if i have not love

“If I give up everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I do not love…I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”

I know this verse from back in my green leather bible in elementary. I’ve read it many times, but, this morning…I see it with a different pair of eyes. maybe that’s what happens when your mind is consumed, you read what you want. but whatever, I’m going with it. something has been building & building in my mind and this verse popped it like a pin.

no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I am bankrupt without love.

now. I want to be careful in what I say, as I do write freely and have been challenged before when my words have been taken for something they do not mean. but please know, I write as it comes and with an honest heart.

so. here it is. I feel as if I’ve been slipping from the spot to be able to everything in love and with love as i want and as my heart intends. there was a moment some time last week, I realized…I’ve crossed the line where I have committed to too much, all of a good thing of course, but still too much and am starting to slip from the standard I only want to be associated with and feel called to.

there are so many threads feeding into this one stand, I don’t even know where to start.

I have the sweet privilege of knowing what God created me to do, but just as importantly be. do and be. not that I am fully totally there by any means, but I have no doubts as to what I’m doing and it being exactly what He intended for my life. the fact that what I do, the people I meet and form these incredible bonds with, give to, have freedom and only be held to the constraints of my own drive and thirst for growth. that alone, I am forever indebted to and would not change for anything. anything.

this year, coming up this fall, marks a time I am completely so proud of and absolutely in awe of. the rate at which things have happened I cannot forget, but do….but that’s not what this is about.

I need to cut to it.

I know what it means for me to do everything in love. and at this point, I have not been able. and it’s not acceptable for me. I wont let myself stay there.

personally. professionally. spiritually.

there is a twisted beauty in the fact that it all relies on me. all of it. I love it and it’s the same thing that is my reason for writing this. I always have been this girl that struggles with balance. it is not new and this is not a surprise.

but this verse, so simple and direct. if I give up everything but have not love, I have gotten nowhere.

if I achieve great things and a fruitful business but have not one spare moment in a week to drop a card in the mail for my little sisters 12th birthday, I have gotten nowhere.

if I cannot be present in the conversation with a dear friend because I can’t stop running over my to-do’s, I have gotten nowhere.

if i just simply keep up and not put thought to what dreams i have, draw up goals, think of what i want to achieve, there is no moment i know i have gotten what i’m working for.

if I cannot serve, if I cannot give freely I am not modeling what Christ has laid out for me.

If I deny myself the time to be inspired and cry at that moment I am in awe of being able to create, my passion will dry out

if I run myself ragged 7 days a week to the point of getting mono for the 2nd time, I will only go backwards. if I lose an hour and a half of sleep because I can’t stop thinking, I do no good for myself.

if I forego time in the word and writing, my faith will not be real.

if I put off even writing this out and allow to sort through these thoughts, it will only fester and frustrate in my mind

if I don’t allow myself time to rejuvenate, I will not be able to offer myself at the effort and quality I promise to others.

there’s two parts to this. actually probably more.

professionally. this is one part I’ve always known. I don’t want to be for everyone. and I’m not. I want to be for someone who is looking for a particular experience. not just an in and out. someone who is searching for it and knows it when they see it. and it’s for a reason. maybe this is a detriment or maybe it’s good. but it is what it is. I cannot help but see that my photography is off a connection. my best work, it’s off this deep connection and when I come to a point of deep appreciation for who someone is and their love. I don’t care if they’re hiring me, how you chose to give is a gift. and I want it to be this sweet gift that I am able to give. and that is not, and cannot be for everyone. it can’t. in order for this to happen, I have to be able to devote myself to a certain standard with everyone. I have to. you don’t want me if I rush it. if I rush the process, it doesnt mean the same. and that’s what I want to be about. i promise, what i do takes time and effort and thought and care. you have to be mindful to create and for it to be good and to grow.  this is the point I’ve realized. if I’m going to stand for being and giving this experience than I have to change things. taking on less. and committing to knowing what is a good fit. will I have the balls to turn people down when it’s not right or I’ve said yes to too much….haven’t yet. but I know it’s a necessary part.

I want to be able to pour myself into those that I work with. to know them. to give an experience that is far more than pictures. to celebrate this passion for life and documenting it. when that happens, it is so sweet. it’s intoxicating and that’s the standard I need to hold myself to. having gotten to what I have in the time I have has been far less about me and so much more about having the time for others, and that is what spurs me on. it’s so hard to explain til you’re in it.

there’s more to me than just this.

I have people and family and a passion to create and be inspired.

over the past year, I’ve been working like a dog. one thing, comes first and foremost. those who are in my life have been completely understanding and patient with me. they’ve supported me and encouraged me, been proud of me. I’ve been given more grace than I deserve. at this point, I don’t have a significant other to owe my time to. but I know that time will come and I can’t say that at this point, that thought has me putting them first. would I be willing to put things away and call it a day when normal people do? I don’t know.

more importantly, I know and have this fear…I cannot become this person who achieves much and gives herself tirelessly to those who hire me and have nothing left to offer to those closest to me. that’s not fair. the things I miss will only continue to grow in weight of importance. oh gosh, I am a single girl but how can I not see myself as that mom that misses every recital and thing her kid does because she had a meeting, because she was too busy.

I cant do that. but I have been that person.

I have this thought that more often than not, I’ve been letting those close to me down. I say no more than I say yes. I am at the mercy of my own scheduling yet I am not and those closest to me feel that the most. they have been so patient.

lastly. something I want desperately is to be able to give generously. my time. my money. my ears. I want that to be in my explanation of my character just as much as anything. this comes from receiving and being generously given to by Christ. He has given me gifts, these are not just for me and I am a fool if I use them just to benefit myself. last year, I’d been praying how to use the gift of photography to be able to show His love and give generously to others. I came up with my inspira(shown) project. where my readers can submit inspirational stories and people who need to be given to. need encouragement. who’s stories can inspire others.

being able to give in this way, was probably the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. to Lindsey with brain cancer. to Kathy with her eye disease. to lisi who had broken out of a life of prostitution. to lisa who’s husband and love never came home from Afghanistan. this is the way I’m intended to give. and I have been so completely frustrated with myself that it has been completely unrealistic to do this project over the past few months

I am called to give in that way, and in another month….i am bringing this project back.

so all in all. there is no one who is going to hold me to this standard of love but myself. that’s the twisted beauty in what I do. I have to be strong enough, wise enough to know a balance. I have failed. it’s all been for a good thing. but that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve failed.

I’m learning. I don’t expect myself to learn it and see it in a real way until I experience it. maybe. so maybe all this is necessary. maybe getting to the point I am, is necessary. for me to know and for it to be real and to remember. that’s the thing about owning what you do, there’s no one out there running it for you. telling you what to do, it’s you. and that’s it. in all the good that exists in that, it’s an incredible responsibility and one that impacts me tremendously.

oh andria, you’re too affected. to think though it too much, you’re too….

this may be true, this may not need this lengthy explanation. maybe this is just the season I am in. but when it comes down to it, that’s who I am. I think, I am affected. it weighs on me. writing is how it gets worked out.

I will not commit to something, to someone without giving myself to it in complete love and devotion to it. personally. professionally. spiritually.  if I go through the motions, if I give to you without my entire heart behind it, if I start to slip from a place of genuine love, its worth nothing. I refuse to. because when I do, and when that connection is there….there is no sweeter emotion and feeling and it’s that I run to.

but knowing that means sacrifice and being strong enough to stay with this standard, that is something I need to work for. that’s why I’m writing this out.

life is sweet and i desire the one i have above any other. but i will not be one to let it sweep by without being mindful of the decision i make, those i choose to give to, how i spend my time and what i want to achieve and grow in to. i refuse to not be mindful of that.

we chose how we live. what our life is about. we chose.

much more to remind myself, than to tell others.

by Andria

show hide 9 comments

Nicole Beautiful words.

Tonhya Kae love you. :)

Dianne You are wise beyond your years…proud of you!

ashley i don’t know you but i feel like i do.. because so much of what you said has been within my own heart and has been sinking in knots to the bottom of my gut.

you are so courageous. and by sharing, you are lending your courage. thanks girl.

KT Barnes unreal andria. i love you.

kate peterson amen sister. i love following your work and inherently, your life…it is immensely encouraging. keep strong in your ability to be genuine and raw and deep, He will continue to bless others with that. blessings andria.

Alissa After reading your words I felt like I was reading my own thoughts. Thank you for sharing and for being genuine and real. It touches more people than you know. It’s encouraging to know someone else feels the same as I do and a good reminder of how to live life. Thank you!

Amy I know someone just said this but it is so true. In which I also felt like I was reading my own thoughts. Wow you just hit it on the button. I am so encouraged by your words. Thank you

Brandi Listen to: For king & country, proof of your love. It resites this in such a beautiful way.