What I’ve Learned from Unemployment PART 1 [To The Girl Who Finds Her Worth In Her Job – Or Anything Other Than God]

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Man, do I love a good ol pity party.

It’s really a specialty of mine.

So much so that I’ve thought about adding it to my resume in times of unemployed desperation: “Self-proclaimed ‘woe is me’ expert. 24 years of hands-on self pity experience.”

When I envisioned my “dream career” all I saw were stilettos, pencil skirts & me makin’ the big bucks.

That was my plan. Come hell or high water.

Climbing the corporate latter – showing the world whose boss. (ie: me, obviously).

But irony is: I write this as I sip on my 3rd cup of coffee from the comfort of my couch, being unemployed for the SECOND time since graduation. I’m pretty sure I have more “Thanks for your interest but….” e-mails than the dollars in my bank account.bible study coffee devotional morning quiet time unemployment

Well, high water (or sometimes what feels like hell) came and I found myself drowning in a sea of grace.

“Why me, God? I’ve had numerous internships, payed my way through college, and worked since I was 14…. how can these kids who never did these things be advancing when I’m not?”

A conversation that I have with Him regularly.

But as we all know, there’s a deep root to every issue.

And for me, the real issue wasn’t unemployment, lack of work ethic, or the me “wrong fit”.

It was my  heart.

Pride.

Self entitlement.

And not seeking Him first.

I was qualified for many of the roles I’ve applied and interviewed for – some were even ideal my DREAM JOB that I was sure God pre-ordained for my blessing.

But thinking I didn’t need Him became my demise.
Aiming to PROVE my worth instead of ACCEPT my worth was (is) my downfall.

I would find myself praising God every time I got an interview or a call-back and then cursing Him when it didn’t pan out in my favor.

But is God not the same God in times of highs and lows?

Why is it that we forget that truth when we’re on the mountain top and avoid that truth when we’re in the trenches?

It’d be safe to say that you could call this season I’m begrudgingly walking through, one of pure Sanctification. 

Which for those of you who didn’t grow up Southern Baptist or don’t speak unrelatable “Christianese” it basically means to be made more like Christ through God pointing out sins and struggles in your life that don’t align with His word and His will.

And even though at times I’ve closed my eyes and ears to what God was saying, He’s definitely taught me a thing or two.

A few things I’ve reluctantly learned in this season

  1. To seek HIS kingdom first – not my own.
    • Stop trying to glorify myself and obtain  more earthly riches, but instead pursue opportunities that God will be most glorified and keep Him as my #1 priority through it all.
    • Ask God to move me into a place that He’d be glorified – not just where I’d be fulfilled/rich.
    • Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these things will be given to you. 
  2. To keep my plans loose – don’t white knuckle them.
    • Simply put: looser plans = less heartbreak.
    • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding, and in all your ways submit to Him for He will make your paths straight.
  1. To pray/Trust for His will to be done.
    • Instead of just murmuring these words in a prayer right before a big interview, actually believe and submit to His truth and know that His ways and His thoughts are way bigger than mine.
    • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ. 
  2. To not find my identity, comfort, worth or contentment in my job or any worldly thing.
    • Ouch – easier said than done.
    • Coming from a girl who love to flaunt her GPA, internships, fitness level and many other things – this has been the hardest one to learn.
    • Psalm 139:13-14 – For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well. 
  3. And to be a witness/display Christ through what I’m convinced is one of the top 10 hardest things an adult can go through (especially a type-A one).
    • I can either cry myself to sleep every night and complain about my circumstances, or I can encourage believers and show unbelievers how are true joy is found in Christ alone and how we have the tools (His word + a relationship with Him) to guide us through life even when we aren’t sure where He’s taking us.
    • 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 – Because the God who said: ‘out of the darkness light shall shine’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but we are not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.”

So while I’ve cried more tears, typed more versions of resumes, and rummaged through LinkedIn job postings like a hoarder at a yard sale than I would ever hope or expect to:

at the end of it all, what I keep picturing is myself as the prodigal son and God relentlessly running after me and my heart – using these big grand gestures and ideal dream jobs as a way to get my attention. Because He loves me. Not because He’s punishing me.

I remember asking my husband “why can’t He just get my attention with the jobs I don’t want? Why does He have to be so cruel to get me all the way to the final stage of interviews with jobs and salaries I could have never even dreamed of?”

But it’s because: the bigger the gesture, the harder the heart. 

That stings.

And I’m humbled over the fact that He pursues me even when I tell Him money and success are more satisfying than a deep relationship with Him.

bible and coffee jesus our true hope quiet time devotional

But through His love, He pulls out the big stops only to get my attention and to remind me that it is in Him alone that I ever be full.

Psalm 42:1 – For as the deer pants for streams of water, So my soul longs for you, Oh God.

While I know (hope) trading in pencil skirts for yoga pants & stilettos for Nike’s is temporary, the truth I’ve learned is anything but.

Throwing my plans away & accepting His path has proved to be the only fulfilling option.

Often times when God saves us from ourselves, it doesn’t feel good.

And while sanctification is never pretty – it’s always worth it.

Also, yoga pants aren’t so bad.

Tell me: what have you walked through that put you at a crossroads of stronger faith or a hardened heart? 

When we’re faced with a choice – it’s often easier to choose pride and continue in our hard-headed stubbornness, but ultimately, choosing humility and surrendering to God’s love, always leads to peace and a deep fulfillment no matter what the trenches may hold.

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