The next part of John Piper’s Challenge to Women is a bit complex when it comes to single women like me. Still, it bears considering:
“That you not assume that secular employment is a greater challenge or a better use of your life than the countless opportunities of service and witness in the home the neighborhood, the community, the church, and the world. That you not only pose the question: Career vs. full time mom? But that you ask as seriously: Full time career vs. freedom for ministry? That you ask: Which would be greater for the Kingdom— to be in the employ of someone telling you what to do to make his business prosper, or to be God’s free agent dreaming your own dream about how your time and your home and your creativity could make God’s business prosper? And that in all this you make your choices not on the basis of secular trends or yuppie lifestyle expectations, but on the basis of what will strengthen the family and advance the cause of Christ.”
Obviously, I don’t have the opportunity to choose between working full-time and ministry. Whatever else I do and however else I use my free time, I must have full-time employment in order to provide for myself. That said, I don’t define myself by my job. It’s something that I do (and try to do well), but it’s not who I am.
I may “have” to spend 40 hours a week doing what someone else tells me “to do to make his business prosper,” but there are over 100 waking hours in a week. Even considering that some of those are spent on the necessaries of commuting, personal hygiene, and chores, I have at least as many hours to spend as I choose in a week as I do hours spent doing someone else’s biding.
And how do I choose to spend those hours?
I want to be able to use my time and talents to serve God and others. Obviously, I’m still working out how that looks like in my life, and probably always will.
But perhaps one day I won’t need to be employed full-time, having a man to provide the necessities of life. Am I making choices now that will make such a transition easier? This is why I want to work hard at paying off my student debt (though this move has made that difficult), the only debt I have. I’d love not to have to carry debt into a marriage.
I’d also like not to have an expensive lifestyle, something that would hinder me now and in the future. I’m working on ways to live on less, a skill that can reap dividends over the years.
Other Posts in This Series:
Photo by wjserson