Stay in the cave
For the last couple of weeks I’ve had this random phrase swirling around in my head, “Stay in the Cave.”
As I was walking and doing my devotional one day, and this phrase stuck out to me for some reason. Wasn’t really sure what it meant. But as my devotionals always go, my podcast and my meditation time reverberate phrases over and over again.
During this particular season in my life, I have built up 10 years worth of skills, multiple businesses, passive income streams and thousands of followers on multiple social media platforms.
My daughter is now in middle school math and my youngest is entering kindergarten. It would be very tempting for me to continue on this hustle mentality and work to strive to get more influence and more jobs.
The temptation to constantly make network connections and do meet ups with other professionals is my daily struggle. I have to constantly not sign up for things, constantly decide not to post, and constantly just be okay with my current stage.
I am constantly in a FOMO mentality when I see other artists having more followers, more creative connections or better brand deals than me. I see those that I have trained actually become more popular and paid more than me. I’ve seen companies that I’ve built up, now earn more money and could actually afford to pay me what I’m worth. I see people with my education, writing books and speaking all over the country.
Before, and people asked me what I did, I gave them the elevator speech for my business. Now, I just say “I’m homeschool mom and I help my husband run his business” and that usually makes me the black sheep of any party.
This has been another isolating time for me of staying at home, going to church, and working on our family business building tiny wagons and teaching.
After 10 years of learning photography, building up awards in multiple genres and traveling around the country to do weddings for all sorts of beautiful families and couples, I have to constantly turn down work and send people other associates to do work that I used to love.
I have to daily decide and choose to clean up throw up, wash dishes, clean my house and only take on projects that the Lord allows. It’s very humbling to go back into a cave-so-to speak.
I remember the first time I was in “the cave“ right after I decided to quit my first career at a nonprofit and stay home full-time with my daughter as a one year old. I was so isolated and broken- being stripped of my identity, my community and my purpose.
So I decided to pour myself into self education and create this business persona of myself- knowing so much about so many different things, building websites for companies that now make millions of dollars, making brands and working with clients from all over the country- I became what I always wanted- successful.
But then I started traveling a lot on weekends, staying up till three or four in the morning, I made bad health choices and gain 60 pounds over the course of three years.
Now, I am in this period of going to the gym daily, restricting my food and choices, being disciplined enough to turn off my phone and sleep between 8 hours a night. I had to take self-discipline choices in order to get my mental health and wellness back on track.
With that being said, I feel like I am in another process of development and growth.
But in the last year, after my husband left the ministry to pursue being self-employed, I felt like the Lord was giving me a nod to take less jobs, only have my social media for my personal recordkeeping and not for pursuing future work, and focus more on homeschooling.
It seems counterintuitive with our #buildinganempire mentality that circles around self-made entrepreneurs like myself.
It’s so easy for me to get in the workaholic mindset once again after over a year of detox and getting my house in order by daily walking with the Lord and seeking him before checking my phone or being obsessed with social media.
It is so tempting for me to do a Vlog about a particular helpful topic, sell my books, sell shirts or do a lot of different things during this time period of waiting and wishing for seasons to change.
But I kept feeling like this phrase “stay in the cave” kept repeating itself over and over in my mind.
As the Lord usually moves, and he gives me different sermons, songs and multiple things to reiterate the point that he’s trying to make.
This year, our family decided to go to Luray Caverns for our family vacation. Every day, we did a family devotional about a particular topic.
We talked about David, being anointed as king at a very young age, was sent to be a mere delivery boy to his older brothers. He was surprised by an enemy of God at the battlefield. But, he rose up with the spirit of God and defeated the giant. Did he become king and take the throne then? Absolutely not! He went right back to taking care of his sheep with no hesitation.
Then he was called upon to play music to the king of Israel- he had to sit in front of the throne that was rightfully his and humble himself enough to sing songs to the Lord and be a servant. Then he was invited at the King’s table.
After he got too close to the family, the king started throwing spears at him and threatened his very life. David could’ve called up some of his mighty men to take over the castle, but instead, he humbled himself yet again to go to caves and wait for God’s timing. He took his time in the cave to write songs of praise to God. He didn’t network, plan his way out of a cave or even scheme how he would kill the Lord’s anointed king. He just waited patiently.
Everything came together for me as we were walking through Luray Caverns. There are so many beautiful gems and crystals that come out of that cave- so many minerals and scientific improvements that have come out of the substances buried deep within the rock walls for thousands of years.
Precious stones can only be forged through time, darkness, obscurity and pressure. Diamonds aren’t created overnight.
If David had come into his kingship too early, things would’ve been even worse for him. I even argue that his choices with Bathsheba could’ve been avoided if he had “stayed in the cave” mentally- relying on God for everything, staying humble and having a servant’s heart in everything. But because he came out of the “cave” and decided to make his own decisions and choices, his entire kingdom was ripped apart.
If you feel like you are in “the cave” - rejoice, God is forging you, developing you and making you a precious stone.
When God does give you a platform, use it for his glory. But as soon as he asks you to step down from that platform, you better be ready to be humble, be a servant leader and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.