Long-time supporter of 4word, Elizabeth Knox, recently launched a company whose focus is helping professionals find freedom in their careers. She shares with us her personal definition of freedom and how she battles feeling “unfree” every day.
4word: What is your personal definition of freedom?
Elizabeth: As a Christian, my definition of freedom is found in Romans 6 where Paul explains that we are all slaves to something: either sin or righteousness. I know through watching my own behavior that I am either going to dedicate my life to pursuing my own desires, power, fame, and fortune, or working so that God gets the glory of all my efforts.
Through the cross we are free from slavery to sin, so we get to be slaves to righteousness instead.
Choosing to make ourselves slaves to God may sound crazy to someone who doesn’t believe in Christ. But through the Bible and my relationship with Him, I have learned that being a “slave to God” is actually the ultimate freedom. It is for freedom that you have been made free (Galatians 5:1). It means we aren’t slaves to the laws of righteousness, but righteousness through Christ. It’s not something we could earn, but something we’ve been given. And once we realize and receive the gift, we get to be free from the pull to glorify ourselves, the pull to serve our own self interests.
4word: Have you ever felt unfree? How did you seek freedom in those circumstances?
Elizabeth: Oh my goodness, every day. Every day I bump up against my desire to impress other people, to control outcomes I have no grounds thinking I should control. It locks me back up in slavery to sin – my own interests, my own glorification.
I seek freedom by “starting now.” Please excuse the divergence, but I have an illustration: I’ve always said I’ll get a tattoo when I know what I want, and where I want it, for five years. My current thought for a tattoo is a to have the words “start now” inscribed in small print on my left wrist. To remind myself that God’s grace is new every morning, and we always get a chance to start over. So while there may be earthly consequences to choices I make in the name of my own interests, there is always a chance to “start now.” To ask forgiveness, to repent, to change direction.
The other idea for a tattoo is to have 1 Corinthians 6:20 written on my wrist: You were bought at a high price, therefore honor God with your body.
So while I have an idea of where I want it, I don’t know exactly what I want, so I probably won’t be getting a tattoo any time soon! But I do know that I can only find freedom by recommitting to God’s grace, each and every time I need it.
4word: You recently launched your company, MatchPace. Tell us more about what you hope to achieve.
Elizabeth: Yes! I’m really excited about MatchPace and what it can mean for our ability to work hard and live well. We have two goals: reimagining the workday, and matching professionals in less-than-full-time jobs so that people can take care of their family and pursue their passions instead of burning out.
There’s been a lot of focus recently on the idea of minimalism in your personal life – stripping away possessions and obligations that actually hinder you from achieving your personal goals. At MatchPace, we want to apply that thinking to the workplace. What are the unnecessary things cluttering our days because that’s how we measure our effectiveness? Let’s get rid of them.
I’m working with another 4word woman, Caitie Butler, to help organizations realize that they can produce better outcomes and retain better talent by rethinking their work day. We also offer a search service where we help match organizational need with a professional in a less than full-time capacity.
In both areas, we’re looking to keep the right people in the right jobs, to help organizations accomplish their missions, and ultimately to give people back their freedom of time.
4word: What is your advice for women searching for freedom?
Elizabeth: Truly, freedom is only found in Christ. His death paid for our sins. We are free through Him. He brings us out of our cycles of self-focus, self-interest, and self-service. It’s a difficult and yet blindingly simple answer at the same time. If you don’t know Jesus, I’d recommend joining a local church, or a 4word group. Get to know some women personally, and let them tell you about their experience with Jesus. Ask Him to reveal himself to you. He will.
In what areas of your life do you feel “unfree?” We hope Elizabeth’s words have shed light on places in your life where you need to minimize unnecessary work and allow yourself to follow your passions.
Elizabeth Knox works for CSRA and is starting MatchPace – a company dedicated to helping organizations and their employees Work Hard & Live Well. MatchPace focuses on optimizing pace at work by structuring the work day to maximize effectiveness and make the most of the power of the human brain and productivity tools, giving us back more of our most valuable resource: our time. She is also the author of Faith Powered Profession which empowers women to live out their faith and values in the workplace. Elizabeth lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and four young children.