Why I do what I do. The definitive answer.

Posted: September 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

I don’t know what job you do or why.  I don’t know what led you there or if it’s something you always or never wanted to be when you grow up.  I don’t know if it pays well or doesn’t or if you like it or hate it.  And maybe you don’t even know  all these intricate details about a subject as complex as “Life’s Work.”

Here’s the quick summary of where I’ve been and what I’ve done:

Ages 18-19 Worked for a sketchy employment agency where the owner also ran a bar in a seedy section of downtown Portland.  This was a job that I loathed.  Every. Single. Day.  And the angels sang when I walked out of that smoke-and-drama-and-tax-evasion-filled office for good.

Ages 19-22 Worked for a construction company and was promoted repeatedly.  It was a great job with great, great people and I loved it.  And then I had a baby.  And when that happened, I didn’t love anything except the baby.  So I kind of quit.

Ages 23-25 Worked for my church (currently City Bible Church…then it was Bible Temple and it will remain so forever in my heart) paying all the bills.  Also a great job.  Also great people.  In fact, the greatest benefit of this job is that I found out that the pastors I saw on the platform every week were not pretenders.  They were, if possible, better people than I had imagined them to be.  Such a wonderful job.  I quit because we moved to Nebraska and the commute was a little rough.

Ages 25-28 Various and sundry part time jobs but mostly I worked for ANOTHER church but this was one I didn’t belong to.  In fact, this particular church refused to hire from among their flock because “we have to be able to trust whoever we hire.”  Heh.  Still so funny to me.  And yet, this was also a job I really enjoyed.  I did some accounting, some publishing and a LOT of diplomatic mediation between the pastor and the quilting bee ladies.

Ages 29-34 Interesting season of my life.  Worked at the library which I loved and still another church.  This church job was harder for me because I was working with the money of  the church and they had very, very little.  This coincided with a time in my life when we had the very same amount of money, which equaled stress in every place I found myself.

Ages 36-43 Pastor at Westside.  Hmmm…such an interesting job this has been.  I love the church and my coworkers and my actual job.  I can’t believe I get paid to show up there every day.   Well, I only show up most days because not since having my first baby have I ever worked full time.

Somewhere in my 25th or 26th year of life, my sister was both crazy and faith-filled enough to ask me to speak at her church’s ladies retreat.  I did, and it opened a whole ‘nother job for me.  Since that time, I’ve been talking.  To ladies, to teenagers, to mom’s, to churches and to Steve when he’ll listen.  People have been truly more wonderful and gracious than I ever could have imagined to receive the ramblings of a young and immature girl who really wanted to know Jesus and His Word, but struggles like everyone else to get it right (someday I’ll write a post about some of the silliest things I’ve said while teaching).  It’s not the thing I ever thought I would do.  It wasn’t on my wish list of careers.  It just happened.  And I can say – finally – with all my heart: it’s me.  It’s who I am, who I was created to be.  And I love that the Father knew the desires of my heart long before I did.

This month, I will release my first ever teaching on DVD.  It’s a Bible study called The Joy Project that is near to my heart.  I taught it during one of the most physically depleted periods of my life….but I can truly say that Jesus gave me great joy in it.  I also taught it during one of the most emotionally difficult seasons I’ve lived through but you know what?  Jesus gave me joy.  Oh, how I love Him for teaching me and then – incomprehensibly – using me to teach others.  It’s still a wonder beyond what my little mind can hold.

So, why make a DVD series?  Not for the money, I’ll tell you that because so far, me and all the amazing people who helped me are decidedly in the red on it (but we still have lots of JOY!)  Not for notoriety because that idea gives me hives and makes me want to hide in my house with the shades pulled down.  The only reason I can give you for making The Joy Project is this:  December 4, 2007.  That’s the day that I felt the Holy Spirit say – and I wrote in my journal – “write and teach a Bible study and record it.  You do your part and I’ll do My part.”

While it was a difficult project, beginning to end, I think the subject is important for the day that we’re living in.  I think it’s important for women who are sad and have known very little except sorrow in their lives.  It’s important for young women who think a man will bring them joy.  It’s important for those who think a new job or repaired economy will bring them joy.  But, for me, it’s mostly important because I’ve done my part.  I’ve done what He asked.

And that has brought great joy.



P.S.  What’s He asking you to do today?  I’d love to pray with you for strength, courage and resources to do it and do it with bells on!

  1. Ann Dunagan says:

    Put me on your list! I want to buy your DVD series as soon as it’s available. Send me a link. I’ll get it.

    Do you have it yet???

  2. Ann Dunagan says:

    Oh, I just read your concluding little question, and wanted to take you up on some prayer support. The Lord just opened a new door for me to write monthly articles about God’s passion for missions, for a large online homeschool magazine (Heart of the Matter). I’m excited about this opportunity, and want these articles to make a difference.

    Also, I’ve been feeling a stirring to PRAY for God’s wind to BLOWWWWW on all the unsold “dead” boxes of my books (The Mission-Minded Child and The Mission-Minded Family that are sitting in various warehouses). I’m feeling to pray from Ezekiel 37, that these dry and dead bones would rise up and take form, and become an ARMY!!!! – To go out, not only in singles, but in boxes of 12 and cases of 44 & 48. It’s like I can “see” these little yellow books blowing out of the warehouses and blowing into homes . . . and then I see actual real-life CHILDREN and TEENS and whole FAMILIES rising up to become this army.

    Like you say, it’s definitely not for money (Jon & I are still working to pay for the ink I’ve used up in the process – it’s kinda a joke around here), and who cares about if anyone knows who I am. But do so-desperately and totally want GOD’S PURPOSES and DESTINY to be fulfilled.

    Any prayers that you (or any of your friends on here – Hi y’all!!!) could add would be totally appreciated. And I’ll be praying for The Joy Project!!!!!

    Love you!

  3. bolovesjoe says:

    Yes…consider me enlisted in the prayer army! My pastor has such a great perspective on why we sell books or CD’s or anything of that sort. He says it’s like the number of dollar bills in circulation creates the Gross National Product and every time a dollar moves through the country it raises the GNP. When someone buys a book or CD and they dig a little deeper and open the door for God to speak to them through that teacher or author…and then they give it to a friend or recommend it on a blog…it raises the spiritual GNP as the Word of God goes forth in ways that turn a 30-minute message on Sunday morning into 300 messages and many chances for people to grow and help others grow.

    I believe this is true about the excellent Mission-Minded books. They help families give feet to their faith and then they share that faith with other families and – it’s exponential!

    Love you too!

  4. Susan from Nebraska says:

    Well, I am right where I started last year when I thought I knew where I was going by starting school again. Only now I am flat on my back for 3 months wondering what I am doing flat on my back for 3 months. I am praying I will know something when this is all over and that could be a year with therapy and everything. I am sort of asking “Why?” but yet I’m not, because I really don’t think there is an answer to that question. I know it involves trusting and believing and being but I still think I need to to ‘what’!!! So, if I sound confused, I am – but not stressed at all.
    If you have any answer, let me know – and I will let you know if when I know!!! Thanks for obeying God and pray I will too!!!

  5. Ann Dunagan says:

    Bo – thanks for your response, and your friendship!

    And Susan – I know you were asking Bo for an answer, but just yesterday, I felt the Lord showing me to keep trusting in His balance between “striving” and “do-do-do” with times that He simply wants me to “rest” and to “be” with Him. He showed me how He is so wonderfully proud of His precious sons & daughters who are totally pleasing Him through seasons of not “doing” anything (in their eyes). My heart was thinking specifically about mommies with little babies (in times of nurturing and rest), and others, like a precious friend of mine who was recently totally bedridden and even unable to move or talk. As she gave the Lord her all – 100% of what little she had to offer – she was SO well-pleasing to the Lord. May God redeem this time on your back, and bring healing to you, as you look up to Him!

  6. Tracy says:

    today He is asking me to be a mom! An involved mom, a mom that will make a difference, not just on the edges of my 2 precious children, but in their very core! i will be a mom. Well I have been a mom, for 11 years now, but this moment I declare a new level of momhood….and I can tell you it has already changed their destiny!

  7. That is an interesting story of how the Lord called you.
    I think the Lord calls us in all different ways. He meets you on your level, where you are, what you are interested in. For me, I always wanted to be an artist (from age 12 on). But I did not know what kind of artist. My senior year in college, I spent 6 months backpacking through Europe. I fell in love with stained glass. I have now been doing stained glass professionally for 23 years. The majority of my business is church windows. I thnak the Lord every day for the opportunity to do His work, to take care of His churches, and to glorify His name through my windows.

    Laura Goff Parham

  8. Karen says:

    Amen. Amen to letting go of bad jobs and amen for what they teach us about ourselves and others. Amen to working where God can use us and stretch us. Amen to being a mom first even in the hard times.

    Bo, I know the Joy project is going to have a ripple effect that will touch many lives. Just saying “Joy Project” starts putting my silly troubles in perspective. I so look forward to viewing it. It’s funny, I’ve been asked by three different ladies to lead/organize a women’s bible study at our church this fall (we have NO adult ed) and one lady is ready to move forward with Joy just based on that email you sent me…so I do believe the H.S. is on the move. I’m resisting for various reasons and I’m betting that He’s gonna win out.

    Want to do a little barter? Say, a Braun Immersian blender in trade for a Joy dvd? heh heh….see me at GFU.

  9. bolovesjoe says:

    Laura, I love you story!

    Tracy, I love YOU and am believing for the best ‘mom’ season ever in your life…and also the best “Tracy/Jesus” season. He’s crazy about you, I can tell from here. 🙂

    Karen – oh, the things a girl will do for an immersion blender. Next week, I’ll show you what my husband got me for my birthday because it is undoubtedly going to change my whole life. (I already know what it is because he didn’t want to order without getting approval 🙂 Yep, see you at Selah!

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