Have you ever wanted something bad enough, you’d do whatever it takes to get it? Does it cost just a small compromise of who you are? What is it worth?
Recently, I had to look myself in the mirror and seriously ask myself this question. As I have been whole heartedly seeking relationship with God this past year, He is taking me to new levels. He is convicting me of things to change that I was once completely okay with. Looking in the mirror, I knew in my spirit I needed to honor God in all my decisions, but let’s be real, it’s way easier to do when it is comfortable and easy.
Over the last few weeks, I have been in a situation bartering with a top photographer to shoot for my wedding. Her work captures the very essence of my fiancé, Kris and I’s fairytale. There was no one else like her. When I found out her rates, they were way out of our price range, so I told my wedding planner, “I’ll do anything to have her shoot my wedding!” Kris and I are on a restricted budget as we are paying for the wedding ourselves. Being a working model, she agreed to shoot our wedding with an exchange for modeling. One of the shoots would include a bedroom lingerie shoot known as “Boudoir.” The exchange still didn’t afford having her shoot our whole wedding. But, I eagerly agreed thinking these photos would be for her portfolio and I could use the boudoir photos as a wedding gift to Kris! Perfect! I was about to send the signed contract back to her when an email came through from her. She conveyed that the boudoir photos for publication and any online/advertising/social media would be lawful as well.
I immediately felt an uneasiness come over me, though I had never had a problem modeling for lingerie or swimwear before. To be honest, it’s always been one of my favorite types of shoots because it makes me feel liberated and confident. So with this unexpected conviction, I felt incredibly torn on what this meant. Intensely desiring magical photos to capture my wedding day, I debated in my head and in conversations with friends and Kris. I do not like being difficult or confrontational, so needless to say, I took a week to respond back to her email. There were a few emails back and forth negotiating how the photos could be used, etc. She made me feel more comfortable, but still, I had this feeling that I was selling myself out in order to get a discount on wedding photography.
I felt like God was telling me I would be sending a confusing message by modeling in such a way that is meant only for my husband. Swimsuit modeling on a beach is playful and fun, but I felt convicted that intimate lingerie modeling taking place in a bedroom would be contributing to the objectification of women. Kris, being the logical one, kept pointing out everything that made sense and was safe about it. But in my heart, I was not at peace. I asked myself, am I overreacting? Why can’t I seem to match my inner peace with my mind? Am I just emotional because I’m a woman?
Then, another week went by and I consulted with two mentors and a pastor whom I deeply admire. They were gentle, wise and cautious in guiding me through my thought process with provoking questions. They reminded me that the mind is where the enemy attacks, alluring us to justify something that is not right in our spirit. I realized God’s spirit lives inside of us and when there is an unexplained uneasiness or lack of peace, it is not because I am an emotional woman. It is because God is trying to protect me from making a decision now that could hurt me in the future. “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” 1 Corinthians 2:12. I went back to my room and prayed. I felt anxious because it was less than 2 months away from our wedding date, and I would need to find another photographer who would work with our small budget. But I know God’s heart. I held on to the promise that He is faithful to the faithful. According to His Word, if I honor him, especially when it is difficult and uncomfortable, He will have something even better waiting, “And we receive from Him whatever we ask, because we obey His orders [observe His suggestions and injunctions, follow His plan for us] and [habitually] practice what is pleasing to Him.” 1 John 3: 22. I asked God for His strength and peace in this decision. Because of course, when we are weak, He joyfully takes over when we call on Him. The Lord says “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power & of love & of sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Finally, even though I felt nervous backing out of the deal, I felt the strength to write the photographer the final email. I let her know I wanted to take the boudoir shoot off the deal entirely and I that would be completely understanding if she didn’t want to move forward. She responded a few days later with a kind email saying she would rather not move forward with shooting our wedding. Yes, I was sad and a little nervous. But like I said, God never fails His children. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. And guess what?! That same day, we found an amazing photographer who is actually flying in to shoot our wedding. She is not only shooting the whole wedding, but is bringing two assistants with her, there are no strings attached and she is even including an engagement shoot as well as fine prints. Her work is absolutely fabulous!! What a blessing, we are overjoyed to work with someone who is interested in us as people rather than a business transaction.
Ultimately, when you are in a compromising situation, listen to the Spirit guiding you on the inside. If you are uneasy, honor that by choosing the High path and you will be protected. “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”. Galatians 5:25. So be encouraged, this is ultimately listening and obeying the voice of God. “If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity and their years in pleasantness and joy.” Job 36: 11