As many of you may know, this is our busy season here at Val Marie Paper. Which is never a bad thing when it comes to a small business! But it can definitely feel like there are a million things to get done in such a short amount of time and no time to rest. We have been so busy behind the scenes, so I (Alissia) thought I would lift the curtain and let y’all take a peek at not only what we have coming up but what I have learned in the process.
Where do I even start?! Over the past few months, our team has been growing and changing. We have added some wonderful women with a wide array of talents that were much needed for the overall growth of VMP. As we have been getting settled into our new roles, the brand as a whole has been evolving too. (More to come on this soon 😉) If you know anything about business, you know that these seasons are so needed, but can also be a bit stressful, as we want to make sure each team member feels she is supported and well-informed. Not to mention while we were making these transitions, we were also ramping up for our annual July sale and 2024 spiral launch! Our new teammates have fit in like a glove, and even though the road wasn’t completely smooth, they have picked up on things quickly and are moving VMP forward in all the right ways. And I am so grateful!
Throughout the busyness, Val has gently reminded me (on several occasions and not in these exact words, but you get the point) that:
– Val Marie Paper’s success isn’t measured by worldly things like sales goals or our popularity on social media. Our success as a company is measured by the eternal impact that sharing practical prayer tips and resources has on all of YOU, and we may never see those numbers this side of heaven.
– Our team isn’t meant to live on the edge of a mental breakdown trying to meet unattainable deadlines. Each of us are children of God and, yes, we will work hard at what he has called us to do, but we will have margin while doing it.
– We are mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends first. We spend our time working wisely so we can be present during the other hours of the week and have time for things like serving others and hobbies that bring us joy.
These things sounded great and something I knew I needed to grasp. Easier said than done! For a very goal-defined gal who prides herself on efficiency, I wasn’t getting this at all. Do you mean I’m not meant to define my self-worth with how many hours I can work and how many things I can check off my to-do list? Things won’t ever get done if I don’t do them right now. This was the thought hamster wheel I was stuck on in my head.
God knew what he was doing, putting me in this role to be mentored by Val. I don’t know if y’all have read Led, Not Driven yet, but if anything I’ve said so far resonates with you, add it to your list. It helped me jump off that hamster wheel and reevaluate some of my thinking. There was a statement in the book that hit so hard, I thought I would share it here.
“I am more convinced than ever that many of our trials come from simply trying to overload our plates with what we want to accomplish. Things God isn’t asking us to take on. Sometimes, I think we whip our heads around and ask God “Why are you giving me more than I can carry?” And He’s gently saying, “Sweet child, I didn’t! The burden I told you to carry was light. You just kept trying to add things in.”
Val not only has felt just like I have, but has been able to overcome it. The “hustle” mentality that so many working women have isn’t His best. The feeling that all the plates you insist on carrying are all going to come crashing down is not what the Lord has for your life. He says in Matthew 11, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Why do I keep picking up my heavy yoke and then asking God why I can’t find rest? If this is you, friend, stop blaming your type A personality and take a breather to rest in the peace of Jesus. It’s hard to turn off the notifications, stop typing emails after work hours, and trying to be everything for everybody ALL the time, but it is possible. I started by shifting my focus from what the world says my success should look like and embracing what God says about my self-worth. I had to implement strategies and ask myself some hard questions. These are just a few of the things that work for me:
– Start my day with Jesus. Every day, even when I don’t feel like it. (Am I perfect at doing this, no, but I try)
– Set hard boundaries with my work times. Did you know your phone is so smart that it will literally block your apps during non-working hours? I turned off all notifications from 6 pm to 8 am.
– Say no to some things. I had to learn that just because I have the time doesn’t mean I should do the thing. I don’t have to do something every hour of the day to have a productive day. Struggle to know what these things are maybe you should read The Best Yes.
– What are my priorities? Am I defining success the same way the Bible does?
I had to slow down, prioritize, figure out what my “success” was and make adjustments. Now I know not everyone is lucky enough to work for someone who will double-check to make sure you are creating margin in your life, but I can bet you have a friend or mentor that will! Accountability is key to creating habits and learning to rest is no exception.
This post was not meant to be a word on rest or margin. I was supposed to be writing about all the fun things VMP has coming up, like our spiral launch next week or our 10-year anniversary in September, but sometimes the Lord leads elsewhere. In the midst of our busiest and best season here at VMP, I am learning to slow down, prioritize, and be joyful. I am constantly reminding myself of the concepts and learning to lean into them fully one day at a time. Hopefully you found some nuggets of value and are as excited about the future of VMP as I am. I am not yet a recovered workaholic, but I hope to be someday! Until then, I’m leaning into the Lord, taking it one day at a time, and loving my job here at Val Marie Paper!
Ok, so here’s what’s coming up in the next few weeks:
– Spiral Pre-Orders kick-off on August 9th! VMP shop is closed in August, but will be taking pre-orders for 2024 Rhythms and Signature Journals and you can get them at their best price all year. We can’t wait to show you FOUR Rhythms Journal covers along with new colors of our Signature Prayer Journal. We’re also brining you a fun journal accessory that y’all have been asking for!
– Our 10-year anniversary is September 1st! We have a very impactful celebration planned that we know will inspire! Look out in our emails for a few ways that you can participate in the celebration. Not on our email list? Join here!
I can’t wait! Thanks for joining us on this adventure to encourage and challenge you in your prayer life!
P.S. Looking for a tool to help you create more margin and have a more vibrant prayer life? Check our brand new Eyes Up prayer planning guide. It will help you identify your current obstacles, envision your most abundant prayer life, and take action steps to make it happen!