What will people say… when you quit your job to pursue ministry?

They say you do crazy things for the people you love.

Well, I love God.

So I did something crazy. I quit my job.

Not a holy moment

Let’s rewind a few weeks. It wasn’t a holy moment. It was mundane. Normal. And about as ordinary as it can get. But I guess that’s how God likes to work. I was simply standing in front of the living room mirror, curling my hair. Our bathroom circuit didn’t have any electricity because of a kitchen remodel that is currently underway as I type.

So I stood there, hot iron in hand, wisping blonde hairs in front of my face, trying to perfect my look for date night. Yet on the inside, I couldn’t quiet my anxious thoughts.

I had a job that I’d always dreamed of… TV producer for the top media outlet in Grand Rapids. I was responsible for producing kids and family content. None of the gnarly, gruesome stuff. Sounds perfect, right?

But about three months into my job, I woke up and my passion had died.

It was the strangest sensation.

I typically fall into the category of loving life. I live every moment to the fullest. And there I was, experiencing the closest thing to depression that I had ever felt.

I expressed my discontentment to a few people here and there. I’ve never been one to complain, so it felt weird saying I was unhappy about something. Some understood, but most would tell me that it was a phase. I just needed to give it some time. No one seemed as wigged out as I was that I was unsatisfied. I guess it’s normal.

But not for me. I was restless. I knew God was trying to tell me something.

I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!”
My future is in your hands (Psalm 31: 14, 15).

As the clock ticked, I felt Him gently prodding me to spend my days doing what really mattered to me, prioritizing the passions he has given me for ministry instead of squeezing that work into the late hours of the nights and weekends.

But what did that mean? Quit my job? Wait it out? I didn’t know.

Not a holy moment. Holy momentum.

Then God spoke to me, right there, in the middle of my living room through the chaos of my thoughts. I’ve always wanted it, but I can’t say I’ve ever experienced anything quite like it. He spoke to my soul as clear as day. It was like a wave of peace washed over me, loosening the tension I was feeling for the past seven months.

He said.. “Ashley if you prioritize ministry, everything else will fall into place.”

Okay. I don’t know if that’s verbatim – word for word – but the overall emphasis was: STOP STRESSING about your 9-5!!! Just do what I’m calling you to do. You’ve been passionate about sharing my truth since you were a little girl. Make that the priority in your life and don’t worry about it. I’ll take it from there.

So I ran downstairs, mascara streaming down the trails of tears that had traced paths through my foundation, and I told my husband Joseph that I had to quit my job.

What next? The moment was over, but I had holy momentum to move me forward.

I decided to quit my job. I was terrified. I knew it wouldn’t make sense. And I wondered what people would say…

Some may say I burned out. But that wouldn’t explain this burning passion for Jesus inside of me.

Some may say I’m making a mistake. But I’m taking a step of faith.

Some may call it settling. But God’s Word calls it serving.

I don’t want a better job or a more impressive job title. I already had that. What I want is more of God.

Clocking out one last time

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way (Psalm 37:23)

So I put in my two weeks notice, and I’ll be clocking out of my “dream job” one last time to pursue a greater dream… a dream of redeeming the time, a dream of making eternal things a priority in my life.

It isn’t that full-time ministry is somehow “holier” than television production. In fact, everyone is called to the ministry of discipleship and evangelism regardless of their daytime job. But what is “holy” is doing what God tells you to do.

You may feel like you don’t know what that is. But, rest assured, He has already revealed His will for our lives in His Word.

Redeeming the time

So what will I be doing exactly? I’ll be pursuing work that gives me the flexibility to take seminary classes and focus on Across My Heart ministries this year.

Starting next week, I have the honor of helping my aunt transition into in-home-care. My Aunt Tammy has been battling the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s Disease for eighteen years and has now reached the point of needing twenty-four hour assistance.

When my aunt found out that I’d be working as her caregiver, she was a little uneasy at first. How could I quit my full time job to spend my afternoons with her? She questioned the logic behind my decision.

I looked her in the eyes and told her plainly that at the end of my life I wanted to look back and remember something eternal.

Do I want to remember chasing success? Do I want to remember climbing a corporate ladder? No. I want to remember the months that I spent with her.

I love God. I love my family. And I can’t think of a better “ministry” to be part of forty hours a week.

So I quit my job. I left the world of media. I traded in my flashy lights and press badge for the unassuming role of a caregiver and a passion for ministry. Why? Because God asked me to do it. It won’t make sense to everyone. And that’s okay. Taking a step of faith doesn’t always make sense… that’s why it’s called “faith”.

Faith is an action. It moves me forward with holy momentum to quit striving and to start serving, to love God and to love others.

Me and my Aunt Tammy on my 25th birthday.

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”  – Francis Chan, Crazy Love

“Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people he has made?” – Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Follow our blog series: What Will People Say

What will people say… when you do what God’s Word tells you to do… when you live out your convictions… when you stand up for what you believe… when you speak out…. when you speak up…. when you look like a Jesus Freak.

It’s not always easy. It’s not always fun. But it’s always worth it.

When you live a set apart, counter-cultural life, it won’t always make sense to the people around you. But that’s not what matters.

In the NEW blog series “What Will People Say?”, we will be sharing crazy stories of times we’ve gone against the crowd and gotten interesting reactions from people around us, all because we were doing what God calls us to do.

4 thoughts on “What will people say… when you quit your job to pursue ministry?

  1. Wow Ashley…I read this after a really hard day as We list our Mini today. We loved her so much and I am sad. But Your love for God and the journey He has for you was something evident way back when you and Amber would come over for voice lessons. What great opportunities you’ve been given! God will use your experience to provide guidance as you pursue everyday ministry! Thank you for sharing today…a day when I needed to be uplifted! You are a light shining brightly! Prayers as you care for others!
    Deb Anderson

  2. Tears is in my eyes as I read this post. Reminds me of a precious old poem i grew up hearing: Only one life, t’will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last. I am excited that you are following God’s leading and doing things that will last! I have experience with working with those with Parkinson’s, first with my dear father and with two others. God bless you as you bless your aunt Tammy with your loving care and sunny personality.

  3. Hi Ashley!

    This was very encouraging to me! I’m about to graduate from high school this year and I want to go to college to be a math teacher. But at the same time, I want to do some sort of ministry with girls whether it’s inviting them over to my home to mentor them or start a bible study with girls a bit younger than me. I would love for ministry to be my life someday where that’s all I do. This post was very inspiring and really made me think about what God wants me to do with my life to honor Him and follow His plan. Thank you! 😀

    Yours Truly,

    Grace

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