Leaving auto for manual: thoughts on stepping out

Leaving auto for manual and other thoughts on stepping out My friend Kacy has a phrase she has used a lot-- leaving comfort for courage-- that has always stuck with me. Isn't that just how we are to live? Outside our comfort zone, being courageous in the face of what may come, being bold, and strong in grace and in the gospel.

from auto to manual-1

It might be a stretch to make this analogy, but bear with me here. I recently started shooting photos on manual. This month's 10 on 10 was my first all-manual set. On Sunday, we spent a family day at the beach for my birthday (it was a gloriously lovely simple day).

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The fog rolled in thick and low, while the brightness of the sun still fought to shine through, making the lighting incredibly tricky.

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For quite a while now I've been shooting on A which means that I adjust the shutter speed but my trusty camera figures out the rest for me. It was a good stepping stone, but I've been standing there perched for far too long. (Professional photography is not my goal; I just want to learn how to use my camera better and get the most out of my photos.)

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I decided it was time to jump off that step and just start doing my best to set the camera right (armed with a couple of ebooks on photography and a skilled brother as references).

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I made a lot of mistakes and had to reset the camera with almost every shot. It was challenging and yet the photos that came out spark a lot of joy in me, knowing that I had to work at achieving the correct lighting.

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You know what holds me back and has me switching back to A or even to Auto in a dicey light situation? It's fear. Fear that I'll miss out on the perfect shot because I had the settings wrong.

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But the wonderful thing about digital photography is that we can take a virtually endless amount of photos (depending on media card size, of course). We just keep shooting and shooting and adjusting as we go, and checking to see if we get it right. Eventually, I think I'll get the hang of it (or I'll at least remember which way to dial the f/stops). It won't be so touch-and-go, and I'll be more confident.

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Any time we try something new, it's this similar learning curve.

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It feels like it takes this enormous amount of boldness to step out into the unknown or into a new direction, but the truth is that when we step out where God is calling us, we're stepping out onto the path that has already been prepared for us.

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We don't actually have to bolster up all this faith, all this courage, all this boldness on our own. He actually provides it for us as we go. We just have to ask for it! God's pretty great like that.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 4:14-21

Where I find myself these days

My Women's Summer Discipleship group just started up for the season. Our church transitions out of weekly co-ed community groups and into men's and women's groups and all-church beach nights for each week of the summer. It's already my favorite season and this shift in how we do life together with our church family is just the icing on the summer cake. This year, we're reading a book on Biblical womanhood which is redefining for us what that term means and helping us to see ourselves as created in the image of God, uniquely reflecting different characteristics of Him than men were created to do. So far, between that and our inductive Bible studies that we're training our groups in, it's been really rich.. and we've barely just begun.

me

{David took this photo on Mother's Day.}

The question came up in our discussion about where-- other than in Jesus-- we find our worth and value. My first inclination was to give a superficial answer of living up to cultural standards. And while that may be true to some degree, it's incomplete.

The truth is, the deeper I dig in my own heart, the more I see myself finding worth in whether I feel included by my peers.

This effects me in many areas of life, but I feel the rub a lot in blogging. Sometimes I just want to throw in the towel because I don't feel that successful or popular enough (ugh, here I go, back to high school).

Blogging niches feel a little like various in-crowds to me. I don't identify with a super specific niche per se, so I feel a bit like an outsider, standing outside of a variety of circles but not quite included.

Sewing is one of my passions, but I rarely have time to do it, let alone write about it. I'm not a fashion blogger, although I'm interested in really figuring out my personal style. I'm by no means a food blogger but I love to share recipes with you. I don't write exclusively deep thoughts on my faith filled with poetic language and tangible analogies (although I'd love to write like that more often).

writing

I'm trying to be at a place where none of that matters, but it's still hard on some days. The idea of fitting in is a constant struggle that I'm trying to stamp out with truth. I'm trying to see myself as me enough, even if I don't feel green enough, creative enough, deep enough.

I'm reminding myself that God was intentional in crafting my renaissance soul. This is who He made me to be and maybe not fitting into any particular box is a good thing.

And as for writing, the more I write, the more I think I will become who He made me to be as a writer, because I know He's the one who created me with words that spill out of my heart and make their way to my little corner of the internet.

I'm experimenting a bit with my writing and blogging. The times when I can get on my computer and compose tend not to be my most creative, inspired moments (usually that "free" time coincides with my exhausted-and-want-to-veg-out-moments), so I'm going to try going a little old-fashioned. If I write my inspired thoughts down on paper when they come to me, maybe I'll end up publishing a few more blog posts... it's worth a try anyway! ;)

The Gospel Centered Woman~ furthering my understanding of how the Good News applies to daily life {book review}

review of The Gospel Centered Woman I love reviewing fiction because it provides opportunities to discover new authors and enjoy a little literary entertainment. It's not often that I get the chance to a review a book that goes beyond something fun. I'm talking about a book that speaks to my soul in just the right way.

Thank you to Litfuse for providing me with a review copy.

~~

I first came across Wendy Alsup's blog when I was googling around to see if anyone had read The Explosive Child and reviewed it from a Christian perspective. Wendy had, and it was by her review and experience that I went on to read the book and glean some great common grace from it. From there, I read through more of Wendy's archives and came to see her as a legit gospel partner, and someone who had a lot to teach on the theological front for women.

When I received notice about the opportunity to review Wendy's new book, The Gospel Centered Woman, I jumped at the chance to review a new book that would further my own growth and understanding of what the gospel actually is, and how it applies to me beyond my salvation.

This has been a journey I've been on with my church family over the last couple of years. It's been a period in my walk with the Lord where my eyes have been opened more than ever before to how the gospel can actually speak into and transform our lives.

Wendy's book goes deep into what she refers to as understanding Biblical womanhood through the lens of the gospel. She doesn't mince words, and she speaks to not only wives (as I find some books on Biblical womanhood do) but really has a heart to reach women wherever they find themselves in their walk with the Lord. I've done a variety studies on Biblical womanhood over the years, but this is my first time going through it specifically through the lens of the gospel. I obviously can't imagine a better lens to look through.

Here are a couple of gems I've picked up... I don't want to share too much out of context, but these passages really spoke to me:

The woman bought by Christ who is set up as God's honored daughter with full access to the King of kings has her needs met in Him. God pours into her. God equips her. God satisfies her emotional, spiritual, and physical needs.

We have the hope of God's power to transform us from women who take matters into our own hands out of distrust of God's plan and purposes into women who, in the image of God, help, strengthen, and support in our realm of influence, trusting God with the example He has given us.

This book is a great tool for learning about what the gospel is and how it gives meaning to our lives as women.

More information

The Gospel Centered WomanAbout The Gospel-Center WomanUnderstanding Biblical Womanhood through the Lens of the Gospel Many Christian books written to women claim to present God's good instructions for their lives. Some expound on the value of marriage and children. Many extol the virtues of the Proverbs 31 wife. A good number teach the value of love, submission, and respect in Christian marriages. Though this book deals with these topics, The Gospel-Centered Woman addresses women from an entirely different perspective. The most important part of the Bible's instructions to women center around the gospel. Jesus' life, death, and resurrection brought about a seismic shift in our understanding of Scripture. After His resurrection, His disciples understood words written thousands of years before with a clarity they never had previously. The good news of Christ illuminates all other Scripture, including instructions to women.

WAlsup-128  About Wendy

Wendy Alsup is a wife, mom, and math teacher. She is the author of Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in Our Daily Lives and By His Wounds You are Healed: How the Message of Ephesians Transforms a Woman's Identity.  Find out more about Wendy at www.theologyforwomen.org.