Wednesday, March 14, 2012

40 Days....Day 6...Show me the money

Watch this clip from Jerry Maguire.... this scene...I totally feel like I am Cuba Gooding Jr. and I feel like I am shouting to God...."SHOW ME THE MONEY!" There are months that go by that I literally work my bootie off and then look at the bank account and want to cry. I beg and plead and ask God why? I work so hard God....why? My days are crammed from the moment I wake up until the moment I pass out. It irritates me when I don't accomplish everything that I wanted to on the to-do list before going to bed. I am the type of person that will lay and continually think about everything I didn't do and what I still have to work on tomorrow.

I have already blogged about my lack of trusting God with my businesses finances. Little did I know then that this chapter was going to be on tithing. Bottom line...I don't tithe from my company's finances. I've continually been honest when writing this blog, not because of anyone who is actually reading it, but because I need to be honest with God. I could make a thousand excuses why I don't; the money is inconsistent, I don't make enough, I don't keep track of the money well enough, but really none of those excuses are good enough.

I feel that there is a perception from the outside world of what a self-employed photographer like myself actually makes for an income. See there are seasons that are considered good "photography business" months. This would be the time leading up to Christmas and sometime in the spring. For those of us who do high school senior sessions and weddings, there are seasons when those types of sessions are flowing more abundantly too. I am blessed to be a photographer who shoots in just about any circumstance and even owns a studio with lighting equipment. I think that the outside world sees that we charge anywhere from $100-$200 for an hour session and think that is insane for one hour of service.

But what isn't taken into consideration is the time before and after that session. Your session fee is paying for that too! The time spent emailing a client back and forth and planning the perfect session. I am the type of photographer that puts a lot of thought and effort into my sessions. So I correspond with several emails, texts, and Facebook messages until we have the perfect location, the right outfits, the exact time, and everything planned out to get exactly what you want in your session. If that means shopping for new props or purchasing items to help myself be better equipped for your session, then I do it. This is also what your session fee covers. It also covers post-processing and production. The time I spend editing pictures and burning CDs or traveling to the post office to mail items or time spent placing picture orders and then going and picking them up. This is what all goes into making one session complete.

It's a me, book, correspond, plan, research, execute, meet, shoot, edit, and mail. (Rinse and repeat daily!)

Back to the tithing thing. When it comes to the end of the month I realize that I have spent all my extra few dollars on milk and bread and diapers and I want to grab all my remaining pennies and hold on to them like a kid who has just robbed the tooth fairy! I am stingy with my money when it comes to giving it to God. I am great about helping others with my time and giving myself as a servant, but when it comes to money, I am the first one to hold tightly to the photography bank account.

I will be completely honest...I cannot stand beggars who stand on the street corner and hold their signs asking for money. I find it highly irritating and I want to roll up my window and pretend they aren't even there. I have gone and gotten sandwiches or snacks and tried to give them to the ones that say "Will work for food". But have been declined or worse...accepted and then watched my food be thrown in the trash the moment I drove away. When ever I see someone like this, scripture haunts my soul... "Then the King replies, 'Whatever you have done for the least of these, you have done for me. " Matthew 25:40. OH GOD WHY?! I have no money left! They aren't doing anything to earn my money!

He's not asking us to give to the poor man on the street holding the sign. He's asking us to give the firsts of our fruits from our income to Him, Him meaning the church and His Kingdom. He's not saying that when we get to the end of the month and have money left over that you should give ALL of that to Him. No, He is saying, to give in to the storehouse and He will provide. Trust Me with your finances and I will bless you. When you are trusting the Lord God, He will provide all you need. Do not worry about whether there will be enough in the end. He will always provide. "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:33-34.

That's my problem. It's not that I don't like to tithe, because I LOVE my church and I believe in investing and giving to them. It's that I don't like trusting God to provide when I see that the dollar signs do not add up. When I see that there's no possible way. And then I am smacked up side the head again with scripture from Matthew 19:26, where Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Why do I doubt you Lord? I have seen you show me over and over again that You are in control and that You always provide. And You are able to do the impossible!

I am not telling you readers to make financial decisions on blind faith or to think that God is going to bless your business enormously if you just step out and buy that brand new Canon Mark 3 that is about to take the market. I have learned that trusting God with my own business finances means that I need to pray about decisions before I make them. I need to research a little longer on equipment before I swipe my card. I need to invest in areas that will make my business grow. But I also I have learned that I need to give God the control and be honest with Him and give into the storehouse, so that I can in return be blessed by His goodness.

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