Monday, January 28, 2013

Through Heaven's Eyes

I have decided that I love my life.

The thought occurred to me last Wednesday, when I was driving home from working in Pekin. I realized how extremely blessed I am.

I feel like I lead a life that the more "orderly" types would cringe and run away from... but that is precisely why I like it.

In fact, I feel like Jennifer Lopez's character in the film Monster-in-Law. She had about 8 different jobs: she was a dog-walker, a doctor's office receptionist, and many other things.  I remember watching that movie several years ago and thinking it would be so fun to live that kind of independent, carefree life, but knowing it would probably never happen.

Well, it did happen. To me.

The thing is, though, I love all my jobs. And I love that I don't have to wake up every morning and do the same thing everyday. I love that I get "paid to sleep," but that I also feel like I'm making a difference and I get to work with special, heartwarming people. I love that I can help serve my church in a small way, and on my own time. I love that I get to use my graphic design skills to help out at a marketing company in my FAVORITE town :) and I love that this job gives my life structure, yet is so unpredictable in its hours that I could be called at the drop of a hat and be needed the very next hour. I love that I get to run my very own creative business, one in which I could not even possibly be confident enough to run without my foreknowledge and experience of co-running a previous photography business with a friend for 5 years prior.

The combination of all of these things is what works for me right now. It may not be a "forever" status, but for now, I like how each of these roles fit together like pieces of a puzzle to make up my "career." Every single job uses different facets of my personality and talents to help fulfill my heart.

And if anyone is still wondering, my ultimate dream job would be to travel as a missionary photojournalist, but for now, I'm letting that be another "part-time" volunteer endeavor that may pop up here and there in my life :) 

It's amazing that I can write all of this right now, because I have actually been rather discouraged lately. I think I am letting Satan get my down. I let him speak lies to me and stir up hurt in my heart, and he pushes me to regress and regret. But it usually doesn't take long for me to put on my "big-picture" glasses, and I'm back on track.

If I look at any portion of my life under the microscope, I'm in trouble... I have to gaze at the sky, instead. I have to remember that my very life is only just a vapor... and what am I really here for? Sometimes I lose sight of that when I become too wrapped up in myself, and I bypass the very tools God has literally handed me. He has given me an opportunity that not many people get... the opportunity to care for people, to have a part-time position doing my first love, to stay involved with my church family and lastly, to be an entrepreneur and continue to enjoy what I love most: capturing life. What more could I really ask for? It's like He is saying, "Taryn, I have designed you very uniquely to carry out my purposes in an unconventional way," because... let's face it. I'm anything but conventional in the way I do things!

Like I said, with all this "LOVE," I'm not above getting down. In fact, I'm the best target for it. It is daily that I must equip myself with the Sword of the Spirit and the Truth of His Word, and honestly, the minute I humble myself in His Love, it's like Satan withers away. The devil knows his place, and when I remind him that I am content with where life has placed me, he moves on. 

That's just it: It's easy to look back with rose-colored glasses. But as I recently discussed with a friend... the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side. And why is that? Because we are a disgruntled people. We're used to instant gratification and when we get what we want, we're still not happy. Someone else always has what we think we should have, and so on. But at the end of the day, who really cares? That's the thing. How many people have we truly touched in all of our bickering and bitterness and covetousness? 

I heard this song for the first time in a long time this weekend, and it was exactly what I needed to hear... I love its lyrics and it spoke to my life right now. Here it is:

Through Heaven's Eyes 
(Prince of Egypt soundtrack)

A single thread in a tapestry
Through its color brightly shine
Can never see its purpose
In the pattern of the grand design

And the stone that sits on the very top
Of the mountain's mighty face
Does it think it's more important
Than the stones that form the base?

So how can you see what your life is worth
Or where your value lies?
You can never see through the eyes of man
You must look at your life

Look at your life through heaven's eyes

A lake of gold in the desert sand
Is less than a cool fresh spring
And to one lost sheep, a shepherd boy
Is greater than the richest king
If a man lose ev'rything he owns
Has he truly lost his worth?
Or is it the beginning
Of a new and brighter birth?

So how do you measure the worth of a man
In wealth or strength or size?
In how much he gained or how much he gave?
The answer will come
The answer will come to him who tries
To look at his life through heaven's eyes

And that's why we share all we have with you
Though there's little to be found
When all you've got is nothing
There's a lot to go around

No life can escape being blown about
By the winds of change and chance
And though you never know all the steps
You must learn to join the dance

So how do you judge what a man is worth
By what he builds or buys?
You can never see with your eyes on earth
Look through heaven's eyes
Look at your life through heaven's eyes

Love you all!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Real Life

Well... it has been awhile.

I am now on the other side of holiday cheer, the whirlwind of transitioning into a new business, and my 27th birthday.

My blog always seems to be the place that I feel obligated to be honest. I think it is because I have always, ALWAYS been truthful when I take the time to write. It is like FINALLY at last, all of the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that have been swirling around in my head come pouring out. I sometimes don't even know what any of it is until I write it out, and my own hands surprise me with what they type onto the screen.

Strangely, I have been good lately.  I shouldn't say that it is strange-- it is truly a blessing. I often think about the couple of weeks following the split of Imagine Artists, and how I received the unexpected yet amazing outpouring of love and support from all kinds of people. I know now that God put that there for me to look back upon as a vote of confidence from the Lord himself.

However, what follows is real life. God promises to take care of me, but He never promises that it will be easy. A week ago, I was sitting Indian style on the floor of my friend's new studio. We were both looking at each other through tears in our eyes. Those tears were a testament to the hurt and pain we have both suffered as a result of our split, and while I wish I could say it was the last tears either of us will shed over it, I know I would be wrong.

Somehow, though, the hard times spur me into confidence. Not confidence in myself, of course-- but confidence in the Lord. It reminds me to realize that without Him, I fail, and there is no possible way to get through anything difficult without His help. And I am so confident in HIM-- what He can do, who He made me to be, and what He will do with my life.

And it is then that I realize that I have a tremendous responsibility. Those reflections almost always spin me into a forward-thinking motion, gazing at the "big-picture" reality of life and everything that it means. I usually have the sudden urge to book a flight to a third-world country to start a photo-journalistic missionary business, or start serving full-time at a soup kitchen in the south side of Peoria, or take foster classes and adopt 10 children without loving families.

Once I have had a chance to remember that my own life and backyard can be a mission field, I settle in and just open up my hands, reminding myself that God has me exactly where He wants me. I cannot question Him, I cannot drive myself crazing over-analyzing it or predicting what it could mean or what lessons He may be trying to teach me or what amazing adventure He does or does not have up His sleeve next; my one and only job is quite easy. It is simply to rest in His loving-kindness, allow myself to be wrapped in His arms of love, and breathe easy in the confidence He gives me by obeying Him with complete contentment and trust.

It is then that I can truly see my purpose in this life, and it is then that I am reminded that my problems here in life are so futile. It puts my passion into perspective, and it reshapes my day-to-day into a meaningful melody. I love it.

But since I'm all about honesty, I have to admit that lately, I have not been doing any of that. This weekend, one of my very dear friends who is always a breath of fresh air and spiritual insight was telling me about a Bible reading plan she was doing that she thought I would enjoy. It convicted me, because I am not in a place where I am consistently in the Word or even talking to God through prayer. It's not purposeful; it's honestly just me being complacent. I hate it. And I'm going to change it. Now.

Not because it earns me points in Heaven, or because God will give me a gold star. Not because it will make me feel better about myself or show how "spiritual" I am. Not even because it's the right thing to do. But only because by talking and listening to God, I will be paying attention to the best and most important relationship that I have in this life.

Nonetheless, I am happy. I am full of joy. I love my life & everyone in it. And all of that is cause to be thankful.

Thanks for listening to me... I'll try to get back sooner rather than later next time with some fun stuff.

Love you all!