Elizabeth Knox is passionate about supporting women in their faith and their work, especially when the two overlap. She regularly interacts with women on this topic through her Women of the World Bible study she began over two years ago. Her book also called Women in the World is due to come out early 2013 Follow her blog to learn more about her passion for women in faith and work as well as the writing process. You can also follow her on twitter @eknox_online.
Elizabeth Knox’s heart for professional women comes out of many conversations she had with strong, godly women who were trying to be engaged in culture but kept running into questions: How do you blend your personal life and professional work? How can women have healthy and appropriate relationships with their male colleagues? Should work be separate from ministry?
Out of a desire to find answers to these questions, Elizabeth started a Bible study at her church in Washington, DC. The group of women who gathered came from non-profits, private industry, government agencies, Capitol Hill, and even the White House, to talk about the importance of being On Call in Culture as working women of faith.
When it comes to being On Call in Culture, she says the small group reflects her personal interest in the “Now what?” question. During the first meeting the group reviews the Biblical basis for work and how our work contributes to the overall good of society. They come to recognize that as Christians, we are supposed to participate in creating a better society. Once that understanding is established, the group spends the rest of their meetings addressing the daily questions they encounter in their jobs: What does being On Call in Culture mean on a day to day basis? How do we engage our bosses when they make very different decisions than we would make? How do we find the right job for our skills, abilities and interests? Basically: now that we have this perspective that we should engage in the important work going on around us in society, what should we do about it?
One topic the small group often addresses is the challenge of finding a new job and figuring out how each job is part of the larger calling God has for your life. Elizabeth noticed that many times women end up in jobs they didn’t imagine being in, that the jobs aren’t as “world changing” as people expect their jobs will be when they come to DC. But the group members encourage one another to refuse to allow dissatisfaction to take over, to refuse to “show up to work empty.” People get bogged down in the day-to-day of their jobs and feel far away from any “spiritual calling.” Elizabeth wants to coach and encourage women to fully engage in what they are doing even if it isn’t the perfect job right now.
Another topic the group addresses is how each woman in the group should find their own work/life balance. Like many cities, Washington, DC can be competitive. Women find themselves walking a line between understanding that their work is important (and jobs don’t always come neatly tied in a 40-hour per week package), and trying not to give into a work-a-holic lifestyle.
Answering these questions in the context of a small group allows the women to be better prepared to be On Call in Culture. She explains, “When I hear the phrase ‘On Call in Culture’ I have the image of emergency services personnel who are present and ready to take care of whatever work they are needed for that day. As Christians we can have a similar mindset. Whether it’s in education, the entertainment industry, business, non-profits or government we have to be ready to serve wherever the world needs the skills God has given us. When we take the time in a small-group context to address the issues we run into at work, we’re helping each other be more prepared to be On Call. ”
In addition to her interests in encouraging women to be On Call in Culture, Elizabeth serves in the sphere of defense and intelligence as a program manager. She is grateful to have the opportunity to encourage other women through the Bible Study, her blog and the book coming out next year.