I’m constantly inspired by the world of handmade, especially the fearlessness and creativity these designers have. Even though many of us have never met it’s so encouraging to hear their stories through their online platforms. I had some free time recently and found myself typing up an email to a few handmade shop owners, asking if I could feature a bit of their vision & work here on MWD. Let’s begin with Gretchen of Life Lived Beautifully…
Hi! I am Gretchen Saffles, a follower of Jesus, wife to my sweet hubby Greg, and a lover of coffee, travel and all things beautiful! Each morning I start my day with a coffee cup in hand, big dreams in my head, and then run around getting things done and meeting with friends! I began Life Lived Beautifully in May 2013 from a passion to encourage women to embrace the Gospel in everyday living and make much of Jesus through what we say and do. I created the Give Me Jesus journal for women to use to spend daily time with Jesus, treasuring His Word and learning from Him. I could never find a journal I loved and that stirred my longing to sit and study the Bible. The Give Me Jesus Journal was intentionally put together to be a space for women to write, read, pray, cry, and spend time in the presence of Jesus. This journal is my heartbeat and living life beautifully for the glory of God the reason I create.
First of all, you must know that if we were having coffee together, I would most likely be drinking some sort of creative latte that I have never tried before. I am a big fan of trying new things, going to new places, and walking on water with the Lord. There are so many things I wish I had learned at the beginning of my business adventure and I would love to share them with you. Grab your own cup of coffee and let’s dive in.
- Focus on people, not numbers – This is my number one encouragement for you. Because if you become trapped by the numbers game early on your growth will be stunted and your authenticity will be hurt by trying to become what other people are. Numbers don’t equal success. Comparing followers and likes will only lead to discouragement. Whether you have 1 follower or 1,000 followers, each number represents a person. Use social media as a way to bless those who follow you, rather than being trapped by comparison and the endless want for more! People want to see someone who is genuine, even through a picture on Instagram. Don’t be afraid to share from your heart.
- Stay in your lane at your pace – I recently ran a half marathon and was constantly reminded that in order for me to finish the race, I needed to stay at my pace instead of trying to keep up with other runners. Every runner is different, and so is every entrepreneur. Stay focused on your goals (I highly recommend using Lara Casey’s PowerSheets), and don’t try to run in someone else’s lane. Stay at your pace of growth, ideas, creating, and building a brand. Jon Acuff once said “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” I have gone back to these words so many times! If you try to keep up with others, you will become exhausted. And if you try to copy what others are doing, you aren’t creating from the depths of your heart. Focus on your passions and making them come to life!
- Don’t be afraid of hard work - Owning a business, creating from the depths of your heart, and putting your life’s dreams online can be a scary and hard thing. Most people quit early on because of the hard work it takes to make a dream come to reality. Not only that, but owning a business is a vulnerable thing. You must see your product or service as valuable and worth the time, money, tears, and endurance that it will take to come to life! It is always worth it in the end. When the hard decisions come and with long work hours and little results, embrace them, because they are necessary steps toward achievement.
- Be grateful for failure and keep walking – Failure will inevitably come in life, whether you are pursuing your dreams or in a regular day job. We have a choice to make when things don’t go our way. Learn, be grateful, and move forward. Or fear, be upset, and quit trying. C.S. Lewis wisely said that “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” Failure is a part of success. Be grateful for it when it comes. Learn from it and then keep moving forward.
Pursuing your dreams, doing the hard things, living vulnerably for the glory of God is worth it, friends. If you are debating starting something, or in the middle of pursuing a dream and feel you lack direction, my encouragement to you would be to keep going and keep your eye on the end goal. Hard work, failure, and learning are necessary parts of the process. In the end, they will make your business, your dreams, and your goals stronger and reach the world with your passion that God has given you!
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I love the idea of journal prompts, especially because it can be hard to know where to begin with opening your Bible. Journaling also feels like a really easy way to help clear my mind. Write your heart thoughts down, pray over them, and then revisit the entries you’ve written. Do you agree? How do you relax/clear your mind? What helps you when you feel weighed down?