September 29, 2014
A year ago today, I paid to have my dream website made. A year later, I have nothing to show for it. Well, that’s not completely true; I have a deeper understanding of God’s will for me and a killer mood board. Let’s backtrack.
After graduating college with a sparkling degree in Fine Art I decided that my dream job would be to write, spread the gospel, create artwork and share how the Lord is working in my life. At first I was convinced the two opposing worlds of art and my faith would need to be kept separate to thrive, but after much time in prayer I realized that I am called to keep the two united. I set out with a summer game plan of choosing a catchy Brand Name and color scheme, writing a business plan and selecting a graphic designer to work their magic for my website. After plenty of research and hunting, I found my dream designer. There has never been a truer Cinderella moment (you know, the whole sliding-her-foot-into-the-glass-slipper-to-find-a-perfect-fit part) than this one- this woman was perfect for the job. She had a stunning portfolio and her own personal blog was what I had in mind all along. Halleluja! On this exact day one year ago, after much professional jibber jabber, I signed a contract and handed over my ideas, my vision and of course, my money. We set a February launch date. February came and went.
When my husband and I decided to spend a few months of the Spring in Europe I knew exactly what needed to be done from a business standpoint for the success of my plan. The website would need to launch in February so I that I would have a solid two months to grow my reader base. I started planning the trip in December, spending part of every day researching and preparing. This trip was supposed to “catapult my brand” and “increase traffic.” Needless to say, when the February deadline passed, I was upset. When the March deadline passed, I was intolerant. When the “We leave for Europe tomorrow” deadline passed I was harbouring a deep darkness that shouldn’t exist in anyone. The dark clouds didn’t roll in because my website wasn’t executed, but because my plan wasn’t executed. Without going into all the messy details, I was scammed. I was strung along for months after this designer romanced me with excuses and dilemmas until one day in early May she completely disappeared.
Each day I expected to wake up to an inbox full of apologies, explanations, and the website I had worked so hard on and waited not so patiently for. When that didn’t happen, I kind of lost it. Over and over again. Disappointment crept in every crevice of my being, followed swiftly by doubt, self-pity, anger and bitterness. I had been playing the tit-for-tat game so intently that I began to hurt at the success of my peers. I stopped looking at blogs and limited social media in order to guard my heart against comparison and still found a way to wallow in the fact that God would “let this happen”.
You guys, when the Lord closes a door, don’t claw at it. Don’t pace back and forth, checking to see if the doorway has reopened all day long. And above all, do not escape through the window. When the Lord closes a door, sit in the room and try to figure out why He has you there. I know that being scammed by this graphic designer didn’t put a padlock on the door to my dreams. Yes, I could have hired someone else to create my website in the meantime. Yes, I could have even created the website myself by now. I could have thousands of readers, a strong fan base for my artwork and some killer social media platforms. I know, however, that the Lord doesn’t close doors to test our skills on whittling our own way out. He has temporarily sealed that door to say, “wait.” When we start carving an opening in something the Lord has closed we enter dangerous territory- whether we are aware of it or not we are declaring that our way is better than His way. That our plans for ourselves are much more important and far greater than His plan for us. I can assure you that this is false, friends. Sure I’d love to have a beautiful website right now and a brand new blog. I still believe that one day I will, but right now I’m sitting Indian Style in the room the Lord has me in, vowing only to leave through the opening He creates.
Can I let you in on a secret? When we stop trying to kick the door down with every ounce of our strength, sometimes we will realize we’re happy it’s closed. We never would have closed it ourselves, but there is a peace deep within us at the fact of not being able to walk through it. This fact hit me one day in Capri when I was sitting in an impossibly fluffy bed, eating Capri Cake and listening to the ocean hit the rocks just outside the window. Closing my eyes, I whispered to myself “I would not want to be responsible for a blog right now.”
And I’m that teeny moment of honesty, I was able to step in to a deeply satisfying peace with a heart reminded of The Lords love for me.
See, Before I even laid eyes on those two pink lines on an Italian pregnancy test stick my heart had shifted. The responsibilities of generating enough content for a blog began to suffocate me. I wanted to experience things just for the experience- not for comments or page visits. I found myself leaving my camera behind, which is something so uncharacteristic of me. (My husband would lug it around and snap photos, assuring me that one day I’d want to be able to look back on our days on snow capped mountains in Switzerland and nights walking through Florence with gelato. I’m so thankful for that guy.) I didn’t want to have to set up a photo or style the moment and was, instead, fully content just to be living it. I became very protective of our experiences and uninterested in the outside world. This alien behavior finally made sense to both us once I found out I was pregnant. Believe it or not, this baby changed my heart even before it changed my cup size.
So here I am, website-less. Every time I’m asked where someone can buy my artwork or when I’ll have a website, I smile to myself. The answer is truly one that only God knows and I finally find perfect peace in that answer. One day I will be styling my food before I eat it again, painting beautiful dresses and photographing outfits I didn’t really wear that day. Until then, I will enjoy knowing I am so far from my own plan and yet right in the middle of His. And the verse that keeps rolling around in my head has given me the truest perspective time and time again when my plan doesn’t quite work out: Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15
Decorate the room you’re in, learn to love it and understand just why He has you there. Before you know it, one day you might look to your left and see an open door. For now, give your feet a rest. Stop trying to break down a door the Lord has closed. Instead, trust Him when He says
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
A full post on Capri is coming soon, but here are some photos behind the reason I decided that taking a blogging break to fully be present in each moment wouldn’t be so bad after all.