A year ago I was just beginning to share my hand lettering work on Instagram. Based on the lettering and pictures themselves, it was clear I was new to the whole lettering world. Nevertheless, a dream was born inside my heart, and that dream included someday selling my lettering work on Etsy as so many others have done before me. While initially my dedication to this dream ebbed and flowed, I have been running pretty hard after it for about five months now. Five months of studying hand lettering, establishing a style, researching sign making, and learning how to create digital pieces. Five months of practice, practice, practice. Five months of this side hustle… and I have yet to set up a shop.
I am currently at the tail end of my spring break, of which I had many ambitious goals… clean and organize our basement, paint our downstairs bathroom, and, you guessed it, finally open an Etsy shop. Do you know how many of these goals I’ve accomplished? Not a single one. Not even my main goal. I bought and cut wood, painted signs, designed pieces, and made templates, but at the end of the week, I couldn’t get it done.
While visiting with my sister yesterday, I shared how frustrated I was with not being able to open up shop this week. As a teacher, I felt like spring break was my chance to finally get the ball rolling. My sister, in her sweet gentleness, told me this: sometimes we have to just accept the season of life we’re in and trust God will accomplish His will in His time.
My season of life is this: a working mom with three young kids and a husband who has a non-traditional work schedule. No wonder I haven’t been able to begin selling my work! There is only so much I can accomplish on a daily basis… working a full day, spending time with my kids, making dinner, changing diapers, cleaning, endless laundry, bath and bedtime routines, trying to get some exercise in there, etc.. And while yes, I had more time on my hands during this break from school, I spent much of it visiting with family and friends. (Court and I went to “Afternoon Tea” at a Piano Cafe, complete with an “elegant selection of savory and sweet treats”, and it was the highlight of my break.) Time well spent? Absolutely.
This morning I was reading in the Jesus Calling 365 day devotional by Sarah Young, and the first two lines read this: “Stop trying to work things out before their times have come. Accept the limitations of living one day at a time.” I had to smile because clearly God is trying to tell me something. The ever-so-popular “side hustle” concept is good, but not at the expense of missing out on today. I’ve been so focused on getting to the end, of reaching my goals, that I’ve been losing out out on some of the things God is doing in my life right now. It has also given me unnecessary worry and anxiety… will I ever get my shop open? Do I have to wait until the summer? What if it’s all a complete flop?
Jesus tells us this: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). I know there are some of you out there who, like me, are working toward something you just haven’t been able to attain yet. Despite how hard you hustle, how many hours you put in, it feels like you’re on a hamster wheel and tomorrow’s goals seem to get further away. While there is much value in having goals and working toward them, God is graciously showing me that it is not up to me to accomplish them. My goals are not my purpose. I am only stuck on the hamster wheel when I forget to focus on God.
I can’t think of a better way to end this post than with this classic Proverb: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (19:21). If you find your plan is off course, perhaps God is redirecting, or even slowing down your steps for a different purpose. Trust it, and know that He works out everything for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
Hand Lettering by Sarah Boulware of @letterseed