One of my favorite people is a college guidance counselor by day and a stand-up comedian by night.
She listens well, better than almost anyone I know. I have no doubt if I was an aimless college student looking for direction, I would find it and a large dose of encouragement and truth in her office. She’s also one of the funniest people I know.
Denying others either her thoughtful counsel or her fire-cracker wit would be denying who God has called her to be as a whole-life stewarding disciple of Christ.
Honoring God Outside of 9-5
We are all created uniquely with gifts and talents God entrusted to us to impact and expand his kingdom. Understanding our faith and work means stewarding these gifts productively and proactively.
Often times though, we value our gifts by how they look on a resume or in an office—computer skills, communication, organization, leadership.
What about those gifts that give us each a distinct flavor, that we love to do, and that make us who we are?
The financial planner also writes comics. The PR specialist loves flower arranging. The history teacher deejays weddings on the weekends. The consultant also runs a baking business on the side.
Sometimes it’s those things we do outside of work that tap into our creativity and quirkiness and allow us to be complete in who God has called us to be.
Don’t get me wrong—we are called to honor God in all that we do, twenty-four hours a day (1 Cor 10:31). Sometimes God calls us to write comics, arrange flowers, deejay, or bake as a full-time vocation. But sometimes our life-giving passions and outlets for creativity come from unexpected and even irregular activities. They are still part of our calling.
It’s the exception more than the rule to work in a job that utilizes all of your strengths and passions. Understanding that God can call us to be excellent in multiple avenues gives us real freedom. We don’t need to strive to channel all our talents into a single outlet. Nor do we need to stifle our passionate and creative hobbies.
Practical Benefits of Pursuing your Passions
Pursuing interests and gifts outside of your regular workday can have ripple effects. In the act of fulfilling God’s call on your life, you may find yourself building new relationships, strengthening old ones, relieving stress, becoming healthier, and working harder.
- Relationships: Sharing your hobbies and interests with others offers opportunities to strengthen relationships with family and build new ones with friends.
- Stress: Doing what you love without the pressures and responsibility of the workplace and a paycheck provides an outlet for stress and a platform for rejuvenation.
- Health: Staying active, even just mentally, provides psychological and physical health benefits for whole-person flourishing.
- Work: By tapping into your talents and creativity in new ways outside of work, you are free to be more productive and focused 9-5.
Maybe you’re the pharmaceutical sales rep who caters barbecue out of his garage on the weekends. Or the stay-at-home mom who opens an Etsy shop to sell her photography prints. How about the CEO who enjoys restoring vintage cars in his limited spare time?
God has called you to be faithful in your job, using your gifts to the best of your ability. God has also made you in his image and called you to create.
Emily Freeman, in her book A Million Little Ways, talks about creating a life of meaning through the infinite number of ways God has created us to glorify him:
There isn’t only one right way to do the job of glorifying God. There are many ways, a million little ways, that Christ is formed in us and spills out of us into the world.
God has called you to glorify him in your work, yes. He has also called you to glorify him in many other ways.
Explore what you love to do and do what you love—all to God’s glory. That sounds like freedom to me.
Editor’s Note: On “Flashback Friday,” we publish some of IFWE’s former posts that are worth revisiting. This post was first published on June 24, 2015.
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