I was unemployed for almost a whole year. Over that period, I faced rejection after rejection, so much so that I grew accustomed to disappointment. At the time, I kept asking myself this question: what am I going to do with my life? It was a frustrating and depressing period, and it tested my faith in the Lord.
Looking back on it, however, I now realize that that one year was a period of growth and unexpected blessings that I really needed in my life.
So if you’re now in the position that I once was, here are the five things I learned which will hopefully encourage you.
- I was prompted to seek God more. Most of the time, it felt like a one-sided conversation between me and God. Why is it so much easier for other people to find a job? Are they better than I am? Why am I so unlucky? Yet, precisely because of my plight, I prayed more and worked harder in that one year than I ever had. It was only when I desperately needed Him that I started to earnestly seek Him. During the years when I was studying, I didn’t really set aside time for the Lord or think of serving Him; my priorities were all about how to become successful and I was preoccupied with how to get there. This period was a tough but needful reminder to me to reassess whom I was living my life for.
- I let go of my life and submitted to Him. I enjoy planning for my life, setting goals, and being in control of my life. It’s great when things run smoothly, but when they don’t, it hits me hard. Imagine how I felt having the “unemployed” label and not having control over my life. It was frustrating and humiliating; I wanted to hide from my family and friends. But it took a year before I finally decided to let go for once and let God take over. I am thankful that I surrendered to Him, because once I did, I stopped feeling so alone, stopped blaming myself, and was finally able to move on.
- I was surprised by what God had in store. About halfway through that year of unemployment, I was encouraged to get involved in my church’s Sunday school ministry. To be honest, I’ve never been interested in anything that involves kids, but since I had so much free time, I was willing to give it a try. To my surprise, I found that I enjoyed teaching in Sunday school. I worked hard at preparing the materials and activities for the kids, and it became something that I looked forward to every Sunday. Had I been missing out on all this because I was so preoccupied with being successful? To be honest, I probably wouldn’t even be involved in church if I had found a job early on. But God knew me, and had other plans for me.
- I got a new perspective of life. As I started to submit to God’s rule and let Him determine my course in life, I learned to live life with a new perspective. Gradually, I stopped being bothered by what people thought about me. And although I continued getting rejections for job applications, it didn’t frustrate me as much. Instead, I made it a priority to build relationships with others, set aside time to read the Bible, talk to the Lord, and serve in Sunday school throughout this period. And though my life didn’t turn out the way I imagined it would, I felt fulfilled, balanced, and thankful. God was providing for me, albeit in a different way.
- I learned to be thankful for trial. In that one year of unemployment, I learned to be joyful and thankful in failure. I am also thankful for the way God has challenged and shaped me, bringing me closer to Him through each trial.
As I look back on the time when I didn’t have a job, I’m amazed by how God has seen me through each step of the journey. And whatever unforeseen plans He has for me in the future, I have confidence and trust in Him that He will see me through once again. It is my prayer that even after getting a job, I will not forget the lessons I’ve learned.