“God, my Shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.” Psalm 23:1-3
To a year of stretching and growing. Constantly pulled between work and life. I struggled hard with finding balance. I felt the first twinges of burnout in my spirit, a word that I used to scoff at because of how much I simply “loved my job.” I chased and performed and ran myself into the ground in the name of productivity. I ran and did and left no room for rest, much less tending to my own heart. I spent most waking hours editing thousands of images, then felt guilty when I barely blogged, neglected instagram, and forgot to eat that day.
And the Lord finally whispered one day to write it all down. To get it out of my spinning mind and get back to the place of rest. I never once realized how desperate and thirsty I was for Jesus to come and take it away. Take away the striving and the idea that I had to do it all. I had to be the best friend, the best encourager, the best daughter, the best business owner. Let’s be real guys, being your own boss and building a business is not for the faint of heart, and with a mind set on a standard of perfection I might as well have been a ticking time bomb. And after seeing my year on paper it became so clear. Between my own and assisting friends there were over thirty weddings to be photographed, twenty precious couples that put their total trust in me for their sweetest of days and sessions. There was a whole lot of life happening and a whole lot of work to be done, and I was drowning in both.
And like a wakeup call the Lord grabs me and says “this isn’t the way I want it for you, and it doesn’t have to be like this.” And showed me while I was happily filling in squares on my calendar, gearing up for a flourishing second year in business, my soul was anything but flourishing. I forgot to tend to my own heart, my own needs, my own rest. I forgot this was all birthed from love. To quote Jonathan Helser, “burnout happens when our doing exceeds our being.” And when we allow our performance and productivity levels to come before our souls, we won’t be running for very long.
I’d nodded along with a halfhearted smile when people praised my busy. I’ve agreed with a world that told me I had to keep up, had to do more, had to prove myself to be worthy of these things I hold dear. In a year of fast growth and favor, dreams coming to fruition, and lessons learned. I learned that boundaries are not only freeing, but a crucial foundation for a fruitful life and business. So I happily booked thirteen weddings and called it a day.
I say all of this to encourage your heart and my own. That if you’re in a season of hustle and running and building, to not allow your busy to quench the fires burning in your heart for what he placed in you for love. To not get so wrapped up in the should-do’s and be’s that you forget to sit at the feet of your first love, and hold to what you’ve been given with loose hands and an overwhelmed heart. To grow deep roots. To steward the moment at hand, instead of running yourself ragged over the next. To sit down with our creator instead of proving ourselves as creatives. To be still, to listen and breathe. To let him lift your weary head and set your sights on heaven. And that when He changes gears, to let Him interrupt your best plans, because His ideas are always way more fun.
So I say, run this race friend. Run it with passion, with fervency, with humility, with joy. But remember to work from rest and not for it. Remember to slip away with a Father that delights in your being way more than anything you could do for Him. Remember you have nothing to prove, no smile, or like, or nod of approval to work for when you have His. Remember your first job is to take care of a soul that was fought for, bought at a price, and solely created to be unreasonably loved.
Nothing to prove sweet one. Not a thing to prove.