On Saturday, I went to my cousin’s high school graduation party. One of my aunts asked me what I had been up to lately. She knows I am a very hard worker; always keeping myself busy. I was a National Merit Scholar and the valedictorian of my high school class with a perfect 4.0 GPA. I earned four academic scholarships (a full-ride) to college, and I was the first in my family to graduate with a Master’s degree. I started a blog in college that grew in popularity and has been bringing in a noticeable amount of side income. Working full-time as the brand manager for a well-known company and keeping up with my online community takes a lot of my time. I recently read that if I really want to achieve financial success, I need to invest in a rental property. If I had known sooner, I probably would have saved more money over the past few years but alas here I am. I suppose I could always start another blog or take on another side hustle.
As I was telling my aunt about my plans, I could see my aunt’s eyes growing wider. Instead of being happy, she appeared to be concerned about me. I am the oldest cousin and have always felt pressured to set the example for my younger cousins. And honestly, I’ve achieved a level of success my parents only dreamed of. But I have been feeling a bit exhausted and empty lately. When I dream about where I’ll be in ten years, I picture myself running through the backyard with my children.
I know my parents would support me in anything I choose to do, but I sense I would be letting them down if I didn’t take advantage of all the opportunities they never had. They worked so hard so that I could be here. I want them to be proud of me.
- The pressure to do more is enormous.
When I look around at my peers, they seem to be balancing the load just fine — traveling, starting new businesses, growing their families. I feel torn between being the person everyone else wants me to be and making the sacrifices I’m not yet willing to make.
The refutation of this myth is not based on the premise that something is inherently wrong with a woman who’s expanding her financial prowess or choosing to invest her skills in a company, ministry, or personal venture. Look at Miriam, who was a significant leader in the book of Exodus. It’s worth celebrating the opportunities women have to contribute to the Kingdom, diversify their financial portfolios and increase their level of education.
Rather, the idea that women should always take on more is misleading.
Some women feel that they are somehow letting down themselves or their family — or not being true to their potential — if they decide to step away from a certain job or position. They feel enormous pressure to stay and continue to strive for the next promotion or level of income.
Likewise, most women will agree that the pressure for an impressive life can involve tradeoffs when family and personal needs are involved. Volunteering for every event. Spotless homes. Another side hustle. At every stage in life, we must ask ourselves, “What is God calling me to do?”
God has a specific plan for you that will maximize your talents and gifts, bring maximum glory to Himself and provide for your maximum good. Ask yourself:
- Is God able to carry out that plan where I am now?
- Is God nudging me to make a change in my priorities?
Each woman must evaluate her options with these questions in mind. Some may decide that career advancement or a larger business is not worth the price. They may continue to work full-time while setting clear boundaries around their work. Some may opt out of full-time work, choosing instead to put their energies into raising their children or doing volunteer work. Still others may work part time. Finally, some Christian women may feel called to take on more responsibility in ministry or in business, and they equally deserve support so that they can represent Christ in spheres of great influence (see 2 Corinthians 5:20).
Excerpted with permission from Flourish: The NIV Bible for Women, copyright Zondervan.
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You’re not letting God down. You can’t do everything. We have to say yes to some things and no to others. Remember that God has good plans for your life. Ask Him if you need to make any changes and then follow! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full