The pandemic has been a miserable experience for many people. For me, it brought clarity and peace. Having time to reflect upon, review, and renew my goals and my purpose gave me firmness of mind as to what I’m supposed to be doing, and more importantly, how I’m supposed to do it.
I know God gifted me to be a writer, an encourager, and a teacher. The specific area he wants to use me is in personal finance—teaching others how to become better stewards of God’s financial resources. After many years of helping people work their way out of debt and realize their financial goals, I was prompted by the Spirit to write a book. “This is great,” I thought. The book would lend to my creditability as an expert. But that wasn’t enough. I decided to become a certified personal finance educator. And then, I wrote the second book thinking this would surely solidify my status and put me on the path to becoming the next Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman. I saw the dollar signs and registered as a business.
I started doing workshops and seminars, speaking engagements, training company employees, and conducting private coaching sessions. I booked every vending opportunity to sell my books and services. I pushed my products on social media, built a social media business page—all the stuff that comes with “growing” your business. People started telling me I should quit my job and do this full time. They shared personal stories of how God told them years ago to give up their corporate jobs and pursue their passions full time. They said they want to be the boss, that they were tired of answering to “the man.” And yet, many of them complained about the struggle, the financial strain, and the stress. That didn’t sound like fun to me.
For those people who are successful entrepreneurs, and by successful, I mean their business is their livelihood, they can support themselves and their family, they have healthcare, a savings plan, and a retirement plan– I commend them and give them much respect. Well done.
I love meeting and interacting with people, listening to their financial struggles, and offering as much advice as I can. But, to be honest, I do not enjoy the grind—never have, never will. During the pandemic, I struggled with how to proceed with my “business.” I started questioning my purpose because I’d bought into the idea that if you’re exceptionally good at something, you should find a way to monetize it. Because I dislike the grind of the business, I began to think that perhaps this isn’t what I was called to do. I had the passion, but I lacked the desire to do the work to make a profit. Was I lazy? Did I lack drive? I thought and prayed about what it is that I truly want to do. The answer was the same. I want to write and teach. Those are my gifts. My area of expertise is personal finance. I want to write about and teach personal finance in a way that brings glory to God because after all, that is the ultimate purpose for any calling. So, it wasn’t my passion that had changed, it was my focus. I had begun to focus on the profit, which caused me to stress over how to further monetize this gift.
I realized that hustling is not how God wants me to fulfill my purpose. I’m not quitting my day job because I love being a public servant and getting paid a great salary to do so. I also believe God has placed me at my job for a reason. I can’t tell you the number of opportunities I’ve had to coach individuals on my job through various financial challenges. So much so, that I was asked to teach a class and write a monthly article on personal finance for the company newsletter.
So what am I saying? You must decide for yourself how God wants you to pursue your calling. Don’t follow the crowd trying to do it the same way as everyone else. Some people take their passion and turn it into their life-long dreams of being an entrepreneur. Some are successful, and others are not. I believe those who are not successful should seek God’s guidance and direction on how to pursue their purpose, and be willing to accept His answer and change direction if He tells them to do so. Sometimes God is saying, “Hang in there, I got you.” Sometimes he may give you a course correction. That’s not to say that your purpose will change, but the method and means of delivery may change.
Beautiful things happen when you learn and follow the will of God for your life. Once I decided that I would pursue my passion on different terms, that’s when my most profitable opportunities came. I didn’t hustle for them, I didn’t bombard social media, I didn’t pay for ads or marketing. It was simply by word of mouth and having friends in the right places who spoke on my behalf. Even so, I know those opportunities were orchestrated by God. The bible says your gifts will make room for you. My job is to be willing and available. Don’t get me wrong—the shop is still open!
If the sole focus of your business is on profit rather than serving people and you are struggling, perhaps it’s time to reflect upon, review, and refine your goals and delivery of your purpose. Every passion is not meant for profit. Sometimes, we are called to do things for the sheer joy of blessing others. And if you can do both, thank God for living in the overflow!