Pearls of Encouragement for CWMs November 2013
Welcome
Special Offer
Interview with Elizabeth Knox
Final Thoughts


 

The Voices of Christian Working Moms

Newly Released Book
written by
Author Kimberly Chastain

Welcome

One of our favorite things to do at Christmas time in our house is to participate in Operation Christmas Child with Samaritan’s purse. Our children love picking out gifts to put in the shoebox. Honestly, my husband is the biggest kid and enjoys it just as much as our children. Collection week is November 18-25. To find out more go to: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/. Anytime we can teach our children to give to others is a lesson they will never forget. May I also encourage you now to be thinking about how you want to handle the craziness of Christmas. Find ways to slow down and enjoy time with your children.

Special Offer for CWM Subscribers

Today we have a special treat. Elizabeth Knox has written a book entitled, Faith Powered Profession. The subtitle is “A Women’s Guide to Living with Faith and Values in the Workplace.” I have had the privilege of reading Elizabeth’s book and really enjoyed it. She does a great job of handling some of the difficult issues in the work place as a Christian. She also encourages us to see our work place and our work as sacred unto the Lord. I appreciate her honesty in her struggles as not just as a woman in the workplace, but as a Christian woman. As we have all felt before there are so few books about Christian women in the workplace. So, add this book to your collection. The book also has a study guide as well to be used in a small group setting.

Elizabeth and her publisher have graciously agreed to give CWM subscribers 20% percent off of Elizabeth’s book and an autographed copy as well. To order Elizabeth Knox’s book go to: http://www.russell-media.com/books/faith-powered-profession. Put FAITH316 in the discount code to receive 20% off.

Interview with Elizabeth Knox

Elizabeth was gracious to answer some questions about her new book Faith Powered Profession.

What was the motivation for you to write your book?

Several of my friends and I were encountering challenges at work, such as workplace inequalities or unhealthy relationships with our male colleagues, and we felt like our faith should influence how we approached these issues. I went in search of resources to help us address these struggles while also being true to our faith, but I didn’t find any that spoke to where we were.

I had the idea for a book discussing the intersection of work and faith, and in the fall of 2009, I decided to test it out as a small group Bible study with other women from my church. As interest in this topic grew, I knew I should start writing.

As Christians in a variety of professions, we’re all trying to figure out how to honor God and do well at work, and sometimes it can be really challenging to do both simultaneously. I hope that my book will help women understand that their jobs are important. I want them to walk away with practical approaches to struggles they face at work, and I want women to be encouraged as they seek to have a vibrant faith and a productive career at the same time.

Can you tell us a little about your current job?

Since moving to Washington, D.C., about 10 years ago after graduate school, I have worked in the Defense field. Having served as a government employee, management consultant, and program manager, I have gained invaluable perspectives on the industry, including the challenges women face in a male-dominated environment.

What has been your experience at your church and your church utilizing your gifts? A friend shared with me that she often manages budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but some at church weren’t sure if she had the skills to manage the printing and selling of the CD ministry. That was quite a slap in the face.

Unfortunately this is an all-too-common experience for women in churches today. I can imagine how your friend feels. I am fortunate to attend a church that really encourages people to serve in their giftedness. Men and women alike are invited to serve in whatever ministry position they feel called to. But the Church overall has a long way to go in recognizing women as full image bearers of Christ, and in many parts of the world it leads to deep oppression and injustices.

How do you express your faith at work? Have you ever experienced any ethical/religious dilemmas?

My faith is a part of my entire life, but how I express it at work depends on the position, the particular situation, and who I’m interacting with at the time. I believe strongly that I’m at work to work, and that is my primary responsibility. Caring for my colleagues, driven by a genuine love for them, comes in second. As God leads, I’ve had opportunities to express my faith very directly.

I’ve certainly encountered ethical dilemmas at work. While working in consulting and contracting, I have felt like billable hours and productivity goals are the bane of my existence. I’d really prefer to just do quality work however long (or short) it takes. I’ve also had times when I’ve questioned the leadership for decisions they’ve made because it’s “just the way we do things around here.” In those instances, I really try to adhere to the tenants of my faith and make the right decision. But it’s not always easy!

What encouragement do you have for women trying to live out their faith in their workplace?

I believe the most important thing about living out your faith in the workplace is to know God, know yourself, and know your audience. Know who God is, what His word says about His character, what His word says about who you are, and what His word says about the importance of work. Know yourself – get familiar with the skills and abilities God has gifted you with. Try to do the majority of your work in those areas. And then, know your audience. Understand who you are working with, their needs, and their perspectives, how you can best use the gifts God has given you to serve them and meet your organization’s goals and any of their personal needs you are able to meet.

One of the core verses for the CWM website is 1 Corinthians 10:31 – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. How is our every day work sacred?

I love that verse! Our work is sacred because it is a gift from God, and it’s an opportunity to be salt and light to the world around us by actually being IN the world. It’s also an opportunity for worship. We usually think of worship as singing, but worship is the act of taking any gifts you’ve been given and using them to glorify Christ. Work is a form of worship, and it is sacred because we are contributing to the welfare and livelihood of society. Our economies support individuals, families, governments, and even churches! Work is a form of seeking the peace and prosperity of the city to which you were called (Jeremiah 29:7).

You shared with me when you wrote your book you did not have children, now you have a precious one year old son. How have you managed working and being a Mom?

I have just stepped into this working parent world and I’m learning that I have to make priorities and choices. I’m learning that saying “yes” to my family or work means I sometimes have to say “no” to other things. I’ve made changes on both the personal and professional sides.

Some things are small: I used to cook a lot of meals from scratch, now it’s Trader Joe’s and Costco to the rescue. Some of the things are “big:” I’m not able to see friends or workout as much as I used to. I still cook; see friends, and exercise, but none of them to the degree I used to. Professionally I’ve gone down to working 3 days a week – it means that I am not as available to tackle big projects or I am not my boss’ first thought when a fun assignment comes in. All of these decisions impact our family budget and we are making new choices in that area as well. I’m recognizing these as conscious choices rather than something I’m being forced to do or not do. I am choosing this life. I miss these big and small things, but I also realize this is a short season of life – women who have gone before me warn how fleeting this time is. I’ll have time to cook, exercise, spend late nights with friends, work full time again after my son is older.

What do you think is the most important thing you would like for readers to take away from your book?

I want women to know that their work is important — they are contributing to society and to the livelihood of their families. They will also face struggles at work — struggles that sometimes challenge their faith. But there are other women out there who are trying to figure it out and so they are not alone. And lastly, I want women to know that they can integrate their faith into all aspects of their lives. We don’t have to separate our faith from our work.

Thanks Elizabeth for sharing your wisdom and be honest about the difficulties of being a Christian women in the workplace.

Final Thoughts

One of the important things Elizabeth pointed out that there are seasons in our lives. Each season depending on your child’s age you may work more or less, be more or less involved in church, have more or less time for friends, etc. The important thing to remember is each season is short and any decision you make can be changed.

Till next time,

Kimberly M. Chastain

Kimberly M. Chastain, MS, LMFT is the Christian Working Mom Coach and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is the author of The Voices of Christian Working Moms, 2 ebooks and an online Bible study. To find out how to receive coaching tips by email daily, go to http://www.kimberlychastain.com/cwmtips.htm. To find out more about her books go to www.christianworkingmom.com. For a free, initial coaching session send an email to free@kimberlychastain.com.