Can I Work His Way? With Michelle Myers and Somer Phoebus [Episode 204]

Work His Way Michelle Myers and Somer Phoebus

GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book She Works His Way by this week’s podcast guests. Keep reading to find out how!

Culture is always trying to convince you that “life balance” is possible. Everything you see is pushing the narrative that you can put equal work into a career, family, friends, faith, and self-care. But what if life isn’t about balancing all the things you do, but about doing what matters most?

Today, you’ll get a practical guide for doing what matters most in a get-things-done world. Authors Michelle Myers and Somer Phoebus open the door to a countercultural, gospel-centered conversation about the intersection of modern womanhood and work.

It’s a real struggle for so many women, and today’s guests know what they’re talking about.

Michelle and Somer are moms, wives, women called to work, best friends, and co-leaders of She Works His Way—a discipleship community for working women. And as we talk about their book, She Works His Way: A Practical Guide for Doing What Matters Most in a Get-Things-Done World, you’ll hear them answer questions you may be asking, such as…

  • Am I a “working woman” even if I don’t earn a paycheck?
  • Is work-life balance attainable, or is it even necessary?
  • How do I know what’s causing me to strive and depend on myself?
  • What can help me stay centered on the gospel throughout my work?
  • How should I define success?

Michelle and Somer have lots of great insight and advice, so get ready to be blessed.

And if you’ve already listened to the podcast, remember these four questions you can ask yourself to filter if you’re surrendering or striving:

  1. Does this keep me dependent on God?
  2. Does this keep me dedicated to my family?
  3. Does this make me effective in my work?
  4. Does this keep me committed to the gospel?

Ask yourself these questions daily, and instead of seeking to do all the things, you’ll be able to identify and focus on what matters most. You’ll learn to surrender your efforts to God instead of striving for that which only distracts us from what’s truly important.

Remember, dear sister, whatever you do and however you feel, you can do what matters most because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Work His Way? With Michelle Myers and Somer Phoebus [Episode 204]

Michelle Myers: It might be a good thing. But if I'm looking to discern -- if this is causing me to go into what we call the striving cycle and to depend on myself, then even if it produces productive good, if it's to my spiritual detriment and it pushes me to depend more on myself than I depend on God, then it's not something that I want to pursue.

Jennifer Rothschild: Culture is always trying to convince you that life balance is possible. You know what I mean. Everything that you see is pushing this narrative that you can put equal work into career and family and friends and faith and self-care. But what if life is not about balancing all the things you do, but instead doing what matters most? Today on the 4:13, you are going to get a practical guide for doing what matters most in a get-things-done kind of world. Authors Michelle Myers and Somer Phoebus will open the door to a countercultural gospel-centered conversation about the intersection of modern womanhood and work. Now, this is for every woman and for every man who loves one. So, K.C., here we come.

K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hello, our people. We're so glad you're back with us again. It's the highlight of our week when we show up in the closet and we know that you are somewhere on the other side of these microphones. I'm Jennifer, here to help you be and do what God has called you to be and do, even more than you even think you're capable of, that's the truth. And that's K.C. Wright --

K.C. Wright: Hey, hey.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- my seeing eye guy. We're happy to be here.

K.C. Wright: So happy. We love this time.

Jennifer Rothschild: I was a little distracted, got to be honest. You know why?

K.C. Wright: Why?

Jennifer Rothschild: Because when I was talking through the opening, you know, like, doing what matters --

K.C. Wright: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- I was thinking, I know what matters to me right now. I'm in project mode, K.C.

K.C. Wright: Tell us.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Because those of you who don't know what my life is like, I travel and speak a lot, and most of that is in the spring and in the fall. So in the summer I've got a little more wiggle room, and so I've been trying to finish up some projects, and one of them is my bedroom.

K.C. Wright: Okay.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. So let me explain this. My bathroom is falling apart. It's connected to my bedroom. It is falling apart. I'm not lying to you. I have a friend named Paula.

K.C. Wright: Oh, no.

Jennifer Rothschild: I've talked about Paula before.

K.C. Wright: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: Paula one time went in my bathroom and she's like, "For heaven's sake, you are a published author, can you not afford to replace this faucet?" That's how bad they are. Like, they were connected with rubber bands. So here's why, K.C. Because it's one of those things, it needs to be gutted and redone. And with pandemic and supply chain and finances, we just couldn't do it yet, right?

K.C. Wright: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: So I decided since I hate my bathroom, I need to love my bedroom, so I'm in project mode with my bedroom. So I've had the same bedroom furniture for 20 years. I'm not complaining. But I've also had the same color walls for 20 years. Styles have changed a lot.

K.C. Wright: It's time.

Jennifer Rothschild: Here's what I'm doing. Ready?

K.C. Wright: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right. So I did have -- and I like my bedspread. It's this velvety, almost like an emerald green.

K.C. Wright: Okay.

Jennifer Rothschild: And I had a little bit of blush in there, and some cream. My furniture is a lighter wood. Not pine, but more like a honey oak. What I'm saying is it's not in style, but I need to work with it. Okay. And my walls right now are this gold. I can't even see them and I do not like them. I know that we need to get the Mannered Gold off the walls. Okay. I have thought and thought and thought. And I've worked with my daughter-in-law, my friend Paula, another friend Kendra. I'm doing everything in shades of white and cream.

K.C. Wright: White is in right now.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Well, we'll see how long it stays white.

K.C. Wright: I mean, I'm seeing this, like, on TV shows and on YouTube and different clips, and magazines that people are pushing this -- white kitchens, white living rooms.

Jennifer Rothschild: See?

K.C. Wright: Yeah, you're --

Jennifer Rothschild: Now, I would love to do the white living room, but I'm just afraid it would be not white very long. But the bedroom, I thought at least we can control that. So my trim is white.

K.C. Wright: Okay.

Jennifer Rothschild: So my walls are going to be this -- I think it's called Alabaster, but it's just a slightly off white, you know, so it'll pop. I'm going to do some white shears down. And I have a tall ceiling, so we're going to put them way high with thin black rods.

K.C. Wright: Okay.

Jennifer Rothschild: My bedspread is like a white velvet. And then I've got -- I'm using texture, so creams and whites in pillows and throws, all sorts of different texture. On the floor, my lamps are a kind of off white with a bright white shade. I mean, it's going to be like a --

K.C. Wright: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: And I'm taking --

K.C. Wright: It's going to be beautiful.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- most everything off the wall. The only thing I think I'm going to do is an ensemble of some frameless canvases of family pictures just in black and white. So it's going to be a very quieted space. But I'm not done yet. But isn't it beautiful in your imagination?

K.C. Wright: Yes. I see it perfectly.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. So I see it in my imagination too --

K.C. Wright: Well done.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- and that's what's holding me so that I don't hate my bathroom so much. I'm like, well, I'm going to love my bedroom so my bathroom will be tolerable. Because, like we're going to talk about today, you got to know what matters.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: You got to do what matters. You can't do it all. So let's introduce our friends, Somer and Michelle.

K.C. Wright: Michelle and Somer, are moms, wives, women called to work, best friends, and coleaders of She Works His Way, a discipleship community for working women. They've got lots of great insight and so much good advice. Y'all, get ready to be blessed. Oh, man. You're going to receive a blessing right here and right now.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, Michelle and Somer, I'm so glad that we get to have this conversation. And your book, your ministry, are called She Works His Way. Okay? This is fantastic. So, obviously the book is for working women, but there's a lot of working women who don't get a paycheck for their work --

Michelle Myers: That's right.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- like my daughter-in-law. Okay? I mean, she works harder than anyone who puts on pumps and dress pants and goes to the office. So I'd like us to start with this. Let's start with a working definition of what it means to be a working woman.

Michelle Myers: I love that you started here, because I think it's so easy to define work by a paycheck. But we have redefined work as anything a believer does that we submit to God for him to use for his glory and the good of others. And so everything that we do that matters, that we want to do with intentionality, requires effort. And so if we want to truly show up and we want to reframe work in a way that expands our definition, to think of it beyond merely the tasks that we do or the place where we do or do not go every day. Work is basically saying, I want my life to count for something bigger than myself, and that is going to require my intentional effort.

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow. And when you think of it that way, then what you do just becomes the conduit for the real work, for the real purpose.

Michelle Myers: Yes.

Somer Phoebus: Yes.

Michelle Myers: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. That's such good stuff, Michelle.

All right. So, Somer, let me ask you a question then. All right? At the very beginning of the book, you guys bust this myth. And it is such a myth of work-life balance. Okay? And you say basically that balance is not the point, but lots of times that's exactly what women are told -- right? -- that it's achievable.

Somer Phoebus: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: So if balance is not the answer, what is?

Somer Phoebus: The answer is order. The answer is order. And we only know that because we tried balance. And, ladies, it did not work.

Jennifer Rothschild: No.

Somer Phoebus: We tried really hard to balance it. But I want you to take a second -- and if you're driving, don't do this. But if you're not driving, close your eyes and I want you to try to picture balance. If you see balance, usually what you see is either something that is perfectly aligned or something that is equal. And God is not going to fall in line with our plans and our wants and our desires; he has to be first. And so when we try to put God in a place that he is equal to everything or that he is just a part of everything, then we are working against ourselves because we were divinely designed to worship only God. We can't worship our work, our families, anything else. If we want to be true to who we are, who we were created to be, it is to worship God and God first.

So balance is always going to be a struggle for us because what we're trying to do is essentially make a lot of different things gods, little g gods, at different moments, and that will just steal from every part of our lives, especially our exhaustion. We will be so tired.

Jennifer Rothschild: You just explained a lot of what a lot of women are feeling and why it's happening. And I do think we are fed that lie that balance is attainable, but what you just basically did is say, well, let's not even think about being attainable, let's even just basically bust the myth that it's really not necessary. Because inherently you're saying, as a Christ follower, things should not be balanced. When God is first, everything else then will fall into place.

Somer Phoebus: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: But -- okay, let's get kind of practical here, because I love the theory of that. All right? But in the beginning of the book, you guys share what you call the She Works His Way filter. Okay? And I think this might help us with this balance idea. Okay? Because you said it helped you kind of know what to trust of all those, you know, personal development stuff that's out there that was thrown at you, especially when you were in your working careers. Okay, so walk us through the filter, because I think there's four questions that you guys ask.

Michelle Myers: Yes. So this actually -- She Works His Way didn't start as a ministry. It started as four friends on Google Hangout at 5:00 in the morning. Because even though we were all in different industries and in different geographical locations, we all felt this same tension and we were all encountering the same counterfeit offers in our jobs. And we knew the truth, but at times culture's lies that they were putting out, they sounded pretty good.

Jennifer Rothschild: Sure. Yeah.

Michelle Myers: And so these four questions really developed over our meeting together once a week for about 18 months. And so the first question that we asked was, you know, does this keep me dependent on God? And so it might be a good thing, but if I'm looking to discern -- if this is causing me to go into what we call the striving cycle and to depend on myself, then even if it produces productive good, if it's to my spiritual detriment and it pushes me to depend more on myself than I depend on God, then it's not something that I want to pursue.

And then the second question that we would ask is does this keep me dedicated to my family? Because once you get into the hamster wheel of human approval and success and money, there's never enough to satisfy and you can get caught up chasing after the wrong things. And a lot of times we make the -- distinguish between part-time work and full-time work, but there's also lifetime work. And the roles that we have inside our home, they are exclusive assignments that God chose and God gave just to us.

And so an analogy that I always say is I absolutely love the ministry that we get to do at She Works His Way. But if I'm gone tomorrow, if something happens to me tomorrow, that ministry will continue without skipping a beat. But there's going to be a hole in my home because I am the only one that got entrusted to that assignment. And so I don't want to miss the lifetime assignments that God has given me for a temporary assignment that looks pretty shiny.

Jennifer Rothschild: Mmm, good.

Michelle Myers: And then the third question we ask is, does this make me effective in my work? Because again, there's no success shaming that happens at She Works His Way. We are all for you being really good at what you do and getting promotions and raises and all of those things. Just don't want that to be the point. Because if we start aiming for those things, then it causes us to lose focus off of what really matters. And so more than being successful at work, we want to be effective in our work.

And then the last question is, does this keep me committed to the Gospel? Because more so than wanting a specific assignment, what we know is the specific assignments that God gives us are all wrapped up in the general assignment that he's given to all believers, and that is the Great Commission, that we are supposed to go and make disciples, that we are supposed to live in such a way that is always trying to reach other people with the hope that we have only because of Jesus. And so a way that we worded this in the book is basically seeing it -- because I think we live in such a side hustle world --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Michelle Myers: -- is seeing it as, okay, the Gospel is my main purpose, the Gospel is my job, and then the career path that God has given me, that's the side hustle.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that's good. Good filters. And we're going to have these on the show notes, because I know a lot of us are going to want to review those.

You mentioned something, Michelle -- and I don't know which of you wants to answer this question, but I would like for you to explain what the striving cycle is.

Somer Phoebus: Michelle, you've got to answer that one. That one came out of such a beautiful place in her heart, and I want to say it was in the middle of the night one night, so she needs to answer this.

Michelle Myers: But I think Somer gives the best visual picture of the striving cycle, because there's -- you either get caught up in two cycles. So there's the striving cycle and there's the surrender cycle. But rather than just thinking of the striving cycle as this, you know, clean diagram, think of it as the hamster wheel on a tightrope. I'm pretty sure that that's what Somer gave one time. And as soon as she said that, I was like, "That's it right there." It's not just the hamster wheel, it's the tightrope and looking down and realizing there is no net and it's going to be -- like, one wrong move and this all comes crashing down.

So the striving cycle essentially comes from me believing that it all depends on me. And if I believe that this all depends on me, then all that's going to do is create pressure in my heart. And when I have pressure that I feel in my heart, then I am going to work out of overwhelm and that's going to send me right back into striving. And so that's the hamster wheel that you just continue to get caught in.

Jennifer Rothschild: Vicious cycle.

Michelle Myers: Vicious.

Jennifer Rothschild: So then what is the surrender cycle?

Michelle Myers: Yes. So the surrender cycle -- the situations can be exactly the same, it's just a difference in dependence. So in the surrender cycle, the same chaos can be going on, but I recognize that it all depends on God. And when it all depends on God, no matter what I am going through, then I can recognize that I can have peace. The Bible talks about it as a peace that passes all understanding. And so it does not make any logical sense right now why I have peace, but God's presence is what gives us peace. And if he is with me, then I can continue moving forward. And if I am at peace, because I know that it all depends on God, then I work out of an overflow of his power and his presence instead of working out of overwhelm of my own limitations.

Jennifer Rothschild: Good word. I think lots of us need to hear that today. Super good word.

All right, let's cycle back to something else that you have mentioned here. Basically you're explaining that our work is the grand work, the Great Commission of sharing this good news that we have in Christ and making disciples. Okay, everything else becomes the side hustle. I think that's a lovely distinction also. So I would love for each of you to share just what is it right now that's a biblical passage that God is using in each of your lives to help you? You know, like how is the Gospel helping you do your thing? And on top of that, is there an area where you are still growing?

Somer Phoebus: Oh, my goodness, such a great question. There are so many areas where I am still growing. I feel like that could be another podcast episode just starring me and my growth needs. But here's what I'll tell you. Colossians has just spoken to me so loudly in the last, I would say, six months. It has been on my heart so heavy. And what I love about this, this passage that -- as you said, the question was what part of the Gospel helps you work out the Gospel. The beginning of Colossians is a letter. It's a warning to people to not add to the Gospel. And even in good conscious -- like, loving your neighbor doesn't mean that you take their different approach to spirituality and you say, "Oh, it's beautiful. If it's good for you, it's good for me." It's knowing that the Gospel is true and being able to love people really, really well, but not add to the Gospel based on their thoughts or their opinions. And so the beginning of Colossians is just a warning against culture and what it is bringing in.

And then at the end of Colossians, in Chapter 4, which is the last chapter, it tells us to walk towards outsiders in grace and wisdom. So what I love is the full picture of the letter here, starting out by being a warning to us to be careful. Don't listen to the false teaching, don't allow yourselves to add to the Gospel. No matter what, it's a warning against culture. But then Chapter 4 reminds us that culture is not the enemy, it is the opportunity. So we can be warned by it, but we cannot walk away from it. We have to actually walk towards it, otherwise how will they know? How will they know? So that is the picture I want of my life right there.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Yeah. That's a powerful, Somer. And so are you growing in this area? Is this a struggle or is this easy?

Somer Phoebus: It is such a struggle. And I'll tell you, I think the biggest thing is what we all struggle with, and that is the balance of knowing that I can love somebody -- I can care deeply for their soul. I can love their soul immensely. With every ounce of the Holy Spirit inside of me, I can love their soul and not let their opinion shake me. And that is so hard for a believer. It's hard for me to understand how I can care and love their soul, but then also just not let their opinion of me or their thoughts about the world or anything else distract me or pull me away from what I know is actual truth. And that's just a constant growing place for me.

Jennifer Rothschild: May it be for all of us. That's really healthy, really good.

All right, Michelle, what about you? Give us some Scripture verse that's meaningful to you, helping you live out the Gospel in an area where you're growing.

Michelle Myers: So I ended up in this really strange simultaneous study of 2 Timothy and Ecclesiastes. And I know that those do not sound like they go together at all, but give me a second. Because 2 Timothy is the last recorded letter that we have from Paul, and he wrote it to Timothy, who was his spiritual son. And he's in prison, he knows that his execution is certain, and he is giving his parting wisdom to Timothy. And in addition to encouraging Timothy, you can also hear how Paul is keeping himself centered and grounded when he realizes that the end of his earthly life is certain.

So you get to see how somebody who started really poorly -- because we often remember Paul as the incredible missionary that wrote most of the New Testament. But the truth is, he was a persecutor of Christians and he did not start well. He was the one who held the coats while Stephen, the first martyr recorded in Acts, was stoned. And so Paul radically met Jesus, converted immediately, and his life completely changed afterwards. So we get to see somebody who started poorly but finished really well.

And then you have Ecclesiastes that is written by Solomon, who started really strong but finished really poorly. And the book of Ecclesiastes is essentially his wisdom that he would pass on on how to navigate life in this world and the things that it has to offer you. And over and over and over again -- and this is coming from Solomon, who had everything that the world had to offer. There was nothing that the world could have offered him that he didn't have. And he got everything. He had the power, he had the money, he had the stuff. He had all the things, but he had abandoned his first love. And he recognized at the end of his life that everything that he had pursued was vanity because it wasn't God.

And so reading these two letters in parallel, from somebody that started poorly and finished really well to someone who started well but finished poorly, to see the difference in their countenance, in their hope, in the way that they wrote, it just kind of tells you the kind of finish that you want to have.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Yeah.

Michelle Myers: And I think where that's challenging me and where I'm growing is that requires me to act on faith. And if we're thinking about faith, what that is is -- that is hope in what I cannot see. And I am a literal girl. I have to like measurables, I like what I can see. But I am learning more and more that the things that are the most valuable and the -- even the circumstances that I find myself in, I don't necessarily even want the one that is going to provide me the most comfort, but I want to want -- that's the best way I know how to say it -- I want to want the circumstance that is going to put me in a place for my faith to grow, because that is the only growth that lasts that will benefit me long term.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Ladies, this is fantastic stuff. I love hearing each of your voices too, and your different perspectives, yet the message is the same. Which I think is such a good affirmation for each of us listening, how in our uniqueness God equips us and calls us, yet we can all live out the same message. Because it truly is because of the Gospel. It truly is because of the Gospel that we have this hope.

All right. So here we go, girls. This is going to be the last question. Good luck with this one. All right? Because I'm going to put it -- it's a simple question to ask, and it might be more complex, but from what I've heard so far, I think y'all can handle it just fine. Now that we've had this whole conversation, I would like to know from each of you, how do you define success?

Somer Phoebus: I love that. Well, there's a chapter in the book where we get to really lay this out, so I won't go into the whole thing here. But we define success as obedience to God. And the way that we obey God determines what our life trajectory is going to be. So he gives us this opportunity to obey. And he is sovereign, and even when we disobey, his plan happens. But to be a part in the way of obedience, that equals success in our hearts and minds. And so it can look like the world's version of success -- this is where we get really messed up sometimes as women, is we're like, okay, but success looks like this, right? So it is obedience to God, but it has to look like either money or a paycheck or a position or a title, and that is not the case.

Then we'll over-spiritualize it and we'll think if success is obedience to God, it has to look like you've almost neglected yourself and your life and all of the things. And that's also not the case. Each of us have a success that will look different from each other's. And we might be on mission in the same way, but the result of it will look absolutely different. So success to me -- success -- not to me. Success biblically is obedience to Christ.

Jennifer Rothschild: You know, K.C., I tell my team all the time, success is obedience. And I just wrote a Bible study on the book of Amos -- which by the way, it's going to be out in August -- and in that Bible study, what I learned from that Old Testament prophet Amos, is that success is obedience. Because he constantly did what God was leading him to do, he was who God called him to be, and it didn't always bear the fruit that one would want. Right? But success is obedience.

K.C. Wright: We need to hear that over and over, because obedience to God doesn't bind us, but it frees us. Right?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: And because we can get caught up in the wrong definition of what success really is, I just really thought their perspective was spot on today. So healthy and a message we all need to hear. So if you know you need it -- guess what? -- you can buy their book. We'll have a link on the show notes. Or better yet, how would you like to win one?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, come on.

K.C. Wright: Michelle and Somer have given us two copies of She Works His Way, so go to Jennifer's Insta profile to enter to win. She's found at @jennrothschild right there on Instagram. Or we'll have a link to get you there at the show notes at Plus, you can read a transcript of this great conversation there too. That's

Jennifer Rothschild: You know, my daughter-in-law, Caroline, first introduced me to Michelle and Somer. She loves these women, and I can see why. I mean, such good stuff. So enter to win a copy of their book at the show notes at And remember, whatever you do, however you feel, you can do what matters, because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.

K.C. Wright: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

K.C. Wright: You can do it.

Jennifer Rothschild: You know what? I mentioned all this about painting my bedroom because, yeah, there is a brush for you waiting, K.C.

K.C. Wright: Oh. Oooooo.


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