Have you ever had a moment where you're just so full and overwhelmed from love and support that you're a little short on words? That was me yesterday after I left Saved by Grace Co.'s first Open House/Pop Up Shop at The Flower Center in Clifton Forge, Virginia. My home town, where I grew up. Where I experienced some of the best of life and some of my very, very worst. I have realized several different things in preparation for this event and now that it is over that I want to share with you guys.
OK. So. I work my very best under pressure. When taking my college courses, I would always wait until the very last minute to complete assignments, sometimes at work when I knew I had to submit top projects, etc. - it was in short deadlines that my brain flowed the best. In this particular situation, I had two weeks to prepare for the Open House, which was an opportunity for people to come in and touch and feel my products AND for me to debut over 20 brand new items in my shop. Oh- and for me to meet people face to face and most importantly - create a safe atmosphere for people to come and share their love for Christ through shopping. I had a huge weight on my shoulders and little time to prepare. With time, I have been able to learn new skills, etc., but that meant hand painting all of my new signs - aka, adding much more time to the process of creating. Aside from all of that - I pushed myself. I doubted myself. Thought about canceling. Created a million scenarios in my head about how nobody from back home liked me and would never come to support me. Overall, I was TIRED. I worked my hands until I couldn't work them anymore, worked through the night and the night before only slept two hours. AND get this - God even woke me up an hour earlier before I had to even get ready for the event to pray for people. Specific people. Probably some people that are reading this and received messages from me at the wee hours of the morning. I was like - Hold Up, Jesus. I'm already exhausted. I was in complete complain mode. For real. Tired.
Before the Event;
OK - so I got up from praying at 6am, headed outside and finished cutting wood. No police were called by my neighbors for being super loud, thankfully. Got dressed, packed up. Headed out the driveway, went up the street. Forgot something, went back home, got that. Down the driveway, forgot something else and back again. Finally on the road - turned up my Elevation Worship music and was literally running off of adrenaline. Even through the words of the songs, my mind spoke so much louder than the music. "Whitney, why would you waste your time doing this? Nobody is going to come. Did you forget nobody liked you? Your signs suck. There are better makers out there. Everything sucks, including you." - (LOL at this now, but really.) It was in that exhausting moment where God spoke to me. Or he knocked me upside my head rather.
When I say God "spoke" to me, it's truly a super natural feeling. I mean He didn't descend from heaven and sit in my passenger seat or anything, but He did tell me this.
This isn't about you, Whitney. This isn't about who likes you and who doesn't. You've spent two weeks making this about yourself. You're tired, but its a part of the process. I want you to sacrifice for Me. You asked to work for Me and you asked to make this full time, what did you expect? This is My business and I am using You to be the light for Me. I am giving you the gifts and creating opportunities for people to gather in My name.
So - after I rolled my eyes to the sky, I was almost in tears. I had literally made this entire thing about me. Don't get me wrong, I know who my Boss is. I know I have been called, but I am human and I am selfish. I turned this entire thing into who liked me, who didn't, whether my stuff was good enough, etc., etc., etc.
This wasn't about me. This was about the people who came in and connected with my items on their own personal levels and some were almost in tears after speaking with them. This was about actually meeting the people I have prayed for. That have shared some really tough stuff with me. That I got to hug and get to know. This was about God filling a local favorite place with His love. A local business owner who is not afraid to say "I love God" by having Saved by Grace Co. items in her place of business. This was about sharing His word with a community that God specifically told me needed Him. This was about God literally speaking to me as people were coming in and me turning my head to pray for them because God put it on my heart. For the sweet soul who had the idea of asking for peanut butter donations to help feed local families. For the special lady who doesn't typically come out of the house, who made the sacrifice to come alone to see how God is working in my life and show me love. For the teenagers and kids who came in that were able to see that being a Christian is pretty dag-on cool. For me to spend the day with my best friend who loves me for me and all my selfish ways AND for her to get to experience with me what we have prayed for, for so long. For the wife that lost her husband not too long ago, that was able to share lyrics to a song with me that will turn into a brand new sign in the shop. For someone super sweet who is selfless enough to be a caretaker for someone who most would disregard, but who brought into a safe place to feel loved. For the conversations I got to overhear about people in really hard life situations and pray for when I left. It was also a chance for me to say something to people that I have no doubt God needed them to hear. This was all purposeful. This was all a part of His plan. I could go on and on about how God spoke to me throughout the day, but it was only until I stopped thinking about myself that I could listen.
For those of you in situations where you aren't purposely making something about you, but are - ask yourself if the situation you're in is really about you? Is God calling you to something that's bigger than your insecurity? The insecurity that doesn't matter because God's love is literally the only love you need. The lies you tell yourself about yourself? Those enemies that don't matter and who are only placed in your life for you to turn to God? Are you blocking a blessing or an opportunity to bless someone because you're making something about you? Has God called you to something, but you're too scared and letting fear paralyze you? The fears that are really just about you and not Him? Are you chasing His light or are you chasing lies, self-pity or un-Godly things?
If you're like me and you're chasing the worldly things that don't matter - God is asking me to tell you (or knock you upside your head) that instead of chasing those things - Chase Him. Chase the light. Run after His love. Remember that this life isn't about you. Your life is to help give someone else life. Be a light. Be a force. Be that person that people see God overflowing out of.
Chase God's light, y'all.
The Open House was absolutely more than I could have asked for. It was a blessing to me in so many ways. I can't thank you guys enough who came or supported even if you couldn't make it. The Saved by Grace Co. items are still up for grabs at The Flower Center, which is a safe place to come and feel God and connect with Him through these items.
I love you guys. Thank you for everything!