One of my Bible verses that I have used to encourage myself to move forward comes from Moses’s words to Joshua:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
The thing is I don’t always see myself as either strong or courageous. I am often afraid and even terrified by “them.” I don’t always live the faith I profess.
This week, as I sometimes do, I went for a walk around Billy Dreher Island State Park, and I took my camera. I went with the intent of just walking, of course, listening to my music through my headphones, and working on some photography classes. And when I returned home, I posted several to Facebook. I just like to share them.
I had three comments that stopped me:
1. One commenter said she hoped I would put one or more of my photographs in the group’s exhibit sometime soon.
2. Another commenter, a nearly life-long friend (we started school together in first grade at Dutch Fork Elementary—the OLD one that burned about 40 years ago—and we graduated Chapin High School together), asked me if I had considered putting one my photographs in the state fair.
3. Still another long-time friend said he loved seeing my photographs because they showed that I had an “artistic eye.”
These comments brought back to the forefront one of my God-sized dreams: to bring the gift of photography to others. I have felt a pull to do something more with my photography than just receive the images and store them on my hard drive (at the end of the year, I will transfer them from the computer to an external hard drive) or share on Facebook or on this blog (which has undergone several incarnations). I thought at one time that I wanted to have a “business,” a portrait business primarily. Now I’m not so sure.
What I do know is that I am afraid, and I am terrified, and I am not strong and I am not courageous to take the steps I want to take. It’s not that I don’t trust that God is with me, because I know He is. I’m just afraid that I will make a mess of things and that I will fail miserably.
Here is what I want to do, and it’s all part of the same dream:
- I want to lead others to use photography to help them see the world.
- I want to help others learn to use their cameras to receive and make images that preserve memories.
- I want to share the lessons I have learned and keep learning.
- I want create a community that is save for people to try new things.
My son Aaron keeps telling me that I need to put myself “out there.” I wish I had his courage, because that man-child does know how to put himself out there in his world. He does what Thoreau encourages us to do: to march to the beat of our own drummers. But my fears hold me back.
I am not sure how I am going to move forward with this God-sized dream of mine, but I know that I feel more and more that I am called to do this. I am going to take Moses’s words to heart: I will be strong and courageous, and put my fear behind me because God has my back in this. He will be with me and guide me.