Career vs. Purpose vs. Ministry
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I wanted my Pinky Promise sisters to share what the Lord placed on their heart. And, my sister (and cousin by marriage), April Wesley shared something so powerful.
Check it out.
I was prompted to complete this blog when one of my well-respected friends (an entrepreneur, non-profit organizer, world traveler, speaker, and preacher) recently sent a message for well wishes on my birthday and ended with "Purpose looks good on you." She is well-versed in the dynamic nature of purpose, but her statement made me think of an open issue or misconception in the Body of Christ. It is a topic and thought process that I've had to work through in my own life to understand God's plan and pathway (purpose) for my life. "Do people always equate purpose to something 'ministry' related, such as writing books or starting an organized ministry; or, do people recognize that purpose is multifaceted and can result in many purpose paths (outside of what is commonly perceived as 'ministry')?" Also, "can my job or career be my purpose? Is it a part of my purpose? Am I really living in my purpose if I haven't left my job and started my own ministry or business?" Affectionately, I started writing. I began to develop what you're currently reading in hopes to address these misconceptions. This post is for those that struggle with where their career life fits in with their purpose and how it relates to ministry.
Let's start with the title...career first, purpose in the middle, and ministry last. It's strategically placed in that order, not to put career over purpose or ministry, or say that ministry is underneath it all, but to say that purpose is the glue that motivates these endeavors. God's purpose for your life can indeed be experienced in a career, but it is likely not the only way that He will reveal His intended gifts through you. It's a purpose pathway in your life. Because your career or job is a part of your daily life, it is apart of your ministry. Your life is your ministry, period, including every activity, task, action, and interaction within it. Don't be confused. We have unfortunately secluded and regarded ministry to be what happens on a stage or impactful to a larger audience when we should know there is only an audience of One (God) that we serve and produce for.
In this Christian moment in time, it appears to be an overwhelming consensus that if you're working a 9-5 job or career, you're not truly following God's will for your life. I believe we've gained this perception because we've looked at someone else's path and concluded that if "purpose" was birthed when they left their 9-5 jobs, that should be our story too. Not so. If God appointed you to that 9-5 job or career and you KNOW you're supposed to be there, stay there! I believe we've equated purpose as the "blossoming of opportunity" that happens after we've obeyed God and possibly left our jobs without really consulting God. No, purpose is obedience to WHATEVER God has ordered you to and not measured by who's looking, clapping for us, or agreeing with us. Now, I'm not saying that it's okay to stay in a job or place where God has not ordained you to be and you're remaining there to satisfy your own fleshly desires. I'm telling you to be where God has equipped you to be and wants you to learn. You're clearly there to further your spiritual, personal, and professional development. Even for those who have been told to leave their jobs to explore and act on a new purpose path, I'm absolutely positive that if you were to sit down with them, they would tell you that their ministry is the life they lived before there was a spotlight or newly found purpose opportunity. It didn't start or stop with their decision to be obedient for probably the umpteenth time. Their purpose started at their very first "Yes!" to God!
Everybody is on a stage, whether we realize it or not. God is looking to see how we perform in the purpose pathways He's assigned to us. Purpose does not equal fame or fortune. It equals obedience. Thus, if God placed peace in your heart to pursue a career as a physical therapist, an attorney, realtor, blogger, or musical artist, that's what you must do and do it unto the Lord!
Again, purpose is multifaceted. It is not one particular event, business, passion, or desire in your heart. It is EVERY piece of talent, passion, and God led appointment that He has divinely placed inside of you. When you are led by God, nothing goes wasted. NOTHING. Stop allowing people to put purpose in a box and say that it's only "ministry" if it is packaged and presented a certain way. NO. Your ENTIRE life is ministry! You're constantly being watched by someone and either representing God or not representing God.
Before I even knew about "purpose" and how it is currently presented/appears (along with its associated pressures), I knew about God's peace. I knew when I was 16 and entering into college what my major would be because God gave me peace about the choice. It was for His purpose. When I was 20 and applying to graduate school, God gave me peace about which schools I was to apply to as well as gave me peace to not be anxious about being accepted because the original peace at 16 had already prepared the purpose of acceptance. At 23, I followed the peace to move to a city that God wanted me to not only develop in my career but most importantly, my character. At 27, I followed God's peace in moving to my current city in which every plan and piece of development prior purposed me for His current plan here. From there, I've written two books and started Queenship Restored but that's still not my ultimate and final purpose. I KNOW he has many more purpose paths to take me on and develop! But guess what? You won't have to force other purpose pathways that don't align with what you know to do now. For example, for the longest, my focus was solely fulfilling my career goals and responsibilities, thinking that was my only reason on this earth. As I started growing in God, He showed me that my passion for design and travel were there for a purpose and would not go to waste. Fast forward about 5 years later, I've been invited to lead design for Pinky Promise and my pastors have welcomed me to travel all over the world as their Director of International Affairs. How's that for never going to school or having a "plan" for either one! Your gifts WILL make room for you! Talk about God fruitfully creating and fulfilling your purpose paths. Nothing goes to waste!
If you work a 9-5 or career and have peace about currently being there but know that God has more for you, you ARE currently operating in purpose and God will eventually reveal that new pathway of purpose (whether it's to start your own consulting firm, non-profit in your current area of work, or go and get that PhD). Again, purpose is NOT just one thing, talent, passion, or desire....it's the combination of these (that is God-ordained) that makes you, you and fulfilling to your time here on this earth. It's literally your "purpose" of being here on earth, to do all of it. We shouldn't stop striving to fulfill everything (whether a career and/or small business and/or media, and/or whatever else God has given us) until we literally DIE. Then we're done fulfilling our purpose!
Just because you're only "practicing" a certain talent or passion in one thing at this moment does not mean that it will be your last and only. So don't be quick to forfeit a part of your purpose to match your faith journey to someone else's. If God has ordained you to go to school and be an attorney, computer programmer, engineer, physician, or HR personnel, do that purpose as unto the Lord! Some people are truly called to work these positions for the rest of their traditional working years or lives. I cannot tell you how many medical professionals' stories I've encountered where they literally worked daily in their careers until their dying day. They believed they were called to their careers and literally served as unto the Lord. It makes sense. We need all of the many career paths for this world to operate, from the CEOs to physicians to environmental services personnel to the professional tree cutters!
As a neurologic physical therapist myself, I KNOW I've been called to my profession. It was the first organized purpose pathway I was called to and has taught me great discipline, specificity, and compassion that carries on into all of my other purposes God has created me to do. I may not do it for the rest of my life, but its training and practice daily prepares me for each new thing God stretches me to do and places on my plate! See, my career is purposeful! Moreover, it serves a purpose as provision for any new thing (writing books, starting a company) that God may assign to my life. If He purposes you to do something, He already provides purposeful provision as well! This is why we must not get weary! ALL THINGS work for the good of those that are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)! Stop comparing your life to someone else's!
In conclusion, I provided the many purpose pathways of my friend at the start of the blog to show how multifaceted purpose can be. It is not one path and is supposed to be a unique all-encompassing, individualized plan for you. Allow God to begin to reveal how your God-given passions and desires are a part of your purpose and faith journey. He knows how to mold the specifics into unimaginable ways and actions. Continue to allow Him to appoint you, direct you, and keep you content in His Will. All things will continue to unfold in its proper time (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
-April D. Wesley
Before I chime out of my sister/friend/cousin's AMAZING blog, I wanted to introduce and update you on a few things present and upcoming on my end!
1) I have 2 books out currently. My first release, "Queenship Restored: The Reconciliation of the Alpha Woman" is properly titled to address the need for women to have a transformed mindset restored to a Godly queen (what God has called for women to be) vs. pursuing and continuing the often demanded societal alpha women mindset. My latest book is entitled, "Severing Soul Ties," a book that addresses the many ungodly soul ties we can be bound to, including people, ideals, positions, roles, tasks, material possessions, and even our own insecurities. This book is for the person who wants to identify the Truth about soul ties, is tired of living bound to them, and desires to be eternally severed from every type of soul tie. Each book can be found on my website, queenshiprestored.com, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble! Shipping is available WORLDWIDE!
2) I will be going on tour with my company, Queenship Restored, to 6 major US cities for the 2017 "Severing Soul Ties" Book Tour & Lecture Series! The tour will be traveling to Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Brooklyn, Miami, and Los Angeles! Registration and details are free and can be searched on the eventbrite.com search bar under "'Severing Soul Ties' Book Tour & Lecture Series-enter respective city." The tour will be traveling to Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Brooklyn, Miami, and Los Angeles (refer to the flier below for further details)! Each tour location will have individual experiences, but the consistent schedule of events will include book excerpt readings, lectures on Spirit-led soul tie topics, discussions, Q&A, book signings, and product purchase availability! If you are in any of these cities or surrounding areas, please register! There will be limited seating and availability for attendance so register NOW! I can't wait to see everyone, sever soul ties, and continue freedom from soul tie bondage in the coming months!