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“In his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Looking at the Word Press stats, I noticed that someone had typed in the search terms, “What am I suppose (sic) do (sic)?” I found it extremely interesting that someone had that thought in their mind, and how they ended up at my site. The Internet seems to be the perfect extension of our thought-life, reaching out to sites from a few simple search terms.
So what am I supposed to do? Have you ever asked God? Of course you have. And what did He say?
Well, if you’re like me, there was probably a lot of silence, a lot of waiting, and a lot of wondering. Often, the wondering got blurred with doubt, so asking God what I was supposed to do ended up as, God, I doubt I should do this.
I know that it takes a lot of discipline to wait for God to act in your life. If you’re unemployed and you think you’re absolutely employable, waiting for HR managers to call can seem horrendously painful. What makes it worse is the fact that sometimes we can’t “hear.” Listening for God is an essential part of Christian life, but it doesn’t always involve an audible voice (I’ve never, ever had that happen…yet), or a miraculous sign (again, never happened to me). Sometimes it means prayerfully considering the situation, waiting, listening, and then trusting that God’s going to direct your steps as you take them.
I think it’s so clear in Scriptures to know that each step is from the Lord: “In his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” Psalm 16:9
Wondering which way to go? Pray. Ask your Christian friends. Read up on it. Mine the Bible. Pour out your considerations before God. And then step forward in faith, knowing that He’s got each and every one of your steps in His power.
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. —Colossians 3:23-24
How many times have you read this one when you’ve had a rough time at work? How many times has your pastor pointed out the fact that we have a master in heaven who loves us, even if our “masters” on earth don’t?
Well, a true key to finding satisfaction at work, regardless of the kind of work you do (legitimate work, that is), is to know who you’re working for. Yes, Mr. Smith may be your immediate supervisor, and he may be the one putting the piles of work on your desk, but your true boss is not on earth. The clearer that picture becomes, the more satisfaction you wil find at work.
I’ve been strugling with this for the past few days. First, I’m paid at a tremendously low hourly rate. It’s not the bare minimum, but it’s enough to pay the major expenses in our everyday lives: rent, food, telephone bills and transportation. At the end of the month, I’m not sure how much will be left for anything else. Thankfully we have savings to use. My point is that the low level of pay, and thus thelow level of responsibility and challenge, can blur the focus of who my true employer is. I see this position I have as a test of my faith, testing my belief that God’s always going to provide for me, and this job is an example of his provisions. It may not provide riches or a store of savings, but it does provide for my family’s needs.
I could never have seen myself in this position: a family to support and a job that isn’t going beyond my financial expectations. Yet, I know, too, that God’s doing a new thing here for me, and He’s always cared for us, provided for us, and nurtured us. So why should this situation bring about any worry? Trusting God to bring you through transitions, through gaps, across mighty rivers and deep oceans, is one way to live a life a true faith.
I wanted to share with visitors this incredible series of comments from a random visitor who, after 9 months of being unemployed, found work the day after she posted on my blog. I say very clearly that my blog was not responsible for her finding work, and I take no credit on this matter. However, it does highlight one important fact: having paid work that supports your family or yourself is a gift. It might not seem like a gift while you’re working, but as you will read below, being without work when you’d just about do anything is far worse than having work. Having a godly attitude at work, regardless of the kind of work or the pay you receive or the status of your job title, is, at the end of the day, far more important.
Here is the visitor’s comments below:
“I, too, typed in “God what am I supposed to do?” Did you ever imagine that phrase would be one that brought so many people to your page??
I’m sitting here watching yet ANOTHER free dvd from the library after a dinner of frozen asparagus and bread and cheese, shivering because I can’t afford to turn on my heat, and wondering what I’m going to do now that I’ve drawn the last $30 I’m eligible for in unemployment checks. I’m a good worker, a hard worker, a smart worker. I hate handouts. But I’ve applied for job after job, week after week, for 9 months now and gotten TWO interviews out of it. I pray about it, talk with strong Christians in my life about it, read scripture and meditate on it with my current situation in mind… and still find myself typing my ultimate query and frustration into a Google search. Why?!
You just feel so empty of answers, of logic, of the ability to reason sometimes. You know wisdom is given to those who seek it, but at the end of the day you still want to have a roof over your head, food in your belly. Wisdom may teach you the worthlessness and temporary nature of so many of the things we take for granted as “necessary” parts of our lives, but does wisdom then tell us to expect to live a life of abject poverty and constant hunger because abundance isn’t “necessary”?
I’m not looking for something miraculous. I’m not looking to make loads of money, or even as much as I made at my last job (which I lost because the company closed due to the crumbling economy which is hurting so many of us). I’m not looking for greatness, for gold, or for glory.
I’m looking for sustenance. For the ability to pay my rent, pay for my car, pay for my student loans. To pay back my grandmother who’s generosity has kept me in groceries. To pay back my also-struggling parents who’ve given me so much in the way of true love and support. For the ability to work. To serve and love through work. I love people, I love committing to a task, I love bringing things to completion, I love working.
What’s happening? What is this? Why is this? How is it we can follow God’s commands on how to deal with situations like this and *still* find ourselves, find each other, heaped into a comment board on a stranger’s web page as we all ask this questions we can’t seem to get an answer to?! “God! WHAT am I supposed to DO?!”
I can wait. I have been waiting. I will continue to wait. And I’m running out of money and credit and no closer to a job than I’ve been since I lost my job in May ‘08. I will continue to wait. Maybe that’s what we’re all supposed to do. But the loss, sacrifice, heart ache, pain, and sadness resulting from the situations mentioned on this page– if waiting is what we’re supposed to be doing, shouldn’t some of those symptoms lessen since we’re doing what we’re called to do?
I will continue to wait.”
This is perhaps the most meaningful comment I’ve read on my blog thus far. This entire blog acts as an organic archive of people’s lives around the world who are struggling, including myself. So it’s immensely profound that someone would make an expression of their thoughts, anxieties, worries, and post it as a comment. As Behnnie writes, ” I pray about it, talk with strong Christians in my life about it, read scripture and meditate on it with my current situation in mind…and still find myself typing my ultimate query and frustration into a Goodle search. Why?!” I’m sure there’s a thesis dissertation lurking in Behnnie’s writing, just waiting and wanting to be penned. How and why is it that so many people type those exact search words into a search engine, seeking meaning? It’s like using Biblegateway.com and typing in some keywords, praying and hoping for divine intervention or to hear God’s gentle voice. Waiting is so difficult, yet, in many ways, God becomes clearer because of it.
HERE IS THE CONTINUATION OF HER STORY.
I *thought* I was a random visitor, sent here via your friend and mine: Google. But perhaps it was via a more literal Deus ex machina? LOL! The real irony, though, is in the timing of that comment I left on your blog. You see: After 9 months of unemployment I got a job today.
For the past 2+ years (plus summers since high school) I worked for the family business which, recently beset by one unfortunate struggle after another, finally had to close after 12 years as the weight of the crashing economy further burdened our efforts. Scores of people lost their jobs when the business closed, most of them with spouses and children to support. It was a difficult situation all around. Luckily, however, my dad was able to use his connections to find jobs within days, sometimes even hours, for almost every employee who needed the help. Almost every employee except me. I’ve got two degrees, several years’ work experience, and references who’d loan me kidneys, but no employers were interested. If that ain’t a blow to the self-esteem I don’t know what is.
I spent the summer working with my family helping close things down on the business end, dismantling steel case cubicles to be recycled for cash to keep us in groceries, selling off our remaining inventory of pens, staplers, and post-it notes to keep us in fuel; it was a summer I want to forget. Every day was sad. Every day was the end of days. Every day was a reason to think that maybe, just maybe, things would be better if there would be no more to follow.
I began looking for work in earnest as our efforts to finalize the company began to draw to a close in August. I wanted to look sooner, but every day so far had been so filled with work, sadness, and stress that somehow walking into people’s offices brandishing my resume and a smile seemed a near impossibility. And the that work that filled our days? It was work that didn’t pay. Work that made us weep. But we had God. We had each other. And I? I had a few friends. I had naps. I had library dvds. I had more naps…
I faithfully applied for at least two jobs a week (a condition of receiving unemployment checks), but companies were beginning to really realize the gravity of the economic depression so no one wanted to hire until we all had a better grip on what to expect. All told I attended one job fair (if you’ve ever attended a job fair you understand why attending even one is more than sufficient!), signed up with four staffing agencies and one talent agency, registered with countless job sites (Monster, CareerBuilder, etc.) which I checked religiously, sent emails to everyone I knew, and searched Craig’s List on a daily basis for postings that weren’t scams. I applied for anywhere from 5-15 jobs a week, every week, for 6 months. If there’s any business in this area that doesn’t have my resume, references, and position specific cover letter at this point I’d be heartily surprised!
From these months of effort I netted one follow-up call asking if I knew how to use Power Point, one interview through a staffing service for a job that went to someone else, and one interview last week which I got because a friend works there and put in a good word for me with HR. My deferred student loans start up again in March, my windshield is cracked from end to end, my auto insurance is up for renewal, and I just drew my final unemployment check on Sunday. It totaled $30. Which brings us to today. To a phone call. To a follow up on last week’s interview. To an offer for a job paying $0.46 more per hour than I need to pay my bills. To a job I don’t know how to do yet but will learn faster than I’ve ever learned anything. To a job near my home. To a job with a friend.
Praise the Lord, stranger. After 9 months in a terrible economy: I have a job.
God has always known my needs, always met them. He has provided ways for me to get by financially during my period of unemployment. He has provided me with strength on days I couldn’t bear to get out of bed. He has provided me with peace and encouragement when I was ready to check out. He has provided me with family and friends who love me and who give me the opportunity to love. And now he has provided me, after nearly a year of waiting, with a job. When following gifts like strength, love, and encouragement, the job really does seem the least of those in many ways doesn’t it…