By Nicole Priest, Contributor

“Everything will be all right in the end and if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.”

I’ve heard that quote multiple times. There are moments, however, when I doubt that very advice. I am an optimistic person. I tend to search for the good in life. Having faith that God will come through for others is easy for me to believe. But somehow, in the midst of a disappointment, a darkness sets in and my faith in God’s ability to pull me through to the finish line fades.

When life gets overwhelming and you find yourself in a deep, dark place, focusing only on what is going wrong, it’s hard to stay confident in God and His promised blessings. There are times in life that we feel prompted to do something and it doesn’t work out as we’d anticipated. There are also times in life that we’re asked to do things, but fear of the unknown disables us.

Eight years ago, I had moved back to California after earning a bachelors degree and I was preparing to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). I was feeling confident and had prepared for the test in every way possible. In my personal experience, when I’m on the right path, doors seem to open and everything tends to line up. It’s how I know I am going in the right direction.

A few short weeks after I took the test, a friend and I were having dinner when we were surprised with simultaneous emails announcing our results. Jumping out of our skin with a mixture of excitement and nervousness, we decided she would look at my score and I would look at hers. Opening her email, I screamed, “165!” Her face went from an ecstatic smile to a lack of emotion as she looked at my results. I knew it couldn’t be good news. Without saying a word she turned the phone so I could read it: 148. ONE FOURTY-EIGHT! How was that even possible?

In that 30-second window, my dreams of law school were all but destroyed. I was furious. Why had I felt prompted throughout the entire process of applying to law school only to fail? Suddenly all the advice I’d ever given others regarding faith and hope felt meaningless in my own time of trouble.

To this day, I am unsure why I had to go through that process, but I don’t feel it was without merit. From there, I changed direction and pursued something I’d always felt drawn to: landscape photography. Frustrated with the lack of financial success in the field, I worked various odd jobs that left me with no spare time for photography. One night my boyfriend said, “If you feel like photography is what you’re supposed to be doing, why are you doing everything but that?” I retorted, “Well, who else is going to pay my bills?” Without skipping a beat he said, “If photography is what you feel God wants you to do, then why not have faith that He will provide?”

I was annoyed because he was right. I continually felt like I was drawn towards photography, but I filled my time and energy into everything but that. I would complain that God pigeonholed me. It was as if He wanted me to do something yet wasn’t providing a way. It never crossed my mind that I was the roadblock.

I was too busy fearing all that could go wrong. If I focused on photography alone, how would I pay my bills and make ends meet? If there’s one thing I know it’s that God won’t let us go down the wrong path for too long. I had tried doing photography with a full plate and now it was time to take a leap of faith and focus singularly on photography.

As soon as I directed more time and energy into photography, people began contacting me for work. I submitted to the world-renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest, and I continue to watch God’s hand in my life as things seem to fall into place. Just because things do not turn out as we plan doesn’t mean they don’t turn out exactly how God has planned.

I’ll always be thankful for the reminder to take a leap of faith and trust that God will come through. Keep pushing forward and keep trying. Keep reminding yourself that if your friends can have faith in greater days to come, so can you.

“Everything will be all right in the end and if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.”