Staying true to your convictions

 

     So a while back I was faced with a new struggle. A struggle that has reminded me of how sneaky the devil is with his attacks. I've been trying to build up more personal photography work, so I decided to set up some styled shoots. While planning the shoots I tried to get some local businesses involved for more exposure and to form some good connections. Well, let's just say some of the companies I was looking at didn't offer the most modest lines of clothing. Where I live, locally designed/made brands aren't afraid to show some skin, and it's almost hard to brands that are sensitive to modest-minded costumers. I knew I didn't agree with some of the ways these companies viewed beauty, yet I was trying to figure out a way I could work with them. For weeks I found myself in the midst of a wrestling match, and my opponent was compromise. It was like I was standing on at the edge of darkness and every time I considered things I knew weren't right, I was sticking my toe into the other side. I thought up so many ideas to try to make it work, like shooting their clothing in ways that were more modest, avoiding certain angles, shooting only the items they had that covered my models the most, etc. But no matter what, each idea left me felling like something wasn't right.

But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it
— Genesis 4:7

There was always a gray area that I knew would lead to confusion with where I stand and what I truly believe. It was obvious the Lord was convicting me and there was always a part of me that didn't want to listen. There was a part of me that wanted to stop being such an uptight Christian girl and just shoot whatever I wanted. It was like at had sat in it so long that I started to get used it. I started questioning where I stood and where I wanted to draw the line. Was I really gonna loosen my grip, change my morals, widen my boundaries and set my bar lower after standing firm and wanting to be set apart? All to just have one foot in the world. Am I doubting the walk I’ve chosen?

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     Finally, one night I had asked my mom if she would sit down and pray with me about the whole thing. It felt so good to hand it all to God in prayer. But afterwards my mom caught me STILL throwing the idea of working with these people back and forth. She said something like this: "What?! Even after all that your still talking about this?! This is definitely something of the devil, he must be messing with you or something." Let me just say, this is not a normal thing you hear my mom saying and it really struck me. I think this is when Ephesians 6:10-12 become very real to me:

Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers of this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places

     I saw that satan was using the culture around me to try and tear me apart. The brands I wanted to work with were popular and everyone where I live knows them. So from the outside working with them might picture success, when really satan was just make temptation look attractive. I had to say no to everything, and turn away from anything that would leave me caught in Satan's trap.

    Just a few weeks ago a was faced with another frustrating situation like this. I was offered a job as a social media photographer for a bikini company. A position like this is something I've been wanting to do for a while now. They said all the right things like, doing styled shoots once a week, and shooting all events hosted by them and making Instagram look pretty; it seemed dreamy. However, as soon as I saw who the offer was coming from I knew I had to say no, without hesitation. I couldn't find myself wrestling my beliefs again. It was painful to have to turn down this offer, but this time I knew that saying no was a step into the right direction. I had to trust that the Lord's conviction was a way of Him telling me this wasn't HIS best. I was tempted with success, popularity and things that the world sees so valuable, but is that really the abundant life the Lord promises for His people? This just can't be it. I have to trust that following Him fully is well worth it, everything else is a cheap substitute. Sometimes making a decision that involves a little compromise seems like a better choice with your own human eyes. But I'm convinced that the Lord has better. I want to make a stand for what I believe in even if it means taking the rougher road and making some changes.

  I can trust the Lord when He puts conviction on my heart, He only wants the best for me. He has a perfect plan for my life. Will I trust the King of kings who went to die for me, or the world whose solutions lead me to dead ends and confusion? Lord, I give you control over all areas of my life. Take all of me Lord, lead me from temptation and into your light. May my whole life be to you.

For I put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go for to you I entrust my life.
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
— Psalm‬ ‭143‬:‭8 & 10

HE IS WORTH IT.

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