Hey you. I felt the need to say this tonight. This is for all the women out there who work part-time or don’t work at all. Listen up. You ready? You sure? Put that phone down and close that tab. Tell that kid (or three) you’ll just be a minute. Okay. Good. Here goes.
Your lack of a full-time job doesn’t make you inferior.
Maybe this is a revelation to you. It was to me. Just tonight, actually. I didn’t even realize it was a problem. But it’s true.
There is this unspoken rule in our society that every person must go to college for four years, rack up a delicious debt, acquire various credit card debts, and then spend the rest of their lives trying to work back out of the hole.
There is this unspoken rule that, because there are other people working their souls off at 60-hour-a-week jobs, that we, too, are morally obligated to join them in their completely unbalanced lives, or we’re weak.
There is this unspoken rule that, if you couldn’t, in your current state, support yourself by yourself, even if you were, you know, in your current state, then you must be in the wrong business.
These are all lies.
You knew, but some part of you didn’t. Maybe, like me, some part of you is secretly bitter about your volunteer work because you don’t get a dime for it, and therefore you feel unappreciated, no matter how many compliments you receive or how much of a real impact you’re making on your community.
Maybe, like me, you don’t have a 9-5 work schedule, and so you feel deep down that you must be wasting your time with whatever you’re doing with your days.
If you’re anything like me, you put this pressure on yourself that you’re not living to your full potential because everyone else can do what you do, but fit two or three other jobs or roles into the mix.
I honestly dread the idea of working any 40-hour-a-week (or more) job. And I’ve even expressed to my friends that all the things I really love to do are things nobody really gets paid for. Like blogging. And meeting friends in coffee shops (like, sitting down and talking, not just pumping syrup into their cup and saying goodbye as they leave for apparently bigger and better things). And speaking wisdom into people’s lives. And living up to the reality that there are people, younger AND older, that look up to me. I want to be there for them like the people I looked up to were there for me. Because that’s something people in our busy busy busy broken society don’t often see. Why me?
My friend Paul says that this is probably part of how God designed me. His wife went through a similar thing when she decided to stay home with their kid. Which tells me, this isn’t just me. Which tells me, this is something I do need to write about and people need to hear.
The truth is, we’re all different (imagine that!), but we’re all equally and infinitely valuable. Let me unpack that.
Some of us are wired to work 40 hours a week and live a perfectly balanced life. Some of us can be single working moms and still thrive (which is an absolute miracle because that’s at least 2.5 full-time jobs), but in my experience if you know someone like this you should offer to watch her kid(s) or free her for grown-up conversations sometimes because she could use a break. 🙂
Some of us are wired to be housekeepers, not businesswomen. Or all we want to do when we grow up is be an awesome wife and mom.
And I think feminism has done a disservice to women by pigeonholing them into the workforce.
Don’t get me wrong. The feminist movement is awesome. We can vote and work and be treated like human beings. But I think we can agree more than a few women (and men) have suffered collateral damage from it. (I did a talk on this at CSU for on honors social work project that my professor wanted to publish. But I was too busy that summer cleaning houses 40 hours week so I never got it published.)
Anyways. I can’t tell you what a balanced life looks like for you personally. And if, like me, you don’t know what a balanced life looks like for you that’s okay. Because the one who wired you does. And isn’t that enough?
The gospel truth
Yup, you know me too well. I’m gonna talk about God. Sue me. I don’t have much money though, so you’ll feel bad. 🙂
The gospel truth is this. God made you unique. Especially in an age of entrepreneurship, I think he’s designed really wacko people like you and me who can’t hold up a normal job. As my friend Keith says, we’re ruined for the ordinary. We care too much to do something just because everyone else is doing it.
The gospel truth is this. You are worth so much more than your salary. Even if you’re in the 1% everybody hates… your value as a human being, and everything you bring to the table, is worth more than earthy money could buy.
We say human trafficking is wrong because you can’t buy a person. You can’t sell a person. But I think sometimes we’re guilty of selling our souls to the elusive Perfect Day Job.
The gospel truth is this. There’s a man named Jesus who was actually God himself. He was and is perfect. He was and is the most precious, valuable, pure thing the universe has ever seen. 2,000 years ago, He named your price. And that price was his own life.
What does that say about you? According to the guy who knows absolutely everything, and could have anything he wanted, you’re worth dying for. He’d pay anything to get you. And He did. But He didn’t buy you against your will. He laid down everything He had knowing full well you had the freedom not to accept the offer. That’s like giving you a lifelong supply of wages before you even accept a job.
The gospel truth is this. God never wanted your services. Yes, you want a meaningful life, you want to do amazing stuff with the hours of your days and nights and whatnot.
But contrary to what our apparently “feminist” society tells you, your not just another body that exists here to do work and replace yourself after you die (or exit your company) and please a great number of people.
Because people, ultimately, don’t need to be pleased. They need to be brought to life.
And you, ultimately, aren’t your own net worth. And even if you were, Jesus’ purchase on the cross tells me your net worth is like a gazillion, no matter what it looks like now.
I have a job interview-type-thing tomorrow. I’m glad Someone told me about this tonight. Because no matter what happens tomorrow, I’m secure.
I can volunteer at an organization I, quite honestly, believe in, without being freaking bitter, because I know I’m appreciated and that my work is meaningful and that I am just as integral a part of God’s plan as anyone else. My ministry will NOT be marked by insecurity and bitterness, because that is poison to its own fruit. My ministry will be marked by a freedom and cheerfulness to give. Because that kind of root is an anecdote to its entire garden.
I won’t be a chameleon. I won’t just turn into whatever a company thinks they need to milk out of me. I’m going to dare to be me.
I don’t always know who I am, but that’s okay, because, I’m going to look to the one who made me, and not people who think they know me, to figure that out. I will say no if I know there is a better yes. And I will say yes to God’s best, which he freely offers, just as he offered me his own life.
And I hope you do, too.
You’re where you’re at for a reason, and God is using you there. But where there is discontent, bitterness, insecurity, anxiety, stress… everything I’ve read and experienced about God says He does NOT take delight in keeping you there. You’re gonna have to trust Him with your salary and your future and your bills and your kids and your YOU. And whether it’s your job that’s gonna change, or your heart… something’s gonna change when you find your net worth in Him.
So. Just to warn you. Look out.