Monday, April 12, 2010

purpose

there comes a point when you're meeting a new person where the conversation inevitably turns to work. it normally comes right after "where are you from?"

it comes in many forms:
"where do you work?"
"what's your job?"
and the one which i fear most:

"what do you do?"


you see, bloggettes, I don't have a job. I look, I apply, I interview, I write resumes, coverletters, follow up emails galore and still? nothing. I don't understand it, but I'm beginning to have peace with it.

Because

"what do you do?" should be such a larger question than where does my paycheck come from, and this.is.hard.for.me.to.admit.

I want to have purpose, a calling, something I'm needed for.

But what's harder than actually finding a place for my name on a payroll is the thought that FIRST I must define why these determinants are important to me. By whom's standards am I measuring my purpose?

I believe that the Lord has settled me into a place of unemployment so that I may be content in Him first.

 I live in a city that is laden with success, money and calling. It takes as much humility as I can muster to tell someone that I'm unemployed. I find myself thinking that if I had other purposes in life, then that would make my joblessness acceptable: if I had a child, if I was writing more, if I were traveling, if...if...if...


There is a fairly perpetual war going on inside my flesh: purpose according to me versus purpose according to God.

because, you see, if my standards were that of God's purpose, my answers to

"What do you do?"


could be

I am the keeper of my home
I provide meals for my husband
I provide affection, love, attention and prayer for my husband
I am an investor in the community of Christ
I grow food to provide for our little family (on our back deck!)
I have time to cultivate deep and rich friendships around me
I have the time and energy to write out my heart on a blog that some people may benefit from
I have time to spend with the Lord, daily
I do chores, errands and scheduling for our family's needs
I am the kind of wife that N. needs me to be

I think that one of the enduring struggles for the Christian woman is to feel like nothing is enough. At least, for me, it is. There are small voices that I must allow the Lord to snuff out so that I may see my calling and purpose in Him, and by his measurements, be enough.

-b

8 comments:

  1. I am working on a book (albeit slowly) on this and some very similar conversations all centered around the topic of intentional relationships and communities.

    Be defined by what you love - not by what you do.

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  2. So, I went to a marriage conference a few weeks ago, maybe a month even. The lady, who is very wise, said this:

    As a woman, you will always be faced with inevitable disdain for whatever choice you make in regards to well... anything.

    If you stay home - you're not fulfilling your potential.
    If you work - you're neglecting your family. (never mind how freaking how HOME WORK is)...

    If you do both - aren't both suffering somehow.

    bah!

    Anyway - I find myself asking this: purpose at its core for a believer is to delight oneself in the Lord. oh yes, very existential and non-applicable. But, it reminds me that fundamental to what I "do" is what I worship. By what/whose worth am I shaped? So, in those moments of inadequacy, when I know my answer to "what do I do?" will get me a stiff "nose in the air" - I remind myself, the Lord takes far greater pleasure in my delighting in him in being shaped by HIS worth and what HE does than he takes pleasure in whether I am beautiful externally, well-versed in american social mores, taking full advantage of one side of the feminist freedom (namely the ability to work), being the neo-traditional granola mom with hemp grocery bags, or whatever.

    What do I do?

    I seek to delight myself in the Lord, to put up treasures in heaven - and to cultivate both of those ends in whatever way I can given where I am at this time.

    Next time someone asks you, you could facetiously state, "Oh gosh, I have a huge endowment and spend most of my days trying to figure out how to spend it... it's so hard."

    (also, don't let me fool you into thinking I don't wrestle with this question.... these are just the small things that I have helped me readjust when I find myself totally ugh.)

    over and out,
    Lora

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  3. Brett, your heart felt sharing has encouraged me today. You do have a beautiful purpose.... you certainly blessed me in ever encounter along the flower planning process for your wedding. The Light in you is shinging bright.

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  4. So true love! I hate that question, but more than that I hate the question "what are you going to do with a degree in religion?" haha. To put it in Martha Nussbaum's words, I am going to "cultivate humanity!"
    We all have such a larger purpose than earning a paycheck. We are servants of the Lord, which is a job that impacts every area of our lives:) You are amazing and incredibly faithful Brett! I am glad that you aware of the purposes God's using you for at this moment in time:)

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  5. hey neighbor - very honest post... would love to talk with you about it some time - had some of my own struggles navigating the role(s) of Godly women and cultural expectations. I do believe God has a plan for you in this - I, myself, am envious of the time you can spend now volunteering (as well as other things on your list) really helping people in need while waiting for the opportunity that also comes with a paycheck. :-) hope to see you soon.

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  6. Ah, such the debate for a woman! This comes at a time when I am diligently studying Biblical Womanhood and what that looks like. Lora is right, we will face judgement from every category but really probably most of this judgement comes from within and our own insecurities. Embrace where God has you in this season and allow it to grow you!

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  7. Kelsey told me about your blog and boy am I glad that she did.

    Brett, thank you for this post! I only work part-time (by choice), but we are daily evaluating if I need to come home. As a married woman without children, I feel your "dilemma." Even now, I dread the question, "what do you do?" because my answer is definitely atypical from what our culture teaches. My pay-check job isn't what consumes the bulk of my day or even week.

    So all of that to say. You are not alone!

    Thanks for your transparency, and thank you for investing in the kingdom of God in the way that HE has called you to, and thanks for fulfilling your vows to Nathaniel when you told him you'd turn your back on the world before you'd turn you back on him. :)

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  8. If you haven't already, you should totally read the book "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. It provides some (pretty amazing) insight on being a woman and truly understanding the qualities that God has given you that represent Him. Very empowering!

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