As a Christian — a conservative Christian — I had to tackle with a couple of major concerns before I felt free to jump into a home-based business: one about network marketing in general, and the other about Young Living Essential Oils in particular. What were those concerns, and what answers did I find?
Concern #1: If I am trying to live up to the biblical model of what a wife and mother should be, wouldn’t it be inconsistent to start putting my energies into the money-making business?
How would it be biblical to do this? I asked myself. Would I be compromising the sacredness of my calling as wife and mother and sacrificing it for something less? I have been encouraging women to be keepers of their homes, supporters of their husbands, open to as many children as God would give them, and full-time nurturers of those children — at home — so how is a move to get involved with network marketing consistent with that?
One answer to that concern was simple: I want to be a Proverbs 31 wife.
First of all, that means looking after the ways of my household (Proverbs 31:27). Obviously, I can’t look after the ways of my household . . . if I’m not at my house. Network marketing fits with that model because it is a way for me to build a business from my home, on my schedule, hand-in-hand with my family. It let’s me keep family and home at the core.
It also means doing whatever I can to support my husband’s efforts to provide. Being a manager of my home (1 Timothy 5:14; Titus 2:4-5) doesn’t mean I can’t make money; in fact, if there were a way that I could — from home — maybe I should.
Don’t get me wrong: my husband is still the main provider. I DO trust God to provide for us through my husband. But what if there were a way I could help? A way that didn’t require me to leave home or put myself under the authority of another “boss”? Totally on my own time, with no pressure to make a buck or pay the bills, with no expectation to get out there and stop being pregnant and stop taking care of the babies and be a professional with a “career”? A way to be the full-time wife and mother of many God intends for me to be . . . and make a little cash on the side? Doesn’t sound very spiritual, but it does sound pretty practical, don’t you think?
My husband had actually suggested several times to me that I look into a cottage-type craft fabrication business. I kept putting it off and putting it off because I felt too busy for it. When the Young Living business opportunity presented itself, though, it wasn’t something I had to look for; it was something related to what I was already doing (using and loving the oils) and was merely an extension of that. It seemed like such a natural, perfect fit — a way for me to expand into making a business out of sharing something I loved. I realized I didn’t need to look for an opportunity to make money, because the opportunity was already there.
This made my husband happy, and it made me happy, too. It made him happy, because I would be doing something — from home — to help pay the bills. It made me happy, because I would be doing something to help him — from home. He has never, ever put pressure on me to “go out and get a job.” He always knew it was his job to provide, just like his father did before him for his mother and his six siblings. My husband worked from the time he was thirteen years old (in Mexico). So, he wasn’t asking me to provide; he was asking me to supplement. He already recognized the value of my all-important role of being a full-time wife and mother, a job that includes cooking 3 meals a day, cleaning the house, homeschooling our children, and nursing the baby — tasks that he knew I needed to be at home to do well. He didn’t know how I would manage to make a little extra . . . he just knew he wasn’t making much on his own.
I know this is a sensitive subject.
I’ve thought about this long and hard. One thing that has bothered me about women working is that when a woman starts to bring in an income, there can be a tendency for her role as homemaker to be minimized. Perhaps the husband decides he would prefer for his wife to make money so that he can do nothing; perhaps he’s a lazy bum. Or, perhaps the wife starts to find her value — her identity — in her money-making work instead of being content in the role that God designed for her. She starts to feel “confined” at home: pregnant, nursing babies, wiping bottoms, mopping floors, quieting cranky 2-year-olds . . . and the like. She starts to feel that all those things are not worth her effort, that they humiliate and degrade her. She longs to be valued, and what she gets for being a “stay-at-home mom” doesn’t seem like much. Paycheck? No. Recognition? No. Vacations? No. The tears and tantrums and kisses and messes and hugs and doodles on walls and spaghetti on the floor and dirty socks and toy cars on the steps . . . start to pale in comparison to the more “visible” success and freedom she longs for. People don’t care if you kissed your baby’s cheek today and washed her in her baby tub; they only care if you made several thousand in your last paycheck. At least that’s how she feels. And she gets tired of feeling like an unpaid servant in her own home. So . . . she gives up on it.
That’s not how it should be, but that’s how it can end up — if we’re not careful.
And yet, doesn’t the Proverbs 31 woman contribute economically — if we’re honest with ourselves?
I mean, we shouldn’t be reactionary and emphasize one side of the issue (staying at home) to the exclusion of the other possibility (making a profit from home). Couldn’t both mesh together somehow in a seamless, biblical way?
So, to us, network marketing seemed like a good solution that could resolve that tension: I could help my husband economically and manage the home, while working only as much as I felt I could, and when I could.
Living paycheck-to-paycheck since the very beginning of our life together eventually brought me to consider whether there might not be a way to improve our situation. I started to ask myself: Where do we want to be? If it isn’t where we are now, how do we get there? I’m not talking about happiness, because I am VERY happy with my life; I’m talking about economic circumstances. My husband is a great provider, but could his efforts be maximized with some help from me? I mean, isn’t that what the Proverbs 31 wife did? Not that she ever left her home to have a career; but didn’t she supplement her husband’s efforts with her own?
I realized that I had to stop complaining about my life, and had to start doing something about the things I wasn’t happy with.
Of course, the first step was to learn to be content with things as they were. That was a big deal; to look around me at our 80s, flimsy, doublewide home and tell God all the things I was thankful for. I have had to learn to be at peace with where God has me at this time. I have had to learn to make the most of it, to accept the potential for growth that God has interwoven into my circumstances. Because, the truth is, even if I was making a million dollars a year, if I didn’t know how to be content with what I had and make the most of it, I would always be unhappy because there would always be something “out there” that was beyond my reach. However, there is no reason I can’t take steps toward where I would like to be in the future.
I’d heard too many times that there were things I couldn’t do, things that didn’t make sense for me to do because it wasn’t my talent, or because it wouldn’t pan out economically. I’d heard that cautious sort of advice all my life; and, while well-meant, it kept me in a box of incredulity: I never thought I could be good enough to do anything successfully. I thought I was destined to be little, to be a failure, to never progress — to be minimal, inconsequential. People had been concerned that if they told me I could “do anything I wanted to do” I’d get a big ego and think I was better than everybody else and be all arrogant and look down on everybody and think I was all that when I wasn’t anything at all. And there’s something to that concern, I’ll give you that. But maybe what I needed to hear was the opposite:
“You can do anything you set your mind to.”
“What you may not have in natural ability, you can make up for in passion, if you’re smart about how you do it.”
“It’s going to be blood-sweatin’ hard, but you can do it.”
“We believe in your God-given potential.”
“God gave you gifts beyond your ability to imagine or comprehend. Whatever it is He wants you to do, He’ll help you do it; you can count on it.”
“Even if you don’t understand all of God’s will for you yet, you can start out by doing what you’re passionate about. He’s put those passions in you for a reason; their existence is an indication of what He made you to do (including the huge, beautiful, all-important role of being a wife and mother!). Later on, as you mature and grow wiser through His word and through your life’s experiences, you will be able to seek His assistance in redirecting your path if you feel you’re off. It’s okay to not have everything figured out right from the start.”
I’m not talking about “psyching” people up to “believe in themselves” instead of in God. Don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying, maybe we can do a lot more than we think we can, than we let ourselves believe we can. Maybe we limit ourselves to being “normal” when God wants us to go beyond what is normal. What if what He wants for us is . . . incredible? Do we stop short of incredible because we don’t think it’s possible?
I’m doing this network marketing thing because I want to be the best wife and mother I can be: I want to go beyond what I thought I could do, and start doing what I really can do. With God’s help, I want to be phenomenal as a wife and mother; a wife who supports her husband in all the ways he needs, finances included.
It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention this before I move on to the next point: you don’t have to make money to be all that God intended for you to be, as a wife and mother. God sees the little acts of noble service you offer to your beloved husband and children in the secret of your home; to Him, you will always be valued and worth more than a million dollars as you live out the love of Christ in your family. Maybe you’re stressed with just trying to get the clothes washed, dried, and folded, and a decent meal on the table; with trying to keep the floor clean and not let the trash overflow; with rocking babies at night and hardly getting any sleep. Listen: what you’re doing now cannot be done by anyone else in the whole, entire world. YOU are that man’s wife, and YOU are those children’s mother, and NOBODY can replace you! If you don’t have the energy to do a home-based business, don’t sweat it!
Your life and my life are not the same.
My husband wanted me to help a little. Maybe yours doesn’t.
I think I can manage to keep the house, homeschool my children, AND do a little business on the side. Maybe you don’t think you can.
And that’s okay! Don’t feel like you have to help out economically, unless your husband wants you to. “Just” by taking care of your home and children, you are contributing hugely in God’s economy!
So, to conclude this section, all I’m saying is that I felt our financial situation (as much as we trusted God and prayed about it, and as much as He had already answered numerous prayers) was an obstacle that I couldn’t do much about, until I realized that there was something I could do, without compromising any of my beliefs and without neglecting our family.
Concern #2: Why would I, as a conservative Christian, work with a company (Young Living) that is not so conservative?
My husband doesn’t personally know the people he works for, and yet he makes money for them every day. What if they believe weird stuff we don’t agree with? Is he supporting their religious beliefs if he goes to work for them? Because, they could use the financial success that he helps contribute toward, to buy stuff and do stuff he doesn’t approve of. Honestly, this is something that could bother us, if we thought about it too much; but, it is something that we don’t usually let bother us because our brains can’t handle the stress of analyzing every thing we do to the tiniest particle. And, we wouldn’t be able to pay the bills. (This is just an example; I’m not saying that we don’t agree with my husband’s employers in their religious beliefs.)
Basically, our philosophy is this: unless the people we are “supporting” are using the money for something evil and cruel (like abortion), we don’t feel it is especially urgent to nitpick every detail. Some points are crucial; others, are not.
We are not responsible for what other people believe. If they want to believe things we don’t agree with, that’s their choice. Certainly, we don’t want to do anything that would further their confusion, if we can help it! But, people also need to be discerning, and we can’t be depended upon to make up for what others may lack, in every detail.
Young Living sells oils. Oils come from plants. Plants were made by God. Nothing weird, there.
Yes, there is a bit of “spiritual” phraseology in how they promote their products; but, that doesn’t reflect our own personal opinions. When we promote the oils, we are promoting the oils, and not anything else. We buy oils from this particular company because they have several qualities that we see as reflecting Christian values, regardless of the personal beliefs of the leaders:
*They are trying to be good stewards of their resources by . . .
- Using sustainable farming techniques. They put back into the ground much more than they take out of it.
- Not using pesticides, herbicides, and other toxic chemicals that can cause major health disruptions in the population.
- Testing their oils extensively to make sure that they have the maximum health benefits possible, and nothing unwanted and possibly harmful.
Those are things that I would expect from a company with moral integrity. Whatever their beliefs about Jesus may be, they are upholding biblical principles in the way they do business.
*They are passionate about appreciating the amazing natural plant power that God created — and they’re not afraid to say it.
- They do mention God, and give Him recognition for having created this world and everything in it.
- They aren’t humanistic thinkers: they don’t expect that mankind, on its own, can cure all its diseases and progress toward its own inevitable utopia. They believe in utilizing the natural health benefits of the creation as God created it; only by learning how to use what He’s already given us can we hope to achieve better wellness — better than what we’re experiencing now as a result of chemical tampering of our food sources and unnatural drugs.
Because those ideals fit with what I believe, I feel like I’ve made a great move in joining with this company. Do I believe everything they do? Maybe not. But I DO agree with all the points mentioned above. I don’t know if I could ask for more from another human being.
Remember, I’m not going to church with these folks; I’m doing business with them. I think there is a distinction.
Additionally, I’ve come to realize that there are plenty of believers involved in the Young Living business opportunity, and they certainly don’t promote any weirdness at all. They simply use the oils for their ability to benefit their overall health, and to support emotional and mental wellness. They also use them as an alternative to the harmful toxic cleaners that are often found at the store.
People such as:
~James and Stacy McDonald from the Common Scents Mom — Stacy is co-authoress, and authoress of the books:
She also blogs at: Your Sacred Calling
~Monique McLean from Oh My Oils: How I Began Using Essential Oils — You’ve got to read her posts; she is so funny!
She is authoress of the books:
I haven’t read all the books above, but I certainly plan to! If you’ve ever read them, please tell me what you thought about them!
To conclude: If you have any qualms about purchasing Essential Oils from Young Living, or in starting up your own home-based business, I hope that this article has helped you resolve them. If you do have any questions, I would be so happy to hear from you!
(Here’s a sneak-peak of what my next articles will be about: 1 . . . How I’m Slimming Down and Feeling Better with Trim Healthy Mama and 2 . . . Decluttering and Organizing with a Family of Eight . . . in a Doublewide. I’ll be writing those ones up — with pictures! — pretty soon . . . )