Trusting in God’s Provision
I struggle with people pleasing. I’m terrible at saying no and setting boundaries. I often find myself more concerned with what other people think (or honestly, what I assume other people think), than what I think or what God thinks. I also tend to have very high expectations for myself, and I assume that other people have high expectations of me. And I will try really really hard to meet those expectations. As a result, I put a lot of pressure on myself. I feel guilty when I think I’ve let someone down, and I often doubt myself (and the Holy Spirit working in me), when I know deep down, something needs to change. It’s funny what doubt, guilt, and self-imposed pressure can make you do.
In the spring of 2017, I started a ceramics business. I was working as a care provider for my dad’s company full-time and worked on my ceramics around that schedule. I had big dreams, I had a plan, and I was ready to work hard to reach them. And trust me, I did. I worked my butt off to prep for my first show, only to then be knocked off my feet from a combination of over-doing it and the first trimester of pregnancy.
From then on, it frequently got put on the back burner. I spent 2 years trying to squeeze in time for ceramics between all of the diaper changes, nursing sessions, cleaning, not sleeping, reading, budgeting, cooking, and not to mention wanting to spend time actually just playing with my kids, hanging out with friends, and being with my husband — it was just too much. I felt pulled in too many directions. And, because of that, it was hard to be fully present in what I was doing because I was frequently thinking about other things I “should” or “could” be doing.
It’s been a long internal battle over my mind and my thoughts. Every time I got to the point of “it’s time to lay that down and let it go,” doubt would creep in — What if I regret it? What if I could have a really successful business? If I just worked harder, I could make it happen. Guilt would creep in — you need to do your part in support your family financially. You’re paying too much money on student loans to not use your degree. You’re being lazy. You’re being selfish. You’re not doing enough.
For a long time, I thought this battle was the result of believing that I wasn’t doing enough if I didn’t work in some capacity. I thought I was finding my value in achievements and being able to contribute financially to my family instead of finding my value in Christ. That might be partly true. But, I don’t think that is the root cause. What I’ve realized in the last five months is this:
And because of that, I was relying on my own ability. I wanted to do it all. And guess what? I can’t. I’m limited because I’m human.
But, here’s the good news: God is not limited. God provides for us.
“‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’”
Not only does God provide for our physical needs, but more importantly he provides for our spiritual need for a Savior. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” None of us can meet the righteous standard God requires. Not one of us can provide, or achieve, the salvation we all need. Only God can. Only God did. God, being rich in mercy, provided us a substitute. He provided His Son, Jesus, who lived the perfect life that we are incapable of living, and he died for our sins. And God raised Him from the dead because He can do all things.
So, I’ve finally come to a place where I am laying it all down – no more self-imposed pressure to do it all. And I’m not letting doubt or guilt or pressure creep in again to stop me from stepping into the plans that God has for me. That’s not to say I’ll never work again, but I’m confidently stepping away from ceramics so that I can fully step into what He has for me right now — being a mom, wife, and friend. And I’m looking forward to whatever He calls me to next.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
In the beginning of August, I finally sold my kiln and wheel. It was definitely bittersweet, but I feel so at peace about the decision. I had planned on having a studio sale way back in August, and then before Christmas, but I just didn’t get around to it with all the work we’ve been doing on the house. If you’re interested in getting some of my ceramics, I’ve got some inventory left along with some test samples to sell. And any of the money made will go towards the work on our new house! Message me on Instagram @mylaborsoflove or @ourlaborsoflove or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested!
This blog will be my new creative outlet — this feels like the next right step for me.