By Ellie Visser
“Be brave; live vulnerably; submit to God in all things; pursue every moment with intentionality.”
These were the refrains of the week at the Pursuit Conference.
More of a retreat than a conference, Pursuit brought an amazing group of female creative professionals together for a time of spiritual growth, relationship building, and professional encouragement. Over four days, we heard stories of vulnerability, discussed what it meant to be brave, and shared times of refreshment over meals or while lounging in the autumn Georgia sunshine.
We all walked away from the experience not only challenged to ask hard questions about why we do what we do, but with the tools and hope to keep going even when it seems too hard. Sometimes living out our faith, especially in our professional lives, seems overwhelming. We falter, the pressure to conform or back down is strong, or we feel too weak. But if we all walked away from Pursuit with one takeaway, it was that we can live bravely and create freely because, even in our vulnerabilities and fear, God is bigger.
I attended Pursuit as part of a small team representing ADF. The women we met are, first and foremost, storytellers. They are determined to passionately capture and share life’s moments. We saw firsthand how this passion stemmed from their shared and heartfelt desires to tell people’s stories while authentically living out their own calling as artists, mothers, friends, and believers.
This calling often brings them to a crossroads of balancing faith and work. They explained to us, for example, how their professional involvement in a wedding goes far beyond snapping pictures for a client or putting decorations up in a venue. It is actually a direct reflection of their artistic expression, as well as a personal endorsement of their clients as they journey with them and contribute to the experience, memories, and legacy of their lives through that event.
But what do they do when they are asked to take on a job that contradicts their beliefs and values? How can they pour so much of themselves into an event that goes against their deeply-held convictions? This is a reality they face more and more frequently.
Questions such as, “Do I have to say yes to photographing a wedding ceremony for a couple whose lifestyle I disagree with?” and, “Will I lose my business if I stand up for my beliefs?” were echoed time and again by nearly every woman we encountered. They shared how a cloud of ambiguity surrounds their rights as creative professionals, and they’re wrestling to understand how their beliefs and work life fit together in today’s landscape of anti-discrimination laws.
We attended Pursuit to enable every person there to fully live out their faith and create freely by defending their rights of creative expression. We resonated with the spirit of Pursuit and its attendees, and were grateful that we were able to step alongside them to support their aspirations as professionals and followers of Christ.
Each one of us attended Pursuit because we know that the stories we tell every day shape the world. Yet ultimately, it was a higher calling that drew us together: a desire to honor God and intentionally cultivate relationships and talents that tell the story of our devotion to him. Those themes of bravery, faith, passion, and purpose? They’re the heartbeat of every person we met with that week, an echo that continues to call us deeper into faith and reminds us to join together with one intent:
Live brave and free.
If you are similarly concerned about your ability to create freely or say “no” to creating something that goes against your religious beliefs, ADF has resources to help protect your business and attorneys that are available to answer your questions. Additionally, ADF is a non-profit, which means that calling us will not cost you anything! For more information, please contact ADF.