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twenty twelve in pencil

It’s day two of a brand new year. What does this year hold in store for me? We shall see. I have goals. Resolutions. Visions. But God is ultimately in complete control of my future. I believe He has been working on my heart this last year and given me new desires and aspirations, mostly pertaining to my work. Last year was tough for me, financially and emotionally. Owning a business is not easy, but then again, nobody said it was. I am constantly on an emotional roller coaster. It’s possible that I get so worked up about my work because I am passionate about it. To put it simply, I love seeing beautiful things and allowing others to be a part of it. But this year… this year was trying. I hit a low point and wondered if I was even supposed to be doing photography. I have put so many years and so much money into it that I never even considered that I may not be heading in the direction God had planned for me.

A dear friend decided to start her photography business this year and was blessed with an opportunity that very few will ever get. It seems like the day she said “I’m a photographer” her business exploded. I can’t think of a better way to put it. I wanted so badly to be excited for her. Something she desired was coming true in a radical way. I tried to fight my jealousy, beat it down and destroy it so that I could rejoice with her in her new venture,  but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself. Why was this happening for her? I had been working the last five years to build a business that is barely hovering off the ground. All the sacrifices my husband and I made; all the tears shed for this stunted little business. Hers was flourishing in a matter of days. It was so unrealistic, but most definitely real. My friend was very gracious to me during this time. She was not under any illusions about how difficult the situation could be for me and she allowed me the space to sort out my feelings. I think I hit all phases of depression in a one week span. I felt empty and worthless. And all the while I was agonizing over the fact that this was my friend. If I didn’t straighten up I would lose our friendship. I fell to my knees and cried out to Jesus to take control of my feelings. There was absolutely no way that I was going to “handle” this one on my own. I surrendered completely. Every breath I breathed was finally His.

This is one of those amazing things that can’t be explained. It just can’t. But I came out of that prayer with a new perspective. Everything lined up for me to be blazing with jealousy and vengeance. As imperfect humans and sinners it is our nature to belittle others so that we can feel better about our situations. Our minds play tricks on us, telling us that we’ve been victimized and we need to retaliate. I pleaded with God to give me Christ-like thoughts so that I would see clearly and act rationally. Where before it made sense to be angry… I was not. I was finally happy for her. God had his hand in everything that was happening to her. That was obvious. Who am I to be so selfish when God is working? She has grown so much in the last months and her work is beautiful. I can now fully appreciate our friendship and its new dynamic.

While my friendship problems were straightened out there was still the possibility that I was going down the wrong road for my career. I prayed and prayed that I would know what to do. One Sunday morning a woman, who I don’t know personally, came to me and asked if she could pray for me. Of course I said yes. Before she started praying she said “God wants to speak to you. He wants you to know that you are not working in vain and he knows your heart…” She said more, but quite honestly I couldn’t hear it all. My body went numb at these words and I immediately started sobbing. There is no way this woman knew about my struggles with my business and turmoil that was going on inside me. I wholeheartedly believe that God was using her to speak to ME.. I had never in my life heard God speak so audibly. And for the first time, it was just me and God.

 

… I am struggling to find the words to explain the feeling. It’s addicting.

 

I hear from God all the time, but not like that. He cleared the room and I was standing there listening to Him speak to me as clear as day. He was the only one I needed to hear from to make my worries disappear… and they did. I don’t know what my future looks like. But God does and he knows that I am working hard and that above all I want to please Him. I don’t have to have it all figured out. I just have to keep trusting that God’s plan for me is so unimaginably greater than anything I can plan for myself.

So I’ve set my goals and resolutions for 2012. But they are only written in pencil.

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  • Margie - January 2, 2012 - 8:43 pm

    Alissa – you are a very beautiful writter! The honesty of this post was so sweet. Your experience with God is the reason I believe and what I strive to reach. It is addicting! I bet there are tons more of those times with God in the future!ReplyCancel

  • lindsey - January 3, 2012 - 9:57 pm

    lissa. my amazing friend. i never for one second doubted everything would be ok. Even though I knew from the moment it all began that it wouldn’t be an easy road, our very rare and raw friendship was greater than that circumstance. How many people can have the types of conversations we have? I love you so very much and I wait and pray for what God is going to do with all that He is igniting passion for in your heart at this very moment.

    I feel like I should sing a little Michael W. Smith…ReplyCancel

  • Perspective. » Darling Louie - March 1, 2012 - 7:32 am

    [...] to me. It’s too much to recapitulate in this post, but if you want to get caught up you can read it here. God basically told me that all the hard work that I have put into my business in the last 5 years [...]ReplyCancel

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