To Be God’s Free Agent

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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:

A Summer of Growth

Peace, Joy, and Strength

Daily Acts of Love

Women of the Book

Women of Prayer

Deep Thinkin’

No More Frittering

Exploiting Not Paralyzing

Keeping Me Honest

Photo by wjserson

If Only I Had Enough Time

I wrote a book review on Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and Not Be Overwhelmed over on the Book Nook, but I wanted to discuss here some more personal application I gained from the book.

I’ve already mentioned that I’m trying to implement the first time: rising early. Today was my fourth day getting up at 6 AM, and it really has been working for me. Friday I was able to get a chapter read before work, Saturday I was able to most of my large to-do list before noon, and Sunday I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for my 8 AM ABF class (basically adult Sunday school). This morning was a bit rough, but that’s because the night started off poorly as I struggled to fall asleep late after a game night at our apartment.

What I really appreciate about this book is the perspective. They don’t think that if you implement these ideas that your life will magically be in order and you’ll be superwoman. No, they fully recognize that our dependence must be on the Lord. I found this particularly convicting:

“We live for periods of time as if we don’t need God in order to clean our bathroom, or to counsel our children, or to make a phone call, or to run that errand….this is self-idolatry. We think we’re sufficient to handle everyday matters. But, of course, we’re not! Rather, we must abandon self-effort and self-idolatry and actively choose to depend on God.” (p. 89)

It’s not enough that I profess to need God in spiritual matters: for salvation, for provision, for uplifting. I need God for the everyday tasks too, and if I don’t admit this, I’m boasting in my own strength as if I had all I needed. No, this wretched sinner truly needs God in matters both big and small.

Crazy New

Today I’m starting something crazy new. I’m implementing something I picked up from the Shopping For Time: How to Do It All and Not be Overwhelmed book that I’m reading.

What is it? I’m getting up early. Everyday for a whole week, I’ll be waking up at 6 AM. Today, I would have gotten up at 7:30, so that’s obviously a change of schedule.

I don’t know whether this will be something I keep or not. I have so much due right now, that it’s certainly worth a shot. I’ll keep you updated on how it goes (right now I’m incredibly sleepy and merely trying to stay awake…but I’ve only been up for 11 minutes).

On another topic, when I went outside for the first time around 11 AM yesterday (I had been busy studying so that was the first time/glance out), there was a little bit of snow on our stairs and on my car. It had snowed and almost completely melted without me even knowing! It looked like it was probably about half an inch, but that’s the most that I’ve ever seen here. It caught everyone by surprise, but I guess you actually have to get your nose out of a book to be able to see it, haha.

God’s Grace and the Semester

What I’ve written below is just as much for my sake as it is for anyone who might stumble upon it. Though most of my friends who are still in school started their semester a few weeks, I just started this week. Though I had the usual pre-first day excitement, I also had this idea that I needed to take a big breath before I was plunged below the water for 4 months. Instead of worrying about all these tasks, I am reminding myself that God can use this to mold me into the woman He would have me to be and to draw me closer to Himself.

Recently in my small group, we read the chapter in Lies Women Believe about priorities. One of the lies that Nancy Leigh DeMoss debunks is along the lines of “I don’t have enough time to do the tasks God has set before me.” This was something that April and I pondered awhile back, but it’s a lesson I need to relearn. It’s easy to think that I don’t have enough time, and I probably don’t. That is, I probably don’t have enough time to do the tasks that I think need to be done. That’s where grace comes in. God doesn’t make me do everything that I try to put on my plate. Instead, He simply asks that I do everything that He would have me to do. On top of that, I can rest assured that God didn’t save me because of what I had done or what He thinks that I would do for His Kingdom. That doesn’t lessen my responsibility to act, but it does lessen the pressure. Now, I need to prayerfully seek God as to how He would have me spend this moment, this hour, this day, and this year.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” – Ephesains 2:8-10

Quick Update

Last night April and I were talking about how we can’t “make time.” We can only use the time God has given us (in His wisdom He determined 24 hours was appropriate for one day) to the best of our ability, seeking God’s help to complete the tasks He’s placed before us. With that in mind, I’ve been alternating between studying for my theology test and doing Hebrew homework all afternoon. This semester is great, but it sure is deep!