Dealing with Unemployment as a Christian

In my life thus far, I've been very fortunate.  I'm 31 years old, and I've never been without a job.  I may not have always had the job I've wanted, but I've always been on somebody's payroll.

Until recently.  After 15 years of being in the work force, I find myself "unemployed."  This is a rather new life experience for me.

Being that much of our identity and value is often tied to our occupations, being unemployed is a tough pill to swallow.  I'm no longer needed?  But I had such a cool job!  I was a specialist in my field.  At times I flew all over the country representing the bank in court, and helped hundreds of people keep their homes out of foreclosure.  I was very good at my job, and I regularly received praise and recognition from others for the job I did.  But now, I'm no longer needed?

I don't care how spiritual you are, that is something nobody ever wants to hear.  That's a tough pill to swallow.

I never envisioned in my first year of marriage having to come home and tell my wife I was laid off from work.  That kinda ruins some of the initial plans we've made together as a couple, or at least, defers them for the time being.

Suddenly making small talk in social situations becomes painfully awkward.  "So... what do you do for a living?" becomes a harder question to answer, as I don't want anybody to think of me as somehow being a loser.

There is also the worry.  How long can I afford to be without work?  Do I take the first job I'm offered, or do I hold out for something else I'd rather do?  If push comes to shove and I must take a lower paying job, how low can I go?  How long will it be before we have more bills than money?  What if my wife gets pregnant?

Thinking through these things (and many others), I thought I would write this brief essay that not only ministers to myself in my current situation, but hopefully, those of you who are currently in the same situation.  I would like to share how I am personally processing being unemployed, and what my game plan is.  These are the spiritual mindsets I am choosing to embrace, as well as some practical steps I'm taking.  I hope you will be able to benefit:

1.  I recognize that God is my source.

I will actively look for a new job on a daily basis, regularly submit resumes, and tap my personal network, but I will not obsess over these things, for God is ultimately my provider.  There is nothing I have in this life that I've earned.  Everything I have, including being currently unemployed, is a gift from my heavenly Father.  His eye is upon the sparrow.  He clothes the grass of the field.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  God gave me His son, how much more will He not freely give me all things?  Nobody else may find me valuable, but God does.

2.  God has a plan for my life, and I am in it.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want...  God is directing my life.  Nothing that has happened to me has taken Him by surprise.  It's part of His plan for my life.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures...  The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence.  Where I am now is the green pasture God has made me to lay down in.

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear, for His rod and His staff, they comfort me.  I may find myself in a scary place, and I may not be able to see the dangers lurking in the shadowy places I'm walking through.  Things I cannot see may pop out of nowhere and catch me off guard.  But I'm not worried, God's got my back.  He will protect me.

My cup runneth over... I've been blessed with every heavenly blessing made available through Jesus Christ.  Even when I appear to lack, I have more than enough, for I ultimately have Him, and all things belong to Him.

3.  I will keep myself spiritually, mentally, and physically fit.

I will pray and read my Bible.  I will read stimulating books that expand and challenge my thinking abilities, and possibly learn new job skills. I will keep my communication skills sharp, and try to write something every single day.  I will regularly exercise.

4.  Though unemployed, I'm always employed.

I may not have a job, but I'm never without work.  As Jesus said, my work is always to do the will of the Father who sent me.  There is always something for me to do.  There is always work to be done.  I refuse to sit around all day and rot my soul by watching Jerry Springer and Netflix binging all day long.  God has created me for better things than this.  I will keep myself actively and intentionally engaged.  When I was single, I embraced being single and made the most of my free time to do God's will.  While unemployed, I will embrace my being unemployed, and make the most of my free time.

5.  I will avoid a slothful and lazy attitude.

My day will be intentionally planned, and I will remain disciplined and develop a daily routine.  I will keep myself busy.  I will make very little room for being bored.  I will set my alarm early and get out of bed.  Daily I will make my bed, shower, shave, and get dressed.  I will take care of errands around the house before my wife gets home.  I will prepare dinner.  I will seek out opportunities in the community around me, and volunteer my time and efforts on a regular basis, to help and minister to others who need a helping hand.  I will make it my goal to put in a hard day's work, and go to bed actually feeling tired every night.  I will earn my sleep.

If you have been blessed by this brief essay, or think it might help somebody you know that is struggling in their unemployment situation, please consider sharing it with others.  Or, if you have any helpful suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below!

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