I slid myself into the booth at the fast food joint with a smoothie, notebook, and pen in my hand. My skin stuck to the vinyl as I tried to get comfortable. I was feeling fearful, but still excited. Every other Friday, I have been meeting with a lady in my church who I greatly respect (and secretly hope that I become more like). She has been challenging me spiritually and mentally.

It has been amazing to sit down and talk through issues with a woman who has so much wisdom and guidance to share. 

She is one of the few friends that I feel that "gets" the challenges of owning your own business, the pressure to be successful, and trickiness of balancing that while being married. 

While talking this past week, it became obvious that I measure everything I do against what the world defines as success. Am I booking more weddings than I was this time last year? Are my facebook posts getting more likes? Am I succeeding more than this other person?

It feels like I'm suffocating at times. Stifled by these standards that I have imposed on myself. I see myself as never good enough, nice enough, or successful enough. Which is INSANE. Because I have such a wonderful job in which I get to serve so many gorgeous people. It's not even about me..more on that later.

But still, even though the job itself is wonderful, my idea of success has pinned me.

My friend asked, "Why can't you just enjoy it? Why are you always clamoring? Always looking for the next thing? Does that satisfy you? Are you happy? Do you realize that the Lord gave up His own son for you? He came and died so that your joy may be complete in Him-lacking nothing. Are you living like that's true? Who is God in your life, Erika? Do you clamor because you don't really believe God when He said that He would bring joy? Do you think that your way of finding joy is better than God's? Has it worked? Think diligently about that. Take that conclusion to its end."

I sunk back into the stiff booth and fidgeted. Because, I knew it was true. I didn't believe that God could give me real joy. I believed that being better than others or my previous self would make me happy. And, it hasn't. It has made me a slave. A slave to whatever other people define as success.

Which is why I'm deciding to take a break from reading photography, design, food, and style blogs for 1 week. I'm going cold turkey to see if and how that affects my outlook on joy. And, I plan on using that time comparing myself to the perfect standard of righteousness-Jesus Christ.

I LOVE my job, and I am 100% thankful for the people God has brought to this business. But, I don't want to measure the way I serve my clients against everyone else's methods. I want to measure my service and love for others against the perfect standard.