Well, here I go!
I’m currently waiting to board the airplane to JFK. I am looking forward to this week for many reasons. One is of course my sister, Jill, is graduating from NYU and I am so proud of her! She has worked so hard to accomplish her dream of getting accepted into NYU and now she can proudly say that she is an alumni. She is one of the most hardworking people I know and she certainly deserves this moment of recognition.
The second thing I’m looking forward to is the shoots I am doing while out there. I have a lot of big people counting on these shoots to be really great and I am pretty thrilled for the challenge. I am shooting three editorials for the relaunch of Runway, which as you know, I am working with to remake. I still cannot fully trust in the opportunity that I have working for Runway, probably because I am so use to things falling out, but if this does go through then this is going to be one of the most popular magazines that exist. And the only guarantee I have to give is because I am on it! And I believe that with the experience and artistic ability God gave me that I can create something great! But who knows! It is all in God’s hands. I’m such blessed to be able to go to NYC and shoot with some of the most reputable people. It’ll certainly be fun and hopefully the stylists that I will be working with deliver.
Lastly, I generally look forward to my NYC trips because I get to feel a sense of independence. I can do pretty much anything I want and go explore anywhere that lures me. To me it is really therapeutic. I learn about the world around me and learn about my place in the world through observing my surroundings. I usually concentrate on talking with God while I’m there and really get in the word. I just hope he speaks to me while I’m there this week and shows me something that will be important for the coming weeks. Maybe I can return home feeling cleansed and fully prepared to take on my next challenge. The thing that has been scaring me and making more nervous is returning back to my friends after being gone for this long. Can you believe that I feel nervous about that! It’s weird and I probably shouldn’t be, but this is my reality.
Anyway, I just can’t wait for something big to happen. I can feel that something is coming and I just want all of these little experiences along the way to make me ready for it. Who knows. I’m praying that God sends me my wife! That’ll be the day.
Well, wish me luck and pray for me. Whatever happens to me just remember, I’ll be okay.
I’m not perfect.
Something I have observed is that people feel inferior to someone who genuinely joyful and confident in themselves. Either people want to be around you because they want to learn how to become that way, or they push away from you because they believe that no one can be so sure of themselves and think you’re arrogant.
We live in a world where people are afraid. They are afraid to be who God made them to be because they have been suppressed by society who tells them to be what they want them to be. It usually stems from fear of rejection. People will follow the crowd because of the fear of being excluded or rejected. This is not everyone, but this the majority. This is why there are so few bold Christians in my generation because the idea of confidence today is not embraced, but discouraged.
For me, my confidence lies in my hope in God. I learned to accept that because God loves me, I am worthy of being loved. God demonstrated to me how much I am worthy by sending His son Jesus to die on the cross.
And I always have this vision of Jesus, during the crucifixion, telling me while he is being beaten, “you’re still worth it Brandon.” And it makes me understand His everlasting love towards me.
So here I am in a world that tells me I am not enough and that I need to strive to fulfill a particular set of standards in order to be accepted, otherwise I will be rejected. But then God tells me, you are worthy because I said your worthy. Then a lot of things make sense. I no longer have to feel insecure about not feeling worthy or accepted which means I no longer have to strive to fit in anyone’s standards. This means I can finally be who God intended me to become without being influence by the world’s agenda.
I understood that because God loves me, I also have to love me. Not the things I do or the flesh of me, but what God created me to become. When I understood that, I also learned to accept the talents, gifts, and strengths God has given me so that I can recognize how I can glorify Him.
But see immediately that is taboo in this society. They say, “you must fit into our standards!” And use fear to terrorize us. Then the will criticize us for knowing our strengths and say that you think highly of yourself. I beg to differ.
How many people out there recognize their strengths? Like what they are good at? How many people when they recognize it, even apply it to glorify God? Not many. In fact, most of us apply to glorify ourselves and sin.
But the thing with God is that He will not only show your strengths, but he will use your weaknesses. That’s when being able to be vulnerable comes in. Being open to being humbled by God and accepting rebuke and growth. But a lot of us have so much pride that we never get to that point. God uses our weakness more during trials in order to turn them into our strengths.
I learned that once you give a person hope, their insecurities no longer inhibit them. Our insecurities are always going to be there, hence our weaknesses God uses, but what changes is the strength God gives us to fight against them when He wants to use us.
I once said that confidence isn’t being able to do things fearlessly, confidence is what it looks like fighting against your fears while doing things.
I bring all of this up because it is important for Christians to understand this. This is fundamental and the reason why the church has been losing people.
This confidence that is learned through true reverence of God is what leads people to abide in the spirit by being willing and obeying God. When someone understands that the love of God is all they need, they walk around hopeful it’s because they are abiding in Him, and that’s what makes them look fearless. So that same fearlessness approach to scenarios is what allows for them to be able to tackle the hardest things. Like the fruit of the spirit. Someone who is confident in The Lord understands. They are mature and remember the time in their lives that they didn’t have hope or confident, so naturally they are patient and should have self-control. Naturally, they start exhibiting the fruit of the spirit because they start to understand.
They are encouraged by the fact that once they understood that they were valuable in God’s eyes, they needed to accept they were valuable in their own lives. Once they understood, they begin to have a genuine desire to share that same revelation with the world. Because God found them while they were lost, and they went from being fearful to being fearless because of God.
After having that trust in God, the things that people say no longer matter, the judgements, the afflictions, and the tearing down. You begin to see them as people who were once as afraid as you were. And instead reacting angry, you draw closer to them and begin to love on them more so that they could know what you know.
The more prideful a person is, the more they will push away from you as want to pull you down. Those people are generally the ones that feel like they don’t need to change, but the world around them needs to change. They are the victim in their lives. And it’s sad because they are usually the most depressed people. This entire process begins the moment you accept that maybe it’s you who needs to change.
God leads to hope, hope leads to fearlessness, fearlessness leads to confidence, confidence leads to love, and love leads to liberty.
It all equals God. Watch how hard they are going to try to rid you of the only thing that can set you free.
Be brave, be bold, and let him break you.
You can’t really disappear if you were already invisible, but you see me God. Reestablish me Oh Lord.
I am going to share with you something that I wrote last year in September. It’s honestly really depressing, but real and honest. Lol. People are afraid to post things like this that are really raw in fear of being judged, but to me I am sharing it in hopes you can relate. I am not in the same position… At least I don’t think.
This was written in September:
"Time and time again,
The feeling comes in my head, the
It’s the hopelessness that’s robs me but I know it’s only temporary,
Because I know what the truth is,
But I still don’t like what this is,
I’m shouting out for someone to listen to me,
I’m screaming out, somebody please understand me,
But my voice just echoes because no one is really there for me.
This feeling lasts so long, as I try finding a place where I belong.
I just want somebody to love me,
Not someone who’s force to,
Or because they are related to me,
Or because they are obliged to,
Or because they want something from me,
Or because their God says so,
But because they choose to,
they sincerely want to,
They love me, for me.
But who really knows me?
Can you really love a gift without knowing what’s inside?
I cry because I given my heart out,
I poured my love out, I poured my hurt out, now I just want to hide,
the love I had inside me died,
Because the ones who said they loved me lied.
I’m a ghost among the ones I care for,
Because they couldn’t see,
What their lack of love was doing to me,
Pulling out all my insecurities,
Demeaned of my humanity.
I was forgotten, abandoned, and rejected,
This isn’t what I expected.
Shouldn’t they already know?
Love is not only saying I love you,
It’s seeing when the other person needs you, it’s loving them even when they push away from you, it’s lowering yourself to bring them back to,
And cheering them to make it all the way through.
But no one really misses me, and I’m just there listening, cuz to them i’m already dead, so they go on without me instead.
My fear of being left alone,
Is unraveling before me,
My heart is turning into stone,
Because I feel like no one really knows,
So my soul begins to groan
I don’t know what more to do,
I don’t know what more to say,
I keep trying to fight it, dilute it, and fake it away,
But this tactic must not be true,
Because God I know I should give it all to you,
So I’ll wait for the day when I’m up there with you,
For now I’ll just endure, so sad, so scared, so bruised,
But I’d do it all again,
I’d do it all for you.”
I was pretty shattered.
Lately, I have been feeling free as though I can think more clearly and see things for what they are. I guess you could say that I am more appreciative. I’m just glad that there are men who are older than me and are spiritual leaders in their families to turn to when I need encouragement and advice.
You see, God becomes real to those who seek after him wholeheartedly. When I was younger I prayed that God would use me. I was such a determined little boy who asked God for wisdom, knowledge, and a motive to be used in the world, and God certainly listened. I continually asked to be used, and then a little while later I began to suffer. At first, I didn’t understand why I went through certain things and why I was put in unusual situations, but I also had accepted that even though I did not understand, I knew God had a plan. So I always had hope. Now that I am older, I learned to be thankful for all of those experiences God allowed to happen because He needed to use them in order for me to turn into who I am today.
And with that comes the understanding of who I am and what God has called me to do. Lately, He has shown me what it means to be a leader… A man of God. So as the suffering began, I was put in situations where I was constantly battling my insecurities and I had to turn to God in order to overcome them. My insecurity was not being wanted. God began to mold me using my weakness; rejection.
Oddly, the thing I want most in this life is to have a son. I guess it has to do with knowing he would be a part of who I am and as a child he would depend on me to survive, but also to mature and grow in understanding. I want to raise up a strong young boy who knows that his father loves him so much. Of course, I want a wife and to get married. Probably more than anything. I just have been created with so much love that I want to pour out, but I am just looking for the right place to put it. I am certain it fits well for my family.
But since I don’t have a family of my own, I have this desire to want to pour out my love on the family I currently do have. Not only my actual family family, but my Christian brothers whom I have grown close with. I naturally grew an attachment over these guys with the heart to protect them, guide them, and love on them because I knew how special they were. And so God made aware to me later, as I was already in the process, to lead this band of brothers and show them how to love by loving them, but something that constantly worked against me was the need to be wanted back and loved back.
Basically, knowing that I am loved and appreciated fuels me and encourages me. According to 5 Love Languages, I am bilingual speaking words of affirmation & quality time. If someone does those things for me, I feel fulfilled, but if I don’t then I began to shut down. Worse, if I feel unloved or rejection, I completely push away. This is the ironic thing about God using my weakness against me. No matter how loving I was towards my friends, none of them ever realized how I felt around them. Though I cared greatly for them, I felt alone, unwanted, and rejected. Perhaps it was the need to have this fulfillment of love that was impossible from them, or maybe it was because I saw that they did have the potential to love me the way I needed to be, but they were just too focused on themselves to realize it and be willing.
But my insecurities were working against me. I distracted myself. God called me to be patient, and I was impatient with them. God had called me to be understanding, and I was misunderstanding them. God had called me to endure, and I was fed up. Like any normal human being, I just wanted to be appreciated, but no matter how much I cried out for it no one was listening to me. And it is not like I am expecting a whole lot. All I have been asking for is to be listened to, to know I have people to go to when I need encouragement, to have support in the things I want to do, and to be able to be appreciated for who I am. I was just trying so hard to make them people they were still learning to become in an instant.
That’s where I went wrong. I knew I had experienced God a lot longer than these guys had and I was a lot more maturer in my walk, but I was expecting these guys to love me even though they were still growing. Even though many of them still don’t know how to love, but it was my weakness that got in my way. My yearning to be loved that wasn’t being met. Finally, God had to show me that I needed to only need Him. That I have to sacrifice my yearning to be loved by my brothers and accept that His love is enough. That’s what I learned to appreciate, because his love is enough. Being away from my friends these past weeks has helped show me that.
When I reached that point, that’s where I understood more about Jesus and His character. Being a leader is tough because the central part to it is accepting the possibility that you may love someone who will never love you back. And I learned that I don’t want to want to be appreciated anymore… I know it’s going to be hard, but I just want that want to be less. This revelation came to me as I am apart from my brothers. But what I am working with God next is being able to go back strong enough to handle the idea that my brothers may never love me back the same way. It’s hard, but honestly maybe that’s why I feel free lately. I haven’t talked to them, so I feel like I don’t have to think about it. I miss them though… I just thank God that He has made me a little bit more understanding. Truth is, the more apart I am from my brothers, the more I see the world for how lost it is, and the more I understand how my brothers need to get ready for the world that is out there. People are lost and they need to see our hope. I just pray my friends see that soon and it changes their hearts.
I took on a challenge today and honestly I have never been so happy about stepping out of my comfort zone.
I am a fashion photographer and have lived quite an interesting last couple of years because of it. As mention in previous posts, I believe God gave me this talent to be a light in world that is so darkened. But over the last couple of months I had found myself in a bit of a predicament. You see I was stuck in my career. I could not move forward and I was beginning to lose motivation and becoming really depressed.
The problem was that as a fashion photographer I grew in my ability to discern what a quality stylist, model, and hair and makeup was, so subsequently I needed to work with a higher level of talent that would give me the ability to execute above and beyond editorials. However, in this industry, it is a game.
In order for me to plan a shoot I have to put together a concept and moodboard. From there I reach out to the stylist who gathers the wardrobe to bring the editorial alive. A good stylist pulls from really good showrooms and designers, a typical LA stylists probably pulls from averagely talented designers. LA is not huge on high fashion or good fashion… in a LA a good stylist knows how to find the gem. Well I can choose to get a mediocre stylist in which case it’s mostly done for trade work or portfolio exchange, so they do often ask for a pull letter, although it would help them out a lot more. Oh a pull letter is a letter from the magazine acknowledging that the shoot is taking place for one of their issues and assumes responsibility or suggests the person who is responsible in the event the clothes get damaged. This allows for designers to trust their pieces with the the stylist and, of course, everyone wants their work in a magazine because of exposure! Well, since I am trying to progress in my career I want to work with professional and experience stylists who know what they are doing, but I could not get a pull letter because I do not have many magazine contacts.
Nowadays, online magazines or startup print magazines editorials run based on submissions, so it is not necessarily a guaranteed publication (it only gets published if chosen) which does not bode well for when looking for high end stylists.
So I decided to see what my chances were in getting represented by a photography agency. I reach out to Next Artists in LA to seek representation. I sent an email to see what my chances were and they responded that they wanted to meet with me that week. So the impressions I got from the interview was that they liked me and my work, but unfortunately the agent representing the artists was new and had never represented photographers, so my opportunity was postponed until further noticed. I was really putting my hopes up for this gig, because at the moment I saw no other opportunity for me to grow in my work. Once I had to accept that it did not work out, and believe me turning to God was probably the only thing getting me through during this time, I came up with another plan.
One of the things I wanted to do was to improvise with the stylists I had been working with before or newer ones that are willing to work with me and are okay, and really editorialize whatever pulls I got, but then no stylist became available! I kept reaching out and no one was available to do what are called “spec shoots” (editorials that are submitted to different magazines for publications). And I am not necessarily the worst photographer in LA… I mean I could proudly say I have worked hard to stand out here in LA and New York, so it was not my work keeping people away, but circumstances. Anyway, once I gave up on that, I decided to try out another route.
The magazine that had published three of my editorial spreads had appealed to me for it’s potential it had to became a reputable fashion magazine. Since I went into pre-production twice for magazines I wanted to create, I had a lot of ideas that I knew could benefit this magazine. I just was not sure how the meeting would go because I did not want to offend the owner, but be blunt as possible to make them aware of how much they needed me. Well I definitely prayed about it as this opportunity would put in a position of influence and God would be able to do some crazy things with me while working with the magazine. So I met with the owner today and needless to say, the meeting went exceptionally well. So well that I am, more or less, the new Art Director at Runway Magazine. And my job will be to renovate and relaunch Runway with new EVERYTHING. This gives me the power to do incredible shoots while also being able to utilize my marketing abilities and people skills. We are going to be working with celebrities for the cover and since I have a good vision for this, my idea is not just to get ANY random starlit, but someone who YOU will know. But everything is in the preliminaries right now. I am just glad to become apart of this really great new adventure that I know I can use to Glorify God. So I hope this inspires someone out there… You can be Christian and in this entertainment industry.
I’ll keep you update on any further news. God is good, and glory always be to him.
Oh Lord I need a divine intervention to come save me from my binding inhibition, because I am in need of your exhortation. Please send me an explanation.
I decided to go off the radar and isolate myself from my friends to regain focus on God since I believe I have lost it along the way. I know right, not a very conventional way of doing things. I may have not even made the wisest choice some would argue, but at the end of the month I plan to resurface hopefully grown with more maturity and understanding.
God has already communicated to me throughout this week and I have been really motivated. I have been surprisingly more happy lately then I feel like I have been in a while.
But I think I just realized that God is trying to show me to appreciate and love brothers for who they are.
So I want to address the fact that I love my friends to death. I don’t even think they are aware of how much I value each and everyone of them. I’m so thankful to have had them in my life regardless of anything, because each of them has taught me something important I needed to know or have blessed me by surrounding me with their talents, creativity, and funny personalities. I have had some of the most memorable moments with them and know that no one is luckier to have the group of friends I do. These guys are my brothers and I want the best for them because I believe they are absolutely worth it. Nothing will ever change that no matter what happens. They are enough.
I pray for us because I want us to grow closer and stronger where we can see each others needs and be there for one another. We’re not there yet, but I wish we were because we could be doing so much more for God. Each of us have our flaws, but I pray overall that we each become loving, selfless, and bold. So that we can be better brothers and better Men of God.
I saw this is my notes on my iPhone. I wrote this last year July 24th. I’m such a weird person. It’s interesting looking at it now, but still.
“But who even truly knows you? You’re still alone kid. No matter how many people you hide yourself around, you can’t mask a clown. This is the final scene, are you ready? Think they can they handle the reality? That your moment of dignity, has been overlooked by hypocrisy. That your intended present was met with resentment. Just remember what we talked about, the smile and laughter if they start to doubt. Hold it all in, neither one of them are your friend. Doesn’t it hurt? Like a storm within your heart, tormented and twisted, treated like dirt. But don’t listen to me, go ahead and be naive, choose to stay instead of leave, wash the feet of the ones who won’t see, who choose to flee when your the one in need. So needy for love, appreciation and encouragement, come to me and I will give you proper management . And when that moment arrives, when you stupidly follow the doctrine of the fool who was locked in, chains by his own saints, come and follow me. Take my hand, and I will lead. Into the fire and into defeat, I’ll be the one to capture you into deceit.”
Guess who’s talking to me.
Are you willing?
Willing to change who you are for the better?
Willing to get out of your comfort zone?
Willing to love those who will not love you back?
Willing to forgive?
Willing to try and understand?
Willing to sacrifice your pride?
Willing to pray?
Willing to utilize self-control when necessary?
Willing to listen?
Willing to be there for others?
Willing to serve?
Willing to stand up and be bold?
Willing to be silent in order to avoid an argument?
Willing to be mature?
Willing to not always be right?
Willing to be wrong?
Willing to apologize to the person you may have hurt even though you may not have intended to?
Willing to step up in areas you’ve been neglecting?
Willing to share the gospel?
Willing to befriend someone completely opposite from you?
Willing to stop that bad habit?
Willing to spend time with The Lord?
Willing to be humble?
Willing to tell someone you love something they need to hear even though it may affect the friendship?
Willing to let go of the resentment towards someone who may have been in the wrong?
Willing to encourage someone while you may be the one needing the encouragement?
Willing to endure being underestimated, unappreciated, or forgotten?
Willing to trust others?
Willing to lay down your life?
Wiling to be selfless?
Willing to be vulnerable or transparent?
Willing to surrender all to God?
Willing to be alone?
Willing to go through trials?
Willing to not always understand?
Willing to rise up if you fail?
What is true Christianity in my opinion? The will to obey God. Willingness does not imply perfection, but it certainly means your heart is in it.
And if you’re not willing then you’re not actually in it for God. Wake up Christian. The world is watching us; be willing to act and God will strengthen us. He will be there to help us and encourage us through this.
Want to change the world? Be willing to change it… For God.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” -James 1:22