Two years ago, I woke up with a sinking feeling of professional un-fulfillment. The feeling left me asking God questions. How could I feel unfulfilled? I had just wrapped up my most profitable Christmas season since opening my stationery business and I was finally using my gifts and doing what I loved. And, that’s when it hit me. My gifts aren’t mine for my personal fulfillment. My gifts are to be used to fulfill others! Peter reminds us that, “each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in it’s various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10) It was on that day that I wanted to use those gifts to bring God glory.
The Bible promises that if you “Draw near to God, He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) With that truth in mind, I closed my Etsy shop for the month of January. I devoted myself to prayer and God’s Word, fasted from things that were important to me and sat still long enough to listen. By the end of the month, I had written over a hundred short devotions. God gave me words and I didn’t know why . . . until He started stirring my heart for the spiritually empty woman. I knew from my own experience that it was much too easy to get wrapped up in my own life and to-do list than give God my time. I wanted to create a tool that gave women a place to set their priorities and focus on making God their number one priority. It was then that God laid the idea of the Devotional Planner on my heart. By this time, it was already March, so how could I possibly launch my planner in time to start selling for 2016?
Well, God brought me to a conference that set it all into action. The first night of the conference we sat around a fire and one of the speakers asked us to share our fears. When my turn came, I spoke about what I felt God calling me to and expressed that my fear was losing our savings on a failed business. Do you know what the speaker said to me? “So what.” Friends, I went all the way to Tennessee from California to have God tell me, “So what.” But through that “so what” He gave me His “That’s what.” It was in that moment that I heard God say, if you follow me and my call on your life, the outcome doesn’t matter (good or bad). He reminded me that my obedience to Him meant total surrender to Him. Surrendering not only to the calling at the moment, but also to the outcome of that calling. I had to let go of the outcome and just trust Him with ALL of it. My heart knew that the money we have been fortunate enough to save did not belong to us. It was ALL His! So I handed it over to God that night, filled up an entire notebook of business advice and sketched out the layout of the planner on my flight home.
So with God at the helm, we pulled off bringing the 2016 Anchored Press Devotional Planner to market in 5 months!
Was it a walk in the park? No. Did we make mistakes? Definitely yes! Did my family see less of me? Yes. Did I make a ton of money? Definitely no! BUT, I grew closer to God through all of it! Every single detail of my journey brought me closer to Him. It was one of the most beautiful times in my walk with God. And, do you know why? Because it was hard and I needed God to get through it. In the middle of all of this, I was doing my “Esther” Bible study homework, when Beth Moore was explaining a tough time in her life. She said, “As much as my flesh wanted relief, I knew that when all was said and done, I’d sit on that side of glory, having much rather fulfilled my calling than served myself all the way to meaninglessness. I had to accept that I was not called to an easy life. I was called to a purposeful life.” I started to weep! I thought back to where I was a year ago, running my busy stationery business. And, yes, it was easier and more comfortable and certainly less stressful than launching a product with a four month sales window. BUT, was I bringing God glory? Was I bringing others into communion with God? Was I as close to my Heavenly Father as I am today? The answer is no to all of those questions. In that moment I heard God so clearly say to me, “Even if you bring one person closer to me, that is enough.” In that moment I realized that just as much as the call on my life is His, so is the outcome and He is in control.
So when I started this business, like most businesses, my measure of success was selling out all of the planners. But what I learned was my success story was not dependent on a sell out, but rather how dependent I was on God. By being dependent on Him I was able to experience a lavish love from Him and witness His faithfulness in a way I never would have, had I sold out by Christmas. You see my husband and I kept going back and forth on two quantities to print. We were in the middle of a series at church called, Daring Faith, so we felt the smaller number just wasn’t daring enough, and we went for the bigger number! Had we gone for the smaller number we would have sold out very quickly and I would not have had to depend on God like I did. We truly consider our first year a success story because it’s God’s story. My prayer is that what you take away from my story is that when God puts a call on your heart, trust Him, surrender your fear to Him and know that whatever the outcome you would rather “sit on that side of glory, having much rather fulfilled your calling than served yourself all the way to meaninglessness.”
NOW ALL GLORY TO GOD, WHO IS ABLE, THROUGH HIS MIGHTY POWER AT WORK WITHIN US, TO ACCOMPLISH INFINITELY MORE THAN WE MIGHT ASK OR THINK. – Ephesians 3:20
Do you have an idea brewing up inside of you? What fears are accompanying your idea? Now, what would it look like to have abandon trust, trusting God with the outcome of your idea? What will you say yes to today? Share in the comments below!
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