The former co-anchor of Good Morning America: Weekend Edition and The View challenges others to follow God's calling instead of climbing the corporate ladder.
Paula Faris is known to most people as the former host of Good Morning America weekend edition and The View. She had climbed to the top of her field and become one of the most well known faces in broadcast media. And then, in 2018, she quit.
Why would someone who had reached the pinnacle of their career give it all up? The answer is simple: calling. In her new book, Called Out: Why I Traded Two Dream Jobs for a Life of True Calling, Faris shares her deeply personal journey to let get of her high intensity careers and pursue God's true purpose for her life.
Faris had known something was wrong for a while, but it took what she calls a "Year of Hell" to force her to make changes. During this year she went through a miscarriage, an attack on the job that left her out of work with a concussion, a car crash and pneumonia. The onslaught of physical ailments pushed Faris to a low point and made her face a truth she had been avoiding: she was addicted to a career God had not called her to do.
Just as many pastors feel called to a career in ministry, or an artist might feel called to a career as a painter, for Faris her persistence and commitment to telling the truth
led her to pursue journalism. It had felt like her career was a natural extension of who she was. She thought it was God's plan for her life.
"I always thought my calling was synonymous with my career or what I did for a living," Faris told Guideposts.org. "For a long time I didn't know how to describe calling except for 'what I'm doing.' It was always doing, not just being."
After seven months of hardship, Faris was at the end of her rope. In desperation, Faris cried out to God, asking why she had been called to something that was negatively impacting her marriage, relationships with her children and health. It took a lot of prayer and consulting with trusted advisors, but eventually Faris decided to meet with the president of ABC and leave her job.
"I didn't realize how much of my identity was totally wrapped up in what I did," Faris said. "As a woman of faith, I've long maintained that I'm not defined by what I do, I'm defined by who I am. And I am a wife and I'm a mother, I'm a child of God. But then after I burned out and decided I needed to take a break, I realized I didn't know who I was outside of my [job]."
Faris quit both of her jobs and took the time to pray and turn to trusted mentors to help guide her. She felt confident God had wanted her to leave her jobs, she wasn't sure what to do next. One thing that helped Faris was to make a distinction between vocation and calling.
Although she'd attended conferences on the topic and heard pastors speak about finding a calling, Faris still didn't know how to define it for herself. It wasn't until her father passed away and she began to go through his journals that she fully understood. She saw how centered he was in his faith outside of his job. She wrote Called Out as a "journalist's notebook on the topic."
"I didn't expect to be so lost. But then I didn't expect what I found either," Faris said. "What I found was that yes, we all have a faith calling that is totally separate from what we do. And that should be the thing that drives us throughout our life."
Vocation, on the other hand, Faris defines as tied to a specific job, which can change based on the season of your life or where you feel God leading you.
"It's like a vine and a branch," Faris explained. "My vine is my calling, which is to love God and love people. The vocation is just one branch."
Faris said that people can know they're being vocationally called to something if a job meets three criteria.
"You have to be good at it, you have to love it, and other people trusted people in your life have to recognize that you're not only good at it, but you love it."
After a lot of prayer and contemplation, Faris decided to launch a podcast talking to other people about their relationship with God. Journeys of Faith is broadcast on ABC Radio and has brought her the joy, passion and purpose she was missing from the jobs she thought were her dream. But she knows this is just one part of her calling, and that she may have different jobs in the future.
It hasn't been easy, but Faris now has balance in her life, and no longer relies on the accolades and titles of her jobs to bring her joy.
"I just want to encourage anyone that feels like they may be being called in a different direction," Faris said. "There's always an element of fear and always an element of faith involved, in any big decision. That's just part of life. You have to push through the fear."