I spent six months of my life as a couch potato.
By the time I started my new job, I knew which online channels you could surf for the latest television series. I had also become a regular fixture at my local pool’s swim squad and gym classes, and my favourite Japanese crime-thriller author could not get his books translated into English fast enough to keep up with my reading appetite.
It was a lifestyle I enjoyed for the first three months, having just resigned from a stressful job which had torn my confidence into shreds. But lifestyle of leisure was not a sustainable one, and I was soon running out of funds. My bank balance was running low, my bills were piling up, and I had just spent close to a thousand dollars on my car.
So, I did what most people in that situation would do: I started hunting for a job. And that began a long and painful process in which I was forced to rely on God.
It was not easy trusting God over the half year that followed. I spent countless hours submitting job applications, only to receive emails with, “We regret to inform you . . .” Then there were times I would prepare for interviews, only to be told, “We have decided to go with the other candidate . . .”
The tears I shed over the rejections could rival Niagara Falls. But in the six months I spent job-hunting, I learned more about God than I would have if my prayer requests came through instantly.
When I resigned from my reporting job, I was ready to also call it quits with writing. I did not want to go near anything that required writing, and I was quite happy to look for a career in accounting, which was the degree I graduated with.
However, God had other plans for me. At a leadership weekend at my church, a sermon by an American pastor, John Bevere, had me retracting my earlier decision. Pastor Bevere spoke on the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), which talks about a group of servants who are entrusted with talents to look after while their master is away. A few tend to and grow their gifts, but one of the servants hides his talent. When his master discovers this, he reprimands the servant for being wicked and lazy, and takes his talent away from him.
The sermon reminded me to make use of my talents properly, and convicted me that I should really give writing another go. Sometimes, as we ask God to show us what steps to take next, we fail to take little steps of obedience now.
Are you job-hunting now? Is there something you need to do in the meantime before God shows you your next step? Maybe you have always longed to volunteer at your local animal shelter or soup kitchen, or serve in church. This could be the perfect time for you to do things you otherwise had no time for, especially if your motivation is to use your skills to advance God’s interests in the world. It could also be God’s way of helping you pick up important skills your future employer is looking for, or those that will help you be an effective testimony of Him at work.
For me, I had to start writing again as an act of obedience to God.
I wish I could tell you that job offers came pouring in after I started writing for YMI. But they didn’t. The rejection emails continued to come. There were nights I would lie awake, worrying about my future and comparing my situation with friends who had fancy job titles.
Yet God has promised us that He will look after us, and that He has our future in His hands. Luke 12:32 gave me a lot of comfort during this time. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”
The other thing I learned from my job hunting was that my identity does not come from any posh-sounding job title. Rather, my identity is in Christ. While men may judge my “unemployed” status, God sees me as His precious child, and my worth in His eyes does not drop an iota.
It is easy for us to derive our value from what is printed on our business cards. But the identity we find in God is something no one can take away from us. Our companies might tell us to pack up and leave as a result of a gloomy economy, but if we know who we are in Christ, we will not let it batter our confidence.
I waited for what seemed like eternity before I was offered my current job. And you know what? It was so much better than what I could have ever hoped and prayed for. It came with an attractive pay, a better work environment, and regular work hours.
Perhaps you are in similar situation. Maybe you have applied for so many jobs that you have lost count, and you feel like you are about to buckle from parental and peer pressure. But take heart and know that God is a God of more than enough (Ephesians 3:20). He will uphold you with His right hand (Isaiah 41:10), and He will give strength to the weary (Isaiah 40:29).
Your job hunt may look bleak. But I know God answers prayers at His appointed time. Corrie Ten Boom once said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” So cling on to God and the hope He offers; He will see you through to the end.