A large part of our God led journey includes our journey as entrepreneurs and business owners. And someday in the near future I am going to vulnerably share that journey thus far and how God has used it to draw us closer to Him. But I’ve noticed that it’s one of the ways that He speaks to us, He uses our businesses as a way to prune and cultivate our hearts for Him.
So it should come to no surprise that when I am working something out on the surface level with a business, that God is working something out on the heart level in me.
I’ve recently reclaimed victory for A Faithful Mess. I have spent years working through insecurities, doubts and fears and only recently have I truly begun to treat this venture as a bonafide business. Even more it’s something that I now believe I am capable and called to build. Last week I did several things for my business that I use to be terrified of – I launched an email marketing campaign, as well as a few paid social media ads. It may not seem like a big deal to most, but it was a big, scary step for me. And I was proud, I felt accomplished and I kept obsessively checking my stats and analytics to see the success of the campaigns. I just knew that as soon as I hit “publish” emails and notifications would come flooding in. But after several days of launching I had practically nothing to show for it. Hardly any additional followers, subscribers, customers, nada. And so I sat in my office really frustrated and questioned once again, if something would come of any of it – if the work I was doing mattered.
I feel like I need a disclaimer here: I realize this all sounds petty, whining over subscribers and followers. And I even questioned posting this because of how petty it seemed. But don’t we all get obsessed with surface numbers – don’t we all try to find approval and worth in the number of likes we get on an Instagram or Facebook post? I know I can’t be the only one.
So I pouted. I doubted and I questioned. Was it even worth doing the work if I wasn’t going to see any progress? I wondered if something with such a piddly, insignificant beginning could still be worth it.
And I took it to God; “what can you really do with a tiny mustard seed?” I asked Him.
And you guys, He answered. I opened my bible and I dug in. And verse after verse, story after story God showed me how He uses small beginnings to make a big impact.
I mean look what Jesus did with five small loaves of bread and two small fish (Mark 6:30-44). Or a couple of rocks at a wedding (John 2:1-12). God’s word continuously talks about how “those first will be last and those last will be first”. And there are so many promises made to those who are humble, meek and poor spirited.
These two verses stuck out at me:
“Do not despite small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” – Zechariah 4:10
“So your beginning was insignificant, your end will increase greatly.” – Job 8:7
God reminded me that His kingdom is upside down compared to this world. His ways often work the opposite than we think they should.
We want to take one step of obedience and see the entire mountain crumble into the sea. We want to trust fully for an entire 24 hours and then find the life-changing blessing in the mailbox. I know I wanted to see my numbers soar after I launched my campaigns. I wanted to see hard proof that I was doing the work I was suppose to be doing. So often we want to see undeniable success, favor and provision so that we can without a doubt declare it was from Him. And while God is more than capable and does work this way. Often times He takes modest beginnings and churns them like butter – slowly and consistently – because He knows what this process will create in us.
God is not overly concerned with our circumstances, like we are. He is mostly concerned with the condition of our hearts and our eternal reward. So His response, whether it be big or small, is going to be one that will teach us how to truly live by the fruits of His spirit. His response will be one that prunes and waters what needs to be pruned and watered.
He’s going to give us what we need and not what we want to see.
And as I sat with that realization, I felt God digging a little deeper and asking, “What if you never see success or proof, will you keep showing up and do the work anyways? Will you let me continue to water your faith and prune your faithfulness and trust that one day you will see the fruit – even if it’s not the fruit you think you will see?”
Clearly this was much deeper than an email list. I closed my eyes, bowed my head in reverence and conviction.
“Yes, Dad I will. Forgive me for making it about me and my earthly desires. You know what your children truly need, you’re the master gardener and perfecter.”
So what is the work He is asking you to do that you are questioning because of it’s humble beginnings? Perhaps He’s called you to take care of your body better and you’re so fixated on the stagnant number on the scale that you’re not noticing the newfound lightness in your heart. Maybe He’s asked you to stay at home and pour into your children as a stay at home mother, but you’re frustrated about the 10th spill of the morning so you’re blind to the seeds that the Lord is planting in your little one’s hearts. Or perhaps it’s to pursue that calling that He’s given you but you keep feeling like you’re spinning your wheels and getting little traction, and you’re not noticing the seeds of obedience and faith that are starting to take root.
Beloved, the Lord does not get frustrated or bored with humble beginnings, He delights in them.
So let’s allow Him to continue to water, prune and grow us. Let’s stay committed to the work that He has called us to no matter how insignificant their beginnings are. Let’s choose to abide, remain and trust in Him. for He’s the Master Gardener and perfecter of our faith – He knows what we need for this season of our lives – and He delights in the tiny seed that will one day produce a bountiful, glorious harvest.