Have Faith & Hustle Hard

Have Faith & Hustle Hard

(written at midnight on Saturday)

I have been really cranking out a lot of website and business work the last couple weeks. I think it hit me that if I’m going to try and make this thing even a part-time job, I need to rework my branding and get my act together as far as my online presence. I used to kind of poke fun at photographers on Instagram who said “omg I’m sooo busy, like I worked a 10-hour day today…” and I would always kinda roll my eyes and be like yeah, right, you spent the whole day messing around with editing and maybe posting to Instagram. In some ways, that’s true, but the last week has been like a constant grind for me. There is so much that I could be implementing in my business; there are literally books written full of tips and advice. I want to study marketing when I go to college, for heaven’s sake! There is always sooo much to learn and there’s only one of me. So it’s just been a constant hustle of trying to keep up with my business, which, I fear, is taking off without me being quite ready.

This week, I made some big-time mistakes that made me feel like I’ll never be cut out to be a professional. I’ve always had a really hard time charging people for portrait sessions. Weddings are no problem because dang, those suckers are HARD! But portraits? Ehh…*waves hands around* it’s so difficult to charge people $$$ for hanging out with them for an hour and taking pics. Then I get to editing and remember that my camera cost money and gas costs money, etc. So in the long run, my pricing is fair and expected. But I still struggle. This week I felt like I ripped someone off because they were expecting a discount. On the drive home from the shoot, I wrestled with it and wondered if it was wrong of me not to give them the discount when perhaps they were expecting one? Or if I should just be more firm with my pricing? Was it on me for not realizing that she hadn’t looked at my prices? All of these thoughts and more flooded my mind. Then, I took a breath and remembered that in the end, this is not about money; it’s about people. Did I treat this client with absolute respect, encouragement, and love? Yes. Did I do a good job? Yes. Did she leave feeling well-served, understood, and appreciative? I hope so! Are these photos, 10 years from now, going to be worth the $$$ now? Yes, yes, yes. So ultimately, the money is business, not personal. The people are the ones I am personal with. But it’s hard to not take the money personally, because I am in such a personal business. Ugh.

The other mistake that I made revealed the grace of God to me in a really profound way. I believe it is human nature to lose things. To lose time, lose common sense, lose obedience, lose faith, lose keys…ultimately, we’re the losers in this story. I am no exception. I lost not one, but two memory cards. One, thank goodness, was just an adapter that had no data on it, but the other had some things on it that I needed. I knew I needed to hunt for them, but was leaving for a shoot and decided to put off the hunt till I got home. All throughout the 25 minute drive to the photo shoot, I was feeling the panic rise in me. What if I can’t find those cards?! I prayed through the whole trip, out loud, and had to leave it completely in God’s hands. I didn’t intentionally lose them. I am usually well organized with my camera gear and don’t misplace things. Lately, though, I’ve been moving things around like a crazy lady because of our basement remodel. I had also been at a shoot earlier this week with beautiful creek/waterfall type views…and…could have dropped a card in the creek. Cue the dramatic music. How I didn’t have a full-fledged panic attack, I do not know, but I was praying through it and decided this would have to be something I take one thing at a time, in faith. I tried to think of things I was thankful for in this situation. That I have backup cards. That my camera was in working order. That the lighting & weather were perfect for the photo shoot. And on and on. Eventually I felt some peace come over me.

To make a long story longer, I got home that night and knew I seriously needed to search high and low for these cards. I turned my camera bags inside out, combed through my very disorganized backpack, even went through the pockets of all my clothes. I was praying this whole time. God, please show me whether I just need to buy a new card for tomorrow’s shoot or… turned into OKAY I SERIOUSLY DO NOT KNOW WHERE THIS THING IS HELP HELP HELP. I don’t know if it’s selfish to pray for things when you lose them or not; I mean, He’s not a genie in a bottle. But I was pretty desperate at this point. I went out to the car with my phone flashlight, knowing it wouldn’t be there. A silent prayer went up right before I started looking in the car. I scoured around and was about to close the door and give up, then had the fleeting thought to look in the side compartment of the passenger door. What are we supposed to use those things for anyways? Are they meant to hold straw papers and old French fries? Because that’s all I found when I cleaned the car two weeks ago. I saw a glint in the compartment and gasped. There was missing card #1. I grabbed it and breathed out a “You are faithful!” because, let’s get real, He is.

I was still in distress about card 2, knowing that if I didn’t find it I would lose some personal data. I started looking through my stuff again, then had the thought to check in the box my laptop came in a few weeks ago. I kid you not, there sat missing card #2. There is a God in heaven.

Are my tales of lost things boring you? This is probably enough to upset both a theologian and an atheist because of the way I pray, but all I can say is that this is what happens in my life. I overthink things and pray about them. Answers do not always come, but when they do come, they come in divine ways. I decided to take the situation by faith and not panic, and our relentless, ridiculously gracious God decided to throw some wonders into my little everyday world. The lesson in the memory cards is that God is never too big to deal with the small, nor is He too small to deal with the big. Take it to Him. He is honoring the faith & the hustle, one day at a time.

pssssst! the featured image for this post was provided by kaboompics.com! go check them out, they’re awesome and I am not sponsored by them to say this!

Comments: 2

  1. LoisSkulski says:

    Ah, sweet Aliyah, I love your honest openness. And, yes, God cares about all the big AND little things, like lost memory cards (or our car keys yesterday). You are His precious child and He knew that you are not just careless and needing a lesson, but human and fallible and totally loved. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. Petra Reini says:

    So so good, girl! Needed this reminder.

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