God used “a hot dumpster fire” to wake Paula Faris up to her true calling.
In 2018, the former co-host of “The View” walked away from a high point in her career after a series of personal tragedies opened her eyes to the true meaning of “calling,” a simple concept often mystified by some in the Christian community.
“When I was at the height, anchoring ‘Good Morning America’ weekends and co-hosting ‘The View,’ it seemed like I had it all professionally, but my life, my personal life, was just falling apart,” Faris told Faithwire. “I looked around and my relationships had started to suffer with my husband and my kids. I wasn’t attending church as often as I’d like. I wasn’t rooted into a good network of accountability partners, and my health started suffering.”
Looking back now, the ABC correspondent and “Journeys of Faith” podcast host said she is confident God used those experiences — as well as a series of events she described as a personal “hell,” including a miscarriage, a concussion, an emergency surgery, and a head-on car accident — to get her attention.
Faris, author of the new book “Called Out: Why I Traded Two Dream Jobs for a Life of True Calling,” looks at those experiences now as the “gift of a reset button” — something the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is potentially affording a lot of people. In fact, Faris wondered if God could be allowing this crisis “to get our attention, to help us to realize our misplaced significance.”
While Faris said she’s certainly not a theologian, she is nevertheless convinced, “Tragedy and blessing can coexist. There can be blessing in tragedy.”
The mother of three got the message, though the transition wasn’t easy.
Faris said she stepped away from her successful career “kicking and screaming,” even feeling a little angry at God. But at the same time, she felt a sense of “peace” over the choice she’d made, because her career had become her “narcotic of choice,” and something had to give.
Most Americans, the journalist explained, have “bought the lie that our value is vocation and our worth is work and that doing is somehow the only value that we bring to society.”
It’s critical for Christians to uncouple “calling” from “career,” she said.
“When we throw that word around, are we talking faith calling or are we talking vocational calling? One changes and one never does,” Faris said. “Your faith calling is your purpose, and that is the reason you’re on this earth, and it has nothing to do with career. … I thought that my faith calling was to be the best broadcaster that I could be, using the gifts and talents God gave me. But when I experience a vocational shift, then my purpose is rocked, and I don’t know who I am.”
“Your faith calling and your purpose will never change in your life, no matter the change in tides, no matter the personal crisis or pandemic, it is never going to change,” she continued. “It is to love God and love people — that’s it.”
Our vocational callings, though, change. At any given time in our lives, the vocation we practice is “the vehicle by which you love God and love people, it’s just the conduit to fulfill your purpose, and it will change.”
Put another way, Faris likened our faith calling to a vine that produces many branches. Those branches, she said, are the various vocational seasons in life.
“You need to release yourself from the lie that says, ‘This is my only value, is in doing,’ and then you need to give yourself the permission to see yourself not just outside what you do, but to see yourself in different capacities on different branches,” she said. “We limit ourselves in thinking, ‘I have to be this one thing for the rest of my life.’”
Stepping into a season of staying at home more to raise her children, Faris stressed the importance of recognizing the “lie” that to live a life of calling means to have a lofty career outside the home. The calling, she said, isn’t in what you’re doing, but who you’re doing it for.
Regardless of where any of us is in life, Faris said people are watching to see how we handle the experiences we face.
“People were looking at me [during my personal crises], ‘How is she going to react?’ ‘Is she going to forsake God or is she going to cling to His promises?’” Faris recalled. “And I think we get so attached to tragedy, ‘Oh, why does God allow this?’ Well let’s look in the New Testament. We were never promised a perfect, comfortable, cushy life,” she continued, referring to John 16:33. “In this world, you will have problems. … Our focus should be on the end game, in knowing that good overcomes evil and knowing the final move on the chess board.”
“This is not our eternal home,” Faris added.
Listen to the full interview above.