I've been both dreading this post and looking so forward to it.
When our family decided to move west, back to Colorado, I began to pray over the future of Jen Lebo Photography. I had no idea what God wanted to do with my business, and whether I should continue with it, particularly since I would be heading back to teaching. A new job, a new community, a whole new world for our kids. I knew my focus needed to be elsewhere, and I was feeling led to put my camera away.
But several weeks into settling into our new place, my heart began to stir. I wanted to keep shooting. But it felt different. It wasn't the business I was missing, the excitement of sharing posts, or having clients love my work. It was the connections that God allowed me to make through my camera, particularly with teens, especially with teen girls.
The more I prayed, and the more I spent time drawing near to God, the more I felt Him assuring me that He had given me this gift of photography, but that I had been misusing it for the past few years. I had not been seeking His will, but my own. I had been listening so closely to what the world told me I needed to do to succeed in my business, and not listening at all to what The Lord had planned for me.
I began writing down all the Scriptures that God put on my heart as I prayed over my work. Seek firstthe kingdom of God, commit your ways to Him, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Write down the vision. Wait patiently for the Lord. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. My ways are higher than your ways. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as for the Lord, and not for men. Walk by faith, not by sight.
I came to realize that my work is not for me. It is not for my glory or my pleasure. And it is not even for my clients, or my subjects. My work- every facet of it, from the session, to the sharing of images, to the blog posts- it's all for God. And it's for those who I long to love through my work.
Now as amazing as a revelation like this is, it brings with it some doubts. My mind quickly went to places like "You're doomed. No one will want to read or hear about stuff like this. No one will want to be in front of your camera anymore. This is too much." It also went to places like, "You have no one to photograph in Colorado! No one knows you! You aren't good enough to start again. You have too little knowledge, expertise, experience, talent, business savvy, fill-in-the-blank. You are not good enough to be used for God."
And it's true. And at first it all scared me to death.
But then I was reminded of another wonderful truth. Yes, I am absolutely flawed, completely unequipped to succeed at photography, or teaching for that matter! I'm filled with shortcomings. But my many weaknesses point straight to my God, who is made PERFECT in my weakness. Because when I do anything, it is with His power.
So I am stepping out again. But I am stepping out on His terms, and in His timing. I'm not sure yet what that all entails. But for now I know it means this:
* Focusing Jen Lebo Photography on the photography, not the business. So I am not "hanging out my shingle" just yet.
* Focusing on high school senior and teen portraits. I believe God has given me a heart for teen girls and their struggle for truth in a world of lies- about their beauty and their worth. This is where God wants me. I will gladly shoot other types of photos if and when the need arises, but my heart is for teens.
* This will be the last post on this blog. But a new blog is in the works, complete with a new brand, and a new JLP! Jen Lebo Photography will focus on blogging for teens girls, and ladies of all ages. My prayer is to encourage, uplift, and bring joy and hope and love to anyone who comes across it.
* Fun. Authentic. Shine. These are the three words that I want to embody with my work, with my photos, with my writing, with my life. This is what Jen Lebo Photography will be about. I'm finished trying to run a business based on what the world tells me. It's time to be authentic and share my photography the way God has always planned it.
I am well aware that such a shift might mean that no one else ever reads my blog again. That I never photograph another subject, that any hopes of restarting my business go down the drain. But that's ok. I'm not in it for me, or even for you (and I hope that's not harsh). My blog posts are for God. Everything I write or shoot, I now do so with the thought, "Father, how can I glorify You with this?". So if He's the only one who ever reads another post (besides my mom- Hi Mom!), then that's absolutely ok with me. He's the one I'm doing it all for anyway.
If you've read this far, then thank you! And I apologize for being so long-winded! You know me! And if you want to join me for this next phase of JLP, then that's fantastic! I'm working to combine my JLP website with a new blog so that it's all in one place. www.jenlebophotography.com will soon be the blog and the website.
I'm looking forward to following The Lord down whatever path He leads me, with my photography, with my teaching, and with everything else. I sure hope you'll join me.
Keep smiling! There is so much to smile about.