How To Yield To God In Business: a candid entrepreneur story
“If you can't fly, then run; if you can't run, then walk; if you can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” [Martin Luther King, Jr.]
As an entrepreneur at heart, I always want to be flying: I want to be flying forward with God, advancing the gospel, advancing my business, advancing in my relationship with Him. I blame it on my type-a, oldest child personality. I’m a doer and I always have to be moving.
Back in 2015, God put it in my heart to start Move the Mountains, an online business where I help women begin creative adventures in God’s Word through the art of journaling. I had NO idea what I was doing except God was calling me to begin and trust Him, and I was going to do it full throttle.
Faithful as ever, God brought me the different resources I needed to succeed and after 9 months of intense work, I launched my very first website September 1st, 2015. I felt like I had just run a marathon to get it all done and I was exhausted, but exhilarated and I wanted to keep going. I finally felt that I was doing what I was made to do and I didn’t want to stop.
I wanted more of that flying, entrepreneurial spirit, but like someone lost in a daydream, I had forgotten the season of life I was in: I had forgotten I was a full-time mom.
Oh, did I not tell you that? I had a two year old and an 11 month old at the time of my launch. I mention them like afterthoughts because that was the way I treated them. At some point in the preparation of launching my new business, I had shelved my sweet little babes and made them second class citizens to my business.
As Move the Mountains saw success, it moved up the ladder of importance in my mind. First, it became more important than my job as a mom and a wife, then I placed it on a pedestal above God. I had gotten used to running the marathon and I became addicted to that runner’s high that comes with winning and I liked it. I liked it because it satisfied me in ways that being a mother didn’t.
While my struggles as a mother is another topic, let’s just say that I feel as though I am naturally good at running a business and not naturally good at mothering.
God obviously knew what was happening in my heart and He was trying to get my attention, but I wasn’t listening. It almost seems stupid to me that I could block God out of a business that was supposed to be God-centered. Here I was reading and teaching the Bible and deaf to God’s prompts in my own heart.
The Last Thing I Wanted
Because I was bent on running my race instead of His, God had to do something drastic to stop me. He had big plans for Move the Mountains and I was going to ruin them by rerouting the race course, and He simply couldn’t allow that.
So, He did the last thing I wanted Him to do… He got me pregnant. You might chuckle (you’re married and already have two kids, don’t you know how this works?), but when it happened it seriously felt like the world was crashing. I was already floundering in finding time to do #allthethings and here I was AGAIN, pregnant for the 3rd time in 3 years.
Move the Mountains had really picked up steam in the first couple of months and I was so excited to keep up the momentum but now, it felt like it had all been stolen from me. I cannot emphasize the word “stolen” enough. It felt like the business was forcibly ripped from my hands like a thief might snatch a purse from you on the sidewalk.
I knew I was going to be exhausted for the next 9 months and THEN have a little baby (which means a significant loss in freedom for another year). What was I going to do? How was I going to grow my business? I was devastated in my heart.
The Selfish Plea
I remember crying and asking God, “Why am I pregnant again?” His reply, “Because I wanted to bless you.” I selfishly didn’t want this blessing because it wasn’t one I felt fulfilled by.
I struggle in motherhood: it is emotionally overwhelming, thankless, and it’s hard to measure your success. It stretches me in ways I don’t like. Every single day (sometimes every minute), I have to die to my emotions and choose to value my children over my feelings.
Hardest... thing... ever.
But God knew, oh my goodness did He know, how badly I needed this. I needed all of this.
God’s way is ALWAYS better.
Praise the Lord for His ways. Being on the other side of it, I am overwhelmingly thankful for how God played it all out. The most important thing that I learned, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, is that if God hadn’t stop me, I was going to massively regret the way I was mothering. God revealed to me that the regret would have been so terrible, my heart would have been inconsolable.
When I stepped away from the situation and gained some perspective, I realized I would willingly forfeit everything for momming my boys well. My heart remembered its love for my children and it did a 180 regarding it all. There were even times during my pregnancy that I asked God if I could close Move the Mountains because it made it so hard to mother well.
Another thing for which I am thankful is that I learned the only thing I should be chasing for fulfillment is God. Now, it isn’t a bad thing that running a business satisfies me, but when I seek it for satisfaction, I have seen that it will become my god. I knew that in my brain, I could have taught a whole sermon on it, but I didn’t recognize it in my own heart until I was forced to by the Holy Spirit.
Trust was another whole lesson I had to learn in my heart regarding my business. There was one point in my pregnancy where I was dealing with insomnia; and because of it, I had to completely hand my business over to someone else because I simply couldn’t. I had to allow God to carry the business because I didn’t have time or energy to invest.
Giving it back
If the only thing that came of this season was that I became a better mom, it would have been worth it. But God taught me so much more through it all, and you know what, He has actually given back the time that I felt was forcibly stolen from me.
Yes, He has given me back more time than I could have had before!
At the beginning of 2017, my husband and I decided for him to go back to school and beginning in the Spring, we basically split our time as parents: I work in the morning and he does school/work in the afternoon and evenings.
I have at least 20 hours a week of dedicated time away from my kids for Move the Mountains. I didn’t have that before. I’ve always tried to fit it in the margins of life with my kids and it was not pretty.
I am so thankful and jazzed that I have had this uninterrupted time that I’ve been in business beast-mode. I’ve been creating courses, Bible studies, collections, another business and more! Because I have been able to invest so much time in Move the Mountains, I have gotten to work with wonderful Christians like Kristin here at Relevant Entrepreneur,.
The best blessing I have gotten out of all this is my third son, Silas. We call him “Smiley Silas” and he is such a joy. Sometimes when I look at him, I still don’t understand how he got here because he was never in my life plan, but he was in God’s, which makes him extra important.
The Cinderella Story
Why am I sharing all of this? Because I want to encourage you, dear heart. Running a business takes grit, and unless they’ve been there, most people don’t understand the monumental sacrifices you’ve made to get where you are. So, I want to encourage you by saying this:
It doesn’t matter how messy your life and business look right now, it doesn’t matter how much time and energy you don’t have to invest in it, we serve a God who redeems. He can redeem the time, finances, your family, and your heart. Anything you think is lost, He can and will redeem it: simply ask.
I want to leave you with Romans 8:28 because it makes me feel like Cinderella whenever I read it. Do you remember that moment in the movie where she is crying and broken because the dress she made for herself was torn and tattered and she couldn’t go to the ball? Then the Fairy Godmother shows up and waves her magic wand to give Cinderella a ball gown fit for a queen? Yeah, that’s what God is going to do for you, dear heart.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” [Romans 8:28]