I‘m at a crossroads in my life – I’m a full-time working mom of two small children. I would love to stay home with them, but as the top earner and with our family’s significant student loan debt, I have questions about whether leaving the workforce is the path that God wants for my life.
Perhaps you are in a similar circumstance or maybe you are wondering if you should leave your job for an uncertain opportunity like working for yourself or for a start-up. These decisions might mean taking a big leap of faith.
Is there anything wrong with taking a big leap of faith? Maybe not. After all, Jesus said that faith the size of a mustard seed (the tiniest seed of all) could move mountains (Matt 17:20). Jesus also tells us that God takes care of our basic needs and that we shouldn’t worry (Matt 6:25-34).
Why, then, does the Bible provide such strong words about providing for our families? 1st Timothy 5:8 says that people who do not provide for their families “have denied the faith”. 2nd Thessalonians 3:10 says that men who do not work, should not eat. Making a living certainly seems to be a very important Biblical matter!
Before we go further, let me point out that taking a big leap of faith – with uncertain income – isn’t exactly sitting idly by and watching your family starve. The context of 1st Timothy 5:8 was directed at people who expected others to care for their relatives and 2nd Thessalonians 3:10 was aimed at folks who would rather gossip than work. So if you are worried about switching jobs, you can see that these warnings aren’t aimed at your decision. And if you are looking to be a stay-at-home mom, you probably realize that it’s hard work and hardly qualifies as being lazy. It’s an honorable, if unpaid, profession that cares for your family.
So, then what does the Bible say about your decision? What’s God’s will? In order to know what God’s will is for you and your unique situation, here is a three-step action plan:
Lean not on your own understanding (Prov 3:5) – in other words, don’t look just to your ways and what you want. Seek God.
You can do this by asking God to provide wisdom for the decision making process (and feel free to ask Him more than once). Then, turn to scripture and make sure you understand His will. Your situation is unique to you, but the guidance provided is timeless.
God is the ultimate counselor, but when you feel really confused about what move to make next, it doesn’t hurt to seek out qualified professionals or even trusted friends and family. In fact, seeking wise counsel is a very Biblical concept (Prov 11:4)!
In this case, you might want to run through your financial situation with a certified financial planner or a tax professional. Do you have friends or siblings who recently left their jobs for a less certain financial situation? See what lessons learned they have; they might put your fears to rest or possibly raise more warning flags.
The final step is the most important – look before you leap.
Impulsively running down just any old path in life is sure to involve one or two twisted ankles along the way. Study up on the matter. Maybe you thought it was an all-or-nothing decision, but perhaps going part-time is really the best answer for your situation. Or maybe you find that you really don’t have the money to stay home, but you found a way to earn money on the side. Look into all possibilities (Proverbs 18:13), prayerfully weighing them out.
There’s no time frame on this action plan – you might have your answer in a day or maybe a year.
Stick with it, trusting God, and you’ll arrive at the destination He has picked out for you. When you look back, you’ll see the journey was the right one, at the right time.
Have you ever made a decision and then realized you didn’t do what God really wanted? How did you correct your course? If you stay home or have made a scary career transition, did you step out in faith or did you know for sure that God was calling you to make the change?