As many of you reading this probably already know, I closed my business a few months ago selling ethical fashion and handcrafted faux leather handbags. Owning a business has always been my big dream and it took some time to adjust to no longer pursuing my shop. It felt like a break up that I knew was coming, but the ending still hurt. I knew it was for the best and I felt total peace over the decision, but the days following left me feeling numb. I realized my business was standing in my way of being the person I wanted to be. I felt constant pressure to keep up with all the other shops I was following. It was always a numbers game, trying to achieve more sales, get more followers, and more likes than the others in order to feel successful and when I didn’t reach the lofty goals I had set, I felt defeated, worthless, and ultimately like my voice and what I was presenting was going unnoticed and didn’t matter. It’s then that I took notice that my business was self-serving. When I looked into my heart and asked myself why I wanted this business it was because I wanted to make more money. It had nothing to do with the joy I originally started the business with, the joy of creating. It was not because I wanted to glorify God with my talent. It was not because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted the success of the shops I saw around me just so I could feel more accomplished and better than them. I was running myself in the ground with worry and stress over a goal that was petty. I couldn’t enjoy my baby girl because I felt like she was a roadblock in the way of the success I could potentially have if I didn’t have to take care of someone else all day.
I began praying about my business and God opened my eyes to the negative things filling my heart that I allowed the enemy to place there through not guarding my eyes from comparison. The answer was simple, in one phrase God spoke to me and told me I needed to close my shop with no explanation of what He would have next for me. I decided to not fight it or over-question it and announced the next day I was closing my shop for good. Telling my parents was probably the worst part because I knew they would respond with shock, worry, and several questions about what was next. And the truth was, I had absolutely no idea but God told me to do something, so I did and that’s all I had to hold onto.
Business has a price, and for each person that price is different. For me, the cost of having that business was stress on my marriage and resentment of becoming a mom because I could hardly keep up with all the child-less, single shop owners out there. There was a period of time when I doubted God’s timing and when friendships became competitive instead of encouraging. My shop was not worth all that I had on the line, even if it was making millions of dollars. Friends, relationships are the most important things in your life. Your relationship with God, your spouse, your children, your friends, your neighbors. Everyone of those relationships must come first, because we were created for fellowship. We are made in God’s image, which means we are made to be an extension of who He is. God is loving, faithful, consistent, and trustworthy. He is not greedy, competitive, resentful, or self-seeking. We were not put on this earth to work for ourselves, stockpile money, buy fancy things, and shut others out. Money is necessary to live, but it can quickly become an idol and be seen as the goal. If you are not doing what you are doing to glorify and praise the Lord, then what are you doing it for?
Words and Image by Katie Kline