The Katy Area has certainly seen its share of jobs being lost over the last year or so ! As a bi-vocational minister I have seen many sides of this issue myself. I support my family and my ministries through my work in the secular world. I have been unemployed, and I can tell you first hand that being out of work is a very bad experience. But in our imperfect man made world things happen. So what do we as Christians do when confronted by such a struggle ?
First off being unemployed is an emotional mess. There will be times of grief, discouragement, frustration and more. When the struggle gets tough you will do well to find comfort in verses such as Psalms 50:15 “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver me, and thou shalt glorify me !”
Or focus on the promise made to you in Psalms 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Once your emotional and spiritual house is in order there are many practical things that you can do to ease your way through. One of the best is to build a strong support network. This is best done before you find yourself looking for work. Two of the best places to start are your spouse ( if married) and your pastor. I once knew a pastor who was president of his local chamber of commerce, twice ! Almost any pastor has some involvement in the business world. It is not at all unusual for local businesspeople needing to hire to ask their pastor if he knows anyone they could recommend. Of course your pastor will also being very willing to pray for you. Pastors also tend to be great listeners. Sometimes it helps just to vent, and kinda get things off your chest. Think also of people at your church who are in the same, or a complimentary field. Are you still in touch with any of your old instructors from school ? Perhaps they have heard of something.
One of the biggest parts of being unemployed is dealing with the financial aspect of things. Even unemployment typically only pays 2/3rds of what you were getting so chances are you will need to get by on a lot less than you were used too. Consider the words of Hebrews 13:5 “ Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have….” When times are good its easy to take money, and the things we can acquire with it for granted. If you are fortunate enough it may seem as if the money will never run out. However when you are without work there never seems to be enough money. Even the act of looking for a job costs some money. Gas, child care copying resumes, postage etc. all add up. So you have to factor these new expenses into your already tight budget. You’ll have to make some really tough decisions between what you need to have, and what you love to have. It’s one of those moments when you have to focus on what is truly important to you.
When unemployed it becomes easy to want to avoid people. Fight this urge ! This is one of those times when fellowship, especially with other Christians will be the most valuable. Your church next to your family be your best base of support. Volunteering some of your new found extra time to the church may teach you new skills. You may get to know fellow members of your congregation you never really got to know before. Beyond that staying active in your church keeps you “out there.” When you are looking for work you want to be VISIBLE not INVISIBLE ! What better place to stay out front than with your Christian brothers and sisters who share the same world view that you have. Many churches are also launching programs directed toward empowering the unemployed. You may miss out on such opportunities if you are not around !
As I have said before I have been unemployed myself. I have to tell you it’s the least favorite job I have ever had. Make no mistake looking for work is a full time job, and should not be treated any differently than any other job. Unemployment is also the time to embrace your faith, and everything it has to offer. May God grant his favored opportunity to each of our commuity’s unemployed residents. Amen !