Christ, emotions, ministry, testimony, work

I don’t want to write this blog post either. 

  Recently, I’ve been a podcast addict. It started with Boundless a little over  two years ago, and then I discovered Serial, and Undisclosed, and Anything & Everything with Jeff & Alyssa Bethke, and oh my gosh, the number of true crime and bible teaching podcasts I subscribe to now is mounting people.

Most recently though, one I’ve come to love and appreciate as someone who is hoping to continue to grow a small photography business (and a blog, and maybe even my own yoga practice someday, Lord willing) is the T.J. Mousetis Podcast. T.J. and his wife, Brooke, run walk in love., a great t-shirt company out of Lancaster, PA that I’ve come to love after discovering them on Instagram a few years ago.

In the last few days of listening to his first 7 episodes, I’m inspired as someone trying to keep a business afloat – even if the goal is to grow – because booking for 2016 is less than exciting right now. But episode 7: “Just Show Up” is what made me sit down to this computer.

He started out just saying that he had no format or any idea what he was going to talk about for that episode and almost didn’t record it, but decided to show up anyway (hence the title). He talked briefly also about a blog he’d started and committed to write a new post every day, except for the day he really didn’t have anything to say that worked. OH HOW I KNOW THAT LIFE TODAY!

This week has been a week of great recovery for me I think, and though I’m still playing catch up with so much and trying to get so many pieces in order I fear I may lose a few, one of the things that’s really been on my heart is that I HAVE TO, NEED TO get back to writing. I listed to a Francis Chan teaching the other day (anther podcast!) and he talked about how lethargic and lazy our lives can become when were aren’t exercising our spiritual gifts because that’s how the Holy Spirit’s work manifests itself in us and I was just thinking the whole time, like, “Duh, Sam! Get back to that! No wonder you’re getting nothing done!” I wasn’t doing anything and therefore produced nothing, and I felt like crap because of it! Because I was suppressing the Holy Spirit’s desire to work in me and through me!

So I started in my journal last week-ish, and it’s been helping. But nothing “blog worthy” seemed to make sense. I didn’t want to just copy what I’d written about in my journal because some of that is still a work in progress to be written about when it really begins to bear fruit and I have a real testimony to share about it and I just kept deleting every attempted post after post after post. And that’s SO defeating.

Until today. I heard T.J. talk about this blog that he just didn’t have anything to write so he called it “I don’t want to write this blog post” and rolled with it. So that’s where my title comes from I guess. I don’t have anything profound to share because quite frankly, I’ve been a bump on a log for a few months. Not literally, but I’ve totally let the daily grind wear me down and consume me. Absorbed with a 40 hour a week job I’m not super enthusiastic about having, being pregnant, feeling like I always have thousands of pictures to edit, and a 6 year old and a husband to take care of (plus our house and our crazy dog) I have neglected the things I’m actually good at and forgotten that I’m a creative! I need to be exercising my creativity or basically, I’m dead. (Not literally, but figuratively and definitely spiritually – we’re created in the image of THE Creator, guys, we’re supposed to CREATE).

Like even right now, just writing this silly post with nothing of profound revelation or wisdom and no scripture that I can think of right now, I feel literally so alive and on fire. I’m passionate when I write, more so than any other art form, photography included (clients if you’re reading this, don’t worry, I’m not leaving you to go write a book… just yet!).

But even so, I’m inspired so much right now to really take a hard honest look at Maid & Anchor Photography and begin tearing it apart to perfect and hone our mission, our brand, and our product to really begin to lay a strong foundation that would support growth there when it comes (setting goals isn’t the problem, it’ll be meeting them next year that I’m worried about).

But honestly, all of this started because I opened up my Bible. I cut out some stuff that was distracting because the study I did pointed me to Philippians 3:7-8 : “But everything that was gain to me, I have considered it to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him, I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ.” (Okay so there IS some scripture in here!)

I was so confronted with that scripture that I realized I needed to make a decision. These silly apps that entertain me but consume real time I could be using to do things that matter, that are life-giving to me and to others – do I want them in my life more than Christ Himself? Um, I think the answer is obvious, but in case it’s not, I deleted the apps.

After that, I began to really invest my time and my energy in reading His word, joined a study group for accountability, and listening to things during the day that will encourage me to grow… which brought me to T.J.’s podcast. Which finally told me what I needed to write about, because I was pretty down and out about just how many posts I’ve begun writing in the last 24 hours that never even got saved to the draft folder.

So before I go, here’s a few things to take away from the rambling I just spewed all over the blog today:
1) Just show up. Even when you don’t know what to do yet, show up and be available. And keep showing up. Don’t quit something you know you’re called to do or have committed to do, see things through.
2) Get rid of things that take you away from things that matter. For me it was a chat app called GroupMe and Snapchat. I had to FLEE (more scripture, but that’s what the Bible says) temptation to be so consumed by those silly things because the pursuit of Christ is always better.
3) Fill your life with encouraging things that will cause you to grow. Like the Bible. And if I haven’t plugged podcasts enough, I’ll do it again. The most encouraging ones I’ve found so far are:
The T.J. Mousetis Podcast (obviously): this one is great for dreamers and entrepreneurs and small business owners looking for practical, real, humble, and sometimes hilarious advice on growing your brand, blog, or biz. Super awesome, too, because T.J. and Brooke did photography for quite some time, on top of walk in love. so for me (and maybe for you) that makes the advice that much more practical because he speaks from experience there.
The Boundless Show: this is by Focus on the Family for single, young adults, but I’ve been married a year a half and still listen to it almost every Thursday. They talk about all kinds of things – my favorite being the culture segment in the middle where a new book is discussed with the author each week – and take time to have greatly educated counselors answer difficult listener questions at the end that I almost always benefit from because I usually know someone who relates to the listener.
Crazy Love Podcast: this is run by the ministry of Francis Chan, who is a pastor and the author of Crazy Love, Radical, Multiply, and You and Me Forever, and a ton of other great material, and it features his sermons which always blow my mind with his ever-increasingly heavenly perspective. He’s hilarious, he’s real, sometimes the messages get really heavy, but I always feel so encouraged when the message ends because it always points so much to Christ and our eternity with Him, and I feel like I can draw so much from Francis’s passion and enthusiasm and joy.
John Piper Messages: also run by the ministry of a pastor, called Desiring God, these are recordings of sermons by John Piper, who, if you don’t know him, you should. Super humble, southern theologian with a sweet sense of humor that will open your eyes to so much because he’s dedicated 50 years of his life to studying the Word of God. Prepare to want to follow along in the Bible with this guy, and take notes. The nuggets of wisdom and knowledge he has in store are incredible gifts from God.
Anything and Everything with Jeff and Alyssa Bethke: Jeff Bethke is the guy who did the YouTube video a few years ago called “Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus” that blew up basically everywhere. He’s made probably 100 great spoken word and teaching videos since then, and written two awesome books called Jesus > Religion and It’s Not What You Think, and his podcast with his wife is always entertaining and quite frankly, adorbz… with a ‘z’ (listen to the podcast and you’ll know what I mean). The tag line, “An up close and personal look into the lives of two married people who talk about faith, culture, and answer your questions” sums it up perfectly, and I appreciate their gracious and loving perspective on things.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that. I apologize for sounding a little like Forrest Gump there, but you know what I mean.

I hope to be writing here again soon. Thanks to another one of T.J.’s podcasts, I’m going to be establishing some goals for writing so I’m not so sporadic and I can hopefully prevent myself that way from taking another 6 or 7 month hiatus from what feels like my purpose, you know?

Anyway, if you’re still reading after all of that. Thanks. Love you guys. Especially those people who have been following this blog since I got started back in 2011 – you rock. You all do. 🙂 

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