The other day, I said that I would write up a blog and share some valuable lessons & wisdom I've learned/gained over the past couple of years. I'm finally finding some time to do that and boy, is it overdue.
It's so easy to look over the things we've learned when life is hectic. I've grown so much over the past few years. Mostly by choice but definitely some not so good experiences have molded me into a better person as well. As hurtful as some of those experiences may have been, I wouldn't change one thing about them because it's definitely helped me grow into a much better person. And, here I am, sharing them with you.
1. Life can't always be planned. - This one is a little hard for me to admit because I'm definitely that person who sits around and makes lists of everything that needs to be done the following day. I can't explain it; there's a great accomplishing feeling when I get to check off things from my list. But, there's also the great disappointment when I don't check off the ENTIRE list I wrote out for the day. One of the best things I have learned over the past couple of years is knowing when to write lists and when to just let life happen. Not everything has to be planned and not everything has to be on paper to have that "accomplished" feeling.
2. Find the love in the things you hate. - When I opened my business, I was completely sure that I was going to love every minute of it and truthfully, I do; but there are moments I hate. There are things I wish I could hire someone else to do so that I could only focus on the things I love but, something greater? I have learned to love the things I hate because without those things, I wouldn't have my business. Sure, there are things we all have to do in life that we really don't want to but find something to love about it. Don't like having to get up and run every morning to stay fit? Love the fact that you CAN run. There are millions who can't! Don't like that you have to drive a few hours a day to commute to and from work? Love the fact that you have been blessed with a job, a car and money to put into the gas tank. There's always something out there to love about things we hate. I guarantee it.
3. Knowing when to let go. - One thing I personally struggle with is understanding that there are seasons for everyone in your life. There's a time and a place for someone to be in your life and just like that, it could change; they could change or you could change. So learning to let go of relationships is definitely something that is becoming a little easier for me. It's still a struggle, but let's be real for a moment - would I rather have a circle of people who are only allowing me to get but so far in life or a circle of people who push me for a moment and then release me to grow further?
4. When God gives a dream or a vision, it doesn't always mean "right now". - This is something that I personally still fight with to this day because I'm always so excited whenever God gives me a new vision or a new dream for my business, my campaign, my family. It's tough because I'm a do'er more than I am a dreamer. I dream about a goal for a quick moment and then I figure out how to get it. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. For me, it was becoming a stressful thing because I was allowing my platter to get overfilled way too often and I was becoming burned out. This is when God gently reminded me that every dream and every vision doesn't mean it has to be done RIGHT NOW. Sometimes, He gives us glimpses of where our life is going so that we can continue on the path we are on OR so that we can take a different route than where we are headed. I love this about God and it's something I cherish deeply. So instead of acting on every dream or vision I receive, I simply write it in my journal and keep it safe until God releases me to do act.
5. One on One time with God is IRREPLACEABLE. - Someone said to me that we should date God on a daily basis. That we should get on a personal level with Him. Honestly, when I was new to my faith, I kind of laughed at the thought of this. I always imagined how that may seem. Going out to dinner, ordering a plate of food and sitting it in front of an empty seat. It was quite comical to me. Until I learned what this REALLY meant. Now, I absolutely cherish those one on one moments with God. Every morning and every evening, I grab a cup of tea, I grab my devotionals and bible and I go out on the porch to connect to God. I connect through prayer, through writing, through worshiping, through reading and allowing myself to disconnect completely from the world. During this one on one time, God has revealed some of my greatest successes to me. Campaigns, speaking engagements, events, travels, goals, plans for my family...
6. Just because you leave somewhere, doesn't mean it's forever. - This is the absolute best thing I have learned, that has slowly come to my heart. There have been many places I've visited in my life, seen and lived. One in particular, I moved to in 2012 and left to return home shortly after. I went there with the hopes of creating a better life for my family. I had a calling to go there but I didn't understand it. At the time, I wasn't following Christ at all. Sure, when things got bad, I called out to Him, but I definitely wasn't following Him. However, I felt a calling, a longing to move. When we returned home, I felt like a failure. I had told everyone that we were moving for good and that this was better for my family; only to return home four short months later. I wasn't sure why or what was going on. At the time, I was dealing with a lot of emotional baggage. My husband and my relationship wasn't in the best of places and if I'm being honest, we were on the verge of splitting our family apart. I had just recently given birth and at the time, the only place I wanted to be was back home. Which truly was a blessing for this season of our lives. We found an amazing church family at Destination Church. My business FLOURISHED in a way that only God can create and my husband and I renewed our relationship with one another. We healed our marriage through Christ. But now, times are changing and God is pushing us in a new direction... a new place. We thought this place would be California, as a job was offered to me and I pondered on it greatly. However, it just didn't give me peace. The thought of moving there didn't resonate well within my spirit. Through deep, deep prayer, God revealed to me that I would move my business to Los Angeles, California but I would not LIVE there. How can this happen? Is that even possible? I was confused for several weeks and honestly, I was becoming frustrated because God was only revealing small glimpses of the plan to us over the course of prayer, literally, over a couple of months. Finally, while in prayer on our front porch, God revealed everything to me. The longing in my heart I felt to return to Arizona was not just because I didn't give it enough time before, but because THIS is where God really called us to live - even in the beginning. WE just had the timing wrong. It needed to be done in His favor. In His way. And now, the time has come. We have not settled on a date yet but we do know in 2016, our family and my business will move to Arizona. This is a big step for us, but I feel at PEACE with it. Los Angeles, CA is a 4 hour drive from Mesa, AZ so what God revealed to me is... if clients are already driving 5 hours from Maryland and New York to have me photograph them, what would make me think they wouldn't drive 4 hours from CA to AZ? We are going on a complete leap of faith but I know God has us!!! I will announce an official date as we get closer to receiving word on when to go from God. I want to make sure we do this the right way... HIS way.