Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
We are experiencing high levels of employment insecurity in our world today. Some layoffs were immediate, while others are still coming. Will job losses be temporary or permanent? How long should people wait before looking for new employment? Losing a job and going through a job search is difficult. The biggest challenges are internal and we are often unprepared for the emotional struggle.
- Hebrews 4:16
Following are seven emotions to expect during a period of unemployment:
1. Anger – Everyone experiences anger related to job loss, but we usually repress it. Anger needs to be dealt with in a healthy way in order to move on.
2. Fear & Worry – Nobody knows how long this will last or what will happen in the future. Often fears and worries are generated by things we feel we can’t control. Instead, it helps to focus on the things that are within our control.
3. Identity – Often, too much of our identity is connected to our work. When work is taken from us, we struggle with our identity. The first question asked when we meet someone is “what do you do,” which becomes awkward when we don’t have a job.
4. Self-Confidence –Self-confidence is like a battery. Through the ups and downs of a job search, it’s sometimes full and sometimes almost gone, in need of re-charging. The longer the search, or when interviews don’t turn into offers, doubt begins to creep into the mind.
5. Loneliness – Without a job, too much time is spent alone. We miss our co-workers, who were the community of people we spent more time with than family.
6. Despair – No matter how emotionally strong someone is, everyone will experience despair: that feeling of hopelessness and wanting to give up. It may last for a couple of days, or maybe weeks. The longer the search goes on, the deeper the despair becomes.
7. Conflict with Time – When working, there was never enough time. Now there is too much time. How do we spend it well, balancing the job search and trying to enjoy the gift of time? Finding peace may be difficult.
While isolated in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked if what He was facing could be taken away, not once but three times! When we feel lost, God promises us that He can take what feels like a disaster or failure and work something good from it.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
-Romans 8:26-28, MSG
Whether facing employment insecurity, emotional struggles or a period of personal waiting, I recommend the study BBT offers called In the Waiting. This curriculum was adapted from my book, How Long, O Lord, How Long? Other available resources include:
Which emotions are you experiencing in this season? How are you trusting God to work something good through your present struggle?