heart thoughts from a small business owner {beauty in brokenness}

for the last seven years, i have been the co-owner of a seemingly-successful business.  truly, an art that i fell in love with became more than a hobby and indeed, it grew to provide the keeping for our whole family.  despite a mind-blowing level of competitiveness in what quickly became an over-saturated market, the vision and skill that soon became a waking and sleeping passion seemed to resonate with many who were willing to invest in its by-product: the legacy-leaving for their own family.  by Grace, this creating of art from life brought joy to us and to our clients.  and it provided for our family.

vintage camera photo may 2014a

somewhere along the way, though, that art, that business, those gifts became tainted with fear.  i took on more and more work.  my business-partner didn’t always  operate with the same insatiable drive (more accurately stated, vacillated between patient standing up for the need for rest and margin, and all-out passiveness, likely a knee-jerk-response to my never-ending push for more work, better skill, more advanced tools for the trade).

this mama who sometimes humbly, oft-times proudly, called herself a home-educator and stay-at-home-mom found my heart drifting from that first calling.  as a small business owner, i fell asleep and awoke envisioning my work and my art.  i resented intrusion and i resented what seemed like a forced need on my part to drag everyone along at breakneck speed.  i was ever pursuing an invisible goal to be successful, to have all we needed and wanted, and to be recognized and chosen and yes, i say even revered, though i would never have admitted to it, for the path we pursued.  how dare they not get it, not run with me, not hop into the wheel that kept turning faster and faster, craving the same success i did.

this may sound hyperbolic, but i believe unless i call the ugly monster by name, its defeat by the sword of truth is impossible.  i finally see that ironically, every good and perfect gift, given by the Father of light, is easily tainted by his children, who can take that gift and choose to love it more than the giver.

it’s a journey begun some time ago, but with the help of my heart-love and my God, i am baby-stepping my way toward living first to love, second to work.  i may lose it all, but to lose it all is worth the true all, the honor of my Papa and the faithfulness to my husband and children… and then the love of those in our community.  and it’s a risk i am willing to take.

so with that familiar wobbly, hands-in-the-air toddler walk, i pick my way forward.  i begin to pull back, to draw boundary-lines, to say no maybe more often than yes.  to trust that the work that is from Him will bring joy and it will develop in me peace, and patience, and most of all fearless love.  and that fearless love will spill over into the work that is truly from Him.  i begin to ask for His help knowing what or which work is from Him.  and i pray that in my brokenness, Light is made visible.

have you had a “made whole in brokenness” moment?  i’d love to hear your heart… dare to share below?

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6 Comment

  1. Reply
    Amy
    May 20, 2014 at 2:49 am

    Your post reminds me of this conversation out of The Great Divorce,

    “No. You’re forgetting,” said the Spirit. “That was not how you began. Light itself was your first love: you loved to paint only as a means of telling about light.”

    “Oh, that’s ages ago,” said the Ghost. “One grows out of that. Of course, you haven’t seen my later works. One becomes more and more interested in paint for its own sake.”

    “One does, indeed. I also have had to recover from that. It was all a snare. Ink and catgut and paint were necessary down there, but they are also dangerous stimulants. Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from the love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him. For it doesn’t stop at being interested in paint, you know. They sink lower—becoming interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputations.”

    The first time I read it was three years ago –it didn’t just cut me open, it filleted me. May the Lord be bigger in our lives than all these lesser loves we are prone to cling to. Much, much love to you, old friend.

    1. Reply
      admin
      May 27, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      oh, talk about gutting… amy, dear friend, THIS is truth, told. why do we battle so to remember our first, and Only, love? i’m so thankful you shared. i long to sit and sip tea with you and watch our children play barefoot together and share the lessons we learn and re-learn. love to you…

  2. Reply
    Jenny
    May 20, 2014 at 2:57 am

    Oh Angela! You know all to well the many ‘No’s’ I have said in the past. It’s hard to go against the urge to want to create and be “successful.” I’m finding, lately, that success is meaning something utterly different for me. I may never be a well known artist, but as long as I am well known in the life of my family…I think I will feel successful. Once again, I’m going back to the No’s and I feel pretty liberated and completely at peace. Cheers, lady!

    1. Reply
      admin
      May 27, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      YES, YES, AND YES, to the “no’s!” agreed… it is SO easy to forget what we saw from our Papa and run after the glory for ourselves. You, dear sister, are doing the “far better thing,” and you are creating a more beautiful legacy for the next generation and for the glory of our Papa. i’m so glad this rang true for your heart, as well.

  3. Reply
    Sharon Carnell
    May 23, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Hi Angela!
    Your post reminds me of a Ted talk that I heard recently called “In Praise of Slowness”. Here’s the link:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/carl_honore_praises_slowness

    It reminds me of the phrase in your post “first to love, second to work”. We are in the process of home renovations and I I too often have my agenda/work list and move forward to accomplish the my task at hand. When I am interrupted by kids asking to, for example, play Monoploy or get a Slurpee, I too often respond with, “not right now”. I want to change that. In fact, this afternoon, I am working on staining a project and I thought about your post. “Stop and take a moment to respond” I told myself. So here it is. “First to love, second to work.” I have a new commitment to slowness.
    Blessings!
    Sharon

    1. Reply
      admin
      May 27, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Oh, Sharon, what an awesome encouragement! That, too, is my struggle… I am so thankful for your extension of my conviction. 🙂 And I’m off to click the link for the Ted talk! Thank you for taking a minute to respond, and to remind me what I had been reminded.

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