I heard my alarm go off in the morning, signaling me to get up and pack lunches for my family in the next hour before they head out the door into the cold weather. Usually, those sixty minutes pass by rather quickly as I bounce between putting makeup on, getting dressed for work, cooking easy breakfast for the family while microwaving my favorite “I-don’t-have-time-for-breakfast” sweet potato. It’s a healthy and quite filling choice for breakfast. But if I had time, I would definitely go for some varieties while sipping a cup of nice warm morning coffee at the kitchen table in perfect solitude. Yes, that sounds amazing! That sounds unreal! But this is my new reality, at least a few times a week. Praiselujah!
Do you want to know the secret? Alright, here it is: quit your job! But hold on to your horses for a second. Before you actually do what I did, let me tell you the whole story of how I transitioned from bi-vocational ministry to full-time ministry. Then, you can decide for yourself.
You see, I have been working at my previous job for about four and a half years. The nature of my job changed each year based on the inevitable but necessary organizational changes. Fortunately, despite the constant changes, my position did not change all that much. But quite unfortunately, that exact same reason was why I decided to leave my job.
After two years into my job, through God’s grace I graduated with a master’s degree and became an ordained minister. I was growing personally, but I was still at the same place doing the same job that no longer challenged me to grow. I came to a place where I began to feel “replaceable” because I knew anyone could do my job and do it better if they just learn the routine work. But I felt trapped inside because I wasn’t being maximized and there was no room to grow. The ceiling wasn’t simply high; it felt unreachable.
For the next two years, I prayed. Every single day. On my way to work in the morning, I prayed a prayer that sounded like, “God, I will be faithful in little things until you feel like I’m ready for greater responsibilities. I will staple those papers away joyfully and purposefully. But God, I want you to notice me… Please…”
Sometimes, I cried and wrote down my frustration in my journal as I watched others grow in their own areas of career. I couldn’t understand why I was still at the same place after four and a half years, unable to be launched into a greater sphere of leadership and influence. But I also couldn’t say no to the comfort of my job that provided consistent paychecks (though not much), pleasant co-workers, and health/retirement plans among other hidden benefits. The risk of losing a sense of security and stability was too great to leave the job. But I knew my passion to be the woman God called me to be during this season of my life was at a greater risk if I didn’t make a chance. And for me, that was to lead my church as a lead pastor.
My last day at work was November 21, 2018. The day before Thanksgiving. There is much to be thankful for indeed. Even though there have been several moments where doubts began to creep in since I left the comfort of my job, I know I’m exactly where I need to be. I am a pastor at heart. While I was staring at a computer for almost a third of the day, shuffling through various papers and answering phone calls, my heart was in the community.
Past few years have been such a testing period, but I needed that time to realize whom I was truly created to be. Most of my struggles were internal as I searched for my calling. But even in the midst of the unknown, God blessed me with wonderful people who walked with me along this journey, prayed with me, and still remain great friends!
After a full week of “full-time pastoring,” God affirmed that I was to worship Him with a full gear on by meeting with a city manager to dialogue about the future of our city, visiting my church family who recently gave birth to a handsome boy, coming up with new ideas over dinner with the chief of police, connecting with a local school principal about feeding low-income-family children, planning a multicultural festival with fellow community leaders, preaching the Gospel at church, picking up my middle son from school, and being home ready to greet the rest of the family at the end of the day. Now, THAT to me is a missional life driven by passion, not by comfort.
So, where are you today? Which of these two stands out to you: passion or comfort? I pray God will direct your path as you boldly step up to live out your calling during this season!
Let’s do this together!