I have been fully self-employed since July. I left my full-time job for a large corporation so I would have control of my schedule, and the flexibility to put my family first. Since I control my own schedule I am able to be in the salon when I have appointments, schedule them so they are grouped together, and then leave when I am done. This means that I am accomplishing the same amount of work in a lot less hours, and now work very part time.
I also have this blog, which I have worked diligently on since January. My goal is to some day earn an income from my writing. I also have a Facebook group with over 2,ooo members. I do freelance photography and writing in addition to the blog. If you are a fellow writer you know all too well the amount of time it takes to produce quality content, and then to promote it so people actually read it. Networking, affiliates … it all takes time.
In addition to those two jobs I am also an Independent Distributor for Young Living Essential Oils. I started using Young Living in March, and I was so blown away by what essential oils did for my family I started sharing with others. I currently have 76 people on my team, help moderate an essential oil Facebook group, participate in online classes, contribute videos to online classes, and host classes myself. I spend a lot of time answering questions and helping to guide my team as well.
In October I undertook The Nester’s 31 Day blog challenge which meant publishing a blog post every single day in October. As a result of that series I am now working on publishing a book based on my posts. I also decided to do NaNoWriMo with my daughter, which is an annual novel writing competition in which you write a 50,000 word novel on the fly in the month of November.
This is on top of being a wife and mother and homeschooling our 13-year-old daughter. And keeping the house clean. Organizing our menus. Making grocery lists. Sleeping. Trying to squeeze in time to take a shower …
The whole point of working less and working for myself was so I could put my family first. But in between trying to scramble to stay on top of everything, they were getting lost in the shuffle. My lesson plans consisted of me scanning schoolbooks quickly and telling my daughter how many pages to read. My husband was doing more cleaning than I was. We ate out almost every night. My family was anything but my first priority.
I was reading Luke 10 one day. The story about Mary and Martha. Jesus was friends with them and their brother Lazarus (he kind of stole the show later) and he came over to their house for dinner. Jesus was sitting out in the living room teaching, and Mary sat at his feet and listened. All the while Martha was slaving over a hot stove and setting the table by herself. She finally stuck her head in the living room and was like, hey, could you tell her to get off her butt and help me? And Jesus replied,
Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. – Luke 10:42
What would you do if the Son of God dropped by for dinner? What would you feed him? Is your house clean? Are the magazines in the bathroom all appropriate? I think its only natural that we would want our homes to be in the best condition possible and to present the best meal possible to the Creator of the Universe. And there is nothing wrong with any of that – if your priorities are in the right place.
Keeping our homes and presenting a nice meal are admirable, but tending to our spiritual well-being is by far more important. Many times we put the busyness of our lives too high on the priority list. Nothing in my life was a bad thing, but it was keeping me from my God-given calling as a wife and mother. My priorities need to be God, my husband, my kids, and work at a distant 4th or 5th.
My daily Bible reading was often getting ditched for lack of time. Instead of treating the job of training my daughter to love the Lord and fulfill his call on her life I was short and snappy, and some of our most meaningful interactions were me picking apart how she had failed to clean her room or do the dishes.
God doesn’t want us to be over-scheduled, over-booked, and over-stressed.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30
I have been praying about what God’s plan is for me, and which things I should be focusing my efforts on. I decided to take a step back from my essential oils business. I am still using the oils, and sharing them with others, but I am not actively pursuing the business side. If someone wants to join my misfit team of oilers (maybe I need to name us that lol) thats great! But I won’t be actively recruiting and participating online. I was sad to step back because I am passionate about essential oils, and I felt like I was letting my leaders down, but they were very gracious and totally backed up my decision to listen to where God was directing me.
I have cut back to an extremely part-time schedule in the salon. The hair industry has been very good to me, and I am extremely blessed with clients who are friends and like family to me, and I am there enough to take care of them. But I am not actively pursuing new clients. I get referrals from existing clients, which is a humbling and appreciated gesture, and I love meeting new people that way. But I am not marketing and advertising like I used to.
I also quit NaNoWriMo.
These are hard, and financially scary decisions. But I truly believe that if I follow God’s leading and put my family first, he will bless that and provide. No matter how smart or responsible a plan seems, if it isn’t what God desires for your life, I’m learning to let go, and trust. And I am a better mom for it.