A few weeks ago, my best friend and I challenged each other to have “tea time”– to spend 10-15 minutes every day with beverages in our hands and rest in our hearts. I didn’t plan to spend every single tea time outside, but it happened.
The first day of tea time, I had just gotten off the phone with a potential employer who told me I should wait a few weeks to bring in my application. Their reasons were totally valid, but I just felt a little defeated because I’d been job hunting for a month and this was the closest I’d been to actually landing an interview. But after I put the phone down, I poured myself a glass of soda, walked out onto my porch, and sat down. I didn’t even sit on our bench; I just leaned my back against the glass door and looked out at the lake. My cat approached me and rubbed against me, and all was silent; I didn’t really think about anything. I kept hearing a quiet, “It’s okay.” After a little while I stood up and carried on with my day (which now consisted of video games instead of an interview), but the unrest in my heart was gone, because I’d taken a few minutes to let Jesus replace it. Rest doesn’t need a long day; it can come in the amount of time it takes you to drink a class of a knock-off brand of Dr. Pepper.
The next several days were just as simple. Taking a few minutes to just pause and quiet my thoughts uplifted me; it even exposed some unrest that was hanging around inside me.
One day, I looked up from my spot in the grass and realized that although it was bright out, I wasn’t squinting. Because I was out in it, it no longer hurt my eyes like it did when I was looking out a window in the shade of my house. Often, when I’m inside I have this deep longing to go out and enjoy the sun. . . yet I don’t want to go outside. The act of going unsettles me, for whatever reason; maybe because it requires a complete uproot, a change in what I’ve been doing. Being outside isn’t unsettling at all; it’s my cathedral and I never feel out of place when I’m there. But leaving where I am to get there? The thought of it carries the feeling that I need to brace myself for something. And maybe that’s true– but it’s a good thing, isn’t it?
What I’m living through right now echoes this. Every time I click “submit” on a job application, my stomach sinks as I question, “Do I really want to work there? Am I too awkward to work around people? Is all of this pointless? What am I meant to do?” Sometimes I’m tempted to give up hoping for a job, let alone a job I might enjoy. Do you want to know my random little dream? I want to work at a craft store.
Craft stores have always carried magic for me. My grandparents are artists and used to teach painting at the local store, so we made trips there often. Every time, I would ask my mom, “Can we walk through the Christmas aisle?!” The Christmas aisle was there year-round. It was the last aisle in the store, and I remember they had created a sort of ceiling above it, although I can’t remember the details (I was five, sue me!). The only lighting was clear Christmas lights and the little bulbs inside the ceramic Christmas town windows. There were animatronic Santas wearing lush robes, snowmen made of sparkling foam balls, filigree reindeer, and a dozen chimes and music boxes were speaking at once. I would walk through the aisle as slowly as possible, head tilted up, mouth open in wonder. I’m not one of those “Christmas-is-everything-I-have-countdown-on-my-phone” people, but the Christmas aisle. . . I sometimes find myself there when I’m experiencing deep joy, even though that store has long been replaced by a bizarre clothing shop.
Knowing all this, why would I deny myself the chance to share my love of craft stores, creativity, and mouth-open-wide joy with other people? With little girls like me who live for art? The thought of having to put myself out there, to bare my awkwardness and face the possibility of rejection– it’s paralyzing. But do you want to know what scares me more?
I’m terrified to live a life that isn’t true to what God desires for me.
He made me an artist. He gave me my joys and my passions. When I worked at an industrial supply company, He knew I would feel like I wasn’t a human being; He knew it would show me that I am a wild spirit meant to love people and create things. I know that I need to make income, but I’m learning I should never allow myself to believe that trying to make income doing something I enjoy is impossible. Rejection is real and something I’ve faced before, but so is acceptance. Simply applying to a craft store and carrying a little hope is okay. If nothing comes from it, that’s okay, too. But what if something does come from it? What if I can share the magic? That’s not okay– that’s pure beauty. He’s been telling me these things about music, too; it’s the most comforting fear I’ve ever experienced.
It only takes a few seconds of courage to leave the shade for the sunshine. And maybe once I’m out there, I’ll realize that I shouldn’t have settled for a window as long as I did.