Written by Jamila Holder
I am currently unemployed after finishing a government contract. But my career coach put my situation more bluntly.
“Do you know anyone that has been let go from a government job?”
I thought, “No!”
To which my career coach responded, “Jamila, you have.”
Wow! I had been let go? Everything in me wanted to correct him: “Actually my contract ended, I was not fired!”
The wound was not fully healed, even though it had been a few months since my last battle with depression over my employment status. Unemployment is like grief, it unfolds in phases – the “shock” phase, followed by the “what am I going to do” phase, and depending on how quickly you rebound, the “season of little” will set in. Unemployment has a way of branding you and making you feel unproductive.
I have personally never felt more unsure of who I am and where I am going in life. I had it all – a well-paying government job a few months after graduating, money I didn’t even know what to do with, saving up to buy a rental property to generate wealth, writing large cheques to my church. Suddenly it was all put on pause with one conversation with my supervisor.
“Sorry, Jamila, we won’t be able to renew your contract.”
These days I often get asked, “Where do you work Jamila?” I respond something along the lines of “You know, I am in transition right now.” In other words, I don’t know what I am doing with my life right now and I would give anything to know.
I have watched friends who graduated years after I did establish lucrative careers, I have questioned, “God why me? Why is unemployment my struggle?” As I sit here on the dawn of my birthday, I would love to say I know exactly what I am doing, but I can’t.
If the last year has taught me anything, it would be that life is a scientific formula of never-ending transitions and if you get stuck in transition you will miss what God is doing. Besides, transition simply means a temporary place of becoming, whereby you change from one state or condition to another.
Believe me when I say I have heard every cliché Christian explanation as to why I am having to walk through this difficult season. One of my personal favourites goes like this, “Jamila, maybe God is trying to humble you.” In layman’s terms, they mean, “You had it too good, so the Lord is teaching you a lesson.”
My response to such a statement will always be that I don’t believe that my Father takes pleasure in watching me suffer, nor is He trying to embarrass me, because that would mean He is being embarrassed too, because I believe He walks with me through my trial.
If you find yourself in the “attributing blame” phase of unemployment, just stop! Blame is like quicksand, the more you wrestle with it, the deeper you sink. Don’t panic, I promise God has not abandoned you. Allow me to prove it with Philippians 4:12-13, which makes a bold declaration we all know: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Wow, that’s radical faith! In prior verses, Paul describes how he knows what it is to have plenty and to be in want. Then he says I have learned the secret. To which I respond, “Paul! Tell me the secret!” The secret is this: In little or in much, God strengthens me to walk through seasons of plenty just as much as He does seasons of little, Selah!
Has it been difficult? Heck yes! But I have never been able to give a more genuine praise while laughing and crying. Do I know when this season will end? No, but every day I choose to be #unbothered because my Father has always been my source and provider.
A job is only one channel among a million others He uses to showcase His faithfulness. It has been the greatest season of self-discovery, and slowly but surely I am watching God in awe as He births the entrepreneur in me.
Perhaps you are not where I am, but I pray God carries you like He has carried me, until you can declare with your lips, “God I thank you, in spite of…!”