Thursday, January 18, 2018

Keeping God in my Business

Being a small business owner brings a lot of joy and triumph. But also a fair amount for stress and discouragement.  Trust me, I know all about it! I started my business because I heard God call me to it. He called me to use my talents when I struggled to put food on the table.

The joy that came with this small venture brought so much balance to my life. I was rewarded by both a paid grocery bill every month as well as being creative and challenged in creativity.  As I began to dream big and imagine quitting my day job and just doing this full time and how amazing that would be. I outlined what my brick and mortar store would look like and what kind of store space I would have to show off all of the amazing work I was doing.  I imagined having a huge Instagram following of devoted fans who couldn't wait for the next release event. I imagined being featured on the front page of Etsy, or in a makers magazine.

For 7 years I pushed myself into late nights and long weekends to grow my business so that I could reach a little bit closer and closer to that dream. As crazy as it gets during the high season, I love every minute of it. But the slow season brings uncertainty and doubt. In those moments I would push harder, read more books, listen to more podcasts and desperately look for my customers.

At the beginning of my 7th year a friend of mine asked how my business was doing, and I said "It's doing okay, but…..  I know God called me to this, but I'm struggling to find the traction I need to step it up to the next level."  It was true. I just kept telling myself that if God called me to it, He will bring me through it. But truthfully, my inner thought kept saying "what on Earth could this business be doing to glorify him in any way.  Really, what are these late nights doing for Him, what is the long weekends working  doing for Him anyway?"

I brought this though to the ladies in my Sabbath School class. While they all had lovely responses to my talent and my grit and how people just love my product, that might just need to be enough. One person suggested that I get a little bit more literal with how I am sharing God through my business.  We brainstormed those ideas. Someone had suggested using Glow Tracts (literature on specific biblical topics that are small enough to fit into a wallet).  I ordered 100 glow tracts.

That little bundle of literature came to my studio, and I just looked at it. For a brief thought I had that fear that many of Christians have when it comes to mixing Faith and Business. What if my customers are offended by this? What if they open the box to find the gift they ordered from me, and hate the fact that I put God in that box too?  What if I lose prospective return customers over this? Who is going to read these anyway? They are all going to get thrown away. This is such waste of time!

We all think that from time to time. Us Christians. We think, why should I subject myself to dislike from the very people I need to purchase my product so I can feed my family?

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go."   Joshua 1:9

That doubt, that is the voice of the evil one. That is the voice of the one who hates God to win!  WHY on Earth should I be ashamed of the very business that God set me to start? 
Instead of walking away I took that little bundle of literature in my hands and I prayed
"Lord, send these to those who have asked for a sign. Send these to someone who is searching but not seeking. Put these tracts in the hands of those who need it."

If I send out 100 pieces of literature, and 99 of them get thrown into the trash but 1 brings someone to the Lord…how can I NOT send them out? The nature of my business allows me to send boxes all over the world. I have sent the Word of God all around the world without ever leaving my home town.  THAT is amazing. I will probably never know if any of those Glow Tracts have changed a life in any way, but I trust that the Lord is sending them those who need it.

It's been 12 months since I sent out the first one.  Since that time,  I have joined a very profitable Saturday market, I was accepted as a vendor in an Art in the Park festival, my sales increased by 60%, and I have connected with several customers on a personal level that benefit us both greatly.  I finally feel like I am gaining that traction I need to push my business to the next level.

God called me to this path. I got sidetracked a bit with my own dreams and ambitions. I forgot that He called me to this for a reason, and that reason is not so that I can become rich and famous.  I still don't really know how He wants me to bring the word to the world with my little home business.  But He DID call me, and I MUST answer.

God calls us to be happy. He calls us to be delighted in his blessings.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart" Psalm 37:4

I am delighted in my gifts. Being creative every day is what wakes me soul and makes it sing. I am excited in my journey, still 8 years later. Still during those busy seasons with long and nights and during the slow seasons when I have time for family movie night. I am energized and delighted at all times because I know that God has the plan. I just have to keep making.

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