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It’s just one of those lazy, grey, Saturday afternoon in autumn that I just love. There isn’t much happening, which for me is good news. I’ve been thinking a lot about what things I want to do in life, and asking God for clarity on the things that He wants me to do. I’m then reminded by Proverbs 16 which says, in effect, “make your plans, but God’s gonna’ lead every step.” For me this is so reassuring. I’ve got plans to go to Teacher’s College, maybe plans to work for the government; but in the end, even before I know it, God’s directing my steps.

I’ve had some time to reflect on things lately, and I know that I’ve gone from employed to unemployed to underemployed, all in the span of about five months. In this position I’m in now, I have the opportunity to take on some challenging projects. Yet, more importantly, I have the opportunity to do my work as a Christian, and in that way, I have the time and opportunity to affect and encourage my non-Christian colleagues.

There’s a young woman at work with whom I’ve had lunch with a few times, and we’ve talked about a lot of things in such a short period of time. I sense, for some reason, that she’s searching for meaning in her life, and she appears a little unsure of which direction to take, and what she’s supposed to do with her life. Maybe she’s never thought about it in that way.

Every time I speak with her I get a good glimpse of my own life almost ten years ago. I see that she’s got youth and an open world ahead of her; maybe she doesn’t see it that way. She want to go back to school, just as I had. We work in our jobs partly as time fillers, something to do until our next phase. But I see more than just that. I see a real opportunity to reach out and share the gospel, some time in the future, and hopefully see a life transformed and searching after God.

God uses us in so many ways. I first started this blog when I was unemployed, searching desperately for work, wondering where God was through my search, clinging to him each night as my wife and son slept, waking up in the middle of the night worried. Now, here I write as an employed (though not compensated very handsomely) person, telling my own tale of how God sustained us throughout those challenging days. This site now attracts people who had the same trials as I had a few months ago. So I know that God’s been using me to affect viewers, hopefully in the best possible way.

God is good all the time. He never changes. He is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be tomorrow. He is holy and righteous. We can depend on Him for everything, because He is the one who created us and gives us life each day.

If you’re unemployed, underemployed, depressed and worried about finding work, offer it up to God. He knows what you need. He knows the direction for your life. He didn’t create you just so you could worry about work every single minute of your waking (and sleeping) day. He loves you!

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Character forming.

Two words to summarize this week’s work week.

My first week at work was one of simple and straightforward tasks on the job. There isn’t much room for creativity when you’re simply entering data into a company database. But I think the lessons were still clear: keep your eyes on things above.

I realized that I’ve transitioned (temporarily, at least) from unemployment to underemployment. Yes, I have a job where I’ll earn a paycheck, but perhaps the tasks and responsibilities are not exactly employing the skills that I already possess, and I have yet to expand any set of skills. Of course it’s only the first week at work, and I think I’ll be doing much more than what I’ve just done. Yet I think it’s interesting to see that unemployment, underemployment, and meaningful employment all lack meaning when your eyes aren’t on things above.

When you’re unemployed, you think that God’s abandoned you, or that He’s not listening to your careful and sometimes tearful prayers. That’s not true, is it? He’s always there (Yahweh), shaping us, nurturing us, sustaining us, providing for us, and caring for us. I am so thankful that He provided for us during the last few months.

 In terms of being underemployed, I think this is similar to being unemployed in that one needs to one simple thing: trust God. The sculpting hands of God does wonders when it comes to being able to do something in a godly way, especially if it’s menial or boring, and to do it in a way that brings glory to God. Waiting for God to provide a job when you’re unemployed, and faithfully carrying out our tasks while we’re underemployed, are two very similar things.

So if you’re experiencing unemployment or underemployment, I think the key to getting through this season is to remember that your employer is God above, not Joe below. Are you working for a salary that is well below your expectations and abilities? Keep working and bring glory to God, and watch how the experience changes your attitudes. Are you doing tasks that seem suitable for a bunch of well trained chimps? Keep your eyes on things above and do your “chimp work” so well that people will be amazed by your attitude (and your attitude comes from God!).

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feed them. Are  much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Matthew 6:25-27

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What I’m reading now

"Wanderlust: A Social History of Travel," by Laura Byrne Paquet (Fredericton:Goose Lane Editions, 2007) "The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping malls, and the Search for Home," by Pico Iyer (Toronto: Random House of Canada, 2000). "Outliers: The Story of Success," by Malcolm Gladwell (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2008).

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