No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. –Matthew 6:26
Let me tell you how I served money for a long time.
I was living like a shell of myself at a job that was unsuitable for me. The light inside me was dying, or had died.
I did everything I could to get out of that job into a better one. I applied to job after job at other businesses, or within the company, looking for escape. I did that for a couple of years. Nothing worked.
Everyone I talked to thought the same as me: you can’t leave a job without having a job. Everyone I talked to said, You need this job. The thing that comes up, over and over again when you’re a mother, is not, You have a light inside you and all of these beautiful talents you should be using, but instead, You have children to take care of, and they are your first and foremost priority.
Now, let me be clear. I don’t think life falls into either/or categories. Being a mother and having a light and talent inside me doesn’t mean I can’t also care for my children. There has to be a way to fulfill both responsibilities: the one to God and myself, and the one to my children, and all the other responsibilities that arise in any given day, such as loving whoever is in front of me. But also, I want to point out that most of us have very little faith in God, and most of us have very little faith in women, and most of us think women are or should be the workhorses of the world, meant to lift up men or raise men to continue to run the country into the mud, so we’re much quicker to judge a woman who does not subscribe to traditional roles. And we all think, too, that money runs the show and not God.
So, getting back.
No one I talked to over the course of two years had the faith I have in me, and no one I talked to over the course of two years had the faith I have in God, and it wasn’t until I woke up wanting to die—yet again, and I was tired of that feeling—that I realized I had to make a choice of what was going to live: the job or me.
Did God want me to live, or did God want me to die? What would God advise, in the situation of going to a job every day that kills your soul?
And keep in mind, you can be in this situation and be a pastor at a church preaching about God. I know someone like that. The job of preaching about God in an environment that is not a fit for you can also be a job that kills your soul, and God might want you out of there, too. Because God exists everywhere, and not just in churches, see.
At the same time I was discerning who was going to live, the job or me, I was also, strangely, reading the Bible. I had written a novel that required some research, and that led me to the Bible, and I’d been curious about reading the Bible for a number of years. And damn, it was confusing. It was weird. But something was happening to my head when I read it. It felt like some sword or something was cutting through the ice chunks of my brain, and I could tell something was happening, I just didn’t know how or why because I really didn’t understand what I was reading.
But you know what stood out to me the most, as I went through parables and stories in the Gospel of John? That all these people thought Jesus was crazy. That they didn’t know what to make of him. That they weren’t sure if he was who he said he was, and even though they liked hearing his words, and they liked being around him, he didn’t make rational sense, and so they were trying to figure out what was what and whether they should kill him.
What happens when everyone around you thinks you’re crazy? Do you stay the course, do you own your truth? Or do you start wavering to make them all happy, subscribe to their tiny roles, let your light dim and feel like you’re dying inside?
Just wondering what you would do.
And so, at some point, that Bible stuff was getting to me, and I was walking down the hallway at work, miserable once again, and a thought started coming up over and over again in me: Who am I serving?
I have long been a faithful person, a meditator, a pray-er, a devotee called to various paths. I believed very deeply in God. And yet God hadn’t gotten me out of this job with another job. God hadn’t shown up in the form of a handsome man with a castle and an Infiniti sedan and a bouquet of roses ready to sweep me off of my feet. God hadn’t answered my prayers to Get me out of here when I offered them again and again throughout my miserable days.
Until I started reading the Bible, and the thought kept coming up, Who am I serving?
And then, after a long weekend where I checked in with myself to discover whether I was depressed, if I had a medical condition, or if it was just the job, I woke up on a Monday morning and my own little voice spoke to me while I lay on the floor, my body so heavy and unable to move at the mere thought of having to go into work. That voice said, so softly, so quietly, so unable to mince words: “I have to quit.”
And there was really no conversation back and forth after that heart-statement was uttered. It was just the truth, and I was able to get dressed, and I sat on the train with the sureness, and I didn’t know what was going to come after, but I did at least know what I had to do that morning.
I had been serving money, see. I had been serving fear. And I’m not telling you that if you’re in a similar situation, you should take the same road I did. I am not you–I don’t know you, or what you should do. I am just saying that most people serve money. We think money is king. We have little faith, and we operate according to what is going to bring in cash, and not what is in our hearts to do. We think an amount of money is a determining factor in all of our decisions, because we don’t know God, and we don’t have faith, and we think we were put on this earth to make money rather than help people, and we don’t realize money is just a tool of exchange that comes second to our purpose in helping others and lifting up the world.
And I can tell you, that over and over again, religious or not, spiritual or not, “faithful” or not, most people will tell you that money runs the show in this life, rather than God.
What do you believe? And is it true?
Have you tried any other way?