Happy new year! (I say this halfway through the month of January- oops!) My 2015 has been a whirlwind so far! At the beginning of this month I attended the Creative at Heart Conference in Staunton, VA (more on that later!) I got home from the conference on a Monday night and learned that I had to report for jury duty the very next morning!!! CRAZY. After a week long trial, I took the weekend to clean our house (it needed it DESPERATELY), catch up on chores, and to take down our Christmas decor (yes, it was up until January 11th)!! So, I am just now getting back into the swing of things and I was so excited when I finally got a chance to THINK- think about my business, my goals, my priorities, and all of the amazing things I learned (and want to implement in my business) from my time at the conference! I have been itching to write about my experience at C@H, but I literally just hadn't had the time to sit down long enough to do it. The funny thing is, I'm glad that I hadn't written that post yet. Here's why…
I started my day yesterday with a little bit of quiet time. I find that more often than not, when I take the time to sit down and spend some time with God, he gives me exactly what I need in that moment. I opened up my email and read a daily devotional from Proverbs31.org. I love these devotionals because they aren't very long (for the days that I feel like I have SO much to do and not enough time!), they're written by women, and they're sent to my email inbox every morning.
Yesterday's devotional was about 'sweet spots'. To quote Ruth Soukup, the author of this devotional, "Our sweet spot is that place where our greatest passions and our talents or abilities intersect." So, your sweet spot is that thing that you LOVE that you're also good at!
Scripture says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12: 6-8
This passage is talking about our God given gifts or talents…our sweet spots. Do you have something that you're good at that is also something you enjoy? For me, it would be working with kiddos and photography.
So, why did this devotional speak to me? Let me talk about the conference for a minute…
The Creative at Heart Conference is a conference for 'creatives'. What is a 'creative' you ask? A 'creative' might be a graphic designer, a photographer, a calligrapher, a web designer, an event planner, a clothing designer…you name it! If you dream, aspire, and use that creative brain of yours, guess what? You're a creative! (YAY!) At the conference I was in a room filled with so many talented small business owners (and soon-to-be business owners!) and it was absolutely amazing! I had never seen or experienced anything like it. All of these people with all of these different talents working and learning together! It's an interesting concept if you think about it, because technically, we COULD all be in competition with each other…really, think about it!…we're all in the same (or a very similar) industry and we're all looking to book similar clients. And that's what society tells us, isn't it? If someone's business is 'like' your business, you should view them as a threat. Yet the room was buzzing with excitement, compassion, encouragement, and love! There was no room for secrecy, resentment, competition with all of these creative people! That's something SPECIAL, if you ask me!
Let's talk about secrecy, resentment and competition for a second, though. Does anyone ever struggle with jealousy? I'll be the first to admit that looking at another photographer's work can be hard for me sometimes. Or I will be reading another person's blog and think to myself 'Wow, that is just BRILLIANT! I wish I could write like that!' Jealousy is definitely a struggle for me. At the conference we discussed how it can be SO easy to slip into a self-deprecating & competitive mindset. One of the things that really resonated with me at the conference was the fact that we all need to find our 'niche', and we need to be authentic & genuine. What does this mean? It means that I need to do ME and YOU need to do YOU!
And that brings me back to the devotional! God has given us all gifts or talents…things we are good at that are also things we love to do, and he calls us to DO those things! Find your sweet spot and celebrate it!
Scripture says, "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord, and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone." - 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
We are all called to use our gifts for GOOD and for the GLORY of God!! He made us all unique for a reason, so if we are trying to be like someone else, then we are not serving Him in the way we should…and we're missing out!
Something I LOVED about this devotional was how it spoke to those who maybe haven't found their 'sweet spot' yet. I was there a couple of years ago- dabbling in this & that. Sometimes I still feel a little bit lost. But you know what? That's okay! It's okay to not have it all figured out. God wants us to communicate with him…to ask Him how we can best serve Him, and serving Him may look different during different seasons of our lives.
Alright… this might sound like a long, rambling "You go girl!! Be yourself!" spiel or maybe even a little bit 'preachy'. I promise, that was not my intention!! To be totally honest, I intended for my recap of the Creative at Heart Conference to be a well thought out post about things that I learned and about the amazing people that I met, but that's not what was on my heart today (I'll just save that post for another time!) Today my heart is so very full and thankful for the sweet, unique, pure-hearted individuals I met at C@H- for their encouragement, compassion and support (shout out to all of my friends, new & old!!)- and for God's word, His faithfulness, and His love. Just incase you're like me and need a reminder (usually daily!) that you are amazing just the way you are (Bruno Mars, anyone?), I wanted to share a little bit of that love and encouragement with you today!
Whether your passions & talents lie in graphic design, calligraphy, writing, art, photography, teaching, organizing, cleaning (I wish!), music, or accounting and numbers (like my sweet husband- God bless him!), CELEBRATE your God-given talents, and don't try to imitate anyone else! God made you the way you are for a reason.
"If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose." -1 Corinthians 12:17-28
Glorify God by using your gifts to serve Him & His purposes, and remember, it takes all different kinds to make the world go round. If we were all the same, wouldn't life be boring? xo