Jen Swift’s Story

“Sabbath is the only way I can enjoy the busyness of life and stay grounded in my pursuits. It keeps me from being ruled by my job, my dreams, and any monetary gain. It’s also worth noting how discipline and sabbath are somehow working together to teach me the immensely important life lesson of being present and being satisfied with the present.”

-Jen

Editor’s Note: I asked questions of people who I have seen live out a fabulous story – during times when they have answers and times when they don’t. These stories inspired me, and I think they will give you perspective, too!

When you were in college, what did you think your life would look like after graduation?

I thought that 3-5 years after graduation I would be married with a Master’s in Divinity/Psychology and a full-time job in pastoral ministry. I secretly hoped to have an album out there in the world and frequent public speaking gigs. As I typed that … it is laughable how overly optimistic I was.  

Is that what happened after college, and if not, what did happen?

Things are vastly different from what I originally expected post-grad life to be. I have hit the five-year mark without a husband, Master’s degree, or a full-time position in ministry (yay me!).

While I had assumed that my life would be lived on stages and platforms, these last five years have felt hidden with a lot of (boring) behind the scenes work.

However, I have discovered new gifts and dreams that I would have missed otherwise. I also experienced important emotional healing and character growth that has been amazingly life changing. It may sound strange, but I am grateful that my initial post-grad expectations weren’t fulfilled because those expectations could have pigeon-holed me into a life that I didn’t really want nor was I ready to sustain.

What are you learning right now?

In this season of life, I’m pursuing career goals with more rigor which is requiring me to learn discipline and sabbath. Discipline and perseverance in the mundane don’t seem like a big deal in the moment, but I have found that consistency in those moments is the only way to see any dreams become a reality.

And Sabbath is the only way I can enjoy the busyness of life and stay grounded in my pursuits. It keeps me from being ruled by my job, my dreams, and any monetary gain. It’s also worth noting how discipline and sabbath are somehow working together to teach me the immensely important life lesson of being present and being satisfied with the present.

What do you love about your life right now?

I love that I have the freedom to try new endeavors and take risks. There isn’t anyone else depending on me financially, which frees me up to explore and lend my time to my creative pursuits. I also love that I get to experience rich friendships. It’s definitely a marker of this season to enjoy and cultivate the friendships around me.

Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?

Honestly, I don’t think I got to where I am by living by an organized, step-by-step plan. My experience has been a very fluid (and messy) mixture of education, vulnerability in relationships (friends, mentors, counseling), consistent community, embracing creativity, being okay with small beginnings, and letting myself take risks.

What brings you joy/fills your soul?

Writing music has been especially fulfilling this year. There’s something gratifying about letting your soul be heard through music and lyrics. It makes a part of me come alive that I never new existed. Also, things like adventure and nature have been game changers this last year when it comes to joy. They’ve also become a regular part of my schedule to keep me fresh and alive.

If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

March to the beat of your own drum. The part of you that is different from everyone else is the part of you that the world needs.

Embrace failure and the hidden, unappreciated seasons of life. These are what help you hold and sustain your dreams, your talent, and the destiny for your life.

What do you wish everyone knew about blogging and being a worship leader?

I don’t do these things for me or my gain. Worship leaders and bloggers can sometimes come off as self-absorbed, and maybe some of them are. However, from where I sit, I am genuinely trying to serve other people through the written word and through music. When I choose songs for Sunday, I am thinking about the people who are going to sing them. When I write a blog post, I am thinking about the people who are going to read them. It’s not just for me; it’s for you.

How can readers connect with you?

You can check out my blog at thejenswift.com or follow me on Instagram @thejenswift.

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