Dared To Dream | Moroccan Adventure

I had debated chronicling about my dreams at the chance of a photography mentorship in Morocco with World Nomad's scholarship program, publicly, here. Quite possibly, more so because of my pride, as my hope has faded to almost less than a mere mustard seed just days before they announce the winner and a part of me hoped people would forget. (How can they when I've been resounding over it for weeks though?!) But since I believe that nothing is wasted in life, I don't want to forget what this season has brought forth in my heart and mind and the hope that maybe others will be inspired to take a leap of faith towards their own, God-given dreams and destiny.
Looking back, I wonder where to even begin? I guess for it to make sense, I'd have to start in what turns out to be the middle of my story - though it would seem the beginning - with a Facebook ad for a photo contest from World Nomads. It wouldn't seem strange for Facebook to place the ad on my feed since they study our likes and interests to serve up promoted posts that would most appeal to us. Not just but weeks before had I seen another photo contest for a chance to win a sizable amount of cash, an ad I engaged with. I had toyed with the idea of entering that first opportunity, but I hadn't really made it a priority and the deadline had passed one day prior to when I revisited the idea with a bit more intention. Likewise, this ad was much the same. I read up on the opportunity, watched the promo video, thought how wonderful it would be, then invited intimidation and insufficiency as my guest again. 

World Nomads Photo Contest EntrI'Ansony Possibilities

I'm not sure how much time had passed since first seeing the ad, but I awoke one evening at 12:30 A.M. unable to fall back asleep - something that does not happen often to me. I browsed social media for a bit hoping to lull myself back to sleep, and in the process recalled the Moroccan opportunity. I watched the video once again explaining the application process of which a short essay was required and became aware that the deadline was just a day or two away. I just could not sleep and I feel I do my best writing at night, when I am too tired to over-think. So I decided to at least "try" and craft an essay, without any solid intention of following through but rather surrendering to the idea of just seeing what happened ... (I was up anyway, so why not?!)

I was amazed to see that the 1500 word essay was actually not much at all and I felt quite inspired in the process ... so much so that I followed through with the rest of the application in a selection of 5 photos and accompanying captions, loosing myself in time during the course of 8.5 hours. The time had come to decide if I could hit the submit button ... and in that moment ... HOPE WON OUT FEAR and I did it!

I'm extremely thankful that I had not been able to see the other applicant's photo submissions until after because I know I would have once again invited the company of self-doubt and "saved" myself from the possibility of rejection.

The entire process of composing my application, the moments after submitting and the time of waiting has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride of emotions and a battle of hope vs. "imminent disappointment" raging through me. If there is one thing I know for sure, no matter the outcome, being willing to take the leap of faith was a victory for me in and of itself and I am trying not to let myself be robbed of that realization.

I have prayed fervently over this opportunity, that while the deepest part of me longs for this - even still, I know that it is best for me to remain in God's will, even if that means that this experience was only about the leap.

It's easy to find "yes" signs if you really want them; but I think wisdom is in trusting that "what will be will be" ... the words of Doris Day singing Que Sera Sera in Marrakesh from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much" ringing through my head oddly enough.

Just what were my "Yes" signs? The fact that I was restless that evening and happened to make the opportunity before the deadline ... that hope had won out fear and I ACTUALLY  took the LEAP! Signs as small and trivial as the fact that just a couple of weeks previous I had FINALLY  became the owner of my own suitcase! Silly? Absolutely; but the reality was I could not find one when I had looked in preparation for my Peru missions trip and it felt validated as a yes when someone had shared with me that they had also acquired luggage as a blessing just before being required to travel for work. It had also hit me in that the seed of Morocco had taken root in my heart on a return flight from Iquitos long before this opportunity came to my attention. And then thinking back even to how much I wrestled with the idea of taking my camera to Peru in the first place, because I wanted to focus on the people, yet I knew leaving my camera behind would come at the cost of feeling like I had left behind an arm ... or lung. Though I have other photos I could have chosen from, I felt it was more important to pick entries attached to emotions, something Peru had very much stirred within me. And at the very least, it would possibly raise more awareness to the region our team discovered with deep needs. (Looking back, I realize now that I may not have picked the best grouping of 5 photos together-as-a-whole to tell a story, as Richard I'Anson explained that it wasn't about the best photos as much as the cohesive story they tell. I wish I would have had a better grasp of all the information I've found after entering that would have helped in the process! But hey ... what will be will be!)

And as if that wasn't enough ... That a friend picked out the most beautiful charm for me from the Amazin' Mitten, sharing the sentiment that "BLESSED ARE THE COURAGOUS FOR THEY SHALL HAVE ADVENTURES" after reading my very public dialogue on FB in deciding whether or not to leap. And just after submitting my application and realizing how ridiculously AMAZING just about EVERY other application was, a friend from church shared a post that said the following:
"Breath. Embrace and enjoy the journey ... God's not in a hurry. You are. It's why you are anxious, and stressed, and disappointed. Today I pray that you surrender your timeline in favor of His peace. Trust that what is meant to be yours, will be yours."
And while at the time I grasped hold of "what is meant to be yours, will be yours," tonight I am magnifying "surrender your timeline in favor of His peace."

At this point, I know that the only way I could possibly win is by the hand of God and in all honesty, the glory should go to Him. And while I know that ASSuME-ing is baaaaad🐑, I've come to the conclusion based on information of the process I've since found that would lead me to believe finalists would know if they were in the running before the formal announcement of a winner (even though that wasn't written in black and white.) That paired with the fact that I may be perceived differently than I consider myself (even among my own friends), that I wouldn't want to be placed in a situation that would be compromising to my faith and my realizations this evening to rest in God's timing leads me to believe that the reward of this journey is more about the internal growth than the tangible prize. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a bit of sting in that, because deep down that root of Morocco is still penetrating my heart, growing in me, but I know I will be OK when the winner is finally announced; and I know that whomever wins that wonderful opportunity will be well-deserving!

Taking a leap of faith means more than risk, it means both growth and progression ... so as I continue to remind myself in the face of rejection "not now" ... dare to dream ... to chase ... and KEEP LEAPING! Just NEVER STOP GROWING!
Images sourced from Google and Local Milk on Instagram.
One day this seed will burst through the soil! I love the illustration I once heard that growing begins in the dark, secret place, beneath the soil. It's a slow process, but just because you can't see anything right away doesn't mean there is nothing happening ... looking back over the last several years of my life/journey I've seen boldness develop even if ironically enough it is still done hesitantly and with fear.

Because I often describe photography as oxygen to my soul, I titled my application "The Air I Breathe", which you can see (with captions but minus essay) HERE.


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