You may have surmised that I enjoy photography very much. It has been a wonderful and creative activity for me once again in the last several years. It started in high school but then family happened and even though I still took pictures, I wasn’t able to really work at learning more about the camera and process. I recently got a camera for my collection and it reminded me about how God has spoken to me so many times through the pictures He has given me to see. You see back in 2004 up in my upstairs office at the time, I felt God laying it on my heart to take a picture a day for a year. I was not only to take the picture, but I had to share on FB what I saw and what it meant to me. That was a turning point for me. I felt the change in the way I saw my subjects, as well as, in learning the craft of photography. I have never looked back. It has taught me so much. I have learned to really see and notice things I took for granted before. God used this vintage camera to reach me just the other day about sharing the parallel to daily life. I believe God wanted me to share this with you.
So with this in mind, the photo above was a message for me several years ago that I felt I was to take. Now I share it with you for this post. The question in the title is an important one; especially now in these days. If we were to use the camera to represent our lives today, would your camera be pointing inward to what you want or need, or are you asking God to help you see out toward what He wants you to see from behind the lens? Are you using your camera pointed at you more than out towards life? Does it tell you anything? If we are focused more on ourselves than anything else, we can have a tendency to leave God out of the picture. We also can find ourselves with feelings of discontentment because we often have a tendency toward comparisons in those when our eyes on circumstances.
What about your focus right now? What or who are you focusing on? Do you need to ask God to help you learn more about how to focus in an area of your life? Do you have to step back for the bigger picture, or as we are talking about today, to see it a little more from God’s perspective? Are you keeping the lens clean so you can see better to focus on your life? Do you stay in the Word and share with your friends about what God is doing in your life? Are your batteries charged and ready to catch the vision of what God has for you? Did you look to see how light is hitting your subject and do you need more light for a clear picture? Do you try and use a preset/filter so it covers up some of the mistakes in the picture so it looks better to you? What about all the stuff that might be in the way of your subject being highlighted? We can easily get caught up in this world’s busy life style. We have to be aware of what the picture means to you. What do you want the person viewing your picture to see? Do they see someone with a crazy schedule though life with no time for relaxation? Are you looking through the lens so you can see more closely how to focus on the right subject matter? Lots of questions, I know. For me, a camera has helped me to see more clearly where God is working and where He wants me to be and what He wants me to see. I see the distractions and change it.
It is interesting that photography had made me more aware of many thing. However, it has also caused my husband to see things he didn’t used to notice. I am always looking, and it has rubbed off on him. Don’t we want that? Don’t we want others to see Jesus in us? Can we do that if we are turning our camera eye on ourselves more and what we want to enhance our lives with? I love saving for a new lens because it gives me a different perspective all over again. I can blur the whole side of a photo so that the eye of the beholder is focused on the subject that I want them to focus on. All unnecessary distractions are blurred out. Some of us live our lives that way. We would rather blur out the unwanted things in our lives rather than focusing on them as a way to deal with them or eliminate those habits that can hurt us.
Here is another question: Do you just put the camera up and grab a snap shot just to say you took it? What about years later when you might have wanted a clear shot of the details of the photo? What you see in the lens is what you get. Now you can take the time to move to make the picture more interesting by zeroing in on what your subject is. Sometimes, you might want a broader view because it explains more of what is going on. Either way, you can see how important our vision is. Some day those visions or pictures will be all you have of that person or time. So don’t lose the opportunity to capture the moment with a the good picture. We all have cell phone cameras and they are a pretty wonderful tool to catch those special moments. But take your time to really see what you are taking a picture of, and how you might need to reposition yourself for the best picture.
God is a little like the photographer. He wants you to see the beauty of His creation. He wants to get down to eye level with His child to get to see that precious face. He wants to kneel down to you on your level and maybe adjust your vision to see things differently. We might want to have him give us a black and white picture so we have all the answers. But God is more like the old fashioned way of photography, where you have to develop the picture through a process. that would be using the right solutions, let it dry for the first step and then it has to go through the developing stage. It takes time, and that is what He wants to have with you. Not some microwave conversation, but a slow cooked relationship with lots of stirring to move the process along. If we take our time, the picture will slowly show itself. In a world of instant everything, we expect everything to operate that way. I think my vintage camera tells the story for me. I don’t have to think as much about the basics anymore because the cameras now can do that for me. But the technique is still extremely important. And…to be frank, I still have SO much to learn about my camera.
The same with the Word of God for us. The basics we have maybe learned in Sunday School, or our beginnings in a church. But that is the foundation for a good relationship now. Just like now with a camera where I can point and shoot, but what I look for now is the story of the picture and what I want it to say. Isn’t that how we want to live our lives? Tell a story. We can’t always see how God is working out our story for us, but He is.
So the next time you whip out your phone camera, or other camera, think on these things. Is your bag all packed with the right equipment? Is what you are seeing something you want to share with others? Can they tell a bit about your story as they begin to see your view behind the lens? I hope that for you. It is a great time of year to bring back the slow holidays where we can just enjoy each other and catch moments we may never have again. I sure wish I would have talked more and asked questions more…have a clearer view of my life by being more aware. Try it for your next picture. Don’t forget the camera tells a life story just by being there, and you can make it better by using the camera in such a way that the story lives on for generations to come.
Go take the picture! Stay behind the lens rather than make it all about you. I often think that my family in future generations will know my story just by looking through my pictures. They will discover what is important to me, and what they may have missed the first time around. I hope that will be true for you.
Until next time…