Today at church we talked about God's promise.
Pastor Kelly spoke on God's promise, the story of Sarah and Abraham, and the scandal of faith. She talked about how Sarah laughed at God when he announced that she would give birth to a son, even in her old age, and how we all do that in our lives.
She asked us to ask ourselves:
"Where are you barren in your life, and have you gotten comfortable and accepted that barrenness?"
I thought about how my whole life I had had the dream that I wanted to be a photographer, but I always looked at the word "someday." How I would tell people "I want to be a photographer" but deep inside I never really felt like I would get there. Like I wasn't good enough, I didn't have enough time, there's no way I could make a steady income from it. I looked at these professional photographers that made thousands of dollars a month and sighed wistfully to myself; "I wish I could do that." I'd always think.
Then I thought about this year. These last 2 months (has it really only been 2 months?). I thought about how last Christmas I felt a restlessness in my spirit- the kind that scared me a little, because I recognized it from when I felt it at my first job. Something inside me stirred and was not quite at peace. And that scared me, because I was at my dream job! Or at least, one of them anyways. I had been at Dutch Bros for a year and a half serving such wonderful people and making coffee and I was GOOD at it. I was tenured! It was comfortable, and it was home. Right?
I consulted the Lord about it almost every day for the next few months. "God, what am I supposed to do? Where else will I go?" I was an intern at my church, serving in various areas of ministry, and serving others at Dutch on my "off days." But what would I do once the summer hit? After interns was over? I knew a second year wasn't what felt right, at least not at the time. And now that I had addressed and admitted to the restlessness inside of me, each day I felt more and more incomplete as I stepped into my place of work. I no longer felt completely fulfilled- Most days I was happy, but I was aware of the hole inside. I was aware of the need to move.
I kept praying. I kept pushing. God, give me something. And then one day, a beautiful momma came through on a Tuesday night to pick up her son from school and get a mocha, and I happened to ask her what she did for work. She told me she was a photographer. I high-fived her and said "hey, me too!" and she offered me a job. I looked into it more, and it seemed perfect- consistent work taking pictures of babies? Growing in this 'hobby' of mine? Having the chance to push myself and only make money if I could show others the value of what I was giving them? Heck to the yes.
And another dream job was thrown on my lap.
This happened in late April, and I started officially working at Bella Baby 5 days after our Intern year ended. I only worked 2 days a week, but it made nice additional income! Yet, I was still scared to let go of the comfortable.
My fiance encouraged me every day as he could see my unhappiness with where I was grow. He kept telling me "Makayla, I think Bella came along for a reason, and you need to let go of Dutch and pursue this." Yet I fought him on it. I had just moved out in April- what if it didn't make me enough money? It's not like it's a set income. I make 100% commission, so if I don't make sales, I don't get paid! I told him it wouldn't be reasonable, and I was just so darn scared of the "what ifs".
He reminded me of words I had shared with him awhile back, "If God puts a dream in your heart, you have to trust him with it and believe he will bless you, as long as you take a step of faith." those words hit me deep. I knew he was right, I knew what I needed to do- but man, was I terrified.
At the end of July we went to church camp, and I told God "I need to know now. I need to know what to do." I had kind of already decided that I would wait to leave Dutch in May- I didn't know when Mike would propose, but I knew we would be married by then. I figured "it'll be so much safer to go full time with photography if I have Mike's income to fall back on. That way if it doesn't make a lot of money, at least I won't be scrambling." But at camp, God gave me clear direction;
"Makayla, you can either play it safe and start your business later and believe YOU made yourself successful, or, you can trust me, take a leap of faith, and know that you are making an income solely because I am the One sustaining you."
I knew what I needed to do.
I put in my 1 month notice at Dutch a day after I got back from church camp. 5 days later, Mike proposed to me, and then 4 weeks later I left the job I had loved so dearly for 2 years. It was hard, but I felt such a peace and such an eagerness to jump into my business and my passion, and give it 100%.
And boy, has it been incredible. Immediately I began getting inquiries about sessions, my calendar started filling, and my sales tripled. My first paychecks from Bella were well north of $700, and I was working half as much as I had at Dutch. And now, here I am, running my own business, my own schedule, meeting with people and blessing them with a gift God has given me. And I am on my knees in awe and disbelief, like Sarah was when she gave birth to that child that seemed so impossible.
I came undone this morning as I thought about what would have happened if I had not chosen to take a step of faith and leave my job to pursue this dream. Just this last week I was so blessed by all my amazing families, seniors, and couples I met with and got to capture on camera. I wouldn't have been able to do any of this right now. I would be working at a job that no longer fulfilled me, and I would not be able to bless these people and be blessed by them. Even now I am 10 minutes away from heading off to a senior session for tonight from one of the sweetest souls I have ever met- this would not be a reality had I not trusted in the Lord.
I'm writing this for personal reflection, but I'm also writing this for those who might be in the same boat that I was in. Knowing you are unhappy, but too scared to let go of an old dream. Let me tell you something my friend- do not keep wearing the clothes you have outgrown. Yes, sometimes it's hard buying new clothes, but man, they look and feel so much better! People look ridiculous wearing pants that are too short and shirts that are way too tight- this is the same way when people try to hold on to a stale, old dream. God has bigger and better things for you! He never wants us to sit in a place of unhappiness and unrest. He wants you to go after dreams that are in your heart. And he wants to bless you, if only you'll trust him and believe in his promise.
Thank you Pastor Kelly for sharing with us this morning. For making me realize and thank God over and over for all He has done for me. This morning in kid's service we were on our knees singing, and I kept weeping as I thought again about how good God has been to me- about how when I surrender to him, he lifts me up over and over again.
I am so excited to continue this journey, and see where God takes me in 6 months, a year, 2 years! I know there will be growing pains, but I also know there will be so much blessing it's ridiculous, as long as I stayed anchored to Him.