Sometimes in life, it’s very easy to follow your own will. It’s easy to take hold of the steering wheel and drive yourself to wherever you desire. Yet, in order to become the person God created you to be and fulfill your purpose, God needs to be in the driver’s seat.
Here recently, I’ve learned that life is so much better when God’s in the center of it. With that being said, God’s not been in the center of Mabry Lane for about the last year. This summer, God really opened my eyes to see that this blog wasn’t working because I had taken hold of the steering wheel and tried to drive myself. I’ve learned that I cannot do this on my own and I need to be in the passenger seat.
After a long three months of praying, seeking the Lord, and doing a whole bunch of soul-searching, I have decided to shut down the Mabry Lane shop for a little bit. This decision was not an easy one for me to make, and it hurts me a lot, but I know this shop isn’t where God wants me to put my focus right now, and If God’s not in it, I don’t want it.
Mabry Lane began as the first step in living the life of ministry that God had called me into. It began as a way to obey God’s calling to share the gospel. That’s it. All He wanted from me was to use the abilities He had blessed me with to lead others to Him. For the first year, that’s exactly what I did, and I loved it. God opened my eyes to see things in ways I had never seen and gave me the words to write it out into an encouraging, yet sometimes challenging, blog post.
That year, I figured out who I was, and I embraced it. I followed God 100% and fell madly in love with Him. I talked about Jesus all the time and became ok with not fitting in. If I lost friends because my life was consumed with obeying the Lord (which I did), I was ok with it because I knew I would be rewarded in the end. The first year of Mabry Lane was a year of a lot of growth and allowed me to build a strong foundation for my dream business.
Here’s where the problem began, I began working toward building my dream business. I began to try and go beyond what God had called me to do. I saw this quote a few months ago:
"So often, we give God the gift we think He needs rather than taking the time to find out what He desires.”
When I first started Mabry Lane, I took the time to seek what God desired out of me. I spent months in prayer asking Him what my ministry for Him would look like. Every blog post I wrote, I prayed about for hours. I let God lead Mabry Lane. Later though, I began to add things to the website, like the shop, thinking this was what God wanted me to do, but without seeking Him and asking what He desired.
I would pray about the things I added, but my prayers went like this: “God, this is what I want to do. Can I do it?” Instead of, “God, what is it that you want me to do with Mabry Lane?” I began to give God gifts that I thought He needed, but in reality, He didn’t.
This disobedience has led to a lot of stress. Trying to come up with new products, creating weekly blog posts, and figuring out all the new social media algorithms was overwhelming, but I couldn’t figure out why.
When I started Mabry Lane, I could sit down and write a 1,500-word devotion in about thirty minutes, and I could post two of those a week. This past year, I have struggled to write a 500-word devotion, even just once a month.
For a long time, I couldn’t figure out why this way. It wasn’t like God was not speaking to me or working in my life. I had plenty of thoughts and things I thought God wanted me to say, but when I sat down to write it, the words that turned my thoughts into sentences were not there. Looking back, there are multiple reasons that this occurred, but the main one is that I had put my focus on a gift I thought God needed (the online shop), but He, in fact, did not.
For the past year, I have spent almost every moment of my free time working on the shop. I spent my time filling orders, creating new products, and figuring out ways to get people to buy from Mabry Lane. In the moment, I enjoyed it.
I love creating and getting to sell what I create excited me beyond belief. Yet, all of this creating took everything I had, which meant I wasn’t able to do what I loved most and what God had called me to do: write.
As much as I love the shop, and I love painting journals, printing shirts, and designing stickers, I allowed it to take over what God had originally called me to do. I’m learning when God’s not in something 100%, it’s going to fail, and it’s going to overwhelm you like nothing ever before. Trust me, that’s not a spot you want to be in.
So, in the next couple of months, Mabry Lane will be changing. To begin the change, the Mabry Lane shop will be closed for a little while. I don’t know how long yet, (or what it will look like when it returns), but I will be following God’s will for it.
This past year has been hard in my personal life, and it’s been showing through Mabry Lane. Writing this now is hard and defeating because the shop has been doing well, and I love creating, but I know that God’s ways are much higher than mine, and He sees the bigger picture. So, I will follow in His footsteps and take a break from it for a little while.
During this time off from the shop, I will be focusing more on writing devotions and getting back to the whole reason I started this blog. So, Mabry Lane isn’t going anywhere! The shop will be closed, but the blog and social media will not!
Before I end today, I want to leave you with some things that God’s opened my eyes to lately:.
Yes, reading your Bible is good. Yes, going to church is good. Yes, serving in your children’s ministry is good. All of the ways you are trying to glorify God are good, but God doesn’t just want all of that; He wants you.
You can read your Bible every day, go to church every time the doors open, and serve in every way possible, but if you don’t intentionally build a relationship with God, these things will not get you anywhere.
You see, your seat at the Savior’s table is already paid for. If you have accepted Jesus, your spot is approved, and there is nothing that you have to do to try to earn it. There’s not a long to-do list you have to complete or a test you have to pass; it’s a free gift.
"God doesn’t just want your relationship with Him to be accomplishments; He wants you. ”
Although your spot at God’s table cannot be taken away, there is one thing God asks of you, constant surrender. That often means sacrificing your plans and dreams to follow Him. Just like I’ve learned in the last year if God doesn’t desire the things in your life that you have created, it’s going to hurt, it’s going to be hard, and it might not work out for you. Even though it may not be what you want, remember this verse:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
He’s got good plans for you. Trust Him.
God desires to have you. All of you. It doesn’t matter what you have done in the past, how long your to-do list is, or what kind of gifts you can offer Him; God wants you. Even if you are already a Christian, God still wants you. You say you have given Him your life, but He now wants to build a relationship with you. He wants you to sit at His table with Him. Not just on Sunday mornings, but every day of the week, at all times of the day.
God doesn’t just want the perfect version of you, either. He wants the parts that hurt, that aren’t healed yet, the parts that you are ashamed of, the parts that you wished you could erase. God wants all of you. Just as you are. You don’t have to change a thing.
"When you give God your all and follow Him completely, He will work in ways you won’t understand. He will move in ways that only He can move in."
God will work it all out when you give Him your all.
I hope this post serves as both an encouragement and an eye-opener for you. Where in your life are you giving God gifts that He didn’t ask for? What are you hiding from Him? Today, I want to encourage you to focus your eyes on Jesus, surrender your all to Him, and follow Him, no matter what it may look like to you.
This post wasn’t an easy one for me to make because it hurts me to pause something I enjoy so much. Nonetheless, I will follow God’s will because I know that He has good plans and will work it all out for good.
See ya next time beautiful people,