career · relationships

why your career needs community

Man y’all, my heart is FULL right now.

Over the course of the past couple days, there have been some SERIOUS changes happening in my life. Joe and I had a really good conversation and reconciling some past hurts, which lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I took a step back from my business for a couple days to recharge and rethink about what my priorities were, and investing in a planner has been one of the biggest blessings I could have imagined at this stage in my life.

On top of all that, if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you may have seen that I announced I officially joined a writing community called hope*writers. They are a community that primarily focuses on Christian writers and helping them reach their goals. For a long time I have been wanting to get paid for my work and write my own book, but I didn’t even know where to start or how to make it a reality.

However, that’s not exactly what I wanted to talk about today. I wanted to touch on the topic of community, but more in the sense of support and trials than about my personal achievements!

At church today, our pastor was speaking again on the book of Ecclesiastes. We are in chapter 4, which talks about striving and climbing the ladder of success, only to find out that it’s not as fulfilling as we’d hoped it would be. There was an incredible quote by Thomas Merton, an American monk, that stood out to me on this:

We may spend our whole life climbing the ladder of success, only to find when we get to the top that our ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.

Thomas Merton

This was powerful for me because I realized that I was striving and seeking this level of success that wasn’t grounded in Christ. It was grounded in my passions, my performance, and how much money I could obtain and “worldly success” I could put on my resume.

Friends, this “hustle culture” we are so prone to fall prey to really has a hold on our hearts, doesn’t it? Especially with COVID seemingly idolizing it, the sermon today made me realize that not only was my ladder leaning against the wrong wall, I was climbing the wrong one in the first place.

For a long time I’ve dreamed about being rich. When I was young, I wanted to live in a fancy mansion and never have to worry about money. I wanted to shop as often as I’d like, and never care about the cost of anything.

Boy, doesn’t that sound materialistic? And naïve too?

While sometimes I think my heart has changed, I realized it really hasn’t. There is still that small part of my heart that begs for that reality to become true in my life. But you know what? God is doing a work in me, slowly (and admittedly painfully) changing my heart and turning my focus back on Him.

One of the other points I wanted to address in this chapter is the idea of having someone walk alongside you in community as you grow together. While this chapter is one of the most famous ones in all of Ecclesiastes, due to the verse about the three chords, that wasn’t the original intention of this passage. Solomon was trying to address the fact that we were created to be in community and support one another as we continue to grow.

“Climbing the corporate ladder” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Pushing others down, stepping on them, and hurting others to get where you want to go is the bad part. All the suffering and toil Solomon witnessed was what bothered him, not the climbing part. It was the destroying of relationships that he knew needed to go.

Finding a community that can support me in my journey as I grow in my career and my small business was something I always wanted, but I didn’t want to have to sacrifice time with my family, friends, and my relationship with Christ. I wanted God to TRULY be at the center of everything I’m working for, not just making it appear that way.

If you don’t have that community yet, consider reaching out to a friend and mention it! I can guarantee you there are plenty of people in your circle that are looking for the same thing, but they are too scared to reach out.

Sometimes we have to be the ones to take the first step. But trust me on this: God’s ALWAYS got you.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalms 19:14 (NIV)