Oh, the infamous job hunt.
I wish there was a designated hunting season – you know, like for ducks and other woodland creatures? Those of us anxiously stalking our prey would await the open of job-hunting season. We would buy all the right apparel, except instead of heinous neon vests and camo hats, we would don fashionable cardigans and pencil skirts. Pre-season, we would stockpile our arsenal of marketable skills and practice interview questions.
Then, finally, it would be opening day. We would wake up early in search of our prized positions with coffee warming our hands and our resumes crisp like the fall leaves crunching under our feet. Everyone would attempt to hunt down an employer, a salary, some benefits, something that we could hang up to feel accomplished.
Instead, the dreaded job hunt seems to have no end in sight. Everything and everyone is fair game all the time. Looking for a job becomes your full-time job, except you don’t make any money and you end up spending money you don’t have, mostly because you’re sitting at home bored and alone. Amazon becomes your best friend, along with a multitude of empty restaurant take-out boxes.
Maybe that’s just me though.
In all honesty, there’s a part of me that secretly loves applying for jobs. It feels a little bit like shopping. You browse up and down the aisles, trying different sizes and colors depending on your mood. You imagine yourself wearing that top or this sweater. You start to picture yourself going to dinner. You can almost hear how people will compliment your superb sense of style. Finally, these jeans will complete you. They will turn you into the person you’ve aspired to be! They will give you meaning!
You go to the register with your new wardrobe – and therefore, lifestyle – in hand. This is it, this is the one. Those jeans finally fit like a glove and you’ll wear them proudly and productively all day long. But the clerk scans the pants and delivers the news:
Someone else bought the pants while you were daydreaming about them.
Or, better yet, someone else is more qualified to wear the jeans. You’re also not good enough to wear the jeans because you did not decide when you were 18 years old to study this particular type of jean. Rather than dark-washed jeans you studied acid-washed jeans, which everyone told you was a huge mistake, but you were passionate about it and scoffed at their pragmatic remarks.
This is my personal favorite: you must somehow have been wearing those jeans for the past seven years in order to even think about buying these jeans. Also read: “Entry level position. Minimum seven years required.”
And with every rejection email or phone call a small part of you dies a little inside. It is the death of a dream after all. You’ve pictured yourself working this particular job and making that certain salary only to find out there was someone better out there who will live out your dream while you return to your pile of empty take-out boxes.
After spending a significant amount of time lamenting over rejection after rejection, I finally realized I couldn’t sit alone with myself anymore. Pity parties tend to turn into self-loathing parties and no one wants to RSVP to that.
It seems that only when I can’t stand myself any longer will I finally turn to Christ.
He’s patient like that, allowing me both the time and space to throw my temper tantrums and shake my fists with entitlement. When I finally get quiet enough to listen to him through my string of frustrated expletives, I realize that maybe looking for a job is less about me and more about Jesus.
I’m not talking about ministry or about doing the Lord’s work – I’m talking about getting to know Jesus. The whole job-hunting process was all about me, me, me. What do I want? What works best for me? Who am I? What am I passionate about? What gets me up in the morning?
What if the answer to those questions was just Jesus, instead of hours and job-openings?
What do I want? Jesus. What works best for me? Jesus. Who am I? A co-heir with Christ. What am I passionate about? Jesus. What gets me up in the morning? Jesus.
It’s hard, but I’m slowly realizing that if I am in Christ then his past is my past. His present is my present. And the best part of all is that his future is my future. It really takes me and what I want out of the equation altogether. Yes, I should look for jobs within my skill-set that won’t make me miserable.
But also, Christ is fighting for me – I need only to be still.
Can I really sit still and rest in the knowledge that his perfect past is enough to cover my failed attempts at earning my salvation through my vocation? Can I lay down my arms and allow him to fight for me, working all things for my good? Can I truly grasp the depths of the future hope and glory that await me in Christ Jesus?
No. To be perfectly honest, I cannot do those things very well.
But I would certainly like to try. It’s way less exhausting to be still and have the Lord fight for me. He has not failed me yet – even those times where I’m positive he took a nap and missed out on some big opportunities. Nor will he ever fail me, because in order for God to be intrinsically God he cannot be any less good to me than he is now – jobless or not.
So, yeah, looking for jobs is hard. But it’s not devastating anymore. I get to “window shop” without that crushing devastation that comes with each passing rejection letter. Just because a business thinks I’m under qualified doesn’t mean that I fundamentally am not enough.
In Christ I am more than qualified. He has made me perfect, resilient, and redeemed.
Maybe I should put that on my next résumé?
– Hannah Collins
PC: @emily.magers via #belovedlife