I’m sleepy. Today I spent hours outside photographing the new additions to my summer line. I lost myself in the process of shooting, styling, uploading, editing, listing, and promoting. As I’m snuggling into bed after a long day (long but lovely), I’m reminding myself why I do what I do. I’m reminding myself to see the forest through the trees, as they put it.
You see, the last thing I want to happen with this whole etsy shop is for me to work to make a name for myself. However, there is a fine line in the world of business––especially creative business. In a lot of ways, it feels like in order to sell my work, I have to sell myself. Tons of etsy advice givers encourage you to do so. I’m learning to balance the act of promoting my store without pridefully desiring success.
What you may not know is that the main reason I’m opening an etsy shop is simple: to pay for school (the other main reason is to encourage creativity). I have a pretty large financial need in terms of paying for school (as I am doing so myself), yet I’m blessed to pay only a fraction of what other students must pay. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of generous people donate to Moody Bible Institute so that students can be lifted of the burden of tuition. That’s right, MBI is tuition-covered. What’s left is housing and meal plan. I’m able to further my education largely because kind souls decide we want to take care of you so that after graduation you can help take care of others in your service (without debt). Even still, I know the next three years of school will be a financial miracle. Every cent of profit from my etsy shop goes directly into my school savings account. All of it.
I’m studying Pre-counseling, with the goal of getting a Masters in counseling and working in that capacity. I’m going to learn about the mind and heart, the brokenness we experience and the hope and healing available. I long to speak words of truth and encouragement into the lives of longing people, and studying counseling will equip me with tools for this kind of service. I look forward to growing in these areas.
Here’s the thing. It’d be entirely foolish for me to get caught up in making a name for myself. Not only is it tried and true that God does not bless those sorts of endeavors (e.g. Tower of Babel and Psalm 127:1-2), but it’s counterproductive for my own heart. I hope to in the future sit across from another person and listen to their every word––telling them with my eyes and heart that I’m present and that it’s all about them. It will be impossible for me to genuinely do so if I spend the next three, five years trying to convince people how great I am and building a life focused on me. Foolishness.
I want to bear fruit that lasts. Fruit that blossoms in the lives of others that I love and care for. Fruit that is rooted in Christ’s love and tended by his Word. Fruit that will continue into eternity. A profitable etsy shop will not make it past this earth. Crafting will not last when it’s all said and done. Faith, hope, and love––however––will.
So yes, I will let you in on my artist process. Yes, I will advertise and promote and spread the word. Yes, I will have reasonable prices. Yes, I will sell for a profit. Yes, I will relish the blessing of making art and crafts, exploring my creative self. Yes, every penny will go directly toward my education. But God of Heaven so help me if for a second I start to make this all about me. It’s always been about Him.