This is for you; new photographer, a few years in photographer and you experienced photographer. We all face it. It’s a constant battle that we all attempt to fight or try to ignore. The enemy does a great job in utilizing comparison and competition to his benefit and our demise. He so keenly works in ways that leave us questioning our abilities and the talent that has so graciously been bestowed upon us at every stage of our career. He encourages thoughts in our minds that cripple us and we ask ourselves, who’s standard are we living up to? And then it begins to pour in- If I could only photograph like her, or if I could only edit my images like him, my business would be so successful…
Why do we focus so much of our energy trying to be like another or doing things "better" than so and so? It's the dreaded comparison and competition. Reality of it all? It's killing our creativity, our motivation, and our drive to thrive in what God has created us to be doing. It’s creating a vicious cycle of highs and lows that's nearly destroying our desire to keep going in our business. It’s keeping us enslaved to doubt, fear, and uncertainty. It’s killing this industry and severing relationships whose heart's desire is to be in community, producing fruit, when in reality, all it’s producing is envy and resentment. Why? Because the evil one energizes these little (yet huge) lies that our standard be based on one another; our drive be build on one another's successes and growth; the blossoming of our business be manifested in adapting another's style and creativity as our own and... what do we do? We listen and believe this to be truth. We mistake these lies for truth, and it’s robbing us from tangibly seeing God “in the now” of our businesses. Thankfully, we are given a choice. We can continually take ear to what the enemy says, or we can come to know and accept the “breaking the chains” truth. Our standard is God and who He is. It’s not found in your favorite photographer, or favorite small business owner, or favorite artist. When “when my work looks like her's, I will be successful” makes it's way into your thoughts, allow God’s truth to sink deeper, "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Yes, admire their work. There are so many out-of-this-world talented photographers I follow and admire, but I must quit comparing myself to them and their businesses. God has created my business totally different than theirs and most likely for totally different Kingdom reasons. Admiring their work keeps me growing. Envying their work keeps me enslaved to doubt, fear, and I just can’t’s.
At the end of the day, all that really matters is what you are doing through your business for His Kingdom. Awards, publications, and recognition; it’s all fleeting. Every last bit of it. Yes, it may provide encouragement and a boost of confidence, but then where does our confidence lie? In ourselves, or in our Creator? Are our businesses striving for personal recognition or His fame? All good gifts come down from the Father. He will take care of us. He will take care of our small businesses. When our focus is Kingdom things, when our desires arise from His Spirit, all things are given to us. Don’t lose focus on what truly matters.
Heed this one command: seek His Kingdom and His righteousness. What would happen to our businesses if we put this command into action? In all actuality, our temporal accomplishments will eventually fade and will most likely be forgotten. What our business does for His kingdom, this is what will last. Every, single, little (or big), work, For Him, will be remembered by Him, and in the end, that's all that will ever matter.