A hello from unemployment
Maybe you’ve been made redundant. Maybe you’re off because of stress. Maybe you’ve finished in education and are reeling off job applications.
Or maybe, like me, you’re just not too sure what you want to do.
There are many emotional difficulties during a time of unemployment. One of them almost kept me from writing this article: shame.
Being unemployed can feel like having F-A-I-L-U-R-E stamped across my forehead. And on off days, it feels like that word has sunk through my skin and into my bloodstream – that I am a failure.
I make the mistake of believing I’m worth less than other people because of my unemployment.
This happens when I accidentally tangle up my worth and my identity with my job status.
But I’m not my unemployment. And I’m not less valuable than my employed friends. It’s God who decides my value and identity:
‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.’ 2 Corinthians 5:17
In Christ, my identity and worth are safe in God’s hands, and nothing that happens on this earth – ten jobs or no job – can touch them.
Knowing this frees me in my job-lessness. I’m freed from caring about what others think, or from panicking and taking the first job that comes.
I’m freed instead to trust God with my working life.
A Renewed Perspective
But I’ve also realised something more valuable: life is bigger than just ‘having a job’. I could grind away for fifty years and retire, but surely that doesn’t decide if my life’s been well-lived.
Life’s about knowing Jesus and making him known (John 15:16). Something we can do in a job and out.
All we can do is make decisions that fit this mission, and trust God that he’ll put us where he wants us – whether we’re paid or not.