A Life of Purpose
Before I get into today’s post…yesterday, I was pretty sick so I didn’t have a chance to visit many blogs. I hope you’ll forgive me. And now back to your regularly scheduled ramblings: 

In the past few years, our world has been turned upside down. In these times of uncertainty, some of us may be finding ourselves looking for purpose and meaning in our lives.
Another Selfie-Jeremiah 29_11
For those of you that may not know me as well, I am not a professionally trained photographer (or blogger for that matter). And if you’ve been following me for a while, you may recall that I purchased my first DSLR shortly after getting marred in October 2009 (Ramblings and Photos was started a few weeks later). 

Like many of you, I found myself searching for creativity, community. and purpose I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting myself into, but I’ve always found that if I had a goal, that I was much more likely to achieve it. In fact, I kept it pretty simple…I wanted nothing more than to re-discover my creative spirit, and enhance my photography and editing skills. Well, it’s been just over a year, and I continue to do all of that but more importantly…I’ve made some incredible friends along the way. 

What you may or may not know about me is my professional/educational background outside of this blogging/photography community. In college, I actually studied psychology and leadership studies. For the past seven years, I’ve been in a position where I develop customized training solutions (hahahaha – this has consultant written all over it). Needless to say, my professional background plays a huge role in how I approach blogging…specifically why I enjoy sharing my editing knowledge.

I tell you all of this, because the other day I was sitting in a Human Resource conference  last week and it hit me…and then I was listening to our latest church message and it hit me again. And, if you’re anything like me, the only thing that these times of uncertainty have done is cause you to reconsider how you want to spend the rest of your life. It felt only appropriate to revisit a scripture that has been guiding me for years.
 
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans for hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

This verse keeps me focused. No matter how hard life has hit me, I have always known that it was leading to something much more significant. So today, as I continue to think about the decisions that will guide the remainder of my life, I feel that there are a couple of core principles worth revisiting as well:

1. Define your life’s purpose and identify your talents.  
Once you know the natural talents that God has given you, you can better make decisions on what you should be doing with your life. Typically, this means that we spend the first part of our life screwing our lives up (no…just me?). 

Then at some point, we get our big break…it hits us and we’re given an opportunity to reflect on how we’ve lived our lives up until that point…what did we do well…what would we change? Consider this a sort of “half time.” During this break, we’re also allowed to look into our futures. At this point, it’s not about what we’ve done or accomplished…it’s not about success…but significance.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

2. Consider the “season” you’re in right now. What is important for you right now?

It’s funny because I think Jeremiah 29:11 and Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 are speaking to one another. In previous posts, we’ve talked about how sometimes we want something so bad that we will it to happen. However, God has a plan for each of us…his timing is almost never our timing. But, we must still have to make decisions every day…and those decisions must consider the specific season we’re in.

In particular, in my life, family is becoming more and more important. If you’ve spent any time with me, you know that I am really looking forward to being a mother. To prepare for this “season,” I recall making a conscious decision to travel less (with work of course) several years ago. In that time, I also picked up a hobby with the intention of learning my camera well enough that I would one day be able to take photographs of my own children. I’m a planner…and I certainly like to prepare for the future. However, God has taken care of the rest. He’s managed to place people in my life that would teach me specific lessons and given me experiences that will fulfill his plan for me.

Five years ago, I’m not sure I would have imagined myself as a blogger or photographer.  I never imagined that I would be writing Photoshop tutorials every week…or that others would have an interest in what I was doing. Life changes though and “success” is not nearly as important to me as significance now is. If I don’t believe I’m a photographer, how can I expect anyone else to take me seriously? If I don’t believe I have a natural talent, how can I expect God to use that talent. Positive change starts with you (or in this case…me), so what are we waiting for?

My name is Ashley Sisk…and I am a photographer, a blogger and a leader. My life has purpose and significance. Nice to meet you.


PS: I’m musing today. Come over and visit me at:
76 COMMENTS

    Awesome job Ashley! This was a wonderful post! Love the shot and scripture together!

    Love you,
    Jill

    Crazy how much things change, right?! This entire post just makes me happy!

    I have been pondering some of those same thing. Thank you so much for sharing. Blessings, SusanD

    So beautiful. this post could not have come at a better time for me. Thank you!

    Splendid post!! My word this year is Purpose.

    A great post! And it sure has been a pleasure to meet you and get to know you, Ashley! Glad you’re feeling better!

    Thank you for this, Ashley…as it seems to be something I am truly struggling with right now.

    WOnderful Post….

    Thanks Ashley! I need to hear this today….and yesterday…and tomorrow!

    Love your post Ashley. I really love the photo too. Beautiful. Glad you are feeling better! I’ve been a bit absent from the blogosphere for that same reason but just can’t seem to get better…blah!

    Yes, you most certainly are a photographer!!! Very inspiring post Ashley……I needed something like that this morning!!!! Hugs!

    Love the way you wove scripture into this entire post to share your purpose and thoughts. This was beautiful Ashley!! I am worried that our old colds might have gotten you sick:( I hope not!! Feel better soon! I agree that it is good to recognize our gifts and to put our energy into using them, whatever they may be!

    Funny because just Sunday we were talking with our pastor at church about our God given talents as well as our spiritual gifts. And now I’m in meditation about both of these things. I was also a psychology major. Weird how I’ve completely turned away from that. Or maybe I haven’t – a spiritual gift seems to be counselor/mentor. But professionally I seemed to have walked into a different direction altogether. Marinating in these thoughts…. FANTASTIC post, Ashley! Nice to officially meet you. ;)

    This is a great post, and I am so glad you are blogging, you are great at it!

    Great post Ashley. Well said. I sort of came to the same realization recently, why I left a admin assistant position to dive full force into Photography Getaways. :) I’m having fun participating in your weekly Scavenger Hunts. Your posts are great and very helpful. :)

    Congratulations, Ashley! You seem to have arrived at a very significant point in your life. One I’m still trying to figure out for myself.

    You sound happy, and isn’t it all about doing things that are important to us and others and being happy at the same time?

    All the best, Maja

    You’ve given me lots to think about. Thanks. :)

    Thanks for sharing this about yourself.

    It is fun to learn from you. And I love how God gives us talents to bless eachother, your is a blessing.

    What a beautiful post sweet girl.
    Jeremiah 29:11 has always been a favorite of mine as well. And that whole chunk of scripture from Ecclesiastes is just so encouraging. Have you heard the song Turn, Turn, Turn by the Byrds? It is so awesome!
    Its from the 60’s and its this scripture put to song =]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ga_M5Zdn4

    It has been a pleasure getting to know you also. I will say when you present this scripture the way you do…it would be safe to say that you have a great way of teaching the scriptures also.
    Have a good one!!!

    We’ve had Jeremiah 29:11 all around our home since our miscarriages (between Sam and Luke). It is oh, so special!

    You are so beautiful…inside and out. And, as you know, I am very much looking forward to your upcoming season. :)

    Your last sentence said it all perfectly and knowing that you know where your purpose comes from is the most important. Can’t wait to see what changes morph into your career and life coming up here…. :O)

    Such a wonderful and beautiful post! Love those bible verses! I am also a planner! I can’t wait to have kids and try and plan everything I can regarding that! This post definitely hits home for me right now too!

    Beautiful Ashley! Thank you!

    I love this post! I am so grateful for your blog and for your words and inspiration! Thank you!! <3

    What a beautiful and inspirational post. You are an incredible woman who brightens all of our lives.

    “…we spend the first part of our life screwing our lives up (no…just me?)” Nope, not just you! My husband did too. Ok ok, and myself as well. =P

    A powerful and resonating post today. You’re the perfect blogging package to me my friend – beautiful photography and spiritual wisdom. I look forward to your blog entries each day. {{hugs}}

    Such a beautiful post (plus your photo is gorgeous, too)! I hope you’re feeling better (must be something going around because I felt rather under the weather yesterday, too)!

    What a wonderful post…I hope you are feeling better. There is something going around that is for sure.

    Oh Ashley! This is gorgeous, just like you. What a wonderful post full of soul and purpose for sure. If you ever want to talk about life and it unfolding the way you hadn’t imagined, give me a call. All the while I have always been blessed and provided for by my Lord, but I have certainly learned to “NEVER SAY NEVER!” Unfortunately the Justin Beiber movie just gave my last line a certain cheese factor, but it’s the truth :) XO, Kelly

    hi! visiting from a sorta fairytale…just wanted to say hello! I really enjoyed this post! very refreshing, honest, & true :)

    In the words of Katy Perry…. Ashley, you are a Firework!

    what an absolutely fantastic post, really wonderful words.

    What a great post! They say life is more about the journey than the final destination. And now I believe that whole heartedly. As much as I dislike my job at the moment and that I felt so unfulfilled in that regard, I would’ve never tried blogging, which eventually led me to photography! I would’ve been too busy moving up the ranks in my career and making money to worry bout finding a hobby! And your post came at a perfect time. I had an interview yesterday and I’ve been feeling very anxious about it. But I now have faith that whether I get it or not, it’s all for the best and that God has a very special purpose for me!

    Well said Ashley!!! I can relate to you in so many ways…& this blog post has such much meaning to me. I for one worked in an office for 14 yrs before having kids..being a sahm for 5 yrs I’m now faced w/ simply “what to do with *my* life.” I’m attempting to follow those dreams as well :)

    Beautiful. :o)

    What a wonderful post and shot!

    Lovely post. Positive visualization is such a powerful practice. Hope that you are blessed with all of the children of your dreams.

    Love it so positive!!!

    I love this photo!!!!
    And what a wonderful post!
    Hugs,
    Yvonne

    This post is so inspiring! When I really started getting into blogging, it felt kind of narcissistic. Doesn’t it? But the truth is, that we all find inspiration from each other. I would have never though I’d become a photographer/blogger and mommy all within a couple of years of each other – but since that’s the path I traveled down, I might as well try to reach out to others. I love it.

    Wonderful post. I too am in a season of life where I am preparing (and dreaming) of children. I can’t wait to capture my own children in a few years.

    I’ve only recently started following your blog, but since I have, I have really enjoyed getting to know a bit about you and seeing your great photos! Keep up the good work!

    God bless,
    Jessica

    I adore the frame around your selfie – beautiful! Loved this post, Ashley.

    I think I needed to read this today…

    Awesome post! Very inspirational <3

    I **loved** this post. It came at just the right time for me…there have been times recently where I’ve thought of giving up; feeling certain that I just don’t have what it takes to do this–blogging or photography. Thank you for the reminder that I can. :)

    Wonderful post! Jeremiah 29:11 has been brought to my attention a lot lately. Perhaps God is trying to tell me something … and I should really listen.

    What a powerful statement, “If I don’t believe I have a natural talent, how can I expect God to use that talent.” And Jeremiah 29:11, one of my very favorites!

    Simply lovely! Thank you for blessing me today……………..and many days!!

    what a sweet, honest post! And very inspiring!

    Absolutely GORGEOUS selfie…just lovely. Your words of “half time” hit home for me…wonderful post :)

    Nice post. It is kind of ironic that it’s hard to claim ourselves as the things we most want to and work hard to be. Although I went to art school for years, have always been into art and created, showed, and even sold my art I have always hesitated to call myself an artist. Now that I do I feel a sense of peace and I think even more empowered to embrace the idea.

    “Positive change starts with you, so what are we waiting for?” …exactly.

    I read your post today with much enjoyment. Your thoughts were quite profound and thoughtful. Your blog is very popular…just look at the followers in such a short time. You are a good photographer but more importantly you are a great teacher. I have learned so much through your very thorough tutorials and just like you I have made many new friends in the blogisphere we are on. The world becomes a smaller place or a bigger family. We appreciate you Ashley. Valerie

    Ashley, we have a lot in common! I’ve also been a human resources/leadership consultant…and do that on a very limited basis now. I’m in the middle of what feels like a long halftime, starting to understand the importance of being still instead of striving in some areas of life.

    So glad you linked up at Graceful!

    I really loved this post :) You are a brilliant photographer and I can honestly say your super fabulous blog and your encouragement have played a pretty big part in where my photography is today (I still have a long way to go though!) Your challenges have really helped me get out there and use my camera properly and I’ve found many other fabulous blogs and challenges through you, all helping me to learn and have fun!
    And I look forward to seeing the gorgeous photo’s of your children when the time comes :D

    Best Post Ever. Ever. Ever. You are seriously one of my biggest inspirations and i LOVE that you were brave enough to showcase your work here!

    So happy to find you through Michelle.

    What an amazing story about reaching out, taking a chance, and searching for significance and not success.

    So nice meeting you!

    great post Ash. sorry I’ve been so MIA (life has been crazy). Beautiful picture too.

    I love this post and I love how you ended it with an affirmation. :)

    Beautifully written, powerful post! You are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Your photo and passage are a lovely combination.

    This post really resonated with me Ashley. I began writing about 4 years ago — started by writing a book, of all things. I never considered myself a writer before that — it still shocks me when I look back and realize that this is where I’ve landed. And it feels so good to have finally found what so many refer to as a “calling.” I see clearly now that God had a plan for me all along — 20/20 in hindsight. I don’t know where it will lead, but I’m confident that God’s got my back.

    Thank you for linking up at Graceful — so grateful for this post…and you!

    I absolutely love this post. You are such an amazing person. I am so honored to have meet you. I can’t wait to get to know you even better. Thanks for all the inspiration and help.

    My hubby just came downstairs calling me up to bed … I just skimmed over this post and wanted to comment …

    Ashley, you are all the things you say you are plus more. You are a natural born leader. People follow you and visit this blog regularly because of your willingness to share and learn and because you encourage and have a very kind heart.

    Thank you. Thank you. For being who you are.

    Hi, Ashley. Nice to meet you. Thank you, for being such an inspiration to others. You certainly inspired me to do better. Brightest blessings to you and your love ones.

    Very well said. Me likey. :D

    I love this, Ashley. And so funny b/c if you read my latest post I hear a lot of similarities! :-)

    Love the self portrait and the verse. Thank you for sharing this.

    Beautifully written, Ashley. At 44, I’m on my second go around at defining my life purpose and identifying my gifts. Becoming a mother seven years ago threw me for a loop and I have had to reinvent myself a few times over when it comes to my career/purpose/talents.

    cheers,
    kim

    Cannot even begin to express how significant this post is to me, personally!

    I think I am truly at a point in my life where you were five years ago. Searching for creativity, community and purpose.

    I am just starting to learn photography and I am anxious to see where it leads me, but I cannot let myself get lost in willing it to happen. The most important thing right now is my children and preparing them for school and teaching them about life.

    I was just on my morning run today and stopped for a few minutes to ask God to bring me back to him and guide me. I get lost in the business of life and forget what is truly important! Thank you for this great post. Sorry for rambling!

    Well said Ashley. I hope that soon you will have those children you hope for. You are a wonderful leader, and I have learned so much from you!

    What a wonderful post! Love the selfie and the scripture!! ;)

    Blessings!!

    Carmen

    Beautiful and powerful message!
    Love your shot and the quote! ;)

    New to your blog, and just what I needed to read tonight. I’m trying to figure out how to pursue my passion of photography.
    :-)
    Happy I found your blog.

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans for hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

    Love it — and so true! Amen!! Love the photo w/ the verse.

    And thank you for this – :) You know why…. I love it, and I’m going to do something about it! xoxoxo

    gorgeous gorgeous!! and i love the verse you put with your photo, it makes it even more beautiful!

    Wow this is completely amazing! I am in the “half time” right now and excited for the rest of the game :)

    found you via Courtney K!


COMMENT