Marc and I are inching closer to being all moved in to our new home. If you totally missed that bit of information, let me back up and share. We have the opportunity to leave our current apartment and move in to the in-law suite where my grandparents resided until they passed away. It’s attached to the back of my parent’s home, and we’re super excited for the opportunity to save a bit on rent.
Needless to say, things are busy over here at Eight Hundred. Between moving our personal lives from one place to another, I’m still working on projects, teaching myself how to upholster properly, leading a weekly Bible study at my church, attending Milk Paint team meetings online, attending weekly prayer meetings online, blogging for Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint, managing the Milk Paint Instagram feed, and somehow being a wife and cat mom.
It’s a bit of an overwhelming season of life and God is revealing some tough things about myself in the process. Becoming an entrepreneur has awakened the self-driven side of my personality, but it brings a few unhealthy tendencies too.
When I look at other people who do what I do, it’s easy to feel like I’m falling behind and that I should be further ahead by now. My website should be more organized. I should have more followers by now. I need to advertise more. I should be hosting more Facebook live videos to boost my online presence. Why not set up an online shop? How about I tape myself and sell my tutorials to make more money? Why not monetize my blog while I’m at it?
Ugh, see what I mean?
There is an ever-present temptation to fill every waking hour with stuff to do and the underlying mechanism to bring all of this about is for me to strive as hard as I possibly can to make my business get ahead of the curve. I just need to pull myself up by my bootstraps, dig in, grit my teeth, and…
Do. It. All.
I’m sure you’re shaking your head at me because you realize there’s no way anyone could do all of that themselves, let alone do it in the first year of operating a business. It’s just not possible.
But I’m stubborn and I learn things the hard way. I have no problem motivating myself to get stuff done and I’ve never been a procrastinator. I struggle with the opposite actually. I push myself waaaaaaaay too hard and set ridiculous standards that I can’t meet. I don’t give myself any grace when I come up short and I’m overly-critical when things go wrong. When I do come up short, I feel the weight of shame and disappointment heavily on my shoulders and it’s crushing. You want to know what the kicker is? All of that pressure and resulting shame is completely self-imposed.
I’m learning that I easily give in to work. If it needs to be done, I’ll do it…even if I’m exhausted. Accomplishing things makes me happy. I like getting stuff done, which is fabulous for productivity. The problem is that work is always going to be there. There will never be a time where there isn’t something to do. (That’s a double negative, isn’t it?)
God is showing me that the key to surviving entrepreneurship is to consistently put my relationship with Him first. It’s a lesson that’s been woven into my life since day one of Eight Hundred Furniture, but it’s being cranked up to full force as of late. Before I pick up a paintbrush, did I spend time with God? I find time to shop for Christmas merchandise for my booth, but can I find time to pray about the things that weigh heavy on my mind?
I’m finding that when I consistently choose God first, things always take care of themselves. And I really do mean ALWAYS. I’m learning that this is a sacrifice because it costs me something. It costs time that I could be using to cross tasks off my daily punch list. It costs me money when I give Him the first of my income. Marc and I need that money for bills and expenses, so it’s a true test of faith. Do I really trust that God will provide the time I need to get my stuff done? Do I really believe He will increase my sales to make up for the money that I’m giving back to Him? Do I really believe that putting Him first is all that is needed? Is it really enough, or do I have to kick in too?
I’m leading a Bible study through the book of Luke at my church, and I just finished Chapter 10 a few days ago. There’s a scene in there that you may be familiar with. It’s the scene where Jesus comes to Martha’s village and she opens her home to Him and His disciples. She busies herself with preparations (which I imagine were numerous, given she had to provide for 13 hungry men without pizza delivery service) while her sister, Mary, sat at the feet of Jesus. Martha gets distracted by her preparations and asks Jesus to make Mary help her. (Girlfriend, I can relate!) I never really paid attention to His response before, but His words carried a lot more weight this time around:
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;
but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part,
which shall not be taken away from her.”
Friends, I’m totally worried and bothered about so many things. Are any of you? I’m learning that only one thing is necessary – being at the feet of Jesus. When I walk this out and actually do it, I know that it won’t be taken away from me.
There are days when I’ve looked at my bank account and I have no idea how we were able to pay for everything that month, given what the business brought in and how much I gave back to the Lord. There have been mornings where my alarm clock goes off and I’m utterly exhausted, but I choose to get up and attend my prayer meeting. God carries me through the rest of the hours of the day, despite my lack of sleep.
Trust me…it won’t be taken away from you because it hasn’t been taken away from me.
So if you’re feeling the weight of your to-do lists, striving to further your own small business but exhausting yourself in the meantime, or if the world’s notifications, emails, and texts are distracting you, I encourage you to choose the one thing that is needed.
It’s worth it, so let’s choose it together.