Wow, written nearly 2 years ago yet these words, in the search for meaning, my life’s purpose and calling, these words still resonate and stir within me. What a beautiful story and reminder for such a time as this.
Your Life’s Purpose
A few months ago I was browsing the aisles of Target, honestly I don’t remember WHY I was there but I stumbled across 100 Days to brave and it was speaking my language.
I’ve spent the last several months in a season of being present and intentional in moments of each day. While with clients, or in conversation(s) with friends and family, either physically or over the phone. More importantly though, I’ve learned to be more present with MYSELF.
Perhaps this has been the more difficult area to presence myself in. When I begin to look introspectively I begin to see areas of my way of being with myself and others that I don’t like. I begin to see conversations and misunderstandings that, until then I felt not fault in. Yet in the moments I feel overwhelmed, when it feels easier or more comfortable to be in-decisive rather than make a decision and stay vague and idle in my commitments rather than taking action, I realize there’s a choice to be made.
Monday I picked this book back up and dusted off the cover, I’d set it aside and realized I hadn’t been as diligent with my daily reading as before and it’s not by accident the next chapter addressed the life’s purpose quest that’s been churning in my heart.
I believe we’re all created with a purpose and there’s a calling that’s as unique as we are that’s placed on our lives. Over the past 9+ years I’ve found my calling in photography and documenting moments and stories. Preserving legacies and lives of couples and their families and in the studio it’s been beautiful to create legacy portraits of women with their loved ones.
Yet there’s these questions I’ve wrestled with like, “What do you desire for your life or business in 5 or 10 years from now.” I’ve often wondered what life will look like in 10 years, if I’m not a photographer what will the purpose and intention of my life be?
While getting curious about why I’ve flourished, enjoyed and am passionate about the work I do as a photographer I’ve learned SO much about myself and the unique aspects that really drive my passion for the work and I feel are my TRUE calling.
Your Life Purpose in Your Passions & Gifts
- Connection. I love asking non-typical questions of my clients and those I meet. Going “outside the box” of “how’d you meet” or “what do you do for a living”. I have a natural tendency to know and see discomfort- long before my clients even realize they’re “uncomfortable”. It’s my connection with them that provides insight into who they are and creating portraits that truly capture and reflect this.
- Light. I learned after working in a studio space for a year just how instrumental light is to my heart and freedom in creating the space and connection with my clients that I desire. While being outdoors I’ve always found inspiring and beautiful light AND THEN worked with the location to create a magical and unique portrait. When the natural light of my space wasn’t all I thought it would be I got to learn how to create light with strobes and other modifiers and in that time also learned how important feeling connected and in PRESENT with my clients was to ME.
- Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Though I’ve not walked a road as harrowing as some, I’ve realized I naturally seem to feel and connect with where others are in their lives and the joy or pain they may be experiencing. Authenticity has always been at my core and being able to see past the “exterior” and connect with where others truly ARE is a gift and realizing that I better understand why that genuine connection with my clients is SO important to me!
- Honest Conversations: Once I started being introspective and tuned into my own life I began to hear and connect with those around me even more. I’d meet friends or even acquaintances for coffee and be able to have honest conversations about REAL life.
During or after sessions with clients we’d connect and begin to share what’s “behind the curtain”, pain, hurts, struggles and the tricky balance it is to keep up with life’s demands while running a business or working a fulltime while aligning with the desires to raise a family or live life too!
In this lesson, Annie says, “Jobs will come and go. Your calling won’t and it’s not what you do but how you do it”. This past July I got clear in what might be next, I began to see my calling wasn’t “just photography” but might actually be this gift of connection and allowing people to be authentically seen and to simply just BE when they’re with me. I have started to see how this gift or calling has allowed me to excel and really create the work and experience I do for the clients I work with. As I began to see other ways I might share this gift with the world around me, fear, uncertainty and doubt crept in (more like flooded in). My commitments became foggy and I resisted establishing clarity.
Then I read the last 2 sentences of this lesson,
“Don’t be afraid to try out a different expression of your calling. Don’t let fear of failure keep you from what God wants you to do.”
—ANNIE F. DOWNS
And it was the affirmation my heart needed. The “kick in the pants” to become aware of what was holding me back and making those muddy (unclear) waters feel good.
So what is it for you?
- What’s that dream or desire tucked away in your heart you’d love to pursue but continue to say, “one day when _____.”
- What would it require to claim it, to share that dream and then take the first little step towards that dream or calling today?
- In 6 months or even 12 months from TODAY, regardless of what the world Tosses your way: What Purpose do you want to serve with your Life?
If you’re in a pivot or transition in life.. looking for what’s next, for new possibilities or clarity- I’d love to hear what’s causing you to feel stuck and creating uncertainty in your life! Does it help to know you’re not alone?