It’s how I’ve spent a large portion of my life.
For years I lived for everyone else’s approval.  And most deeply – for God’s.
I was never enough and I knew it.
God whispered in many ways that it wasn’t true.  But sometimes, a Voice is so good and so kind, and your heart is so callous, that you can’t believe it’s true.
But God isn’t One to give up on us.  And He kept sending me friends and words and moments seeking to help me know the most basic of truths: that I am loved.  As I am.  Fully.  And completely.  No change required.
As you can imagine, years of living under beliefs of “less than” is not always easily undone.  And it has a way of sinking it’s teeth into every portion of our lives.
So when I fell in love with photography – it was more than happy to pop up like a never-ending game of “whack-a-mole”.
Every session I’d wait for approval from my client – chained to their validation – and unable to give this gift AS A GIFT.
So I emailed my sweet friends.  Because I’m learning – most of the time – we’re not the only ones.  And I asked them – have you ever dealt with this? How do I move past the fear?  How do I share my work as a gift?  How do I release myself to create when I’m too scared that I’m not enough?  How do I share this project I love when I’m scared not everyone will love it and when it takes sharing to find what it is meant to be???
A few months later we gathered around the table.  I was aching as I knew this was our goodbye.  These ladies who had helped form me were soon going to be 12 hours away.  We hugged and laughed and shared tears.  And then….
Rachel looked me in the eyes and pulled out a folded piece of paper.  She told me that she had never forgotten my fear-paralyzed email.  She had ached with me over it all.  And she had written me something…my new fear Manifesto.  Here is a glimpse into the words that Rachel wrote for me…that happen to be for ALL OF US.

I believe anything is possible.
I am not tied to any outcome.

My vow is to show up bravely, boldly, flawed, and full of hope,
Not when I receive approval
Not when I look a certain way
Not when I have a grand plan
Not when I get more courage
Not when I’ve gotten therapy for my issues
Not after I’ve done some research.

I choose to believe I am ready now
Because time doesn’t wait.
And I’ve let the chains of ‘someday’ hold me back.
I’ve let the opinions of others dictate my dreams.
I’ve let fear boss me around.
Well, no more.

I will no longer wait to LIVE my life,
to love others and myself,
to make my unique contribution to the world
To shine as only I can shine.

I am ready now
To LIVE the life I’ve been yearning to live.

I choose to believe good things will happen
When I step out in courage and love.

My vow is to show up bravely, boldly, flawed, and full of hope.

I see light ahead.
I see light within.

So today – on this first day of 2018, I introduce to you the beginnings of my women’s project. I’m a little/LOT nervous.  There is a lot to learn as I share these images and stories.  More will come from my time with Rachel and many other amazing women, but for today – here are Rachel’s words for us all. 

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