Unemployment and Faith
Unemployment is one of the hardest seasons in anyone’s life. It is similar to a period of grief and loss, to which every single person will react differently. It can trigger confusion, sadness, or anger.
Nowadays, with unemployment rates peaking all over the world, what difference can we bring as Christians?
Through Cross-current we’ve been learning that our work is God’s gift of creativity; God’s gift of responsibility; and God’s gift for survival (check out this article for further details), so I decided to share about my own experience, and how these principles might reflect in the face of unemployment.
Unemployment can be an opportunity to reflect whether our work has become our identity, or how much we are basing our identity on what we do for a living, instead of who we are in Christ.
Believing God has created us in his image as a creative being is liberating. No matter our job positions, God’s image in us is inherent to our nature as human beings, and so, is creativity. Keep rejoicing in your creative nature. Small things such as trying a new way of preparing breakfast or exercising could be simple ways to enjoy it.
In my own experience, meditating on Bible passages that describe who we are in Christ and what God has done for us is key to walk into our identity of beloved daughters and sons. I would recommend anyone during an unemployment season to meditate on Romans 8.
After finishing my graduate studies and looking for jobs, reading the Psalms and a list of God’s promises was key to change my mindset and connect with God. Even if some days I could hardly find the energy to do so, I just dragged myself to do it, and was completely worth it!
As we have learnt, God has delegated us responsibility in creation, which we can exercise through our paid jobs. However, no matter we are currently without a paid job, God’s given responsibility is also inherent to us.
Of course, you will no longer do the specific tasks of your previous job position. However, being unemployed is also an opportunity to think about the bigger calling or long-term vision God has already revealed to you.
Has God given you the responsibility to fight for justice, manage teams, or teach people? How can this responsibility look like in a new job or while you are looking for one? Are there any volunteer opportunities where you can exercise this responsibility? Are there any skills you need to acquire to develop God’s delegated responsibility?
Certainly, during unemployment, the reality of Genesis 3 and the fact that work is also about survival will be quite present. You might live in a country with a proper welfare state and some unemployment benefits; however, in Mexico, we don’t have such benefits so if you are in a similar situation, I feel you.
I can also assure God will find his way to sustain you and provide for you in a broken world. Grasp to the promises in Matthew 6.25-34 and be prepared to be surprised by God’s grace and love. Ask for creativity and wisdom, identify what you have at hand, and who is in your support network. Be attentive to His voice, our Heavenly Father is ready to provide for each of your needs with generosity.
As we have learnt, rest is part of God’s plan for our working lives. Obviously, when we are suddenly unemployed this is an unplanned rest and can actually be quite stressful.
Practicing gratefulness and taking the time to evaluate your previous work, what were you able to achieve, what are you grateful for, and rejoice in how you did brilliant things which reflected a brilliant God could be useful for closing a season with a peaceful heart.
Taking a moment every day to be grateful for something can make a difference in your mood, as well. Being grateful for small things can be very helpful to gain a new perspective. It can be as small as a great song you listened to or recognizing the blessings you usually do not take the time to thank for, such as family and health.
Finally, I pray that if you are currently unemployed or worried about losing your job, you will be able to experience God as your Shepherd and to remember He knows all your needs.
“Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need! He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. He gives me new strength. He helps me do what honors him the most. Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way. You provide delicious food for me in the presence of my enemies. You have welcomed me as your guest; blessings overflow! Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life, and afterwards I will live with you forever in your home.”
Psalm 23 (TLB)
Cover photo: Aaron Burden on unsplash.com