Starting in June, I will be the Director of Softball Operations for Kansas Athletics and joining the coaching staff of the University of Kansas Softball Team.
I write today not merely to announce, but to vulnerably share my journey to this opportunity, highlighting the faithfulness of Jesus and to give Him the glory and honor through the journey that has led me up to this point.
It seems like just yesterday, really just a few blog posts ago, that I wrote about my transition out of full-time college ministry and into a part-time opportunity with the Kansas City Softball Academy, while volunteering the majority of my time for Young Life. In the midst of many months of the unknown and waiting, at the time, I was confident that God was calling me to work and serve in those areas. I am certain of this now as I look back over the past year and see so many of the amazing softball clients and families through coaching and the wonderful college students I spent time with through Young Life over this past year that He brought into my life! However throughout this time, while I couldn’t quite put my finger on what, I felt as though there was something more He was preparing me for. Something about my day-to-day calling felt unsettled.
Recently, while continuing to present those feelings to the Lord and seeking to find contentment right where He had me, the knowledge of this new job opportunity came to my attention. I had plenty of time to think and process before I made a decision to move forward. At first, I wrestled through idols of comfort in the season I’m in and fears related to the travel and demands that would come with the future job. Yet I recognized that all those things were selfish desires. I had to look myself in the mirror and ask: Am I truly willing to follow God no matter where He calls me?
After presenting my fears to God, He began to transform my desires and conform me to His will. The more I thought about myself as the KU Softball Team’s Director of Operations, the more it just made sense. I laughed and cried in the days that followed as all the pieces of how and why fit together and I realized that through every step of the way, God has been preparing me for this job. In this moment, I could not be more excited to start and see all that He has been preparing me for!
How was He preparing me? Not surprisingly, it’s much easier to see in hindsight than in the moment. (In the moment, God’s “conforming process” known as sanctification can be rather painful to endure.)
If you’ve walked with me the last couple years, you know that my career has been the single biggest thing in my Christian walk that I’ve wrestled God with. I couldn’t understand why I’ve had seven different jobs in three years since finishing college. I only dimly understood why He would have me work part-time and call me to volunteer for 40 hours a week in this recent season. My pride couldn’t see why the Lord wouldn’t just point me in the direction of a job that I could be fully “passionate” about—as it seemed everyone else around me had figured out.
Here’s what I learned the hard way:
The Lord wanted to humble me.
He wanted me to be desperately dependent on Him for my identity and security.
He wanted to teach me how to be a godly wife.
He wanted to give me a greater understanding of the world.
He wanted to confirm in me a calling to my city.
He wanted to give me a special heart to love and serve college students.
He wanted to teach me a proper perspective on work, how to find contentment, and how to strive for His glory in my work while pursing my greater passion: making Jesus known.
See, the Lord wanted to teach me these things over the last three years, and more, before I stepped back into the University of Kansas Softball Program. He wanted to give me His perspective on work and my purpose in this job. He wanted to transform my heart to His desires so that I could better serve Him in this job.
More than simply pursuing a passion, I am pursing a purpose. Yes I love softball. But I’m not wholly passionate about college softball – I’m passionate about Jesus! However, I commit 40+ hours a week to a job because I am passionate about Jesus, and this is His specific will for me.
Yes, I love the game of softball and I love KU. Yet these are not the core reasons I accepted the role of Director of Operations with the KU Softball coaching staff. God has made clear to me through prayer, community, His peace, circumstances, and in many more ways that this is His purpose for me. And quite frankly, that is all I care about.
One question I want to challenge my readers with: Are we processing career decisions based on our passions or based on God’s purpose for us?
As a millennial, I have grown up with the idea that we are all called to follow our passions. This also promises us, therefore, that our jobs should give us great fulfillment. When it doesn’t—because work is actually supposed to be hard (see Genesis 2 & 3)—we question if we were ever pursuing the right passion to begin with. With a worldview that careers will grant us fulfillment, yet with the reality that work is hard, we set ourselves up for an unending spiral of dissatisfaction.
As a follower of Christ, we wrestle uniquely with this idea, as we know that nothing else in this world will truly fulfill us besides our hope in Jesus. Once we have a right understanding of the amazing gospel of grace through Jesus Christ our Lord, that He is the only source of true fulfillment and peace, everything else we began to put worth into on this earth fades. Since becoming a minister of the gospel as a college student, I slowly but surely also became addicted to witnessing Jesus change lives. Only the very intimate presence of sitting with Jesus surpasses the sensation of sharing the gospel with a friend and beholding God transforming His people from the inside out.
So I wrestled. How could I have a job where I spend the majority of my time doing seemly meaningless tasks when my greatest calling and passion is making Jesus known in the lives of my friends?
I laugh now because the answer is obvious. I am not unique in this calling, and for all of us that share in this greater passion of making Jesus known, we aren’t all “called” to vocational ministry. As true believers, we are called to pursue Jesus in whatever role and calling He has given us. We are called to be a light to the world in all areas of the world, whether that be an international missionary or in the office of an athletic department.
Lord, my God, hear this prayer: Help me to make You known in this new job by my hard work and love for those around me. Use me in ways greater than I could ever ask or imagine, for Your glory. Open my eyes to see the plans You have for me here so I can remember each day that You have numbered my days and written this day to be in this career for Your kingdom’s mission. Thank you for the gift of life and the gift of purpose. Increase my passion for You and You alone.
John 6:68, “Lord, to whom else shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”