How Do Women Make Choices about Career and Calling?
We live in a culture where we are free to make our own choices. We choose what we will buy and where we will buy it. We choose our house or our apartment. We choose how to spend our time, free or paid.
With a tyranny of choices, our society demands we know what we want in our food choices, movie goings, worship services, work schedules.
Every day our choices reflect who we are, clarify our identity, and give us direction. Gluten-free? Charismatic Catholic? Full-time working woman? Part-time volunteer? Available-at-home mom? Not much can trip us up more in our choice-making capacity than being fearful of making the wrong choices—it’s almost paralyzing.
I’ve sold advertising. I’ve taught college writing courses full-time and part-time. I’ve stopped working for pay at times for more flexibility. I’m a mom. I’m a wife. I’m a writer. I’m a speaker. That means that through my vocation and calling, I’ve made and keep making choices—hundreds of them.
This business of choice-making is magnified ten times as Christians. No matter how long we’ve been following Christ, our choices matter. And if I’m honest, not enough Jesus-following women ahead of me in life are talking about the hard choices they’ve made whether single or married, children or not, executive level leadership or entrepreneurial pursuits.
As a woman in her 40s, I want to know how God is leading women in making choices to lead in their work and in their families. I want to know because not only do I work and minister with women younger than myself, I am also about to launch my oldest daughter into the world and her two younger sisters will soon follow.
However, I want to know because the first question younger women often ask me is, How did you know what choices to make about your work and your family?
I tell them my story but they need to hear other women’s stories, too.
How You Can Model a Biblical View of Choices
When I am paralyzed in making a good choice about work or a leadership position and the fear of messing up seizes me, I feel like I’m sucked into a vortex of restlessness and non-stop working. (Maybe that reflects me trying to overcompensate for being a woman).
Usually, the trance is broken when I hear about a woman in leadership who is honest about the choices she’s made and how God led her every step of the way. It’s then I take my foot off the gas and re-make some choices in God’s presence.
Here are three questions for you to think about as you retell God’s leading in your own choices.
1. When did you learn to concentrate and pay attention to what was ahead?
Toward the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus talks in parables about staying awake and being watchful. He knew how easily we humans feel overwhelmed by our circumstances, robbing us of the joy of making choices for him.
Several years ago, I listened as a woman relative chose to say yes to a high-level leadership position when her marriage was crumbling. Questioning the timing of her choice, I talked with her privately and she replied, “At the time it didn’t make sense, but as I prayed I knew God was leading me to say yes. It was more about the future.”
Think about prayer in your own journey and how it taught you how to pay attention and how it renewed your perspective. Other women need and want to hear how you learned to concentrate at crucial points along your vocational path.
2. How did you accept that you could not foresee the future?
As I write this, my husband is finishing his 15th year in an executive leadership role at a university. Fifteen years ago, when he took the job, I chose to spend as much time with our three young children as I could. That choice meant that I worked part-time, traveled little to speak, and worked hard at communicating with my husband what was happening.
Such a choice also meant that I don’t have a “career” like some define it. What I do have is a life with our family that I could never have foreseen all those years ago.
I also wrote two books–the second of which took several years to write–started my own LLC, and taught writing. When I said yes to that choice, I had absolutely no idea where the other million choices would lead me. At one point along the way, I had to accept the consequences of my decisions even as I trusted God leading me in them.
There’s a tension in making a decision when we are in the middle of living our stories. Think back to when you accepted that you couldn’t foresee the future. What helped you make the choice to say yes or no to a leadership role?
When you can identify what helped you, you inspire other women to stop trying to overcompensate.
3. Where does your confidence come from?
We can help women grow in their confidence that God leads in all of our decisions the more we connect with…Continue Reading…@https://tifwe.org/
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