Struggling With Off Season Blues & How We Fight For Joy

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“For this cause I live, for this cause I’d die. I surrender all for the cause of Christ. All I once held dear I will leave behind. For my joy is this, oh the cause of Christ.” – Kari Jobe

If you are a wedding photographer, you know that the “off season” can be a strange combination of pure bliss, rest, and anxiety about what the new year will bring. And if you are anything like me, you find yourself constantly worrying (and waiting) about new inquiries (or lack there of) making an appearance in your inbox.

The stress I’ve experienced the past few months has been such a lack of trust in the Lord. We have been so blessed with great inquiries from the sweetest couples, but the actual number of weddings we’ve booked so far is way less than I’d hoped for at this point in 2017. Last summer I mapped out what 2017 “should” look like, including how many weddings we should have booked by now. While creating goals (weekly, monthly, yearly) is extremely valuable for businesses, it can also provide a glaring red flag of the “I’m not good enough” feelings. My perspective has been skewed by the comparison thief. I watch fellow wedding photographers post on social media about being booked up already, and I’m over here twiddling my thumbs nervously checking my inbox to see if I happened to miss a notification of a new inquiry.

Before I continue, please know that we are overjoyed for our 2017 couples that have booked us! We just love you guys, and cannot wait to celebrate with you on your wedding day!

A few weekends ago, Sojourn (our church) had a women’s conference focused on “Living in Light of Who God Is.” Thankfully and gracefully, God met me in my weakness, worry, and doubt and renewed my desire to live for His glory. In light of what we studied, I was reintroduced to how quickly I fear the unknown. I question why God isn’t providing more weddings that will fill up our calendar. I doubt that He truly knows the desires of my heart and how much we cherish photographing weddings for sweet couples in love.

img_0050-copyWhile driving home, I started listening to Kari Jobe’s new album The Garden. This song below called The Cause of Christ just knocked my heart to the ground with conviction. After all of my fear and doubt, through all of my worrying, this right here is what my life should be about. Not if we are completely booked up for the year already, and definitely not focused on what I think is best for us.

The only thing I want in life, is to be known for loving Christ, to build His church to love His bride and make His name known far and wide

For this cause I live for this cause I’d die
I surrender all for the Cause of Christ
All I once held dear I will leave behind
For my joy is this, oh the Cause of Christ

He is all my soul will prize, regardless of the joy or trial
When agonizing questions rise, in Jesus all my hope abides

For this cause I live for this cause I’d die
I surrender all for the Cause of Christ
All I once held dear I will leave behind
For my joy is this, oh the Cause of Christ

Jesus my Jesus, for Your glory, for Your name
Jesus my Jesus, I will only sing Your praise 

It is not fame that I desire, nor stature in my brothers eye.. I pray it’s said about my life, that I live more to build Your name than mine

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So how do we fight for joy in this season of anxiety and doubt?

Journal Thankfulness Daily

I am not a grand writer, and my best friend and I were talking last week how we both feel so much pressure to be able to write epic recaps of our lives when journaling. So when I was a freshman in college, I started writing down one thing I was thankful for every day in a little Moleskin journal I kept in my Bible. This turned into a habit that I hardly missed throughout my entire college career and still keep a little journal in my Bible to reflect and remember God’s goodness! Writing a lot can be difficult, but taking the time in the morning after reading the Bible to journal one thing I am thankful for completely changes my attitude. I start every entry with the date and the phrase “So thankful for…”

November 29th – So thankful for Your grace even when I feel hopeless.

December 6th – So thankful for my sweet husband who just walked in the door with coffee for me (this is definitely something to thank the Lord for!).

January 2nd – So thankful for a day of rest to recharge.

Talk About It

This seems like a no brainer, but I’m pretty good at keeping things bottled up. But when I open up and let my closest friends know my struggles and allow Michael to really see the depths of my fears/worries, the mountain tops that looked far to high to climb seem less scary because I know they are praying for me and will help me along the way.

Pray For Rest

If you are a wedding photographer too, you know that rest is beyond vital to be able to keep up the hustle (especially if you are working other jobs too while your business is still gaining momentum! That’s us!). We are in such a graciously slower time but I feel like I always have to be doing something. If I’m not being productive (either mentally, physically, socially), I’m obviously just wasting my time. But wait, didn’t the Lord instruct us to rest, and more importantly, find rest in Him?

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30

I am praying that Michael and I can cherish this season of rest, and soak in the beauty of taking time to enjoy God in ways we’ve been far too busy to in the past.

Ask For God’s Leading In Our Business

Praying for our wedding photography business somehow easily slips my mind, and I’m trusting the Lord will change this. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that God’s Word teaches us to pray, seek, knock. My heart’s desire is that I daily lift up our business to Him and seek His will for photographing weddings.

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If you read through this whole post, bless you. I pray that you are encouraged, motivated, and refreshed to wholeheartedly devote whatever you are doing to the Lord! Even in the waiting, He is sanctifying us. Let us not doubt that He is working!

          Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1st Corinthians 10:31

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