The Power of Callings, Constraints and Consent

Joanna Meyer

Conversations about the role work plays in women's lives are tense – both inside and outside of the church. From the debate over whether women can "have it all" or "attain balance" when it comes to work and family, to the perceived "ambition gap" that keeps women from embracing their potential, to the strain between women who spend their days in the corporate sector and community, emotion around these topics runs high. 

Regardless of age or life stage, women want to know the best way to steward their God-given gifts. Helping women navigating these tensions forms the heart of DIFW’s Women & Vocation Initiative, which is expanding to Northern Colorado with a breakfast discussion Friday, May 12th (details here).

One of the women who has had the greatest influence on this initiative is Kate Harris, author of Wonder Woman: Navigating the Challenges of Motherhood, Career, and Identity. She joined more than 200 women to share insight from her book at a Denver Institute event in 2015. In the video of her presentation below (click to view), Harris offers a strong theological model women can use to guide their vocational choices.

As you watch, consider the following questions:

  • Of the three “E’s” described in this lesson (Encampment, Embodiment, Expectations) which one has the strongest influence over the way you feel about your daily work?
  • Often people associate specific professions, especially those with an emphasis on service, such as medicine, education, or ministry, as “vocations.” However, based on the origins of the word, how is this inaccurate?
  • How do your callings play out in your current “assignment?” Occupation? Church? In your family? With your roommates? Dating life? In your community involvement?
  • Harris identifies three Christ-like challenges we face as we fulfill our God-given purpose: our calling, constraints, and consent. How do you see these factors at work in your vocational decisions?


Joanna Meyer

Joanna serves as Denver Institute’s Director of Public Engagement, hosts the Faith & Work Podcast, and founded Women, Work, & Calling, a national initiative that disciples women for godly influence in public life. Prior to coming to the Institute, Joanna worked in global telecom, nonprofit consulting, and campus ministry with Cru. She served as associate faculty at Denver Seminary and as a sewing instructor at Fancy Tiger Crafts. A third-generation Coloradan, Joanna appreciates both the state’s innovative culture and its cowboy roots. She has an MA in Social Entrepreneurship from Bakke Graduate University and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She also completed a certificate of Women in Leadership through Cornell University.

She is the author of Women, Work, & Calling: Step Into Your Place in God’s World (IVP, Fall 2023) and is a contributor to the multi-author book, Women & Work: Bearing God’s Image and Joining in His Mission through our Work (B&H Publishing, Spring 2023).