How to Deal with the Tension of Two Callings
I often tread water between breakfast and bedtime.
Balance is difficult for me. When I focus on one thing it is hard to switch back to another.
You can imagine the challenge I face as I juggle being a wife/mom and writer. I obtain great writing material from my bustling family but there is often a tug of war in my soul between the two callings God has given.
Titus 2:4-5 clearly states that younger woman are to love their husbands and children and be workers at home.
“...encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored” (NASB).
We definitely don’t want to dishonor the word of God!
I don’t think this means women can’t work outside of the home. The home should be taken care of, but that might involve delegating and overseeing instead of doing it all yourself. Teaming up with your husband, hiring a house cleaner or swapping services with a friend seem like perfectly acceptable ways of taking care of a home.
Even though I love being a wife and mom, and want to keep my family a priority, I also know that God has called me to be a writer too. Sometimes that means I work from home and sometimes I am gone, speaking at events or attending conferences.
Some of my friends are content to stay at home and others feel the same tension I do—the tension of two callings. We are not “less than” or “more than” depending on our callings—being obedient to His calling(s) is the point.
Some of my friends feel like they should wait to work and minister more when their kids are grown and others feel compelled that the time is now. Neither option is convenient or easy.
The bottom line is: What is God speaking to you—through His Word, through prayer, through wise counsel, through circumstances? If you are married, Titus 2:5 tells you to be subject to your husband. So, is your spouse supportive of your calling(s)?
I have witnessed families fall apart in the wake of ministry and work demands. Riding the waves of these demands can set you up to come crashing down or it can help you go deeper with the Lord—the One who walks on water.
I am sure you are familiar with the song, Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong:
You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail. And there I find you in the mystery, in oceans deep, my faith will stand. And I will call upon Your Name and keep my eyes above the waves. When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace, for I am Yours and You are mine.
I have always liked this song but it wasn’t until this summer, at a writing conference, that God spoke in a fresh way through the lyrics.
You see, it seems safer to stay on shore and give up this writing thing. As I venture into unchartered waters, it feels unpredictable and vulnerable.
Even though I have my family’s support to pursue this calling, it is often messy and difficult to swim in these seas. It often feels like treading water, and I hate treading water. I once got a leg cramp while treading and felt like I might drown.
I like to be able to touch the bottom and know that I am standing on solid ground and won’t go under amidst the waves. But God showed me that when He calls us into the unknown we are forced to be dependent on Him to help us. And when we tread in faith we demonstrate trust in the One who tells the waters where their boundaries lie.
Sometimes I feel tossed between two callings—tugged back and forth in a dizzying rhythm. But I become less seasick and more steady as I let the anchor of His Word keep me grounded and allow the compass of His Spirit to lead me.
Some days I get it wrong. I focus too much on one calling and not enough on the other. Some days I am lousy at both.
Balancing two callings is not easy but there is peace as we trust the Ocean Maker to keep us afloat as we follow His course.
How do you thrive in the tug of war between Titus 2 and the other giftings that God has entrusted to you?
1. Be aware of crosswinds: Your callings won’t likely fit neatly into separate boxes. There will be cross-over. Your child may need you when you are on the cusp of producing a masterpiece. Or your boss may give you a non-negotiable deadline that falls on an important family date. Don’t stress when your callings bleed together but ask God to help you rest in His Sufficiency, and call in reinforcements if necessary.
2. Gather a lifeboat: Ask a team to help support you in both calm and stormy seasons. Have a small group ready to pitch in if needed and cover you in prayer as you go forward. Fill your “lifeboat” with others who will encourage you and help you see coming danger, while holding you accountable to your callings.
3. Communicate often with your crew: Give your crew (your family, lifeboat members and co-workers) updates on your schedule, your stress level and let them help you navigate the choppy seas. Things can change frequently and on-going communication helps everyone feel informed and on board.
4. Routinely reevaluate your pace: Make sure that the pace you are keeping is feasible for the long haul. Be mindful of your crew and don’t neglect one post for the sake of the other. Certain seasons may require longer hours but if you keep in step with the Spirit you won’t run ahead or lag behind.
5. Stay on course: If God has clearly called you to two things then He is more than able to help you stay on course. When you feel the tension, don’t give up, remember the word He has spoken and stay dependent on Him. God knows what He is doing, even when you can’t see the bottom or the final destination clearly.
Your grace abounds in deepest water, Your sovereign hand will be my guide. Where feel may fail and fears surround me. You’ve never failed and you won’t start now.
(Oceans, by Hillsong)
Related Video: How Do I Tell the Difference Between a Desire Versus God's Call on my Life?
Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her husband, four children and their life in ministry. Through writing, singing, speaking and photography Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She has an album, Echoes of My Heart, and is a writer for God-sized Dreams and Purposeful Faith. She blogs at katiemreid.com and can be found on Twitter @Katie_M_Reid