I am an associate at Hobby Lobby.
We spent $120K to cover four years of education in Neuroscience and Mathematics, and I left a prestigious job in research to become a custom framer at a craft store.
If you’re sitting here, scratching your head and wondering what would compel me to do such a thing, you’re not alone. In fact, I asked myself this very same question for months. And here’s the answer:
I’m pursuing my God-given passions, trusting that He will use my faithful obedience to elevate me to a position in His Kingdom far greater than I can imagine.
Trust me: it was not easy to arrive at this conclusion. But the more I step out in faith, the more confident I become that I am living out my calling. I believe that we should enjoy what we are doing; I don’t think God would call us to a career that leaves us feeling miserable, apathetic, and resentful. This new job has shown me that it is possible to fall in love with work.
As I reflect on the last five weeks of training and promotion to Frame Shop Manager, here are some lessons I feel compelled to share.
I am still the same driven, smart, hardworking, amicable Emma most people know.
At my last job, I was fed lie after lie about myself, my work ethic, my personality, my potential, and my intelligence. I was scared to leave, thinking I would never be successful anywhere else. Within a week of serving in Romania this summer, these lies were shattered. And then, my old self was restored and affirmed within days of working at Hobby Lobby. Everyone — employees, managers, and set staff alike — knew who I was because I learned quickly, worked efficiently, exhibited accuracy, and was friendly.
My mental health improved.
My former job brought on a spirit of depression. I dreaded waking up in the morning, stopped working out, turned to food for comfort, and felt incredibly alone as I hid all this from friends and family. Thankfully, Romania began a healing a process that has continued upon returning home. I finally feel happy and joyful for the first time in years (literally). I’m excited to wake up every morning and go to work. I have resumed a daily exercise routine. I’m eating well, simply because I want to. And I’m loving my Jesus-time, especially when I incorporate it daily.
No one is disappointed in me.
This one amazes me every single time. Years ago, I was afraid that my parents would be disappointed in me when I decided to take a gap year before grad school, but I discovered that both of my parents took time off and fully supported the decision to gain experience before getting another degree. I had similar doubts earlier this year when I chose to put off grad school indefinitely. However, my parents have watched me grow and explore my faith and passions and fully support my choice to use my creative gifts for the Kingdom; grad school will always be there if I want, but now is not the time.
Furthermore, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done was informing some of my former professors and biggest supporters of my choice to work in retail instead of research. With my experience, I could have pretty much any research position I want, and there’s the key. I don’t want to be in research right now. I have a multitude of explanations for how I ended up here, but the most important part is that I am confident that this is where I need to be. My professors still support me because they know my passionate, relentless pursuit of excellence. And, they also know and love me.
My education(al) experience is still relevant.
When speaking with one of my former professors, he asked what elements of my education and university experience I find relevant to my current job. Immediately, I thought of my math minor, as that was a large factor in my job offer (they were repeatedly amazed by my speedy math abilities 🙂 ). Also, the classes where we studied calling, vocation, and our greater purpose sparked an interest in seeing what else is out there. Beyond that, the community of supporters, the “home” that I can always return to, and the experience of settling for nothing less than my best have shaped me into the employee I am today. It’s hard to pinpoint a single experience, but my four years of college were central to enabling me to boldly venture out of the norm.
Let’s be real: this was not an easy process in any way. I spent many days in tears, praying that God would come through to provide something wonderful since I gave up so much in pursuit of Him. Even though I see His providence so clearly, the doubts still creep back in occasionally. Every time someone asks, “How’d you end up here??” or talks about how they would never be willing to give up a job without another offer waiting, I feel a little pang. It has taken time, but I find that each declaration that switching careers was a necessary move, I feel more confident about my decision. God would not have called me to this if He didn’t have it all planned out.
It’s not easy, but let’s keep living this life in pursuit of Him above all else.