When things are really really good, it's easy to forget about God. You throw up a "thanks!" in your prayers, maybe, but other than that... Smooth sailing, nothing much else to say. That's a cliche that you've heard about a million times, but it's true. It's very true.
I'll be real about it, too. It just sounds like fluff otherwise. For a couple weeks work has been worrying me. It's been slower than it's ever been historically for this month. And for some reason one of the last things I got serious about doing was really talking in earnest about it with God. I just mostly got down in the dumps on myself because I started thinking things like:
"No one has written about my work in a few months. It must mean people don't like what I'm designing anymore. The Martha Stewart article is coming out in March, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. It could all just stop being good to people. You never know. Life is fragile. I'm going to eat another bowl of cereal. I'm going to take a long bath. I'm going to cry about it. I don't feel any better! I'm going to think of the best design in the history of the world. People will get married just to buy the invitations! I'm going to cry some more because that's stupid and you are no good anymore. You are not talented. Move on. You're doing what God wants you to do when the thing you're doing bears fruit. It doesn't seem like there's much fruit this month. What am I going to do? I'll check my Google Analytics and see if anyone is on the site shopping right now. No one! It's 1:00 am here, but surely it's a reasonable hour in other parts of the world! I'll go play with the dogs and cry into Baker's neck fat."
It's easy to feel like a jerk when you only get serious with God when life gets scary. I guess that's why I put it off. I couldn't sleep last night because I couldn't get it off of my mind. The truth of the matter is—it's been a very average month, not a bad one. But in the past, January is the biggest of the year. Always. It stung.
I picked up Streams in the Desert and turned to the devotion for January 14. What I read struck me, but only on a surface level. I knew I needed the words to sink in, but they weren't. Not yet. This is some of what I read:
I picked up the novel I've been working through the last couple weeks and read until my eyes crossed, but I was nowhere close to sleep. I was wide awake. I picked up my phone and scrolled mindlessly through facebook. And I found a post by a friend—something from a different devotional. This was a big picture in my newsfeed:
This time, the obviousness of it frightened me and comforted me. So, with Ben snoring beside me, I turned out the lamp and crept into the hallway. And, feeling a little silly but mostly like I'd run out of options, I sat down on the rug in the dark, with just the sound of the heat humming quietly. And I started praying. Not the quick casual prayer I've been getting by with lately, a real, hard prayer. It was stiff at first. But it's that way sometimes when you've been away for a while. You don't know how to break the ice with an old friend when it's been a long time. I started really talking and then I couldn't stop myself. I prayed for a long time. And when I was finished, I knew I'd done all I could do. I got up, I was tired, and I finally went to bed and slept.
I felt hopeful when I woke up, though I didn't have any reason to be. I didn't know what to do to fix anything. I opened my Google Analytics. I discovered something really surprising. I've been advertising on a different blog for the last month, and the visits from that ad have been so minute, it's hardly making a blip in visits to Lucky Luxe. I compared to my old advertising position a couple months back, where the numbers were tripled. I couldn't believe it was something so simple. I was advertising on a site where I was getting lost in the mix. I felt good. I emailed the old website, I asked if she had any advertising space available. She did, and she'd love to have me back. She gave me a welcome back discount for signing on again. Well, great! Okay. I asked God for clarity and wisdom in business decisions, and he gave me that. It's going to be okay.
Soon, I received a new order. A generous new order.
And out of the blue around 3:00 this afternoon, Oh So Beautiful Paper, the website that has sent more business my way than any other publication or site in the history of my business, posted this:
And what I'm trying to say is. He's listening. I need my future self to remember that this was real, that this happened. I sugar coat things in my memory, but if I write it down here I can always remember—God puts us through scary situations to "set the scene for his glorious intervention."