Doing Something That Matters | Durham, North Carolina Retreat | Personal

Last week, I intentionally stepped away from the phone and the computer. I put down my social media channels for a few days and scarcely checked my email. Instead, I traveled to Durham, North Carolina, with one of my best friends in the whole world for a very intentional time of retreat. I thought about notifying friends and family that I would be more or less unplugged, but I realized that was the whole purpose of the retreat - not to worry about the world falling apart while I was gone. I knew if I let people know I was away from social media, I would think the whole time about what to do when I was 'back on.' So I kept it all quiet.

Though I love them both, there's a huge difference between simply taking a vacation and spending time away with intentionality. The retreat allowed me time to focus on several things - my relationship with God, the direction of my business, and my mental state in general. I love being a photographer more than anything else in the world, but of course each job comes with its challenges. I am beyond blessed to know the BEST families and brides I could possibly imagine and yet sometimes I let my own heart and mind take over what is a beautiful gift and blessing from the Lord. When I don't book a wedding or when I hear crickets for awhile, I get wrapped up in myself - and that's the opposite I want for my business and my life.

I spent time giving myself definitions for success and failure. As trite as this sounds, I wanted to give myself permission to do what I've always wanted to - and that's living my life to do something that matters. My goal is not to become the most prestigious and highly paid photographer in the world. My goal is not to elevate myself to some level that puts pressure on me to perform for people who will ultimately step away from my life in a few short months.

Instead, my goal is first to serve God and then to serve my own family. After that come my brides and families that choose me and finally, at the very bottom, is myself. A lot of things in this world tell us to 'shoot for the stars' and that you can 'do anything you set your mind to.' It's true that I need to dream big for my business and work hard, but it's easy for me to become distracted as to why I'm doing all of these things.

So here I am, and this is all of me. I want to do something that matters. I want my life to count for something more than just standing at my desk each day and typing words on a screen or tweaking pictures. I want to love God with all my heart. I want to love and serve the people and families I have the privilege of meeting through my job. I don't want to waste my life on my phone, behind a screen, shielding myself from living.

There's so much more on my heart, but for now this is where I'll start - by reminding myself daily of my focus, and by taking the pressure off myself to be somebody that someone else wants me to be. I don't want to get lost in all the little day-to-day things and spend my time forgetting what my life is meant for in the first place. Please, I ask you - challenge me. Ask me if I'm doing this. Text me, call me, email me...hold me accountable to live with purpose and do something that matters.

Thanks for coming along on this journey with me. It means more than I can say.

 Doing Something that Matters | Durham, North Carolina Retreat

Maria Grace Photography

My name is Maria, and I am a wedding and family photographer based out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, but I am always excited about traveling. I love families who truly enjoy spending time with each other and living life together. I love couples that are looking forward to their wedding day because they are so excited to finally be married to.