contemplative photography

When God Takes Over the Dream

Am I the only one who sometimes wonders how God views our dreams? And wonders whether God’s version of our dream is the same as ours?

Several years ago, I applied to be part of Holly Armstrong Gerth’s “God-Sized Dream Team,” a group of women who would help her launch her her book You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream. I wrote then that I wanted to be a professional photographer who would help people tell their stories through family photography sessions. I also wrote that I wanted the photography business to help me support my family because I was not, under any circumstances, going to return to the classroom as an English teacher.


God has a sense of humor. My photography business has not happened as I had hoped. I am back in the classroom teaching college-level composition part time. (I’m on a four-week hiatus between mods from now until July 20. Okay, that’s FIVE weeks, but there is a school-wide “summer break” at the end of the current mod, so I’m not counting it.) And I am so content being that composition/written communications teacher. It’s only a fraction of what I would be making as a public school teacher, but I do not have the stress that I had when I was teaching high school English. For that, I am grateful for my change in circumstances.

I get the occasional inquiry about family photography sessions, but I am accepting only the ones I truly want to do. And I am accepting the ones where I know that I will be blessing others. But here’s the thing. Perhaps God is leading me in another direction. I’m still using my photography, and my abilities as a teacher.


Last week, I asked another photographer for a favor: could our private group do a round of reframing prompts. She asked me to create the first one (our fearless Jennifer had already led us through two rounds). I gulped, said yes, and then I swallowed even harder, and VOLUNTEERED to write at least three or four MORE weekly prompts. (What was I thinking?) But it felt right at the moment.. On this Monday morning, I’m fighting the doubts.

But my dear God-sized sister dreamers jumped in and reassured me that sometimes when we are pursuing that God-given calling, the enemy starts feeding us his lines. Remember that question, “What was I thinking?” Yeah, the enemy wants me to question my abilities.


For those who are fighting this battle of negative energy, or the enemy’s energy, or whatever you want to call it, I’m thinking of the advice that my sisters are giving me.

  1. God does not give us a spirit of fear. He is present, and He is strengthening me.
  2. Even Jesus was tempted, and he told those temptations just to move on out of the way. I realize now that Jesus acknowledged those temptations with a nod, “yes, you’re there, and you look and sound pretty good, but you’re not for me, so get on out of my way and let me do my thing.” So, yeah, notice the fear and the doubt and acknowledge that those feelings are real, but put them out of the way and get on with business.
  3. Reach out. There are others out there who will support and pray and help you through this. Hey, not even Jesus could carry out his earthly ministry without the disciples! My sister dreamers are out there praying for me and supporting me even when I think I need to crawl under my rock or hide in the cave again. Paul tells us that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. We are not alone in this pursuit.

I am not sure where this new leg of my dream is going to take me. Right now, I am content, though anxious, to follow the path before me. This new writing, this new way of framing, has been a long time coming. My original dream is evolving. God is taking over.


By Olivia Fulmer

I am the OliviaIrene of OliviaIrene Photography. I am a photographer, a teacher, a story teller. I use this space to tell stories of life, family, and faith through words and images. I'd love to share your stories as well. Join me in this journey.

I love conversation, the close, intimate kind amongst friends. Won't you join me? I look forward to a good coze.

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