hello monday: vol. 21

Hello, Monday. I've been struggling a lot with trust lately.

It's never been something I've been particularly good at it and if you've been around these parts long enough, you know that for the last four years, it's a thing Jesus and I have been working on. I asked Him to teach me how to trust Him on January 1, 2014, and He has continued to answer that prayer in countless ways, time and time again, in the nearly 4 1/2 years since.

 
jeremy-bishop-74123-unsplash.jpg
 

I'm in this weird season right now where life feels like a mixed bag. There's a lot of good and a lot of hard and a lot of exciting and a lot of scary all throw into one crazy adventure.

I'm a little over a month away from the one year anniversary of starting my business. Or, more accurately, the one year anniversary of unveiling a website and announcing a thing, right before leaving the country for 10 days. But, you know, technicalities.

//

To say this first year of entrepreneurship has been an adventure would be a complete understatement. It sort of feels like my first year in college all over again.

Back in 2008, I transferred to Christopher Newport University with an intended major in English, concentration in Journalism and Language Arts, minor in Theatre, on track to get my MA in Teaching. Halfway through my first semester, I'd dropped the Language Arts concentration and plans for the MA in Teaching, and bumped the minor in Theatre up to a major with a concentration in Acting.

By the time I came back from Christmas break, I'd dropped the Theatre major back down to a minor and picked up a second concentration in English, this time in Creative Writing. And by the time the academic year came to an end, I'd once again dropped the second concentration and landed on what would eventually be my completed degree — a major in English with a concentration in Journalism, and a minor in Theatre. (Though I did ultimately wind up one class short of a minor in Dance as well.)

The long and short is that I had a general idea of what I wanted to do, and I never truly strayed from that, but it took me the better part of that first year to refine the details.

This first year in business has been a lot like that. What I do for clients and the heart behind the business — the core of things, as it were — hasn't changed, but my approach to things has gone through nearly as many variations as my majors and minors did during that first year in college.

//

In three weeks, my mother and I go to visit the city I will be moving to, Lord willing, later this year.

My original plan was to have reached certain revenue goals by the end of April, allowing me to begin the apartment hunt, and ultimately making the move down to the aforementioned city by the end of June.

Despite my best efforts, it would seem the Lord has other plans.

At the very least, my move to this new city will be delayed by a month for no other reason than that's when most apartments in that city turn over, so the number of potential options vastly increases by choosing to wait. But on an even more practical level, the business still has some growing to do before this move becomes a reality. 

This, as you may guess, is where the struggles in trust come in.

From the moment I started this business, it's been abundantly clear that the Lord has been in it. In the weeks leading up to the launch of the website and announcement of the new venture, I began to see so many bits and pieces of events over the previous year that hadn't made sense at the time finally click.

I fully believe the Lord has brought me every lead, every client, every connection, and every conversation. I believe He is sovereign and in control of the clients I book and the ones that I don't. I can do all the "right" things when it comes to marketing my business, but ultimately, it is the Lord who is building it.

I'll admit — it's really hard for me sometimes. I like to plan and I like to be in control.

And one might think that starting your own business lends you a level of control over your job that doesn't exist when you're employed by someone else. While that's true to a degree, as a believer, I believe that Scriptures when they say, "Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain."

I can push and pull and try to shoehorn the pieces of my life to fit my ideas and my plans, but all that effort is in vain if the Lord isn't in it.

//

At the moment, I have a spreadsheet of possible apartments with columns for square footage, number of bedrooms, rent, their proximity to certain landmarks, and what utilities (if any) are included.

It's been over two years since I've had to search for an apartment or house, and I'll admit, I'm kind of over the process already. While I love actually moving into a new place, decorating it and making it my own, I truly detest the process of finding that place. It might be different if I were buying a house, but for now and the foreseeable future, I am a renter.

It's a weird spot to be in — continuing to step out in faith, moving forward with plans, trusting that the Lord will provide the clients and subsequent revenue, in the same way I have to trust that He'll provide the right apartment for me to live in.

Last week, my counselor pointed out that by choosing to run my own business, I've intentionally placed myself in a position where I have to trust the Lord in far greater ways than I ever did when I had a steady paycheck. She's right.

To keep myself from turning into nothing more than a ball of stress and anxiety, I continually have to lay my burdens down and ask the Lord for an extra measure of grace and patience and trust in ways I hardly ever felt the need to do when I worked the 9-5.

I feel like I'm struggling with trust more now than I did a few years ago when I first started this journey, but maybe that's not it. Maybe it feels like I've taken one step forward and two steps back but the reality is my strength in this area has grown, so now the Lord is giving me a heavier burden to bear because He knows I can handle it in a way I wouldn't have been able to four years ago.

Maybe you're in a similar boat. Maybe there's something happening in your life, a matter of trust or something completely different, and it feels like you're struggling in this area far more than you ever have before. 

Remember this, friend: the Lord will give you work commensurate with your faithfulness. He who has proven himself in little will be given much. It works for the good things and the hard things. The more sanctified you become, the harder it will often seem because the more the world will rub up against you.

But don't give up. Don't be discouraged. He is ever by your side. Trust Him, for He is working, always.


Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash