As the 50th day Faceless rolls away hastely as a bag of Lays devoured during a summer picnic, I ponder on how such a long sabbatical can be possible. The love of God and country sure helps but really what has kept me off for so long without a second glance.

Without a second glance is sorta a stretch though…

So Here’s my confession…

No one ever really gives up bad behavior. You just substitute a bad behavior with a better healthier behavior.

Therefore:

I’m officially on Google+.

What is Google+ you say? Pondering if you’ve ever seen it before are you?

It is the Google version of Facebook but some definite twists and is highly unsought after. Although after deactivating I did receive some panicked texts wondering if I had defriended them. I simply said I was taking a sabbatical from Facebook and they could find me on Google+. A few of my close friends went on their Google accounts and added me to their circles to never ever return or use the service again (lol). In essence, my being on Google+ is giving the social media tool a come back (ha) but truly it is a slow slow..slow process.

More importantly, I have used this tool to meet exciting and new people around the world. I kept seeing wonderful and inspiring photographers post amazing pictures that brightened my day. So I kept adding and adding these photographers to my circles (kind of like “friending” on FB). Through this tandem of rabid adding of randomness, I found a local photographer who organizes meet up groups for those who have a love for photography.

See, I had completely forgotten that I loved photography. My focus was so much on my work and ministry that I had forgotten one of life’s essential survival skills: FUN.

Seems so simple right? I mean how can one forget to have fun?

Oh my dear reader, it is so so so easy to get caught up in the perfectionism of one’s career that you forget you actually have passions and desires that have been sitting on the back burner just bubbling to come forth to the front lines. Some how in the midst of “performing” I forgot to enjoy life. My life was no longer living and breathing it was performing and meeting goals.

Basically, all work and no play makes Raquel a cranky, unhappy, and drained individual.

So I went to the photo meet up in Spencer, NC and met some pretty cool and NORMAL people. Yes, I realize there is no normal and maybe some of them may consider being labeled that a very bad and boring thing: but I don’t. I needed to be around people who had a passion too and were willing to share and encourage that passion with their own fervor and intensity. I fell right in and fit perfectly. No expectations and no competition. It was just pure fun taking pics, exploring the train stations with their kids, and enjoying the sunshine. There were only a few moments where I wished I had someone to photograph ( lol ugh) but the group I was with didn’t make me feel odd or out of place by not having that.

I was a person to them worthy of existing even in a single state of being.

After mere remenants of cajoling, I accepted their dinner invitation and further extended my joyful experience. I call this making friends. Wait…that’s another FUN thing I used to do! Traveling used to be my number one passion and I had to drive 2 hours and 50 mins to get there. Wow, it’s just amazing how 1. God works 2. we are reminded to live in such surprising ways. Who knew going Faceless would open my view and making me see things that I had been missing.

Fun: who knew!!

Google+ has been a win win social media tool. I can be myself without judgement or an audience to my life AND it’s initiating new things and inspiring me to dust off former affections.

I believe limiting yourself can actually bring inspiration.

Sometimes we get too comfortable in what we are doing even if it isn’t bringing us any joy. But by forcing myself to find new outlets and refining my view it actually broadened my world. Having all the tools me could ever need can be hindrance to true creativity. It can block us.

It’s those moments when we have absolutely NOTHING when we are forced to look harder, dig deeper, and birth light out of sheer darkness.

That’s why I decided to bring only my cell phone and a 10 pixel digital camera to the photo meet up. I wanted to see if I could jump start my creativity and force myself out of the box/small office I have been living in.

It worked. I had FUN again and I enjoyed being creative for the pure sake of being creative. Nothing else. No deadline and no goal performing.

Now that’s true freedom. *exhales*