Scott: When I quit my job at Grandover and stepped out for the first time to do art full time it was scary. But when we made the decision it wasn't simply a calculated move. Sure, there were some calculations that needed to happen, but the decision was made through many hours of walking, praying and listening. That's really how Donnica and I make most of the major decisions. We walk together at the Greensboro Bicentennial Gardens and pray. Then Listen. We have gotten to know the main guys that take care of the place quite well. Zach is also a big Vikings fan so our conversation generally revolves around them... or consoling each other. Steve is a Steelers fan so we talk weather or golf. I wouldn't say that making our decisions that way necessarily makes it easier to stand or remain, but there is something different about truly believing what you're doing or doing something because it makes sense.
There have been times, sometimes coupled with an attractive offer, that it would be much easier to work for someone else for a while and get to the art when I have time. And I hope that its never based out of a personal pride or that I would be embarrassed to stop or take a break now. What we fall back to is that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing in the right time to do it. I wish that meant that business is always knocking down the door and work is flowing from my hands like water... or preferably wine. What it does mean is that there is something bigger to what we are doing and that adds somewhat of a responsibility to stay the course. On the days that I'm sitting at the studio wondering whats going on and why this doesn't make sense, I can rely on the fact that it wasn't simply a good idea to do this; it was a God idea. I don't say any of this to convince you to believe what we do or get you on our side of the table. I simply know that you have to believe in something bigger than yourself. You have to know that the decisions that you made and the path that you remain on are not just based on a good calculation. That will only support you for a little while. There needs to be a truth and knowing to fall back on. I think the times of praying and listening are the times that solidify remaining, regardless if you are doing art or selling shoes. That's the reality we fall back on for the main parts of our life. And it never hurts to have a handful of people surrounding you that believe in you too.
Donnica: Remaining. Standing. Keep doing what you are doing. Sounds simple enough, right? It is. Until it isn't. Until it doesn't make sense. Until it looks like the complete opposite of wisdom or common sense. It has been said that "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." Many times over the course of our full time art journey, we have felt more like our choices were insane than practical, much less wise. But our orders were to "remain," "be still."
Probably like other small businesses, we have had good years and bad years...years when it seemed people were standing in line to give us money and years when we had to decide which bill was most important to pay. Of course during seasons of increase and constant positive affirmation, it is easy to feel like you're on the right track; pursuing the correct dream. Unfortunately, things aren't so clear during the years of lack and rejection. It seems our mortgage company doesn't seem to care how talented Scott is, how hard we work or how much faith we have.
One especially difficult year, I decided to get a second job. We were falling behind on bills and it just made sense. I was adamant that Scott couldn't build a business if he wasn't there and while he logged extra hours at the studio, I might as well be bringing in a consistent (extra!) paycheck. As a nurse, I found a job with an amazing hourly rate that would work around my main career and supplement our income. Sounds wise, right?! We thought so too, until we realized we were sacrificing sleep, personal restorative down time, and space to invest in our marriage and other relationships, without seeing much progress with that stack of bills It didn't take long for me to slip into martyr-mode and begin resenting Scott (and God). I remember lying awake one night worrying and complaining to God about our circumstances and whining to Him about why I had to take a second job. His response was clear to my spirit: "I never told you to get another job. I told you to be still."
"Be still." "Remain." "Stay the course." On more than one of our walks, we felt these were the directives given, but we had tried those. To continue to remain and expect a different result felt more like insanity than wisdom. Being still seemed to produce nothing... until it did.
I put in my notice at the second job the next day. I wish I could tell you we got a dramatic phone call or email the next day, but that's not the truth. What did happen was a shift in our hearts to continue pressing, remaining, pouring life into this one thing. And then - little by little - more work came in, until finally, a couple years later we were walking in the same park where we begrudgingly accepted the call to "be still," laughing at how quickly our circumstances had changed. We were experiencing our biggest year to date; our income unbelievable to those two insane kids who chose to keep doing what we were doing. It frightens me to think of how close we were to missing it, had we refused to be still and remain.