“…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” ~ Jesus (John 10:10).
This phrase by Jesus is one of the most potent and most provocative things he’s said (and he had lots of those). What does it mean to live life abundantly?
What could it look like to spend the time you have on this earth in an abundant way?
Abundance doesn’t mean avarice or indulgence. It doesn’t mean ignoring all others and fending only for yourself. Abundance means a plentiful connection to God, to one’s self, to others, and to the earth. Abundant means thriving, fullness, goodness. Close your eyes and allow your imagination to flow and your body to feel in answer to the question “What could an abundant life be for me?”
You are meant for a beautiful life. A good life. A life abundant, not necessarily with material things, but with all the aspects of life that matter.
Most of us spend the bulk of our awake and active hours at our jobs. Work is a big part of the human experience. With it being such a pivotal axis for our lives, it would seem important that the work we do, as much as possible, doesn’t cause a lot of strife. That can be a privileged position. If you get to choose your work, and work that is life-giving at that, having a choice is a great blessing. What would it take to make another choice?
If you are wondering about quitting, it sounds like you already want to make a change and are looking for external reasons to validate that impulse. I kindly remind you, wanting to leave is valid all on its own and certainly a wake-up call for taking stock of the status quo. But if you need external affirmation, here are some to consider:
Perhaps your job is the opposite life-giving and energizing. Your job is only stressful. You work all day to come home depleted and exhausted, only to go to sleep and wake up and do it all over again. Burnout is on the horizon with this pattern. Or perhaps you do work that you’ve been feeling convicted about the rightness of your participating in that work and you’re feeling the stirring to leave.
Or perhaps you’ve mastered the role you’re in. It’s not stimulating anymore, there’s no more challenge, no more innovation you can take, nowhere else to go. It may be time to consider moving on. We need to be growing, or we begin to feel stagnant, stuck, uninspired. Our work in the world is a part of the way we serve God. When we’re stuck, uninspired, or compromised, we don’t serve well in that state.
If something in you is calling you to consider leaving your job, it’s important to explore that longing. That thought is not coming from nowhere, and our deep self often knows more things than our conscious minds do. Don’t ignore that feeling. God moves and speaks to us in our inner intuition as well, so it may be God beginning to nudge and move you out of your current position into a new situation. It’s ok to trust that nudging.
Perhaps the job you are doing is something where you are compromising yourself or others or the earth, and your inner knowing is telling you it’s not honoring to God. Our work is for God, ultimately (Col 3:23-24). So what would it look like to find another path?
If the environment is toxic, unhealthy, unsafe, or generally not nurturing to you as a human being working there, such external pressures may be indicating to you that it’s time to move on.
Sometimes we stay in hard places because we feel an impetus to be a part of change. And other times, we need to move on from hard places to protect and preserve our health and wellbeing. This is not shameful and is utterly legitimate.
Your body may also be communicating to you that it’s time to move on. Cues to consider in your body and your life when you sense it may be time to leave your current job:
There are things to consider - like having money, supporting yourself, and paying bills. We live in a world that requires currency and money to survive. We must care for and support ourselves and our families as a part of our calling (1 Timothy 5:8).
If you want to make moves and changes, you can prepare for this. If you want to leave your current job, as much as you can, prepare for that move - whether that be stacking your savings or looking for supplemental short-term or part-time work to bring in income. In this day and age of online positions, there are many ways to support and supplement your income if you are in a season of in-between. The urge for a change may simply be a call to an energetic search for a new job before you quit your old one.
Whatever your field or specialty area, do some research (google is your friend) on online jobs for that area that you can do. Social media is also helpful for this. There are videos galore on finding online positions and where to find & secure them - all available to you to learn and find via social media.
At the end of the day, if you want to leave your job, you are allowed to. Yes, you really are. You don’t ever have to keep doing anything you don’t want to. There are many creative options for legitimate, life-giving work today to help you support yourself if you leave a job in pursuit of something else. Work is important for our lives, but life abundant means more than work and means a life with work that is meaningful to us. You’re worthy of allowing in the abundant life that Jesus speaks of. It’s in him, and it’s in the fullness of our everyday living being vibrant and life-giving. Not dread, not hating, not living for the weekend. Life abundant.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
Rev. Travis Jamieson