The literature on the work-family interface has relied on several overlapping relational concepts. The first one understands the relationship between work and family as characterized by conflict (Allen and Martin 2017; Greenhaus and Beutell 1985). WFC focuses on conflict due to the incompatible demands of role pressure and high expectations from both work
and family. A recent study of the relative effects of WFC by Pattusamy and Jacob (2016) found evidence that the negative spillover from work to family is larger than the negative spillover from family to work. However, this effect is mediated by perception of work and family balance. In other words, the effects of WFC on family and job satisfaction are offset by positive perceptions of work and family balance.
The relationship between work and family can be positive, not only negative (Allen and Martin 2017). Both work and family may provide positive and mutually enhancing, enriching resources for individuals. Of course, enrichment can be initiated from either domain: work to family or family to work. Greenhaus and Powel (2006) identify five types of resources that work-family enrichment provides: skills and perspectives, psychological and physical resources, social-capital resources, flexibility, and material resources. These resources are both instrumental (skills and abilities that are directly transferable across domains) and emotional. This means that individuals learn important skills and gain emotional resources in one domain that may spill over to enrich the other domain.
Work-family balance (WFB) has also been used to describe this relationship (Allen and Martin 2017). Following Kalliath and Brough (2008), we understand WFB as one’s perception of the compatibility and mutual enrichment of both work and nonwork activities in accordance with one’s values and preferences. This could be thought of as an authentic perception of role salience and satisfaction. This means that, to the extent that one is perceiving the relationships between work and family as predominately compatible and mutually enhancing, one experiences balance between the two spheres, despite the actual balance between the two spheres. That is, one will perceive and experience greater WFB to the extent that work and family activities are viewed as compatible and to the extent that the individual is able to prioritize his or her role in each domain based on values and preferences. For example, Wolfram and Gratton (2014) conducted a study looking at the effects of WFC on role importance and life satisfaction. They discovered evidence that the most significant negative effects of WFC on life satisfaction occurred when an individual experienced negative WFC and also prioritized one’s role in the family.
Greenhaus and Powell (2006) describe two pathways in which skills are transferred between work and home: an instrumental and an affective path. The instrumental path focuses on the direct transference of enrichment
domains such as compromise. The affective path emphasizes the positive effect of resources on happiness or contentment and how positive affect in one role influences the other. For example, individuals learn the skill of flexibility when transitioning from home to school as children. This transition grows an individual’s ability to take turns and compromise with others. Flexibility learned at home and reinforced at school becomes an essential skill for working adults. For instance, Sandage and Harden (2011) describe how differentiation of self (DoS) is associated with higher levels of openness to multiculturalism, which plays an important role in compromise and engagement with others. The skills learned at home and at school pay dividends as the individual enters work.
DoS provides the psychological ability to cope with anxiety and stress, and it is established in the family. Family members look to each other to manage and respond to anxiety and stress. These resources focus on functional relationships and togetherness as well as emotion regulation and goal-oriented behavior (Bowen 2004; Jankowski and Sandage 2012; Murdock and Gore 2004; Titelman 2014; Papero 2014). As an example, Murdock and Gore describe how DoS mediates the relationship between resources and coping with stress. In their study, individuals with lower levels of DoS experience more stress, and they have fewer resources for coping with stress. Lower levels of DoS impact the relative amount of anxiety experienced as well as diminish the psychological resources available to cope with that anxiety.
Families characterized by lower levels of DoS engage “instinctual,” automatic, and habitual coping patterns, which lead to increased stress and anxiety (Papero 1990, 2014). Families characterized by lower DoS react to stress in rigid, inflexible patterns like (1) triangulation, (2) conflict, (3) distance, and (4) over- or underfunctioning reciprocity. These functional patterns become habitualized and prevent a response to stress based on one’s values and goals.
Differentiation of self (DoS), as we have described throughout this book, is arguably the most important family resource for spillover into the work domain. DoS provides the emotional resources that enable an individual to objectively determine the salience of the demands made by a given role. That is, individuals need to objectively and calmly determine which demands are more pressing at a given time as both domains make emotionally charged and pressing demands. Higher levels of DoS allow the individual to respond to
demands in a values-based manner (Frederick and Dunbar 2019). Additionally, DoS enhances one’s ability to derive personal satisfaction from each domain. This means that emotional strength and confidence are not completely dependent on either domain. The individual has enough of a solid or authentic sense of self that challenges in either domain are not emotionally devastating to the individual (Frederick and Dunbar 2019). In these ways, DoS provides both instrumental and affective paths for resources to spill over between the two domains.
Calling and Differentiation in Christ Differentiation in Christ (DifC) could be described as the authentic expression of one’s identity based in Christ. This definition emphasizes the correspondence between one’s behaviors and relationships and one’s identity in Christ. In terms of identity, being adopted into the family of God via Christ’s saving work on the cross is the core self. Living out Christian relationship principles like covenant, grace, empowerment, and intimacy becomes the value base for meaningful action.
Theology provides an important framework for understanding calling, an aspect of Christian identity. There have traditionally been four main definitions of calling (Stevens 1999). The first definition of call is effectual and focuses on becoming a Christian. This understanding of calling is synonymous with conversion to Christianity, and the example of the apostle Paul is viewed as paradigmatic (Peace 1999). The effectual call is the primary definition of calling from a Christian perspective.
Second, a providential call is embedded in the station, situation, or occupation one is in. In other words, God providentially places individuals in particular locations in order to accomplish particular goals. The stories of Joseph gaining leadership in Egypt (Gen. 37–50), Daniel ascending to a high position in Nebuchadnezzar’s court (Dan. 1–5), and Ruth working in the fields of her kinsman-redeemer, Boaz (the book of Ruth), are Old Testament examples of God placing individuals in certain social and political stations for his kingdom purposes (Stevens 2012).
Charismatic calling is the third definition. God gifts or empowers people to accomplish specific tasks (Stevens 1999). These gifts (or charismata in Greek) focus on spiritual empowerment for specific situations; examples include being able to speak in a different language (see Acts 2) or healing.
These Spirit-provided gifts include talents and abilities as well, meaning that God distributes talents and abilities for humans to work.
The final aspect of calling entails desire or motivation. God’s heart calling (Stevens 1999, 82) orients one to pursue life paths based on their motivation or desire. Humans have an inner desire to accomplish certain tasks based on the calling of their hearts. In other words, the heart calling fulfills an inner desire or personal motivation to accomplish a task, fulfill a responsibility, or have a certain occupation or station that accomplishes God’s purposes.
These definitions have been summarized by Oz Guinness’s (2003) description of calling as primary and secondary. Calling is a person’s response to the current circumstances of life (relationships, employment, etc.); that response expresses and develops one’s abilities and talents with the goal of advancing the kingdom or reign of God. Primary calling focuses on identity—effectual call and discipleship. Secondary calling describes the physical locations and activities in which one’s primary calling is embodied, the social contexts where responsibilities are maintained, and one’s opportunities to express gifts and talents.
Frederick and Dunbar (2019) define it this way: “Calling as we define it is finding one’s identity in Christ, and then engaging the world in activities that bring liberation, redemption, and/or stewardship in order to reflect the Kingdom of God here and now” (74; italics in original). In other words, calling is an expression of differentiation in Christ. Basing one’s identity on Christ provides the primary calling in one’s life. This solid identity based on our adoption into God’s family provides resources for managing our emotions and responding to others. Further, we embody this identity in our relationships with others as spouses, parents, children, and coworkers. Our secondary callings are the authentic expressions of our primary calling as a member of God’s family.
Christian calling as our primary identity provides the internal resources needed for developing satisfaction in our roles and relationships. To begin with, our sense of self-efficacy and satisfaction is based on our relationship to God in Christ. We are adopted into God’s family, and this means that God loves us and is pleased to call us his children (1 John 3:1). This satisfaction allows us to face anxiety, worry, and stress without becoming overwhelmed. That is, our identity in Christ facilitates our emotion regulation so that we can
engage in values-based action. Identity is not derived from satisfaction from either work or family roles.
Calling as a secondary expression of identity focuses on role salience. Calling allows individuals to identity the relative importance of demands made from different roles. These demands are able to be objectively evaluated, and the individual is able to respond to them in a values-based manner. The demands are not experienced as overwhelming or pressing, because one’s identity is not based on satisfaction from either domain. If one bases identity on satisfaction in a domain, then conflict between domains is experienced as a threat to identity. Responses to this conflict are laden with anxiety, and these responses become habitual patterns. This limits our ability to objectively discern the importance of the demands and determine how God is calling us to respond to the specific circumstances of our lives. The secondary sense of calling provides important resources for discerning which life domain takes precedent, and it facilitates positive spillover from one to the other.
Calling and Image Bearing Chapter 1 emphasized how the doctrine of the image of God is reflected in vocation. Humanity, as God’s image bearers, works to fill the earth, steward its resources, and be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:26–28). This image bearing could be viewed in terms of status or ontology (Strachan 2019). Humanity “is the representative of God on earth; to see a man or woman is to see the only living creature made in the image of God” (Strachan 2019, 29). Our actions should reflect our status as image bearers. Or, stated differently, image bearing should be an authentic expression of our identities.
Vocation as an authentic expression of bearing God’s image has focused on three different aspects of God’s work in the world. James Fowler (1987) describes three main ways in which callings represent authentic expressions of image bearing. First, governance is described along stewardship and cultivation lines. Humanity is called to tend the earth and develop the culture. Part of this governance is reflected in the naming of the creatures in Genesis chapter 2. Further, there is a sense that the garden scene is primordial in nature or naive (Wolters 2005). This is evidenced by the overarching trajectory of the Bible, which begins with a garden and ends with a city—the city of God. Humanity engages in governing practices by being responsible