Unto the Lord - A Story of Purpose & Calling.
Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God's Masterpiece. Our lives can be compared to a great symphony. In an orchestra, there are many parts — the woodwinds, the strings, the brass, and percussion to name a few all led by the conductor who takes the vision of the composer and puts it into the hands of the musicians.
Our life's orchestra is much the same. Our relationships, our faith, our health, and our work are the "instruments" that our Chief Musician, Jesus, works through to produce His Father's vision in our lives.
Work and career are a massive part of our life's symphony. Business Insider reports that the average American spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. (Source) If 1/3 of our lives are spent at work, it is safe to say that this "instrument" needs tuning, and needs to be playing the Composers song to be fulfilled.
As a child of baby boomers we have all heard the same lingo; go to college, get good grades, graduate, get a job, stay in that job for 40 years, get a pension, and retire. Anyone else had parents that drove this dream?
I did what I was told. I went to college. I got good grades. I graduated and got a job in the New York public school system teaching music. And that's where the dream ended. After ten years in the public school system, I quit. I endured endless abuse from my administration, and as a result, my health deteriorated.
I moved to North Carolina and taught for two more years, but once I got pregnant with my son, I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, and I quit my job when he was born.
I will never regret my teaching experience. God used this career to mold me into an excellent teacher; a skill I am still using today. While it wasn't my forever-career, it is one that changed my life, and for that I am grateful.
MY ROAD TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP.
I come from a line of entrepreneurs. My grandfather started his own orthotics and prosthetics business in the forties making artificial arms and legs; a business my father would eventually take over. My grandmother became a masseuse in the forties during a time when women didn't work. It just wasn't done. She went to work and made a name for herself. My mother opened a hair salon when I was a teenager, and my father started a church while continuing to run my grandfather's business.
You can say that owning a business in my blood. In 2011, I took to entrepreneurship and opened a non-profit community theater here in North Carolina. The Arts have (obviously) been a cornerstone in my life. So when the drama ministry at my church grew too large for the church to hold, I took the ministry "into the streets," and brought family-friendly, quality entertainment to our community.
For seven years, I worked HARD. Harder than I have ever worked in my life. When you own your own business, it becomes a part of your life in a way that I never imagined. The theater was my baby, and I nurtured, cared for, and brought it up to a well-oiled machine. It was thriving and touching thousands upon thousands of lives each year.
But that business came at a cost. While the community was entertained, and the volunteers who worked in our shows were fulfilled, my life fell apart. We gave an abundance of joy and laughter, song and dance to our community, and volunteers. But this all left me empty, physically sick, worn-out, and abused.
I would cry to my dad asking him what to do, and his response was always the same . . . "Erika, your business will never love you back. Take it from me." How true his words were. He would follow up with . . . "Who are you doing this for?" And that hit a nerve!
WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?
For who are you working? I went to college and stayed at my teaching jobs because that is what society told me I was supposed to do; work and retire. Period. I started my theater working for people. I worked in ministry and did my best to make my Pastor's happy at the cost of making the Lord smile.
I learned that when I worked for money - I never had any.
When I worked for other people - I was always disappointed.
When I worked to please my boss - I never could catch him in the right mood.
My priorities were messed up until I came to Colossians 3:23-24,
"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to people, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24
My Friend, unless you work for the Lord, you will never be satisfied. If you are an accountant be sure you are working for His approval. If you are a stay-at-home Mom, on those rough days when you want to hide in the bathroom with a glass of wine - remember it is JESUS who you are working and raising those babies for. If you work at a 9-5, be sure that your boss isn't your beginning and end. Jesus is.
And if like me, you work for yourself; make sure that you strive for Heaven's applause and not for the applause of men. I learned this lesson the hard way, and as a result, my health, my family, and my faith suffered. In the last seven years of owning my own business, I gave everyone else their song and lost my own. It is time to change that script.
Purpose & Calling.
I closed my community theater at the end of 2017. It was a painful decision because it was "my baby." But it was the right decision and one that I do not regret. I am learning to live again. I am finding my song.
Today, I am grateful for the internet and the ability to bring people from all over the world together for a common cause. I am still working for myself, but with the tools, experience, and lessons I have learned from past mistakes and failures. A Symphony of Praise is my job - but it is more of a ministry. I don't make a full salary here as of now, but God is continuing to move and advance His Kingdom through this medium, and that brings me immense joy.
I am working, not for people, but my King. I am going to disappoint you, Dear Reader. I will eventually say something that you don't agree with or something in which you find fault. That's okay. As long as I know that I am receiving the applause of Heaven, the work is worth it.
This is my testimony of how I went from A to B and then to C when it comes to my work and career. I am excited to share this part of "life's orchestra" with you. Whether you are working a 9-5, own your own business or side-hustle, are a stay-at-home Momma, or run a church ministry, I am going to be sharing with you the tools and resources you need to produce beautiful music in your work and career. And above all, I will be showing you how to be sure you are working for The Chief Musician and Him alone.
With all my heart
How about you? What is your life’s work? Are you starting or wanting to start a business? Are you in a 9-5 that you love . . . or hate? Are you a stay or work - at - home Momma? Let us know in the comments below and let’s share how the Lord is moving in our work, career, and calling.