I had the privilege of interviewing Kelsey Kemp, a Christian career coach, speaker and podcaster. We had an interesting conversation about career and calling that will help you gain a new perspective on making career decisions that honor God. 

  • What to do when you get anxious about making career decisions?
  • How to make a wise career decision?
  • How to know God’s will for your career?
  • Scripture verses about choosing a career and using your God-given talent. 
  • Steps to take if your work isn’t aligned with your purpose and calling.
  • How to evaluate whether it’s time to stay or leave your job?

Links and Resources:

Verses and Scriptures discussed: 
Mark 12:30, Matthew 7:7, Proverbs 16:9,
Matthew 25:14–30, Romans 8:28, Matthew 6:33, Matthew 25
Kelsey Kemp
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Carrie: Welcome to Hope For Anxiety and OCD, episode 43. If you’re new to the show, I am your host Carrie Bock. And on this podcast, we’re all about reducing shame, increasing hope, and developing healthy connections with God and others. Today, I’m gonna be talking with Kelsey Kemp, a certified career coach. 

One of the reasons that I wanted to talk about overcoming anxiety, related to career and calling is because oftentimes this is an area as Christians where we can really get hung up on what we’re supposed to be doing with our lives occasionally. I know for myself, even though I’ve only had one career per say, I’ve got a master’s degree and became a therapist right away. 

However, along that journey, I’ve had many different jobs. And I feel like I’ve learned different things from each of those jobs. And at some point before I got into my private practice and had my own business. Became self-employed. I came to this crossroads really of, I read this book called “The real adventures of working girl”. About a woman who had had a bunch of different jobs. And I sat down, had this prayer time with the Lord and was like, okay, what is the role for me? Where do I thrive? What do I do the best? And it allowed me to, instead of just going and looking for a job that was out there really mapping out what my ideal job, where my strengths really go and what fits with me.

And so, I’m so excited, Kelsey, to have you on the show to talk about some of these things, because I think it’s gonna be really valuable to people maybe who are anxious about, am I, am I in the right job or my in the right career? And you know, am I too old? Is it too late for me to change? There’s so many questions that, and anxiety can really keep people stuck in a place where they don’t need to be. So thanks for coming on and talking about this with us?

Kelsey: Oh my goodness. Well, now I actually just went to dominate this interview and ask you questions. You said about your exploration of different jobs. And at first I was like, she’s a unicorn that stayed in the same career the whole time. But even you acknowledging that you had multiple different facets to enrolls how you play that out. I thought that is actually, so how callings go a lot of the time, even if you only figure that out in hindsight. But there was something drawing it all together, but there’s a lot of ways that you could go about it. But man, do I also relate in what you’re saying about “how this is like a cesspool for anxiety”.

Carrie: Right.

Kelsey: With career decisions and wearing off, am I gonna  miss it wrong? Am I just going to totally derail God’s plan for me, side note? He’s way more powerful than. But anyway, yes thank you I can’t wait to dive in. Obviously I’m already, like jumping out of the bed, getting ready to go. 

Carrie: How did you get into this business of helping Christians finding their calling? 

Kelsey: Goodness. So I listen to business podcasts all the time, and I recently heard somebody say “business is actually just radical empathy”. And it’s also reminding me of, I’m reading through all the gospels again right now of work as a way that we carry out the second greatest commandment, you know. The first being loved the Lord, your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. I think I got the order, right. And you always mess it up. And then the second being, love your neighbor as yourself. So my story very much started with being the person that needed this help.

Right out of college I went into tech consulting. So I was working for a really huge multinational firm. I was in their digital and emerging tech group as a business analyst. Helping it really large firms develop new, basically overhaul their integrated Tech systems. And a lot of people, when I would say that, would say, that sounds so cool. And I, my ego, what’s a, yes, that’s why I chose this one. That’s why I wanted you to say, or that’s what I wanted you to think about me, but it was so incredibly dissatisfying. And after two years, I really realized. I had spent so much of my academic journey and my young professional journey, doing things that others deemed as most valuable or sought after. And it led me to just white knuckle my way into saying “I can do it look, look at what I could do”. And over time that just wears on you. I mean, two years, I guess it didn’t even take that much time. It wore on me so much to realize that what you’re called to do is so much different than just doing what you can.

So, I was very much suffering in my health, my mental health, and in the bottom of that pit, just so desperate. God, would you please show me what is your will for my life? Isn’t that kind of the common prayer?

Carrie: Right.

Kelsey: Please show your will for my life. Please show me, please show me, please show me. And after her whole life, I just realized when I would dwell on Matthew seven, seven of the famous, like asking it will be given to you. Seeking, you shall find, knock and the door will be open to you. That sounds like a pretty active process actually. 

Carrie: Yes.

Kelsey: And I realized I was waiting for God to actually, just write the direct 10 step instruction list on the wall for me. And I felt convicted of my spiritual brattiness actually. God, I need you to essentially, I realize, assure me from all discomfort and the guilty. I want you to confirm that I’m going to have, It’s such a significant life of my dreams, and I want you to get me on the direct path to being there without any searching. And so when I realized, okay, I really gotta start making this an active process, doing my research, learning about fields that I don’t even know exist because I realized I had a pretty childlike view of what career options were available to me. All the while God just revealed to me this moment of remembering what my mom always said of necessity is the mother of invention.

Again, that’s a theme of love your neighbor as yourself. What did I most want? I wanted somebody to help me discern what I was truly called to do occupationally. And so I thought I’m 24 and I have no idea how to solve that problem. But man, that would be so amazing. If one day I figured out the solution and then gave it to other people.

So I thought, why don’t I just start now? So I signed up to become a certified career coach. And it started my practice actually earlier in life than I thought I could. Did I get some laughs along the way? Absolutely like it was not lost on me though. I was 24 and it’s been three years since then. Still I get some laughs, but I’ve worked with people even in their sixties executives. God has been very, very gracious with me. 

Carrie: That’s awesome. That’s really awesome. It’s just a great testimony of how God uses our struggles and turns it into something beautiful for. Then you to be able to pass the torch on and, like, help the next person who was going through what you were going through just a few years ago.

Kelsey: Exactly. He wastes nothing. 

Carrie: Right. So you talked about this a little bit, like where people really are like, okay, God, you know, show me. You know, show me your calling. And I think there can be this anxious component among some Christians of like, okay, what if I miss it? What if, like God’s calling us some kind of bullseye and I shoot the arrow and I just, I totally end up on the wrong target. And I ended up in this job that God just doesn’t have for me. Or maybe you feel like you’re in that job right now. Oh gosh. I just feel like I’m totally wasting my time or missing out on, what it is God has and we look at calling is some kind of, like big, you know mysterious thing that we’re gonna miss it. And we’re gonna mess it up. What would you say to somebody that’s dealing with some of that right now? 

Kelsey: I think one, I will quote Tim Keller most likely in abundance during this interview, because he just informs so much of the theology of work that has really helped me come to this point. But one thing he said was no, that God’s will, is more of something that he does then he gives. And so we want all the clear instructions, but what he actually models for us in the Bible is it says in Proverbs 16, Verse 1 and 9 are quite similar, but 9, it says “A man’s plans belong to his heart, but God is the one that establishes the guards, his steps”. And what does that take? It actually takes lifting your foot and, and then God will direct it in the right place. 

But what we see in the parable of the talents that has been, so that is probably one of the most foundational scriptures to my career coaching practice of seeing the, you know, the parable of the three servants, the master who’s going well on a long journey gives each of them a he, He divides his wealth among them. It says according to their abilities and he did not give them any instructions at all. But you see that when the master comes back at an unpredictable time, you see that the rules were actually clear all along. He always knew he was going to judge each of them. Based on what they did in absence of instructions.

Carrie: Wow!

Kelsey: So he, and it was so clear and to the servant who out of fear saying “Master, I didn’t, you’re a shrewd man. I didn’t want to make you angry if I lost any of it”. So he buried his talent in the ground and I like how talent it’s meaning the piece of gold, but actually just in English. It’s interesting to think, Okay, what about my innate resources? Of my abilities too. 

Carrie: Sure.

Kelsey: I will bury it in the ground for fear of losing anything. And he said “you wicked and lazy servant” and it reminds me of the Matthew effect too. Those who have little understanding, even what little they have is taken away. But those who have understanding even more will be given to them. So what did the faithful servants get? They doubled their masters’ wealth. We don’t know if it was by taking it to a certain brand of bank. We don’t know if they invested in a certain new crop that was all up to them, but their result was that they doubled their master’s wealth in absence of instructions. And the master said, “well done, good and faithful servant. Now come and share in your master’s happiness”. And that is what work is like to me, that faithfulness, of course, we’re here to serve and not be served, but our father in heaven is so gracious that he does give us joy, fulfillment, purpose, happiness. We’re not chasing happiness, but he says, “here that comes from me. I’ll give you all more than you can imagine, when you’re faithful”. And so to answer your question, just kind of more tangibly, as I think about, kind of that bag of gold in the parable of the talents. 

I imagine us coming into this life and we have all these clues and these breadcrumbs, our internal resources of who God made us to be with our innate talents when we’re reborn in him and the spirit, our spiritual gifts. Our core values that are unique to each of us, our personality, all these things. Those are all context clues that you’re meant to multiply those natural, also the opportunities physically that are given to you and the spheres of influence and the abilities and all these things multiply those for the glory of God.

I pay attention to the breadcrumbs and the context clues and make a wise decision based on what career path given my research and exploration and talking to many people. Do I think, would best glorify God and serve others? And I can trust that God’s going to also bring me joy through that. They don’t have to worry. And that is when I think you can know you’re following a calling because God teaches you so much through action. Clarity comes through action, not just from thinking and not especially for whom honestly, having a kind of sparse. I will be very honest prayer life of only saying, God, show me your well, God, show me your well with your arms crossed in a dark room, refusing to do any research or trusting or taking action.

Carrie: Sometimes we have to take that risk and we have to try things and see how it works out. And that can be scary at times, just thinking of, you know, different things that I’ve done, even going to get a master’s in counseling. I hadn’t ever sat down and talked to a counselor about what their job was like. Looking back on that, that probably would have been a good idea to do, for seeing what kind of careers are available to me afterwards. 

But I knew like when I got into that room and I had my first session with someone, it was like, there was this wave that came over me like, this is it. This is what I’m supposed to do. You just, I just innately knew that. And I didn’t know exactly how that was going to manifest out. It’s manifested in ways that I couldn’t have imagined, but if I hadn’t have, taken that step to move across the country to go to graduate school, to try out counseling, then I wouldn’t have known. And I know some people that got into that practicum and they had a completely different experience and they were like, you know, I think I wanna do more church type ministry, but maybe counseling. Isn’t the professional nature of it. It’s not really for me. 

I have a friend that uses her counseling degree working in a museum. She’s not doing any formal counseling, but she loves what she does. And she works with people and got hired because she could do people because she has a counseling degree. So it was just incredible how God been steer and guide us. I can’t remember the quote, but it’s basically something to the effect of God can steer you if you’re moving, but it’s kind of hard for God to steer you. If you’re just not moving. If you’re standing still.

Kelsey: And that’s called a Whirlpool, actually, if you’re just spinning around in circles, actually, that’s why a lot of my most anxious thoughts felt like it felt like I was spinning when I wasn’t just making a decision about my career. I, again, Tim Keller. He has this whole sermon. I really recommend anyone looks it up on YouTube. It’s called, “Your plans versus God’s plans”. And he excellently breaks down the mystery of God’s sovereignty and our free will. And he says, anytime that somebody comes to him and says “much would I do in my career”? Whatever. He says, “make a decision” and they say, “how spiritual have you? You’re supposed to be a pastor”. And making decisions. Practicing wisdom is how you become more and more the kind of person who discerns God’s will. And I will definitely be sending this episode to people because of what you said of how you were already in the room, when you had that feeling of confirmation of calling.

Wash over you. And it was a feeling of confirmation, not of go, do this. 

When you were in high school. I don’t know. Or like, in you’re on the volleyball court and this just like, Hey, Carrie you can be a counselor. That’s not how it, how it went. We would love it. But honestly, in the end, I don’t think we would want that to happen because God is sovereign. And He knows that we have to through experience, train our hearts to be faithful to Him. And especially in ambiguity. 

Carrie: Yes. Yes, that’s true. And you can pray about things and sometimes you don’t have the clearest sense. It’s not something that’s for or against in the Bible. You know, if it’s very clear, aligned with scripture, okay, this is very clear. You know, I need to do that. And or if it’s very not aligned with the values of scripture, then we know, okay, that’s not what I should be doing. 

But many, many, many I’d say most decisions in our life we make, we can’t go directly to the Bible to find the answer to that. We have to base it on biblical principles and values of loving God, loving people. What we sense in our spirit, because I do believe that. The holy spirit speaks to us. And sometimes we just sense that internally of like, this is a no, and I don’t even have to know why it’s a no, it’s just a no for me. So we can, we can trust those things that, that God gives us. But sometimes we just have to say, okay God, I, I’m not sure, but this is the decision or the direction that I believe that you’re sending me in. And I’m gonna, I’m going to go in that direction. And do it. I think that you’re, you know, you’re spot on with what you’re saying.

Kelsey: If it’s okay. I would like to speak a little bit more to the question of, can we miss our callings? Cause I think that there’s one more aspect to this conversation of yes, you and I just supported a lot of points to say, generally speaking, God will faithfully lead you in that direction. And also we should just know that our free will is not a joke. We’re not all the way like puppets on strings. There actually are plenty of options. Just like I think our culture is finally releasing our grip on the view of their being the one that you will marry.

There’s a lot of personal choice involved with that as well. Though we know that we can trust God, he’s guiding us. It’s complicated. But what I wanted to say as an additional point of perspective is, and this is hard to admit. It’s quite honest and honest look at life, but we can miss our calling in general. Yes, because one, if we look at our primary calling that we see in the Bible to follow Jesus. To believe in him to have a salvific relationship, to go and make disciples of all the nations. That’s the great commission. 

Carrie: Right.

Kelsey: You see those callings are very direct instructions that are blatantly listed out. Do people opt out of those constantly?

Yes. Is it unequivocally God’s will that we would all follow them? Yes. So why would we believe that we cannot also opt out of faithfulness? In all other decisions in life and not re consequences. Is that harrowing? Yes. I mean, have we all seen that person who has squandered their talents for a lifetime bearing under them under many, many excuses that I’m sure are valid, but you know, you could, as an option, trust God.

Precede regardless, but yes, I think that we’ve all seen that example play out. And so this is something that is harrowing, but important to acknowledge that you can opt out of faithfulness at any point. And why, if you are not communing with your creator and seeing work as an and your calling as an opportunity to commune with him, And so if you’re not even obeying your first command to be in a relationship with him, why would you believe that he would just release you to go have all your idols in the world?

Which of course you can, but then he will always be knocking at your door saying, “come back to me, come back to me”. So I’m not sure if that was a little long and winding of an answer, but I have spoken at a few places and especially students come up to me and they’re like, “you know what? I was just so encouraged for your talk”, to know, like I can’t miss my calling and I thought, wait, did I say that? No.

I think that, like, if you’re opting into faithfulness, you could trust absolutely that you are a part of God’s promises. He’s guiding your steps. He’s even guiding your words, as it says in Proverbs 16:1. “And he is working all things together for your good, for those.” What does it say when people just say he’s working all those things to your good in Romans 8:28, but they don’t mention the last part of that first “for those that are called according to his purpose who love him and are called according to his purpose”.

Carrie: Right. 

Kelsey: So I think that there is like, a pulling up to the bar. And then I think that you could be super secure.

Carrie: Right. I think about Matthew 6:33, that “seek first his kingdom and all these things shall be added to you”. It’s like if you have your priorities and your perspectives in order, and you are seeking God, who’s going to lead and guide you and whatever that next piece is, the next step, you don’t get the whole roadmap. Sorry. That’s not how spirituality Christianity works. I’ve never gotten the whole roadmap and I’m not expecting you to either, but you will get the next piece of the puzzle. The next step along the way, 

Kelsey: But who would we become if we actually had the full roadmap, actually in all of the, those end of times, Parables, especially in Matthew chapter 25, the bridegroom didn’t announce when he would be coming back and the virgins with the lambs. It was to test who was faithful and the master didn’t announce when he was coming back from the journey. It was, so her true character could be revealed. And if we just got all the assurance in the world, here’s your life story one. I don’t think we would actually want that. That’d be kind of like, I don’t know. I want a little mystery of my life, but then also this is an opportunity to grow with him in the midst of uncertainty. 

Carrie: What would you say, just shifting gears a little bit to someone who is in a work environment and they don’t believe that that aligns with their faith or calling, like for example, maybe the company is expecting them to work too many hours and that doesn’t align with their God-given need for rest or God given need to spend time with their family and put them as the priority that they want to. Maybe the company is just. All about profits and they don’t really care about the people that they’re serving or the people that are working for them. What would you say to someone who’s, who’s in that environment and just not feeling good about it? 

Kelsey: I would say the same thing to them that I would say to others who are even, maybe they would say their content at work, but they’re starting to get this inkling that maybe there’s some greater  thing that I could live into for God in my career, some greater measure of service and use of my vision, my aspirations, my talents. So whether it’s a really bad situation or a, maybe there’s something more, my advice is pretty much the same. Be proactive. Do not wait. I’m such a firm believer of, you don’t have to marry the first option that comes in your line of vision, you post you find, I think this could be my next step. Doesn’t mean that it’s time to jump ship tomorrow, but good grief. We all hear that saying like start with the end in mind. 

So essentially you could reverse engineer what you need to do in the meantime. Let’s understand what that end is in terms of starting. The discernment journey of what are you called to on an overarching level, given who God created you to be very specifically what he put on your heart to go do or serve, like to help who doing what, why? And then the last step after that more bigger vision discernment is the very practical of great what jobs, what role title.

Companies would allow me to best carry that out or what business idea would allow me to carry that out. That’s great too. And so then you can only then really kind of reverse engineer. All right. Wait. So now that I have that, well, at least I know I could start acting on it at any time. I think it’s appropriate. And so then it’s kind of a more detailed conversation of when do I jump into that next thing, but at least you have started the discernment journey when here’s the key. When like, before you are seeing red and deeply stressed out, there’s just a, you know, you’re a mental health professional. When somebody is in a fight or flight, you actually are not able to perceive.

The reality of the array of options available to you when you act, physically get tunnel vision. And so how therefore would you be able to perceive some cool thing that maybe otherwise you wouldn’t think is possible or go out and do more research and have more tenacity in that, or make a decision out of faith and not fearfulness. All those things start early. I really recommend it. At least being very thoughtful about exploring, especially through informational interviews. You know, even if you’re slightly interested or you heard about somebody’s job title and you’re like, I wonder what that is. Or you have a family friend and you think they’re just doing the coolest thing, even if you don’t.

Aren’t a hundred percent sure. That’s the key, don’t make a decision before you actually do research. I find people really forced themselves to make career decisions before they know what the day-to-day reality is like in that job, what tasks they would spend the majority of their time doing, what the career outlook, what the growth trajectory is. And if they’re okay with all of those things, I find that people do not want to have a coffee chat with someone, unless they’ve already decided, I for sure want to be an HR professional because I’m a people person. And little did they know there’s a ton of paperwork involved in that. And also there are so many different specialties in HR it’s mind-boggling. So, if you do those informational interviews, you would know that, but I find that people try to decide beforehand so they could treat their networking conversations as a. I’m just going to say a few things to sound impressive until I could get to the punchline where I asked you to pass on my resume when actually it should have just purely been a research conversation. 

Carrie: That’s good to note, I think. Are there any specific guidelines that you use when helping people evaluate whether it’s time to stay or time to go and their job?

Kelsey: There’s a couple, and I actually have a frequency about this on my website that goes through in depth, some more on each of these criteria and it’s interactive and it’s not meant to make you make a rush decision. That’s the point just to, help you predict, okay. What are the number of months that I should really be expecting and why? If it is a yes, I should leave. Why and what else did I do instead? So that’s some of the things that can help, but to run through a few of them right now, one, do you actually want your boss’s job or your boss’s boss’s job? Do you actually, not only, maybe on one end, if there are growth opportunities within your current field or your current company, do you want them, or it may be, I’ve talked to a lot of people that do like their job, but they get frustrated because, they are current company does not offer advancement opportunities and that’s essential to career satisfaction.

So that’s one thing advancement. Do you have the opportunity and do you want it, and what about your team and your boss? Is it, I think there’s not too much to be sat on that it talks about. Can you trust your management? I think that’s something I take quite seriously because I’ve seen people booted out. I’ve seen bad reports given that are not merited. If you actually cannot trust your management, then, that I have a dear friend right now. Who’s going through that? Not merited whatsoever that is truly something to get out of quickly.

What about, are you interested in the subject matter of your work whatsoever? Maybe you’ve been sticking around because you enjoy your coworkers and there’s a few perks and you have a really cool summer party and a Christmas party, and you liked those things or your interviewer’s servicemen is just the best.

And you want to stick around for that or the health insurance. It’s just, premium, but what about the actual tasks that you’re doing? Do they agree and utilize your innate abilities? If not, or if not all the way. I think that’s something that we could always maximize when you truly find your point of creative genius, which I believe exists in everybody. And you find what task reveals that cause maybe you haven’t stumbled upon the thing that reveals it again test experiments. 

Then, oh, man, you don’t even know what sense of flow like buzzing focus and satisfaction that kind of like, and God got to the end of the six days kicked back and said, “that was very good”. That kind of feeling you were missing out. So maybe it’s not like, I hate this or it’s so terrible, but maybe you could just maximize again, like multiplication divine multiplication is a huge theme, especially in the gospel. 

Carrie: I think something, you have to take this step back and say, is it my actual job duties that I’m not liking? Or is it the job duties? Is it the structure of how this company has structured the job duties? Maybe I really enjoy my job, but the boss is super micromanage or their coworkers are always whining and griping and complaining, and it’s just like a negative environment to be in. And so sometimes it’s hard to tease those things out cause you just look at it as one whole picture.

But I think like, what you’re saying is it’s like, do I need a different company where I could do the same thing, but maybe have more freedom, autonomy, better benefits, whatever it is, or do I need to be doing something, a different type of tasks, because I’m just not passionate about this, the way that I was in the past and those kind of things can shift and change for sure. And you have to kind of tune in and pay attention to that.

Kelsey: Absolutely. And the last thing I’ll say on this, as you are allowed to see a measure, when we say responsibility, our culture often means hunkering down and like counting the 10 beans that you were given and making sure nothing happens to them. That really sounds like the unfaithful servant. I actually, I think responsibilities should be more defined by.

I assessed everything that God gave me in everything that He, I really believe is a, such a God-given desire that He put on my heart. And I did my darndest with it. I just went for it. A lot of wisdom is not deciding between good or bad it’s deciding between best or better. And I think that I just want to say you are allowed to change jobs. That doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad Christian. That was a big deal for me because my main idea of the theology around work that I grew up around was, and I’m not blaming any pastor because you know, they’re not a career coach. They’re not obsessed with studying the Bible through the lens of career ethics as I am. That’s okay. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. 

But what I did pick up was to be a good Christian at work is to just take whatever God gave you, which by the way, releases all agency from yourself in whatever job is right in front of you, you just have to take it. That’s kind of the read between the lines that I got and you just have to be excellent at it, which again, the read between the lines is just stick in it and make sure that you perform better than everybody else. So one day somebody like Jim at the water cooler. Really? Why are you so much better of a CPA than everybody else? Will you share the gospel with me? And that’s just not how it works. Honestly, due to convict grace, like, oh my gosh. non-Christians and Christians and non-Christians can be so much better at a job than Christians can. That’s fine. So, anyway, I think faithfulness, it’s just a choosing for better or choosing the better, not just managing only what you have, expanding your impact for the kingdom. You don’t have to stay where you’re at. 

Carrie: That’s so good. That’s so good. Because I, I’ve talked with clients who have felt guilt over leaving their job. I don’t want to leave my manager in a bad place or just very conscientious of what other people are experiencing or thinking, or they’re not wanting to disappoint someone.

Maybe I, this coworker helped me get this job. I feel like I shouldn’t leave or there’s so many emotions that can get tied up in those things. Even when we know clearly, like in our mind and in our spirit know, it’s time, like it’s time to move on.

Kelsey: And if the spirit is telling you that, and you know that you will be able to glorify God more and serve others better in another place, then pull you. Trust the Lord to fill that seat with somebody better, which is very humbling. Okay. 

Carrie: Wow!

Kelsey: He has the whole puzzle mapped out, please. your only concern is to follow him and play your piece. He will figure out the rest. I also speak with clients that are really, they see so many problems in the world. I think that I, you know, I, this was a big part of my quarter life crisis. There are so many things I care about. So many things I’m grieved by. The most loving thing you could do is to pick the one you. I don’t want to say just pick one, because that freaks always freaked me out. But what about in a more playful way, pick the one that you’re drawn towards most. And trust God to be God in you to be a human who could probably just do one thing super duper well. He will fill out the rest. 

Carrie: That’s good. This has just been a really great, great conversation. I’ve enjoyed it so much. 

Kelsey: Likewise. 

Carrie: At the end of the podcast, I like to ask every guest to share a story of hope, which is a time where you’ve received hope from God or another person. 

Kelsey: I cannot wait for the story though.

I’m about to share it. So I actually wish I received this from someone in person, but admittedly, I heard it on a podcast, but it was just too good not to tell all my friends about, even still to this day. I, gosh, this instilled so much awe in me like God is so big. And I’m so small, of when this pastor in country and the Middle East undisclosed. He is ruthlessly going out and risking his life, sharing the gospel all the time. And even though he really is, I think doing, I wanted to say like taking everything in his hands as much as he can. I would rather say he’s stewarding his job as much as possible. 

He’s initiating conversations about God everywhere he goes, but still in humility, he said, “don’t, don’t get it wrong. God is the only one that could save someone”. I, and it reminds me of the loaves and the fishes of, your job is only, I love how Dallas Jenkins, the creator of the chosen. He says this, he says, “Your job is only to bring the five loaves and the two fishes for Jesus to bless”. Even if you’re like Jesus, like there’s 5,000 people here.

There’s no way this is, this feels really dumb. Bring it to him and it is not your job to feed the 5,000, it is only your job to bring the loaves and the fish. Jesus it’s the one that will multiply it for 5,000. So similarly, this guy he’s saying, “God is the one who saves”. Let me give you an example. I went out into an incredibly rural village, has almost no contact with the outside world.

I went into this one man’s tent and I was telling him about the gospel and this man said, “I’ve heard of these things”. And the pastor’s like how the business is so remote. And it’s a predominantly Muslim country. And he, he said a man dressed in white has been coming to my tent every single night for months. And he’s been telling me to write things down and the pastor said, “Show me what he’s told you to write down”. Wow! Word for word it was the entire book of John from the gospels. 

Carrie: Wow! In his language?

Kelsey: In his language. 

Carrie: That’s incredible.

Kelsey: So that’s what God means when he says I am the one who calls you. But like he said to Moses, I made you have a mouth. Okay. All I need you to do, but I don’t even need you. It was an Acts 17 as if He is served by human hands, he’s not, he could do this all himself, but he knows for our hearts that we need to participate with him because as a gift, it’s a gift to him or to us actually. But anyway, he says to Moses, I gave you your mouth. I’ll also give you the words to say to Pharaoh. I’m really just asking you to walk into his court. And He is the one who calls us, but all of our callings are for him and for his glory and they will be done through his strength, achieving the results that he always wanted for himself. He just wants our faithful hearts to say, even though this seems ridiculous, I guess I’ll build the art.

Even those, this seems ridiculous. I’ll lift up the loaves and the fishes, even though I feel so scared, I’ll go into Pharaoh’s temple. I think that’s how our careers are supposed to feel. Not fearful because He commands us to fear not. And He commands us to not worry. And that’s not him. The disciples said at one point in the gospel, they were like, how is that possible? You’re asking us to be perfect. And Jesus said, “yes with man, this is impossible. But with God, all things are possible”. So he’s not asking you something that you can’t do in him. You need not worry literally, but we can live quite gloriously on the edge for him. And that is what I really hope to help people do through my practice.

Carrie: And so, that’s awesome. I love it. Well, Kelsey, we’re gonna put your, the links to your website in the show notes so that people can find you. And my assistant is gonna go through and pull all the scripture references, the scriptures that you mentioned today. And so we’ll put those in there. If people wanna do some study on those passages. I think that that would be awesome. 

Kelsey: All the best thing you can do. Let God preach to your heart. Not me.

Carrie: Thanks for being on the show today. 

Kelsey: Thank you so much. This was just the most jubilant conversation.

Carrie: One addendum that we forgot to talk about is that Kelsey has a podcast as well, called “Answer the Call”. So if you like what you heard today, and you want to hear more, go check out Kelsey’s podcast as well. She has a link through her website that we’re going to put in the show notes.

If you have been a regular listener to our show, I would love it. If you could rate and review us on iTunes or other platforms that you listen on that allow reviews that really helps people find our show and validate that we’re talking about good things. So I appreciate you so much for listening and taking the time to do that.

Hope for anxiety and OCD is a production of By The Well Counseling in Smyrna, Tennessee. Our original music is by Brandon Mangrum until next time may you be comforted by God’s great love for you.