Finding Patience while Discovering Myself

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 11:2 | NIV

Pine Mountain is blessed with many small stores that offer antiques and other items that make great gifts. I had the pleasure of visiting the Old Chipley Market! I discovered an assortment of small porcelain oil lamps.

I didn’t have much money to spend at the time, so I carefully inspected each lamp in order to decide which one I wanted to buy. The employees enjoyed my “decision making process”. It consisted of taking each lamp off the shelves, looking at them closely, and making sure the wicks went up and down easily.

My artist eye helps me to look at things the way most people wouldn’t. I am attracted to decorative things, but I also had to be sure the lamps would work properly without trouble. I inspected each part of the lamp: chimney, base, mantle, and wicks.

I bought two of them! The clerk then told me to buy lamp oil from Ace Hardware right up the street from the market. I was joyful to have helped out both businesses!

Slower-paced Lifestyle

Long before I set foot in the Old Chipley Market, I was praying that God help me find ways to cut back on electricity. I am moving soon, so I really wanted to learn about sustainable alternatives. God then tugged at my heart to visit the Market!

Oil lamps have been around since the time of Abraham and Sarah. That’s about 4000 years ago!

Throughout these last few months, I’ve become aware of the high hustle and bustle of the working world. Last November, I discovered how much I didn’t like the way my life was transforming. Each day felt like I was being drained. I got to a point where I wasn’t happy doing anything.

Jesus Calling had a message warning me to not become centered around “work ethic”. Americans are known for overworking ourselves. Our reason: we need money. We need it fast. We need it now.

But God has a different will for us. He wants us to rely on Him for security of everything: a place to live, finances, ability to get to work, etc. He said He will take care of me. He will take care of you too, if you ask Him to.

I’ve learned the best way for me to rely on Him, is to spend time with Him. I do this by living a slower-paced lifestyle. By not racing to get everything done. Just by sitting and letting Him take over my body.

One thing I miss so much about El Salvador was that people there always kept their heads up and welcomed everyone. Life wasn’t a constant rush to do the next thing. They were living in the moment.

I remember I prayed to God two years ago that my adult life be that way. I feel He is beginning to answer that request.

Am I crazy?

I know it is crazy to use oil lamps when electric lights are so abundant. I am also aware of the spiral energy saving lamps. I’m not sure I’ll invest in those because electric lights are very distracting.

I have been using my oil lamps for about a month. My eyes have adjusted to the burning light. They shine beautifully without giving me headaches. The very few times I do turn on electric lights, I can’t leave them on for long before my eyes are bothered. 

I never work on my art projects late at midnight into the wee hours of the morning. I prefer working on my art in the morning while the sun is rising.

By using oil lamps, I feel comfortable pushing tasks to the next day and using my nights to unwind and relax. The daylight is gone, so why not rest?

Making tapestries is fun any time of the day, but my painting projects can only be done with daylight. I’m thankful that God has allowed me to have a schedule that allows me to work on my business in the mornings. When I move back to LaGrange, making art will be even more easier!

I also really like how pretty oil lamps are. I can’t afford chandeliers or fancy light renovations, but I can afford oil lamps. I don’t buy the kerosene ones as I feel they are unsafe.

A crazy simple life

Living on my own has taught me that I am in some control of how I live in my personal space. If I want to use oil lamps, I’ll use them. If I want candles, I’ll buy them.

God provides ways for me to live comfortably without breaking the bank. He puts His desires in my heart. I follow Him because I love Him and  I trust that He will help me follow my dreams, so why not cut back on certain things?

I feel God wants me to let go of high maintenance must-haves. Before I became a believer, I had to live in a nice house and have a new car. I had to have so many things that really do not matter.

God has taught me during these last eight months that a life of peace is what He wants for me. 

Through this peace I’ve discovered how much I want to do international mission work and to also tie my art into my international travels. I no longer want to live in a fancy mansion with a new car. I no longer buy cheap plastic things; I invest in handmade unique items from other countries.

This is a handmade cashmir scarf from Israel and a handmade turtle necklace and earrings from India!

And yes, God helps me with my financial situation. He has allowed me to learn about budgeting. In addition to my art business He gave me two part time jobs to sustain myself. He also helped me find a 1 bedroom apartment for cheap in a safe part of LaGrange.

I may be crazy for using oil lamps. I may be crazy for wanting to rest at night. But, I am happy. I don’t remember ever feeling this joyful!

If it wasn’t for God, none of these things would’ve happened. My trip to El Salvador taught me that life can be happy and slow. I no longer feel overworked, and I have been a lot happier pursuing my dreams.

I am happy to be connecting with God in ways I never thought possible!

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