#1: Own your unemployment
This struggle has revealed how much I wrongly value work and wrongly value being seen as important. As a reaction to this new reality, my flesh wants to pass through this trial quickly. My flesh doesn’t want to slow down and absorb the lessons that God has for me in this season.
So there is a constant struggle to avoid admitting that I am unemployed or that my unemployment has extended so long because it tells my flesh that the world doesn’t think much of me. So I am tempted to tell people that I took a few months off before I really started looking; anything to minimize the embarrassment.
Embracing the trial, to me, means being honest with myself and forcing myself to run to God and to depend on him. I need to work at not putting up defenses. I need to regularly admit to people that I am unemployed…
This honest assessment drives me to the scriptures to find rest and solace in God and His word and NOT in anything else.
#2: Preach to yourself
In times like this, it is too easy to speak to yourself and become discouraged, to doubt and even to accuse God. We need to arm ourselves with His word and battle those thoughts. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Here are a few common "thoughts" that we need to "take captive:" worry (Luke 12), fears that my struggle is meaningless (James 1), fears that God doesn't love me (Galatians 4:6-7), fears that God is powerless (Numbers 1:23).
Use God's Word to fight your thoughts that challenge God's truth.
#3: Prepare for the Storm
The book of James is clear that we do not know the future. We don’t even know what is going to happen tomorrow. So, we are wise, to prepare. As proverbs says: “Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.” Are you prepared for tomorrow? For those of you with jobs, you are in your ‘summer.’ Are you preparing for winter? Don’t think that it can’t happen to you. It is a good thing to live well within our means so that we can give sacrificially now while also saving that we might provide for our families in the future.
#4: Depend on the LORD
As a believer, it is a blessing to depend on the LORD. It is really evident to me that the LORD is pouring out his grace on me and my family right now. We know that Faith is a gift from God and he has been kind to allow me to trust him as I walk through this trial.
God is giving me hope. Not just in that he will provide a next job. But is giving me hope in him and is fitting me for heaven.
#5: Be surprised at his Kindness
In the midst of real difficultly, this has been a surprisingly sweet period in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I want a job, but I see this as God ordained. He gives and he takes. And, while waiting for a job, he has blessed me.
- He has refreshed my soul and reoriented my heart towards Him.
- I have been able to spend a ton of time with my family.
- The extra time has allowed me to serve my church and care for them.
God knew what I needed and has been an abundant provider of blessing.
Note To Self: "Listen To This!"
Here is Part 1 of "Trusting God Through Unemployment" over at 9Marks.