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ABC's Paula Faris: How a 'Season of Hell' Helped Me Find My True Calling

05-19-2020
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Paula Faris

So often we put our value, and even our worth, into the wrong things. That's part of Paula Faris's story. The ABC News correspondent rose quickly and scored two coveted jobs – co-host of The View, and anchor of Good Morning America's weekend edition.

But she walked away from both jobs. She talks about why she did that in a new book, Called Out: Why I Traded Two Dream Jobs for a Life of True Calling.

In an interview with CBN News, Faris, a committed Christian, shared that the success she achieved came with a lot of chaos.

Professional Success, Personal Chaos
  
"And I really, I felt like my personal life was falling apart around me," she said. "Yes, I was at a professional high, the height of my career, but I looked around, Jenna, and the landscape around me was on fire." 

"My relationships were suffering: [the relationship] with my husband, with my kids, with God," she went on. "I wasn't attending church regularly because I couldn't due to my schedule. My health started to suffer and I felt this stirring in my spirit that God really wanted me to take a step to the side but I challenged him at first. 'But didn't You call me to do this? This is my calling. I'm walking in my calling. Look, I'm doing this all for You.'" 

"Season of Hell"

But it wasn't until Paula experienced what she describes as a "season of hell" that she got to the point of surrender.

"I felt a little like Job. I experienced five major events. I had a miscarriage with an emergency surgery. And then I suffered a concussion at work through a very freak accident where someone threw an object at my head right before I was going live for Good Morning America. The day I got cleared to go back to work after being knocked out from the concussion, I get in a head-on car crash. That's incident number three. Incident number four is influenza. And then I developed pneumonia. So that's five major events within seven  months of my life and I said, okay, God, I understand You want me to slow down because my professional and personal choices are clashing with my professed values and my family is getting my leftovers." 

So Paula took a step back. And that came with its own set of challenges.  
  
"And then in that space, Jenna, I realized I had no idea who I was outside of my job. My identity and my purpose was in career, was in work, was in [my] vocation, was in this 'calling' on my life."
  
She realized her idea of "calling" was always linked to career, and work as to where she found her worth – not in God.

Finding Her True Calling

"What God really revealed to me in this season where I write a majority of the book is that we have these two callings on our life. We have a faith calling which is our purpose on this earth. It is why we are here and it will never move. It will never shake. It will never be uprooted when there's a pandemic or a personal crisis. It's who you are. For me, it is to love God and to love people. A personal crisis is never going to shake that." 

Not even something called COVID-19 can shake her calling, Paula said.

"A pandemic will never shake loving God and loving people and that's why I'm here. My vocational calling will change, okay, and my vocational calling, yes, while it's what I do, it's the vehicle. I see it now as the vehicle by which I will love God and love people. It's the conduit. It's going to change. Expect it to change. Allow God to branch out, to not see yourself so one-dimensionally."

Her career has certainly not been one dimensional, and she's seen many changes along the way. Today, Paula is a correspondent for ABC News, hosting a popular podcast, "Journeys of Faith." Paula says these days she no longer sees her self as a broadcaster only.

"I say, okay, I'm someone who's curious. I am a questioner. I am dogged and I will champion people and guess what? God can use that in a myriad of ways on a myriad of different branches but I just have to remember what I'm doing and who I'm doing it for. It's not about me." 
  
For Paula Faris, it's about loving God and loving people – and allowing the love God to shine through her. 

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