Published by IVP on October 24, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Leadership, Work
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Women now have professional opportunities beyond what previous generations ever imagined. But as our roles in public life have grown, the church's vision for women's work and calling has not grown with us, leaving us feeling isolated and under-resourced. Christian women face multiple tensions between home and work, navigating complex gender dynamics in the workplace and social pressure to hold together picture-perfect lives.
Joanna Meyer addresses a critical gap in Christian women's discipleship by speaking to the roles we play in public and professional life. Acknowledging the brokenness of workplaces and industries, she provides a theological framework for women's work and influence and offers resources for the challenges of working life. This book will help you:
Ignite your vocational imagination, with a biblical framework for work and calling.
Build strength from within, with emotional and spiritual health to support your work.
Navigate common workplace challenges, with practical tools to help your influence grow.
Pursue purposeful relationships, collaborating and building strong relationships with others.
Learn from the lived experience of godly female leaders and discover how women can have a redemptive impact through our work.
This short, highly readable book shares encouragement for women who are working professional jobs and want to better understand the role between their vocational work and their relationship with God. As the author reflects at the beginning of this book, even though women have vastly more work opportunities now than in previous generations, the church’s vision for women’s vocational work has often remained very limited or been an afterthought in discipleship. Joanna Meyer shares theological insight into the nature of work, and although the core insights apply to all people, she unpacks some of the specific implications for women.
Women, Work, and Calling features short readings on a variety of different topics, such as discerning between biblical norms and cultural norms, exploring your calling, dealing with self-limiting beliefs, finding rest in God, and learning how to lead and relate to others well in the workplace. Every reading begins with a Bible verse, and at the end, the author shares a few reflection questions. The last one usually invites an action step, but Meyer leaves that up to the reader and doesn’t presume what it should be. This book will encourage women with different jobs and goals to take their work seriously and view their professional growth through a spiritual lens, and Meyer also shares great practical advice on topics like finding a good mentor.
As Meyer writes about general concepts related to work, she draws out specific applications and implications for women. She addresses women in different life situations, and even though some working mothers may wish that more of the book addressed their unique demands with balancing work and parenting, the book broadly acknowledges women who are in many different situations and stages of life. Also, Meyer brings up issues that women may experience related to bias in the workplace, and I really liked the chapter about working with men and dealing with sexism. I also appreciated her additional point that women should also consider what negative biases they hold about men. It was SO GOOD to hear someone other than me say that!
My one significant critique is that even though Meyer’s advice applies to many different job fields and positions within a company, she focuses on white collar contexts and office jobs. Even though many of the general ideas still apply, this book doesn’t address dynamics for jobs that involve lots of public-facing interactions, care-giving work, or physical labor. At the very least, this book should have given more advice and examples related to customer service roles, but I wish that the author had included more diverse examples and addressed women who are working low-wage jobs to make ends meet.
Even though it makes sense for Meyer to focus on the kind of work she’s familiar with doing herself and mentoring other people in, I wish that she had represented a wider diversity of job types and included encouragements for women who are working uninspiring jobs out of necessity. Women who work at the grocery store need discipleship for their vocational lives too, not just women who are fulfilling their goals in a high-powered office job. Every author has to pick their audience, and it’s fine for Meyer to focus on women who are building professional careers, but I wish that she had broadened her scope at times. Women can make a difference in the world and show leadership skills in even very humble and unimpressive jobs, and this book would be even stronger if it acknowledged that.
Women, Work, and Calling: Step into Your Place in God’s World is a great book for women who are looking for advice and encouragement for their professional lives. Joanna Meyer shares thoughtful perspectives on the theology of work, shares practical tips for how to think about and respond to different issues in the workplace, and draws out applications and ideas that are specifically geared towards women’s lives and experiences. Although this book is limited in scope and is best for women working in office jobs and white-collar environments, it shares wisdom and encouragement that many women will find helpful. This is great for women at many different stages of their careers, and could also make a great graduation gift for a young woman who is about to enter the workforce.