Parallel Paths of Purpose

parallel purposeIn this picture, I’m teaching a business workshop at a church. This was in April 2018. It was the second time that I saw my spiritual calling and my career merge into one package. The first time was during my missions trip to Africa in 2017.

As I’m continuing to navigate my life on my own terms, I’m finding myself drawn to similar spaces and causes that I was involved in previously. And with that, I’m starting to learn that my calling is undeniable. I am 100% called to ministry and I am 100% called to business/community development. But 100% + 100% = 200% and I’m only one woman!

I think part of what led to my burnout before was that I was trying to give my all to both realms at the same time, with the same amount of intensity. That was a recipe for disaster. I stretched myself too thin at church and too thin at work. I was not in a healthy place to pour into my small group members’ lives or my clients’ businesses. Not to mention that I was neglecting Jessica in the process.

Part of this running-myself-to-the-ground came from feeling like I needed to overcompensate. I didn’t feel like I was fully walking in my calling when I was at work because it was something the Church likes to call “marketplace ministry.” Not everyone is called to be a pastor or a preacher. Most people will be called to share the light of Christ in traditional work settings.

But this was hard for me to accept because I had literally started my career by enrolling in a ministry training program for young professionals interested in vocational ministry. I was surrounded by people who thought like me and worshipped like me. Our love for Jesus is what united us.

Being able to openly share my faith is what grounds me and gives me the freedom to express myself and to be authentically me. So since I couldn’t do that in the work setting, my home became that place where I was fully alive. My roommate and I constantly hosted worship nights, game nights and bible studies to encourage each other and our faith community on our walks.

This felt right. It felt like I was back in New York again (the place of my ministry training program).

But I’ll be honest with you…Bible studies don’t pay the bills.

I’m coming to realize that if I don’t find a way to embrace my career and see it as an equal part of my spiritual calling, then I will always feel like I’m not doing enough for the Kingdom of God. And with that, I’ll likely force myself to be available to serve in roles that sound good but may not be best for my overall wellbeing (and this includes my financial wellbeing).

Since I have so much time on my hands, it’s easy to say yes to volunteering and sharing my time with an organization or pouring into a friend in need. I don’t want to repeat any of the aforementioned unhealthy habits, so I’m trying to stop myself before anything gets too deep.

Like I said in a previous post, my nonprofit work has ended. And what I mean by that is that I’m not going to keep giving out my advice and gifts for free.

I know in my heart of hearts that I want to start my own training program. Ideally, one that combines faith and finances.

I’ve been placed on this financial path for a reason: trusting God with financial provision so that I can later teach others how to trust Him as well. It hasn’t been easy not getting a consistent paycheck for the last 9 months. Part of this process has been detaching my sense of self-worth from my net worth.

My identity isn’t found in a job title or a salary range. It’s found in the arms of my Savior.

Yet, that doesn’t mean that when I do get back “out there” that I will accept any price. My price has gone up for sure. I know what I bring to the table. And I believe that there are companies out there who will recognize my worth and pay me accordingly.

I really want to see Christian women— women who are walking by faith—thrive. I don’t want us to settle. I don’t want us to be taken advantage of. I don’t want us to sell ourselves short simply because we have a servant’s heart. I want our gifts to be tapped into and used up so they can be replenished again.

I have had ample time to replenish. I’m ready to see what’s in store next!

Until Next Time,

Jess

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