Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin

3 Oct

Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin is about bringing together some of the leading 
women in children’s ministry to share their knowledge and passion. 
For us to gather and learn from each other…to sharpen each other.
As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
Proverbs 27:17

The Home Office Myth
– Joy Bowen

Photo originally uploaded to Flickr.  Some rights reserved by sean dreilinger
I had just started a new position at an incredible church.  Within the first week into the position, I had an aching sense that the work culture would not be compatible with my primary calling of wife and mom.  At that time, there was virtually no flexibility in working from home.  I began to panic inside about what life would look like when summer break rolled around.  How would I manage both worlds with a traveling husband and family who were not in a position to help?
I would daydream in my office for the magic fix.  One of my neighbors worked from home and I would grow green with envy at the idea of integrating my work world with my home life. 
And then one day….it happened!  The perfect opportunity presented itself to work with hundreds of churches on their children’s ministry strategy all from the comfort of my home.  I bought a new pair of fuzzy slippers to celebrate.
I’ve been working from my home for over 3 years now.  While I love the missional component of what I do, I’ve grown into a love/hate relationship with working in the same space I live.  In fact, it might surprise you to know I discourage most from opting in for the “work at home” scenario.  Why?  I’m so glad you asked.

Self Starter

Working at home is basically like an independent study class at school.  Being a self-starter is not only a must-have attribute, but you also must be able to self motivate.  Flying solo in your home means there is virtually no one who is holding you accountable to productivity.  If you aren’t kosher with being accountable to God for the work of your hands, you probably need an office space to help keep you on track.
Dealing with Distractions

I know….the dream of working from home is this utopian world where the laundry is always finished and the dishes at least make it into the dishwasher instead of piling up in the sink.  Working from your home would be the ultimate in productivity…maybe a mash up of Sandra Lee and Oprah? 
Speaking from experience, the reality is that working from your home creates all kinds of distraction.  There’s a nonsensical tendency to feel guilty when the housework isn’t done because you have to work and vice versa.  There are still dishes in the sink due to the fact that you have to work and hold yourself accountable to getting stuff done even when the bed isn’t made.
Temptation to Lounge

There’s something mentally uplifting about getting ready for work everyday.  When you work at home, there’s another temptation to pull your hair in a ponytail, don a hat and call it good.  Many of you may ask, “what is wrong with that?!”  Well, nothing – except when it becomes your default for everyday wear.  Then you are just asking to be the next victim in an episode of “What Not To Wear”.  People will think there’s something wrong with you after a while and worse, you’ll start wondering the same thing.
If you aren’t willing to put forth concerted effort to get ready and get out among the land of the living, chances are pretty good you’ll wonder if you are morphing into a hermit.  That’s not good.
Interpersonal Jail

Speaking of becoming a hermit, did I mention that you work alone?  If you are a people person, that should be enough of a deterrent for you.  There is no water cooler talk.  In fact, get used to being out of the loop on a lot of stuff.  The reality is, you are not where the rest of your colleagues are.  And you will probably miss not being around them.
I know it’s not what you wanted to hear.  But I wouldn’t be a true “girlfriend” if I didn’t give it to you straight.  Now, on the flip side, if after knowing the pitfalls of working from home you decide to go for it, God will stretch you.
He will develop your character as you endure.  (Romans 5:34)  You will be challenged to embrace God’s affirmations rather than the world’s accolades.
You will be sensitive to the people in your community because it is where you work and live. We really should have this heart regardless of where we work….  You can’t help but fall in love with the person who serves you coffee at the local Starbucks because every person you encounter fills the void of relationships missing through working alone.  You will develop a heart for your city. (Jeremiah 29:7).

Working at home won’t necessarily help you get it all done.  It won’t prove to your family that you love them any more than if you work in an office.  In fact, I would rather encourage you to do your research and request for flex hours than move into a situation that puts you at home 100% of the time. 

Your family needs to see you happy and living in passionate pursuit of what God has called you and only you to do.  That’s it.  It’s the most important thing concerning your life work.  If working from home helps you achieve what God’s uniquely designed you to do, then go for it!  But working from home is not the end all answer.  It’s only a different means to an end.

Joy Bowen has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  Before joining The reThink Group, Joy gained a wealth of experience from her positions with the children’s ministry staffs at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship and Irving Bible Church.  She has served in children’s ministry in a wide variety of volunteer and staff roles since 2000 and has a passion for children’s praise and worship. Joy currently serves as an Orange Coach and 252 Basics Specialist. Joy resides in Texas with her husband, two boys and a 95-pound Goldendoodle named Fozzy. 
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10 Responses to “Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin”

  1. Mary B October 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    I have a love/hate relationship with working from home!!Mary

  2. Jenni October 3, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    OH yes… I would add, your office may become a catch-all. My office is in our extra bedroom/guesroom and I struggle to keep it organized! 🙂

  3. Mary Beth October 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    I definitely think working from home is not for everyone!! Thanks for sharing your insight!–and linking up with WIP!

  4. Joy Bowen October 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    Thanks everyone! Yes, I try to keep my office at least in the illusion of organized — I find that I'm easily distracted by a cluttered space. I'm not always successful… I'm probably more like a "Monica" from Friends where it's hidden behind closed doors….. ha!Keep on pursuing your passion — wherever it may lead you to "office" from. Blessings!!

  5. my simple reflections October 4, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    nice post thanks for sharing..found you thrue other bloggers hope visiting more..blessings

  6. Wendy October 6, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    I hear that often from friends Mary. That is why I asked Joy to write about her experience. Blessings!

  7. Wendy October 6, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    Jenni I so know what you mean. I am constantly reorganizing my space. Have any tips to share? Blessings!

  8. Wendy October 6, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    That is so true Mary Beth. Blessings sweet friend!

  9. Wendy October 6, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    Thanks so much for sharing Joy! You know I love ya much! Blessings!

  10. Wendy October 6, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    So blessed to have you visit and look forward to getting to know you more! Blessings!

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