Reflections: You can bounce back

Saturday, December 6, 2008

An area plant recently laid off many of its employees. There are other companies now, too, that have found it necessary to cut the number of their workers and curtail the time people work due to the lull in the economy.

The first thing that usually happens when someone becomes unemployed or encounters problems is to become fearful. They have a family to support, bills to pay and don't know when they will go back to work.

Then people sometimes withdraw and brood about their plight. Another response is becoming despondent, thinking they'll never find other work. The economy is uncertain. They see crowded lines of employment seekers and assume they don't stand a chance.

If you're jobless, maybe God has a different plan for you. Maybe you've been stuck in a job you dislike because you thought you couldn't find another -- you didn't attempt college, vocational school or other skill training because you had bills to pay.

There are lots of reasons for despair when someone no longer has work. Often he's embarrassed among his peers, not wanting them to know of his predicament. One thinks there's a stigma attached to being out of work. She definitely needs another job but is unsure if and when she may be called back to work if the layoff is temporary.

It's easy to see only the negative and feel cold, lonely, scared, useless and develop low self-esteem. However, if you can reach inside and pull out even an ounce of faith in God, life can turn around. "If you have faith, nothing shall be impossible to you." (Matthew 17:20) Somehow we think the spiritual aspect is great until things really become serious. It's all right to be spiritual and have faith on sunny days -- but you believe you must depend on yourself to get out of binds. After all, you've heard "God only helps those who help themselves." That's applicable in a sense, but God also rescues those who can't fend for themselves.

When you want to accomplish a goal you have to throw your heart into it first and pray that God will help you make it a reality. When you feel everything is going wrong the worst thing you can do is nothing. My grandmother would say,"If you watch a pot, it will never boil." You don't sit around and wait for something to happen. You try to fill your time while you're waiting for an arrival or solution.

You can't worry that job seeking lines are long, thinking you don't stand a chance. You could be the person chosen. "If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes." (Mark 9:23)

While you're waiting for your pot to boil, why not look into an online school, research a new career or allow another family member to find a job? It may be the nudge they need to force them into using their gifts and talents.

We never know what God's helping us to accomplish or the happiness he has in store. Often we merely need a shove to test the climate of something different. An acquaintance never would have left her undesirable job had she not been fired. Common sense would never have allowed the transition into her present employment which she loves.

If you're unemployed or encountering seemingly insurmountable obstacles, remember Romans 8:31 -- "If God be for us?" and press on.

Ellen Shuck holds degrees in psychology, religious education and spiritual direction and provides spiritual direction to people at her office.

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