I remember sitting in my third grade classroom when the teacher went around the room and asked each person what we wanted to be when we grow up. I was somewhat shy, but bold when asked and confidently said “Martha Stewart.” It’s funny to me, at such an early age; I knew in my heart what God made me for. But I wasn’t ready yet.
Society today has put a huge burden on people to become “successful” and show to the world they have “made it”. We watch business owners fret about how many Facebook followers they have, how well the stock market is performing, how many online sales they have, if they make a certain amount of money each day or if they are “Instagram Influencer”-worthy. Truth is, that definition of success won’t even begin to make any of us happy.
What were you born to create?
This past week we have been doing a lot of strategic planning, not at a board room table, but on roller coasters at King’s Island; literally. We don’t step away much and shut off the business because as entrepreneurs our livelihood counts on our business doing well and keeping our customers engaged.Customers don’t realize that all day long we are fielding messages via Facebook, Instagram messages, email, phone calls, online order fulfillment, delivery schedules, product pick-up times and even text messages from customers who need or want something from us. We don’t get many hours, much less days to really shut it off. But that’s okay because we are creating relationships and friends along the way.
Can you believe that this is a picture of the first time in over 6 years of owning a business we had a few hours to spare to take our kids to a theme park? It stunned us that 6 years went by so fast. This was the literal discussion as the click-tick-click-tick sounds of the Beast hauled us to the top of the peak. As we took the plunge down the hill at 60+ miles an hour, and heard the kids squealing and laughing in the car in front of us, Brandon and I looked at each other realizing we hadn’t even taken time for our family in 6 years. Aside from a vacation here and there we had really done nothing. And every vacation that we managed to escape to had some type of complicated real estate transaction consuming the whole trip… every single time. Don’t even ask.
So, 12 years ago when I was comfortably making a generous living as a corporate healthcare executive, I longed for something more meaningful that allowed my inner Martha Stewart to emerge. She was always there, even on the weekends and evenings at home cooking, gardening, making little crafts with my kids. It actually was the best of both worlds, but I wanted the one without the complexity of office politics and stressful deadlines causing my gray hair to multiply by the hour. Why did I stick with it? I was scared, unsure, insecure with myself and afraid of giving up my corporate stature and identity. It’s all I knew.
There was a lot of reflection on these evenings making bakery-worthy cupcakes, painting salvaged furniture for our home and picking blooms from our manicured backyard to make floral arrangements for the neighbors. God gave me the gift of creativity in a variety of mediums. Despite being very talented in art, I pursued nursing as my career; it was what smart people do and I was led to believe art would never be a route that would make a good living. What I didn’t recognize at the time was I was already being called to create, but I was going to have to muddle through several years of work and jobs, challenges, obstacles and heartache to reveal what I already knew in third grade. He even was about to allow the unseen reality of entrepreneurship prepare us for the next phase of the journey that was underway— hindsight is always 20/20.
Sometimes the view from the top of the Beast will reveal some valuable lessons to you about life. It was affirmation this week that happiness isn’t something a hefty paycheck will buy you and it certainly won’t fill that calling to do what you were born to do.
Creatives….we make things. I have created some killer pies in my day, I have managed to create a garden specific to all of our food sensitivities, I have created websites and project lists that never end. I have created beautifully finished furniture and perfectly designed living rooms. But most importantly, I have created inspiration for others to draw from, created tiny humans that have a better perspective of serving others and channeling their own creativity. You have this gift too, but you have to find it along the journey sometimes. It will reveal itself one nugget at a time until you know. Be on the lookout, it can sneak up on you sometimes.
People ask us all the time what it’s like to work with your spouse. We have had a really great run. Brandon has single-handedly embraced my insane ideas to restore buildings we owned. He somehow has managed to interpret my ideas I throw at him ten times better than I can even imagine. He can create the most organized process for anything (thank goodness, because I cannot). But all of these individual talents don’t work on their own, we need each other. Brandon and I have created our dream together; something neither of us could do alone. What we have created was NOT a store. It wasn’t a place where people just came to buy furniture, gifts, or collectables. We created a place where people came for just a brief moment where time allowed our customers and friends to just get away, talk about life, share ministry with us, AND allow us precious time created by being with family right where we work. THIS is what we were called to create. It’s friendship, fellowship, ministry and community.
Were you born to create or make? Have you been considering starting a business? Do you have a hobby or side hustle you love, but aren’t yet ready to take the leap? Do you have a friend who is crazy-talented but just hasn’t done anything with it? We just want to be inspiration for others to find their reason to create.
Get after it.