At the beginning of the year, I wrote in my journal that this was the year I would not let fear and worry hold me back. I decided I would start doing things that scared me and to push myself beyond my comfort zone. Those words sounded great on paper. But last Saturday I wanted to do nothing more than rip those pages out and forget I ever wrote it. I was packing getting ready for my trip to California. To most a trip to California would be fun and not a big deal. But for me it was a huge trip and a big leap of faith. I have been talking a lot about my comfort zone lately and this trip was way outside of that circle. My comfort zone is Elgin, Illinois. My comfort zone is cornfields, my close group of friends, and making old people laugh everyday. Going to a different state, going on a plane by myself, knowing only 2 people out of 200, and not knowing what to expect, was all outside of that comfort zone. As I was packing that Saturday night, the tears came and I questioned everything. What if nobody likes me? What if I look like a fool next to all of these photographers? What if my plane crashes? What if, what if, what if? In the midst of my tears and worries, I knew I had to give it to God. I prayed that this trip would grow me and challenge me and whatever He wanted to do with it, I would accept. And the next day, I got on that plane trusting God’s plan and put it all in His hands. With that, He gave me a life changing trip.
Let me back up and explain what I was doing in California. My website company is called Showit. Within Showit, is an amazing community of people which we call Showiteers. Showit put on a conference called United in Santa Barbara, California which is where I went. You following? The Showit community is unlike any other. Showiteers are a community that shares their lives, loves with grace and finds purpose and significance through serving others. I am so honored to be apart of it. I mean what kind of website company has that? So, I signed up for this trip to get outside of my comfort zone and it was unbelievable. The Lord used this community to grow me in ways I didn’t think was possible. People were SO kind to me. There were so many strangers that would smile and hug me and it was so easy to talk to them. For a scared, shy girl, this meant the world. When I got there, my fears of being alone were quickly replaced. I felt accepted and loved, and that is so rare.
I learned from some of the best photographers in the industry. They were open, honest, and real and often left the attendees in tears. I left so inspired from meeting with so many other creatives. I learned a lot about technical camera things but I also learned about life. I learned about living for something more than just my business. I learned about using my God given gift for greater things. I learned that loving and serving people is what really matters. My mind and notebook was filled with so many quotes and memories. I wish I could explain all that happened, but I think you just had to be there.
I am so grateful for the entire experience. I am so thankful for a God who meets me outside of that comfort zone and challenges to trust Him in everything. I am so thankful to be apart of a community that is ready to change the industry and build businesses that are bigger than themselves.
Here are a few more highlights:
My roommate: God picked an amazing woman for me to share a hotel room with. We got along so well and she was exactly what I needed for this experience. To have a woman who loves the Lord so much, was a huge blessing. We had so many heart to hearts about being life, photography, God, and how all of that fits together. Xiomara is so beautiful and full of joy and I love that I have such a great new friend now
Santa Barbara: Seriously this place was paradise. The weather was beautiful and full of sun. The beach was right across the street and was so peaceful and relaxing. It was the perfect place to a photography conference because there was so much beauty surrounding us. The sunshine warmed my heart and was a much needed break from all of the snow.
New friends: There are a few women I got to meet that I instantly formed bonds with. They know who they are and they all bless me in so many ways. Meeting them face to face was better than I could have imagined. You know how you just click with some people when you meet them? I had a few in Santa Barbara and I am so grateful
Showit: What an amazing company they are! They are so ahead of the times and give us amazing products! The amount of work that the Showit crew put in, I can’t even imagine. But they impacted me so much because of all of their selfless work. The men and women behind it are people who truly believe in living a lifestyle of service and their company is built on it. From the transportation, to the parties, to the food, they took care of us all and I wish I could thank each and every one of them. Again, this is mainly a website company. But it goes so so far beyond that and they are changing so many lives!
So now that I have written you a novel, I hope you got a glimpse into everything that happened. I feel like I grew so much that week. I feel like I conquered so much by facing my fear of the unknown and the fear of leaving my comfort zone. My faith grew a ton just by trusting God in this experience. The people, the events, the inspiration, and the memories I will forgetI feel so inspired and ready to take my business to the next level. Here are some pictures of my life changing trip. For all of you scared to do things beyond your comfort zone, go for it. I can confidently say that God can do amazing things when you give it to Him!