We are all created and called to do different things. Not necessarily just our ‘job’ or how we earn money, but gifts which we can use through all different parts of our life. Hospitality, kindness, encouraging, mentoring, creativity, teaching, music… There are ways that they can all be used to serve and give to others.
What am I doing with my creative talents? This question was asked, and I fumbled over an answer. I want to be furthering the kingdom through my gifts, seeing God work in them not merely trying to create a job for myself or trying to build a business. I felt that God was asking me to let go, to just ‘stop’ for a while. So I pulled it all off Etsy- I was going to let the listings run out, but actually I felt like God is asking me to take an active step of obedience, an active step in pulling back and showing that I’m listening. I committed to not touching it again until Amelia is at least six months. At least. Even with it on low maintenance mode it was draining my mental energy and distracting me so the break was amazing. The worst that could happen? That the tiny number of people that find me on Etsy wouldn’t any more. And that’s fine. If God has plans for it in the future then he can and will do what needs to be done to achieve his will.
I’ve learned lately that ‘my why’ in terms of my online shop can’t be to make our family more money or to have a ‘successful’ small business. Both of those things made me feel like I constantly needed to strive harder, to do more, and to do it right now. It is much too easy to breed selfishness in my heart and unhealthy habits with my time. My priority is God and his kingdom. He has placed me in this family with people who need me, three little ones who need daily whispers of his grace by being selflessly loved, in a home that needs constantly cleaning in the same way that my heart needs constantly cleaning.
My why is changing, has changed- it needs to be something I get to do and can do if that’s what God makes apparent. ‘My why’ was because I was made to create. And pursuing that intentionally through my online shop for a season was right, so right- the accountability gave me confidence in growing, in remembering that creativity, in exercising it daily. But in the last few months God is calling me to pull back- to give to my family, give to my home, give to those in our life and give my creativity to those who need/ want without expecting anything in return.
I’ve had a lot of clarity since taking everything off Etsy, and it’s been a really peaceful and refreshing break. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep the administerial side of a shop running- it’s not as simple as making things and then putting them in the shop- there are a thousand little steps in between and a thousand other things to learn as you get it wrong and eventually get it right further along the way. Then there’s getting people to actually find out said shop even exists- and that can all get a bit filled with things you feel that you ‘should’ do. I started my Etsy shop without a huge plan or even a direction which I expected to go in, and things morphed and changed along the way. I definitely needed this break to stop and take stock of the year or so I had been doing it, to see what mistakes I could learn from and whether or what I want to do with it in the future and why.
I have lots of ideas and hopes and tentative plans for the future, but more than anything I’m leaning into God and his timing and trying to learn to listen, and obey. Letting go was that final step of giving it back to Him, to stop holding onto something and calling it mine when it was something He had given me in the first place. Everything in my life is a gift from Him and I can live for his kingdom in it all. Quitting the shop for a time (or forever) is surrendering it all and trusting that when He says ‘stop’, that He knows what He is doing. It seems strange that stopping something, giving up something that I loved was the best decision, but it really was. It has given me such mental space, perspective on how I’m spending my time and energy and even though there was so much I wanted to do, I had to listen and quit for a time.
Amelia is now six months (that certainly flew by!) but I’m not rushing into anything drastic right now. Phoebe has four months at home until she starts school and that’s pretty exciting and bittersweet, of course. Seasons are changing and fleeting and I’m squeezing in ways to refresh my soul through creativity, writing and reading where everyday life allows. This break is refreshing and letting go of the feeling of obligation has been much needed, although I have definitely not stopped creating. I love having projects and things to get stuck into even whilst time is limited.
Remembering the ‘why’ that lies behind our everyday activities, our obligations and the places we need to be helps us to put them into perspective and to be refreshed and refocused for the tasks, work and other things ahead. And when we can’t remember the why any more, or the why has changed, we are able to step back and work out what the next move is.
When you’re plagued by feelings of obligation, guilt or just exhaustion, you might need a rest, or a break. It doesn’t have to be as drastic as quitting something forever, but letting go of something for a time, however short can really help with your perspective. And rest always re-energises you for the things you want to have energy and enthusiasm for because they truly matter.
What’s your why? Is there anything you need to break from for a while, so that you can have a refresh?