I recently finished reading Chip & Joanna Gaines’ The Magnolia Story. It’s a little funny reading a book about reality TV stars. I wondered a bit why I needed to read this because don’t I possibly have all the information I need about these people? However, Chip & Jo’s magic doesn’t come from themselves, they make it very clear that their faith in God has given them what they have, and that’s something I can hop-on-board learning more about.
Let me be clear- what faith in God doesn’t give you (and didn’t give the Gaines’ family) is prosperity. The ‘prosperity gospel’ says ‘obey God and He will give you good things.’ This is not real. And it would be sad if it were. God wants to give us much more than mere, fleeting things. He wants to offer us His love, forgiveness, and He wants to make all things new in us, He wants to have a relationship with us, and wants us to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Things. They cannot match or compare to being united with God.
So what I meant in saying, ‘God gave Chip and Jo what they have,’ I don’t mean that because they have God, they’re rich and famous. I mean that God inspired (literally created) their talents, planned their steps and prepared them both for the lives they lead today, and that they step out in faith, trusting God to guide and provide for them.
The story of Chip and Jo’s gains (heh heh, punny), resulted from something very important that they didn’t do, which is waste. They didn’t waste their talents, and they certainly can’t afford to waste their time. I feel so inspired by them to really go out and DO. They mentioned time and time again that when one of them got a business idea, they just DID it. They didn’t sit on it, they simply made it happen. (This didn’t come easily for Jo). I laughed out loud several times throughout their story, namely at Chip’s antics when they first had children. But I also couldn’t believe the reality of just how MANY businesses Chip owned. Wash & fold. Lawn Care. Selling scantrons. Buying land. Flipping houses. It is certainly convicting reflecting on how much time I spend on social media and television, knowing that they don’t even have a TV and they run their town.
Another way I was inspired by their story is learning how they view other people. Joanna wrote about Chip’s tendency to help those in need. There was one particular story where a neighbor called in the middle of the night, knowing that Chip would help put up a homeless man. I’m probably not the first person my friends call when they see a homeless person needs help. And I started thinking to myself, why not?
Something that Joanna expressed that is so true of her style is that she wanted her Magnolia store to be not just a store, but an experience. She wanted to wow her customers with the feeling of a quaint New York City boutique. Candles, fresh flowers, music. She said her favorite customer was a woman who never bought anything, but told her that she liked the feeling of being in her store. Jo said that made her feel like she had accomplished what she set out to. I just loved that.
I wined and dined myself yesterday taking a few photos for this post at some local places I’ve been wanting to try. I started with a rosemary and smoked cheddar scone at Buttermilk Bakery, and finished with Foxtail Coffee Co. Both of these places reminded me of the unique, pristine style that Jo is so famous for.
Besides being farm goals, family goals, and overall lovely goals (their proposal story is too beautiful), I think the most important thing I learned from The Magnolia Story that I really want to take away from is that life isn’t so serious. It’s FUN. I get so caught up in my prim and proper, so caught up in WORRY, so caught up in the rules, and my to-do lists, and what other people think of me (*I’m trying to recover !!), that sometimes I forget to be a little bit silly. It’s OK for life to be FUN. It’s OK for WORK to be FUN. And actually, that’s mostly what Chip and Jo spend their time doing- working. Working for their kids, their neighbors, for their TV show, and working to honor each other. Ultimately though, they desire to work for God and honor Him in their life. It’s motivated me to want to change my culture of negative speak, “work sucks,” and “Mondayest day ever.” (Guuuuuuuilty!!) Chip said in the book that he wanted to, “Live every day like Saturday.” He explained that on Saturday’s his family did a LOT of household chores, but they also rewarded themselves greatly when they finished a task with something like a jump in the lake, or a movie that night. I forget sometimes that God not only allows, but created joy and laughter and silliness. Chip and Jo are always laughing (usually at Chip), and that is something I admire and want to be more like. I want to take away making work, and even just the mundane simplicity of life, fun.
This blog is something I wanted to do that I knew would be fun for me. If you’re a fan of Chip and Jo like I am, I would recommend you read The Magnolia Story and find out just what it is you’re inspired to do, too.