Anyone else out there worry just as much as I do?
I'm sure you know if this is you, because if you're anything like me, you are constantly aware of how much you worry/stress yet it's like an itch you just can't help but scratch. You keep telling yourself, "Don't worry, worrying can't help anything," yet there you are at 3 am wide awake and thinking of all the possibilities and ways to solve your problem and you just can't sleep until that problem has been resolved or you felt like it has.
As a photographer, my job is not only to capture people in their most raw and personal moments, but in this social media era, to post those moments and to constantly be posting posting posting. Sometimes it's really cool, to be able to share your thoughts and your vision with the world. Other times, it just really sucks. It really sucks because when your life is not so glamorous, you either feel like A) you don't want to post anything, or B) you have to post SOMETHING to continue to gain exposure, but anything but the bad so that people still think you are doing good.
See the little trap we are in here?
And I know that it's not just me. It's all of us. All of us want to showcase the good and pretend the bad isn't happening. We are thriving! We are succeeding! God forbid we be vulnerable or admit that business isn't popping like usual, or that we aren't feeling discouraged. No, everything is peachy.
Well I woke up this morning and after some serious time with the Lord, had had enough. So here I am, to share with you some ugly truths about me and my life, and hope that it helps you if you feel like you're in a similar situation.
Earlier this month, my husband and I bought the home of our dreams. If you want the full story on how it truly was a miracle from God through and through, I'd be happy to share it with you but it would require a whole other post in itself, haha. So we moved into our home and even though I knew all the money we'd been saving was supposed to go towards are home, I didn't realize how much that cushion of money in our savings account had been helping me feel secure.
So we bought our home, and praise the Lord we didn't have rent due in March because we got out of our lease early, but this month has been dead for Mike and I both when it comes to work. And on top of the furniture we had to buy, we also had to buy a new car. The last few weeks have been me not sleeping, staying up late, looking at the bills, crunching numbers, posting on instagram, trying to find any and every way to stir up business. But no bites.
Last night was another one of those nights. Mike sleeping like a baby, getting ready to go to work early in the morning, and me sitting at my computer feeling like a complete waste since I haven't hardly worked at all this month. Although I've been contributing, my paychecks have been substantially smaller than we are used to and it's been stressing me out.
But the real kicker comes in now- I was up late praying and thinking about it, and I was asking God to forgive me. I told him, "Lord, I know that I shouldn't be worrying. I should be thankful. Because it's not like we don't have ENOUGH to pay the bills, but it's just been hard because we just aren't making enough to where I feel comfortable......."
I stopped. My spirit felt as if it had been punched in the stomach yet at the same time a light bulb had just gone off. I could almost see God looking at me as I opened my eyes, his arms crossed, his head cocked, eyebrows raised, with a small, understanding smile on his face. I looked him in the eyes and then looked down in shame and hung my head.
"Oh. I see now."
I felt his gaze on me and his arms on my shoulder, lifting my chin up with one hand. "Makayla, how many days have to go by before you realize that I did not create you to live comfortably? I created you to push your comfort zone. I created you to love me and trust me. I created you so that we could spend more time together. But we can't do that if you are always trying to do this on your own. Believe in me."
I instantly thought of this verse, and this morning I had to read it again to remind my spirit of God's promise.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" -Matthew 6:25
And so this morning I found myself in my Bible, for the first time in a long time waking up and spending time with God instead of hopping on my computer and instantly getting to work. I remembered what I told Mike I was praying for and what I wrote down in October, when I felt like God was preparing us for a season of tested faith,
"Thank you for this incredible season I've had the last couple months. I ask that you just keep helping me grow and go to new heights, I don't want to stay stagnant and comfortable, I want to be pushed and driven out of my comfort zones.
And God, forgive me for putting my love of making money before my love of spending time with you."
I then flipped to notes from a message in the fall, about the giants we face between where we are and where we'll end up:
1) Doubt- We doubt the plan and person of God
2) Discouragement- It steals our joy and we begin to compare ourselves to others.
3) Disappointment- We can lose a lot of things, but the greatest thing we could every let ourselves lose is our faith.
And what I wrote to myself months ago when life was good and I was feeling "safe"-
"You don't need faith for what you already have, you need faith for what you don't have. What is unsure. What you can't see."
So here I am. Admitting that the past few weeks, I have looked at others that seem to be thriving and keep asking myself "What am I doing wrong?" Here I am, living in a house that God provided for us, yet worrying about the next thing even though he has proven time and time again that HE WILL COME THROUGH FOR ME. Here I am, so small minded, so consumed with my love and security in making money, that I have stopped spending time with God and allowing him to be my comfort and joy. And you know what's the dumbest part about it all? These fears and concerns are SO temporary. I am freaking out because for a couple of paychecks we won't be able to add much into our savings? Oh Makayla, how have you let yourself get to this point.
So this is my confession to the world. That for all my posting about the joys we have been going through, deep down inside my mind has just been focused on the "lack." I have been a bad wife, allowing my worry to be so strong it spreads to my husband (who literally NEVER stresses about anything). I have been a bad friend, turning down fun time because I just want to stay home and work as much as possible to try and fill my "quota" for the pay period. I have been a bad teacher, telling my 5th grade girls that they are loved and that God will take care of them always, yet not believing it myself. And most of all I have been a bad daughter- ignoring my Heavenly Father because I'd rather have a few hundred more dollars in the bank than spend time with the One who has given it all to me in the first place.
I am writing this in the hopes that whoever sees it, can either relate and feel convicted, or that those who can't will be able to see the goodness that God brings me. That he does listen to our hearts and only wants what's best for us. That sometimes our faith is tested and God allows bad things to happen so that we can give him more praise when he turns it all around for good.
And most of all, I'm writing this for myself. To remind myself in the future that it's not that we don't have enough- I'm just uncomfortable. And I need to let go of that. I need to stop working and start resting more, because when I rest, God can work in my life. I want to get back to being content with his presence, with offering him 100% of my heart and not the measly leftovers and scraps I have been giving him lately.
The three giants I've been facing lately I slay in the name of Jesus. This season will be one of encouragement, hope, belief, faith. Being content with what I have and what I don't. Thank you Jesus.