people who trust me and hire me and give me the opportunity to do something I love. I've been worried that sharing my honest struggle will scare away potential clients, but let me assure you of this: I care about my clients and this job I've been so graciously given, and God cares about me. Therefore, I am capable. It's as simple as that.
I don't have some profound ending to this ramble, and I'm sure later on I'll be uncertain why I even bothered to share. But in a world that is a little messy, the least we can do with each other is be honest right? Final thoughts: Even if I'm healed tomorrow, I definitely don't want to forget the lessons I'm learning in this season. Maybe they're applicable to you too.
1. Have patience with yourself and respect your limits
2. God's timing and provison is always superior to human hustle
3. Slow growth is still growth
Thanks for stopping by and powering through that. Now friends, go enjoy your day and be well blessed.