Should you quit your job? What if you feel like God is telling you to quit your job, but your husband doesn’t agree?
This week at To Love, Honor and Vacuum we’re going to be talking about how we do family life–how we decide when to work, when to have kids, and how to leave a legacy. And since on Mondays I like to answer reader questions, I thought I’d post this reader question to get us started!
Here’s a woman who is asking, “should I quit my job?”. She says,
I work full time, and I am pretty sure I can hear God telling me that it is time to stop working and be a housewife. I feel he has a mission for me, to go out and witness to people, I am very good at it and I love doing it! I have heard God tell me so many things and my heart feels it is right. I have talked it over with my husband, but he says he doesn’t understand why God would tell me, and not him. In the mean time, my position at work is going away and I am going to be re-assigned to something else. I feel now is the right time to jump on God’s plan, I feel he has given me clue after clue, but I am worried my husband will be extremely upset if I do. My husband works at home, so it isn’t like we don’t have any income coming in, if I do. I also heard the Lord tell me that if my husband would let me be at home, he will bless him doubly. Can you offer me any guidance?
Absolutely! Let’s jump in.
I want to look first at just the generic question–when is it okay to quit your job? Then we’ll zero in on the more spiritual aspect of when you think you hear something from God, and your husband doesn’t, which, to me, is really the more important question!
Before you quit your job, decide on a budget together–complete with goals
Any time you’re wondering whether you should leave a job or whether you should change your work schedule and thus your income, you need to get on the same page financially. That means that you simply need a budget. No ifs, ands, or buts. You really can’t make this decision without seeing whether the finances work.
Now, just because your current budget doesn’t work with less of an income doesn’t mean that you can’t quit your job. You could, for instance, decide to downsize. You could learn how to spend less on groceries. You could throw yourself into reducing your expenses.
But no decision about quitting your job should be made until you at least do the budget together.
Decide on your family’s goals
Part of doing that budget, too, is making goals. Do you want to buy a house? Do you want to pay off your house? Pay off debt? Save for retirement? Save for kids’ college? Take a vacation? And, if so, do you have a time frame for these things? If you don’t, you should. They won’t get done without a plan. Once you figure out what your family’s priorities are and you have a date for them, then it’s easier to see whether quitting your job is worth it.
Okay, so those are the financial considerations about quitting your job. Now let’s look at the relationship aspects.
Ask your husband what HE wants to do with work
I’m going to be totally blunt here: staying at home and not working is really, really nice. I stay at home and work, but there were years when I was home with my kids, and it was awesome. It was so much better than working.
And I’m sure that the wheels are turning in your brain about all the things that you could do if you didn’t have to work.
But my question would be this: Why is it that YOU don’t have to work, but your husband does? If it’s such a blessing not to be able to work, why is this a blessing that you should get and not your husband?
And even beyond that, if the goal truly is evangelism and reaching the lost, you have a job OUTSIDE your home, while your husband has a job INSIDE your home. So it sounds like, through work, you have more natural channels for evangelism than your husband does. If God was going to free one of you to do evangelism, then, it makes more sense that it would be your husband.
Now, I’m not saying that God ISN’T telling you that you are to quit your job–I’m just saying be very, very, very careful.
When we believe that God tells us something which lines up absolutely perfectly with the ideal way we want to spend our life, well, that’s when we especially need confirmation from other sources, like your husband hearing the same message from God.
So I’d say before you quit your job and live the life that you want to lead, you have a good, long talk with your husband and find out what kind of life he wants to lead. Maybe there are things that he’d like to do, too! Maybe you could both work part-time. Maybe you could switch careers. Maybe your husband would like a lower paying but less stressful job, which he may not be able to afford if you quit. You’re a team, and your preferences aren’t the only ones that matter, so just talk to him about his preferences, too.
Grow in God together BEFORE you decide to quit your job
Look, it may very well be that God is calling you to be home and to be an evangelist (though there is absolutely no reason why you can’t be an evangelist at work, either). But a principle in marriage is this one:
When God calls one spouse, he equips the other spouse.
He doesn’t call one spouse to something and then leave the other one in the dust. And I have seen so many marriages where one spouse chases after something that God supposedly told them, and then lays all kinds of guilt on the other spouse because they didn’t hear the message and they don’t like the life they now have, where they have to pick up the pieces.
I know people who say God has called them to quit work and pursue a ministry that doesn’t pay anything–even while the one spouse is home raising babies. I know people who say that God has called them to work on music or art as their main job, even when the other spouse really wants to be home with kids. I have known people who say that God has called them to sell a house and leave a town their kids love to move across the country, for no apparent reason.
Often when Christians really want something, they play the God card, because how can you argue with someone’s calling from God? This isn’t even always conscious–it’s just what we do. Now, this may not be the case in this reader’s situation, but we need to be very careful how we talk about these things so that we don’t back our spouses into a corner where they either (a) give into what we claim is God’s calling (even if they know it will disrupt the family and cause a lot of stress), or (b) they are the person who stood in the way of “God’s calling” for our lives. That’s pretty big emotional manipulation.
That’s why we must remember this:
When God calls you to do something that will be very disruptive to your family, He will also call and equip that family.
Consider that your confirmation. And really, your family is the most important thing. God does not want you pursuing evangelism if your marriage at home is falling apart. God wants that marriage to be the strong foundation that will fuel your evangelism.
So my overall answer? Talk to your husband about his dreams. Make some financial goals for your family, and some spiritual goals for your family. Pray about how you will work towards those goals. And then, I think, God will make the path much clearer because you’ll be talking about this and planning it together.
What do you think? Have you ever wanted to quit a job but your husband hasn’t agreed? Or in your marriage, has one spouse felt they heard something from God the other didn’t? Let’s talk in the comments!