Vanessa Embling » A blog about my life & photography

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Being honest about who I am really seeking to glorify with my life…


“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14

I love the drama of these photos and how they truly captures the scripture in James. I will forever remember when Steven Leslie Johnson preached at the Arts and Entertainment Conference in Atlanta in 2009 and talked about this.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently.

One of my deepest desires is to make a difference in the lives of those around me while I’m on this earth. But I guess I have come to realize over the years – that it’s really not about me and my life specifically… and it’s a lot more about God and the bigger picture. For a while, I was obsessed with the song “I was here” by Beyonce… some of the lyrics: I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time – Know there was something that, meant something that I left behind – When I leave this world, I’ll leave no regrets – Leave something to remember, so they won’t forget – I was here – I lived, I loved – I was here – I did, I’ve done everything that I wanted – And it was more than I thought it would be – I will leave my mark so everyone will know – I was here…

I think there is an aspect of the message of that song that we probably can all identify with. We want to leave a legacy. We want our lives to count. We want our time here to have meant something. And I think those are good things. But again, I’m realizing that… well… it’s not really about me. It’s not about being famous or that people know my name or that they think I am amazing. It’s about living a life here on this earth that will bring glory not to me… but to God in heaven. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

It does not say… … “that they may see your good deeds and praise you, compliment you, give you an award, think you are awesome, love you, pay you more money, make you famous, or fill it in with whatever you are longing for to try to feel better about yourself…”

It’s clear as I read the scriptures but it’s still easy to confuse things in my head and in my heart. In the end, our lives are just a mist as the scripture talks about in James. Our life on this earth is just a ‘blip’ in the grand scheme of things. I want to make it count, I want to make a difference and I don’t think that’s wrong. But I pray that it can be so that God will be glorified and that ultimately it’s all just to help tell His greater story. If my goal is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus… what better example was he of a man of great humility who did not seek fame or fortune or recognition – but instead, he always gave the glory to God and made it clear that he was here on this earth to do the will of his father, not his own will.

And so… maybe it’s not so much that people remember me or what I did… but rather because of my life they were able to see God, know Him and have their lives changed for eternity. I am not the main character in this story… I am just a supporting actor… or maybe more realistically just an ‘extra’ in this grand story God is telling.