Friday, May 28, 2010

A Good Work in You

Several weeks ago I came across this post, written by Jasmine Star, a woman whose photography skills and biceps I greatly admire. I am enchanted with her work and think I will have arrived if I could ever be that good. Here's what she writes:

We walked through the streets of San Francisco when I stopped dead in my tracks. I saw the window display from a distance, but the closer I got, the more I realized it revealed a really ugly side of my heart: Jealousy. Straight-up, shaken, and dirrrrty. In the window display was six oversized photos of a model. And the photos? They were remarkable.

JD [her husband] tugged on my hand when he realized I had stopped walking beside him. He was hungry and wanted breakfast, and all I wanted was to be someone else. He asked me what was wrong. I'll never be as good as X...I'll never see the way he does...I can never shoot like's just not in me... Quizzically he debated getting into the conversation there on Pine Street or over an omelet ten minutes later. He knew what I meant. And it's a long story.

Lately I've been struggling with the merits of my own work and my photographic style. I look to others in this amazing industry and I envy their ability to document life in a way I simply don't know how. And the window display reminded me of a friend's work who I absolutely I will never be able to capture like he does. Then JD reminded me of something...

We all have our own unique abilities. Don't focus on what others can do, but, rather, what you can do to make yourself better. You taught yourself photography, and you're getting better each day...don't envy his work. Appreciate his work. And appreciate yours.
And there it was. The Truth. Simple appreciation of other work that inspires me to get better...and appreciation of how far I've come. Flaws and all.
I've found there is a double-edged sword with the blogs that I read.  On one hand, they are great for learning new things, being encouraged in the Lord, in motherhood, in being a wife.  I have read and implemented things found on others blogs that have changed my life for the better.  On the other hand, it makes it very easy to compare, to be envious, to get discouraged.
Specifically for me it is the photography sites I visit.  There are seas of endless photos out there that can sometimes cause me to wonder...who do I think I am even picking up a camera?  But then I read a post like the above, written by someone who I madly admire and I realize this is a universal problem.  Actually, its only a problem if I stay focused on what others can do, what others have, how clean others keep their house, etc instead of focusing on what I can do each day to be better.
I'll never be as good as X...I'll never see the way he does...I can never shoot like's just not in me... You can fill in the blank with the areas you struggle in.  Ever say these things to yourself?  Well, today I am reminding myself...and you..."We all have our own unique abilities. Don't focus on what others can do, but, rather, what you can do to make yourself better. "
Its easier (much) to say than actually do, but I want to appreciate others strengthens and also appreciate my own.  I determine to not be jealous, but to use what I see, hear and read as inspiration for bettering myself. 
What's your favorite "failure" quote or scripture?  Please share!
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.”
Failure doesn't mean you are a failure... it just means you haven't succeeded yet. ~Robert Schuller
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun
a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ
Philippians 1:6


Meg A. said...

SO TRUE Lis! There is such a fine line between reading blogs and being inspired/encouraged and reading blogs and playing the comparison game. I myself am guilty of this too from time to time. It's a lesson in contentment for I'm constantly working on!

Bev said...

I understand your struggle, but want to encourage you. Grammy would be so blessed and proud to have a granddaughter so dedicated to capturing her world with a camera. I used mine a lot, but didn't pursue the finer points. I'm sure you will look back in the future and see how far you've come!

Laurie said...

You are such an inspiration, Lisa, in so many ways. <3

JustMe said...

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)

Your post struck me as funny, because I stumbled across your blog and debated whether to follow - because you are yet another blogger with amazing photographs and home talents I could never live up to...See, it's all relative!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Oh wow - this truly is such a universal struggle. I look at your pics and think you are amazing - but in my own life I think every single day that I will give up blog design because I am just not good enough, talented enough, whatever...I guess we all truly do struggle with this in one area or another...

"Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men" - Colossians 3:23....something I have to remind myself of ALL the time!