Going All In

I’ve been sitting on this announcement for over a month now. I’ve told people in person and it’s been hard not to post anything about it. I’ve just been waiting for the right time. When the decision was made, I thought it’d be really shocking to a lot of people but at this point, I feel like it’s pretty obvious. So whatever. I still think an explanation is warranted. So here goes nothing.

I have officially transitioned out of my role as Executive Director of Marketing at INITIATIVE to pursue full-time professional photography. 

Here’s why that’s such a big deal in my life. A year and a half ago, I helped start INITIATIVE, a local, unified network of young Christians on mission in the city, with some of my closest friends. From the beginning, I served as the Director of Marketing and poured my life into helping build this organization. I love INITIATIVE. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for INITIATIVE. God has used that organization in my life and the lives of others in ways I could never have imagined when we started. We prayed big prayers and believed God could do big things and he blew us away every single time. The experiences and encounters with God I’ve had in the past year and a half have been insane. I’m 100% thankful for INITIATIVE and my time there. It was my dream job.

The whole first year of INITIATIVE was entirely volunteer. I was a “director” but none of us got paid anything. We did it because God had called us to it and we were obedient and we loved it. In January of this year, we finally secured some funding and I began getting paid (though nothing substantial. I did it because I loved it). I mention this only because of the significance that this had for Katie and I. We were waiting to get engaged until I had a consistent income that would, eventually, be able to provide for us. So the fact that we got engaged just this month and I am just now transitioning out of the job is crazy for me. That was never in the plan. I saw myself doing INITIATIVE for the next 3-5 years easily, if not even longer. I guess that’s not what God had planned.

You have to understand, I’m a hardcore planner. Not a short-term planner. I can never remember what I’m doing in a week. But I am a long-term planner. My top two strengths are Strategy and Futuristic (shout out to StrengthFinders 2.0). I love looking ahead and seeing where things could be and building a strategy on how to get there. When it came to how to marry Katie, INITIATIVE was a piece of the plan. It was the dream job that would also provide. It was perfect. Katie and I decided it was time to get engaged and I started planning. Right around that time, God started to plant a restlessness in me that I couldn’t get rid of. I wanted to do something different. I felt creatively out of sync with where I was and couldn’t shake the feeling that, no matter how much I love INITIATIVE, that this wasn’t what God had in his plans for me long-term. 

It’s as if God knew my plans, led me this far, and then pulled the rug out from under me in order to force us to trust him as we move into this new, exciting, and kind of scary season. That’s why all of my tweets have been about fear recently. I’m scared. Or more accurately, I’ve been scared. Scared of uncertainty. Scared of failing. Scared of having made a mistake. But God has quickly affirmed me, comforted me, and began opening up opportunities for me in this new venture.  

When I talked with Katie about it, I asked her, who is normally scared of change and uncertainty far more so than I, “Are you scared? Do you trust me?” and she said, “I trust you. I’m not scared. If this is what God has for you, do it. I fully support you.” And that’s when I knew I had to do it. It wasn’t really now or never, but it was close. We have a full year until we get married. By starting now, I give myself time to either succeed or fail. If I fail, I have time to find a new job. If I succeed, well, I succeed. If not, then I have enough time to find a new job. But I’m not worried. I have an amazing group of people around me helping me and supporting me, including my best friends and now former coworkers at INITIATIVE. 

I’ll still be around INITIATIVE. I’ll be helping out at the events. I’ll be in their local missionary group called 72 that we began forming right before I knew I had to leave. There are no dislikes or disagreements between INITIATIVE and I. Like I said, those guys are my best friends and I would do anything for them and they would do anything for me. It’s just when you spend the last year and a half preaching about following God’s calling on your life and living in your passions and giftings on mission in the city, it came time for me to put my money where my mouth was in a whole new way. 

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So that’s what I’m doing now. I’m officially a full-time professional photographer. I’m engaged. I still have a year of school left but that will fly by before you know it. I’m excited for this new venture in life. Who knows where God will take me in it. I’ve already seen him move just like he did when I was in INITIATIVE and that’s definitely an exciting feeling.

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All of this said, I’m not afraid to ask for help. I’m not afraid to put myself out there. I need your help. In this world of photography, the best thing I can get is referrals. This is the time. If you know anyone who needs a photoshoot (or a website made for that matter) or maybe it’s you that needs a photoshoot (or website), please let me know. Click on the “I Have Something For You!” button below and send me the info or pass my info on to someone who needs it (ian@ianharber.com). I’m looking to book up the whole Summer right now. At this point, I can’t get too many requests.

Either way, I want to end by saying thank you. Thank you for following along on this journey. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response I’ve gotten from so many people in the past couple of months, especially in regards to my Tuesday @ 7 series and my fashion photography. It’s been wonderful to work on and I’m still gonna be doing them! I’ve also been overwhelmed by the support that you all have shown Katie and I. We’ve talked about it a lot and we’re so thankful for you guys. If you’re interested, you can follow our more personal journey over at Happily Harber

Once again, thank you. I’m heading out on another crazy journey to see where God takes me. I can’t wait to see what happens. And maybe sometime soon, we can do a photoshoot then head to an INITIATIVE event together to go be on mission in our city. I’d like that.