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Finding God in My Unemployment

Finding God in My Unemployment

Unemployed. It’s hard to even type the word yet it unexpectedly became my reality. When I received the news I lost my job, I did my best to have perspective. God’s got this, right? I don’t need to freak out. It’s fine.

It didn’t take long for my thoughts to overcome my faith. The questions came all at once: What am I supposed to do now? How am I going to pay the bills? How long will this last? Am I going to end up homeless? Admittedly, the last question tilts toward the dramatic, but you get the point. These are big questions that lack simple answers.

Initially, my response to unemployment was to hide. I avoided telling people I lost my job and kept a low profile. I didn’t even tell my parents. I started applying for jobs, assuming I would rebound quickly and nobody would need to know this happened.

I had these expectations of God swooping in and rescuing me quickly, providing a job that was far beyond what I could have hoped or imagined. Instead, there was silence. I told myself not to freak out. I just needed to persevere. Give it another month. Something great is on the horizon.

It wasn’t.

I applied for jobs every day, expecting my skills, experiences, and connections to come through. Any day, any minute this would all be over. In reality, there were a lot of no’s coming in creative ways. I felt alone and abandoned. My mind became consumed with second-guessing every decision I made that might have avoided this situation. I was filled with regret. Sitting in confusion, I began to fall into depression. I found myself repeatedly asking a four-word question: where are you, God?

Eighty-eight days into unemployment I somehow found myself watching the sunrise while standing on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. As I looked out over the horizon, the breakers were crashing over my feet. I remembered words from a Psalm I learned a while back.

“Deep calls to deep, in the roar of your waterfalls, all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” (Psalm 42:7)

My troubles crashed over me like never-ending waves. The trials I faced seemed to get deeper. I felt as though I was drowning. I felt the words of Psalm 42:11

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God.” (Psalm 42:11)

Here the psalmist is in this gut-wrenching fight with himself. He’s battling against his own discouragement while rebuking himself for being discouraged in the first place. With the breakers of life sweeping over me, I felt hope rising as I began to remember who God is and what He has done. Over these months, God was not meeting my expectations. This prompted the question; will I follow Jesus when I don’t understand Him?

I faced that question head on. Though I was still confused, angry, and feeling as though the darkness would never subside, I walked away from the ocean feeling hopeful. I felt the desperation for a job lessen as my longing for God increased. I was determined to let these next few days be a reset as my heart was turning toward God with an eagerness that had been lost.

Later that evening, I opened my journal for the first time in a while. For me, the magic of a journal comes when it forces contemplation and interaction with God. My negative self-talk looks different on paper than in my head. When I write, I can hear God’s voice gently turning my heart from the lies and leading me toward truth.

I listed the ways God was showing up for my family during this season. He was meeting our needs in extraordinary ways. I thought back to previous seasons where I desperately needed God to come through and remembered He always has. This is why I put my hope in Him.

Journal writing tends to lead me toward prayer. When I see the words on the pages, I find myself wanting to say more to God than I write. There were some tough prayer walks that week and the weeks ahead. God becomes easier to see the more honest we get, so I poured out my soul. I lamented how I felt this was unfair, and I didn’t understand why He hadn’t come through. I shared how hard it was to constantly be rejected all while feeling like I should be projecting more faith.

I forced myself to text a few people who I knew would offer support. It was a hard thing to do, yet it turned out exactly as you’d expect. I received love, encouragement, wisdom, and more. I didn’t have to walk through this alone anymore.

Today, those 137 days of unemployment are behind me. God met me in my confusion, darkness, and questioning. He was not deterred by the mess, and what a mess it was. In my journal, I have Psalm 121 written out. It was, is, and will forever be my guide.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

God will not always offer answers, but He will offer His presence. He is our help. We do not walk through these seasons alone. He stands on the shore with us, hand in hand, inviting us to put our hope in Him and follow in obedience, one step at a time. 

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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