Why I quit my comfortable job
For the last couple of years, I've worked for a top finance firm in what I thought was my dream career. I had a good enough salary, a 401k, health insurance, and benefits. It was all fine and well, but a few days ago, I gave my notice that I would be leaving. The reason I quit my comfortable job is...
NOT because I didn't think I could possibly bear another miserable day
…because I believe God within me is stronger than anything external.
NOT because the mean person in the office constantly throws me under the bus
…because I am called to love unlovable people.
NOT because I have the ability to make my dream happen on my own accord.
…because I don't. I am (presently) unable to write a NYT best-selling, world-acclaimed, world-changing book. I can hardly keep my attention span held long enough to tweet. Buttt I know my Creator can change that. He can draw out of me everything that He put in me from the beginning to accomplish every wild dream He's put in my heart.
I quit my comfortable job because I realized that faith is a decision that I can only make in the present. The past is unchangeable. And I can't commit to begin living in faith some day in the future. I can only step out into the stormy seas Right. At. This. Moment.
It's do or die. This isn't dress rehearsal. I’m setting the course of my life in the present.
When you hear God calling you to do something in faith that is “stupid” “silly” “foolish” “crazy” “impossible” “inconceivable” “never-in-a-million-years-will-you-ever-ever-succeed”, you have two options:
As I’m writing this, I’m at the Hillsong Young and Free concert watching them perform their song “Trust”:
"I don't know how the story ends
But I know that You finished it
I'll close my eyes and just let go
And fall into my only Hope
There's safety in the falling
When I surrender fully
I put all my hope in You
JESUS, I WILL TRUST YOU"
There's something about concerts that stirs my blood. Watching people ignite their gifts through music and lyrics invigorates me like nothing else. It makes me crave that life of living every day bleeding out the talent I possess for the dreams I have. See, I don't think God put this gift of writing in me so I could go to a 9-5 and type on a spreadsheet and write a blog or two each month. Does anyone believe that’s actually a good life? Cause please stop me now if you think so. If you think I threw away a lucrative career and that's so important, puhhhlease let me know.
So…earlier this week, I quit my stable job with comfortable hours in a comfortable office doing comfortable work for a comfortable salary around comfortable, similar-enough people BECAUSE I WASN’T MADE FOR COMFORT!
My soul and your soul are either coming alive more and more or dying.
And in my little gray cube typing on excel spreadsheets with my salary, my 401k and my annual bonus, I felt my soul slowly fading. My internal light, my sunshine personality, and my fervor were slipping away slowly. I sold my soul for a salary. And I wasn't made for that.
I was made to come alive in Jesus!
I’ve noticed more recently that MOST everyone around me settles into comfort at a young age and never again comes fully alive. I don't want that to be my life. I want to change the world – scratch that…I’m GOING TO change the world – and that dream was slowly slipping away as I held onto worldly comfort. That's all the world can offer you: comfort. But you know what?
Do you know how to make frog legs? You take a boingy, lively frog and put him in a pot of room-temperature water. He’ll swim around and enjoy his comfortable, new pond…his momentary kingdom. Then slowly turn up the heat while he swirls around in his hot tub, completely oblivious to impending doom. Before he knows it, he’s literally boiling to death. And at that point, it’s too late for him to jump out.
That’s how satan kills your soul. He offers a comfortable little kingdom to you and slowly kills you.
But what can Jesus offer you? Your soul…ALIVE! All those things that you've chosen over the years to numb your feelings: the alcohol, the boys, the girls, the drugs, the career obsession, the retail therapy, the search for fulfillment in your kids, the binging on brownies, the hoarding. All those empty pleasures that kill you slowly. Jesus can wipe that clean.
FIRST CLARIFICATION!!! This blog post is written for me and this feeling about my office job is specific to me…kinda. What I mean is that maybe you are called to reach your whole office for Christ! Maybe God put you in a dark office so you can be the only light people see Every. Single. Day. of their lonely lives. That's what I did while I was there. For a season, God placed me in that job, and I was assigned to use my time with people wisely. But the time for stepping out in faith for me was this week. I knew it. My time there was over. On to living the dream!
Let me be clear: it's not “the office” that was killing me. Some day I might have a writing job in an office. Who knows? What was killing my soul was was the whole “ignoring my gifts in favor of a steady paycheck”.
At this point, you're probably wondering these two questions right now:
How do I know if I am slowly dying?
Okay, I'm slowly dying, and I'm ready to change. But what does a fully-alive life even look like?
How do you know if you are slowly dying?
Lemme ask you: Do you still get caught up in wonderment? Do you go to work with fervor for fulfilling your calling? Do you feel your soul thriving? Personally, my soul thrives when I'm helping people. Seriously. (I’m not trying to sound like a pageant contestant.) When I’m personally successful, I don’t feel nearly as fulfilled as when I’m helping other people seize their own success. And my gift is writing. I was not able in my office job to use my writing to impact the world. I did a slight bit of writing – some upbeat, good vibes writing – but I was certainly not able to share the love of Jesus the way I’m called to do through my writing. And my (very important for a writer) creativity was DYING!!
What does living a fully-alive life look like?
Lemme use a real-life parallel. I'm a super animated person with zero shame. I embarrass my husband, Russell, all the day long without myself feeling embarrassed. (And I relish it! Haha!) For me, if I go to a concert or a worship service and I'm just chilling, hands in pockets, not even as much as humming, I am dead. Call the doctor. Pronounce me dead. Because I’m not alive. Russell, on the other hand, is not very animated under any normal circumstance. He is the peanut butter to my jelly. For him, not singing isn't him being dead. It's just him being…him. As the Bible says:
“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
– 1 Samuel 16
Russell may not come alive from concerts, but he is fully alive and using his God-given gifts when he is doing money/numbers/finance/calculations stuff. He’s truly gifted at finance, real estate, and investments. He comes alive when you ask him about the local real estate market. It’s actually humorous (to me) how passionate he is about it.
Everybody’s “fully-alive life” is as unique as people themselves are unique. What looks like me living life fully alive is NOT AT ALL what it's going to look like for you or anyone else. So don't try to jump your thoughts to someone else who isn't fully living. I'm talking to you, my friend reading this.
So you see… I’m not telling you to quit your office job because you don’t come alive in a cubicle. I’m telling you what’s important is being able to use those unique gifts God gave you to pull your dreams into reality. And if you do that in an office, FANTASTIC!! If you cannot (like me in my former job), then you should seriously consider quitting your job!
SECOND CLARIFICATION!!! This blog post is not for your neighbor, your colleague, your friend, or your sibling. This blog post is for you…that’s why God has you reading this right now. So keep reading.
Growing up, I was in a Christian bubble. In all my years as a pastor's kid, there were Sunday school teachers (pre-Y2K lingo there😉) and even pastors whom I met who weren't stepping out in faith and doing what the Lord asked them to do. They weren't alive. And it was evident. Maybe God was calling them to be a missionary to some place I can’t pronounce or calling them to give up their high-profile gig as a pastor in order to write a book that would change the world. But it wasn't a guaranteed success. And I've witnessed a lot of people who were supposed to be following Christ…except when it came to doing something unreasonable in faith. I say "unreasonable", because we all try to reason out what God is doing and why He would ask us to do something we can’t understand. But that’s not our job. Our job is to respond:
So whether you're a pastor, an office worker, a realtor, a sales rep, a VP/P/C-level, a teacher, or a bartender who isn't using your God-given gifts, I want you to stop right now. Ask God:
"Am I supposed to use my gifts in this job where I am right now? Or do I need to leave this work to change the world...starting with changing MY world?"
Ask with sincerity. Be prepared for the scariest answer of your life…the answer of, "You need to step out of your comfort and into faith." And maybe that looks like you need to be spending one-on-one time with your lost friends sharing the hope of the Gospel. And that may terrify you. Maybe you don't have to GO anywhere to use your gifts. Or maybe you do. Maybe you go to the ends of the earth to a remote land. But if you don't ask, will you ever know?