5 Things I Learned When I Couldn’t Find A Job

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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

When Others Called me Fat

Written By Chrisanty L, Indonesia

When I was studying in China, there were many occasions when sales assistants would just ignore me whenever I walked into shops or boutiques around my university. When they did take notice of me, however, one of the things they would say to me while I was browsing through the clothes racks was, “We only have small sizes here.”

The majority of the 15,000 students in my university were petite. The ones that stood out were usually foreigners, who tended to be taller and larger in build. I am a Chinese Indonesian, but I didn’t look like the average Chinese female student. And so, over time, I developed a fear of entering any shop around campus, because I felt that I was being watched and judged.

I have always felt self-conscious about my large frame and broad shoulders. That’s probably because I could always feel the stares of others, as if they were labelling me as “the fat girl” in their minds. I hated it when someone grabbed my arms and started talking about how thick my arm was. Or when my friends and family members teased me about my weight, told me that I should start dieting, or compared me with other girls my age. What made it worse was that my attempts to get thin would usually end up making me sick. Even then, people would still call me “fat”.

In the end, being “fat” made me hate everything else about myself. Over time, I came to accept what seemed to be the only reality in my life: I was fat and ugly, and that would never change.

I started to get very sensitive. I became easily hurt by others’ words, even those that were kind or had nothing to do with my body. To me, everyone was just teasing me. I became disappointed with myself. I didn’t want to go out to meet new people, and I lost a lot of confidence. I didn’t want to make friends or even do anything. And I started to develop an anger towards others. When you dislike yourself, it is almost impossible to be genuinely kind and generous to others, because you don’t have any positive thoughts and attitudes to share with them.

It was not until I met another student in China, that I started to change my way of thinking. She too found it hard to find clothes that fit her from the shops around campus. She too had to deal with people viewing her as fat. But that wasn’t the thing about her that left an impression on me. She had come to China wanting to serve the Lord by helping out in orphanages. She was determined to spread the love that she had received, to those who had been shown so much less. One afternoon, after having a conversation with her, I remember thinking: “I’m sure God would see her as a beautiful person, and that He loves her even if she was viewed otherwise by others or even by herself.”

That got me thinking about myself. How did God view me? How did the Creator see His creation?

1 Samuel 16:7 says, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” For the longest time, I had not been able to accept myself; being “fat” was what defined my life. For some time, I forgot that God is my creator, and that He doesn’t look at mere appearances. Our God looks at the heart and at our lives. He sees that His creation is good. That truth really made a difference to me.

When you start thinking about how big our God and His love is, you will start to rekindle your love towards yourself, towards others, and even to those who might have hurt you. I have to admit that this has not been easy, especially after hearing and believing the hurtful and hateful things people said about my body. So I started slowly, first by making sure that I was thankful for the body God had created for me, then by keeping myself healthy, but not obsessing over the shapes and sizes that people wanted me to be.

I think it’s normal to feel like you don’t look your best or to feel “fat” sometimes—but don’t let it eat away at your life. There is a caring Father who does not look at your mere appearance and who loves you no matter what. I realized also that while people will never stop or even can’t help obsessing over appearances, we should never let it make us lose the opportunities to make friends and make an impact to glorify God.