I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Connie Jakab. Her journey of re-envisioning God’s vision for her life is just plain awesome — I love the place God has led her to. Connie is the author of a new book called Culture Rebel: Because the World Has Enough Desperate Housewives. Keep on reading for some challenging, inspiring, just-plain-awesome stuff . . .
Welcome, Connie! Please tell my readers a bit about yourself.
Hey there! My name is Connie and I live in Calgary, Alberta—yes that’s Canada. I have a hubby of 13 years and two precious boys; ages 6 and 2. I live off of coffee because I still get no sleep, and besides writing I’m a hip-hop dancer living out God’s mission in Calgary’s arts community.
What has God been teaching you lately about his vision for your life?
That’s a loaded question! I was in full-time pastoral ministry for ten years. I’ve been on a seven-year journey since that, for awhile, involved losing a sense of God’s purpose for my life. I struggled with the idea of “calling”. Wasn’t I “called” to the ministry? I felt like I had somehow blown it. I had just moved to Calgary with our newborn and found myself terribly lonely and depressed. I felt like my worth was taken and any gifting would be limited to breastfeeding. My husband’s salary increased so I started to find purpose in the mall: shopping, facials—anything that would get me out of my depressing state. I entered the new world of a moms Bible study where we would sit around and talk about our hard life as a mother, the lack of sex, our plans for a girls trip to Vegas, our newest shopping excursion . . . and maybe pick up the Bible on the occasion to study. This “new purpose” got old really fast. Was this all there was to life? I was desperate to rebel against it and create a new ideal—I just didn’t know how if it didn’t look like full-time ministry. God had to break down my mindset so a new one could form. Perhaps being used by God didn’t have to look “big”? Maybe the small things could matter? Perhaps intentionally finding needs and meeting them WITH my kids in tow was a possibility?
As you look back over your life so far, what have been some key moments when God has led you in new directions or helped you see a fresh vision for your life?
Moving to a new city and becoming a mother were key moments in my life when God stripped me of all I knew from before to give me a new mindset of living missionally in simple things. He gave me a new perspective that I didn’t have to “go big,” I could just serve people in simple, every day matters and teach my kids to do the same. I started to see my possessions as his to use to bless people, rather than for me to hoard. (Disclaimer: This is an ongoing process!)
Your new book, Culture Rebel, is all about taking a fresh look at what it means to be a Christian woman in our world. What motivated you to write your book?
My tag line is: “You’re not called to be desperate, you’re called to be dangerous.” I find there are two types of “desperate” women out there. Some are being discipled by our culture’s definition of a housewife/mother. “Be Sexy” is our society’s message to women in general, but with a specific target on middle-aged women with or without kids. Somehow “cougar or yummy mommy status” has become a standard for women to live up to; a standard that needs a rebellion. We as followers of Jesus have bought into this message just the same as those in our culture. The gospel hasn’t been dangerous enough for us. We have watered down the cause of Christ to the point where it’s just another option for living if it offers a good benefit. On the other hand, there are other “desperate women out there who have bought into the message “go big or go home” in the church with the result of many “going home.” Our church culture, while watering down the gospel, has also glorified the marvelous, making women feel they could never do such large feats—especially with a toddler and a coffee IV attached to the arm. We need to become dangerous once again in the simple things. We need to realize that we are all agents of change and have the ability to bring solutions to problems we see around us every day—problems that aren’t always “big.” We need to wake up to the radical call of Christ for our lives—if only for the sake of offering the young women coming up behind us. They need to see a dangerous gospel being lived out tangibly in our lives . . . or they’ll find it somewhere else.
Do you think being a “culture rebel” is God’s vision for all of us? Why or why not? What might this look like?
Whether you relate to the “desperate housewife” or the “desperate woman who’s gone home,” we are all being discipled by something every day. My question to women is: What’s discipling you? You can determine that by where your thoughts, focus, and Visa bill lies. Anything taking the place of God’s vision for your life deserves and needs rebellion.
So what encouragement can you offer for the way “normal” life can actually be awesome and meaningful in the kingdom of God? How can we have a fresh vision for “normal”?
I’m the queen of “big dreams”. It has been an enormous learning curve for me to bunker down in the nitty gritty of life and know that it has depths of purpose! In fact, when I became aware that Jesus was saturated with “normal” it kinda kicked me off my high horse. I came to realize that just as society is a victim of marketing, we in the church have been sold a message as well. This idea of “big” and “changing the world” is a rather new concept in the last 100 years. When you read the gospels, even the verses that speak of “greater things will you do,” its not speaking the same “change the world” language that we preach from our pulpits. Jesus ate, walked, talked among the “normal.” He lived among—and we too live “among” others. He wasn’t starting international ministries but drove away disciples till he was left with twelve. He spoke to crowds, but saw the “one.” Jesus is the perfect example of a religious rebel. If the Son of God lived and worked in “normal,” perhaps He can take our ordinary offerings of motherhood, baking for the neighbors, and loving the poor further than we think? There are no superstars in the kingdom, only servants.