The Job Market


The job market. Now there’s a misleading expression. It sounds a bit like, “Honey, I’m going to run to town, pick up a few things, maybe I’ll try on jobs to see if there is one that fits or if there is one that goes with my new satchel.”

Sometimes, I get pretty discouraged. Other times, I work myself into a frenzy. After checking job postings which almost always turns out to be an exercise in futility, I “brainstorm” “out of the box” ways to benefit our situation.

Donna assures me that I can’t find work because God knows right now our hands are full. He knows, sure, but I estimate a half dozen nearby who silently judge me. They think we’ve moved here because we can’t make it on our own. Never mind that my mother-in-law is slowly dying. Never mind that we often are uncertain if she is breathing.

One thing about her: she’s a fighter, a warrior even. So much so that sometimes she forgets she’s sick at all. That sounds heroic but how that translates is sometimes even she seems to forget why we are here. She wants to be independent and frequently deludes herself that she is. A few good days or a month without going into hospital and the question may be, Why aren’t we doing more? But, when the illness strikes its ugly, debilitating head or when infection stirs and she is unquestionably out of commission our role as caregivers makes more sense.

That we are caregivers is a comfort, but even we ask ourselves how much of this is our fault. What could we do differently? What job have I missed applying for? When did I not call to check on my app promptly enough? When was I too quick and therefore annoying? What sin in my life puts some cosmic choke hold on my present situation? Is there something for me to repent of? What past mistakes are now haunting me?

I don’t know of any but then there are always those sins we are unaware of. I question life decisions but all I know is way back when I had yet to decide I prayed that God would direct my paths. I pray that still and I believe He does. I believe if He didn’t at least to some degree there’s no way I’d volunteer to be in this crap hole situation(especially not in this employment vacuum). Caring for our sick ones is God-honoring. Honoring God is job 1.

We moved here out of absolute necessity after weighing all options. We knew the timing was less than ideal. It is after all a period of nationwide economic instability. When we moved I had applied for a job with Veteran’s Administration quite a bit like the one I forsook. We knew it wasn’t positive, but it was no less promising. I was disqualified on some technicality I fail to understand–something about work quarters I think. Since that disappointment there has been a succession of others like it, jobs I would especially have liked to have, and all for one reason or another (usually no reason given at all) I didn’t make the cut.

After a few heartbreaks standards are lowered. I applied for retail and checked back but got the sense that I was too qualified as if there could be such a thing. By November, I was hopeful to obtain a job with the Christian bookstore. After my interview it was 3 weeks before I heard back.

He responded by email and told me how much he appreciated my “servant’s heart” but…he didn’t have anything for me at the time. Immediately, I was irate. I had been rejected by the same store 3 years earlier. This time I had a winning reference from corporate and I was told that he was hiring as many as three people. I thought my seminary education and bookstore work history would suffice. But, an amazing thing happened. Before I could even give Donna the bad news I had this wild idea to trust him. I decided to believe that there really was nothing there for me. Instead of questioning how I had screwed things up, I felt an overriding sense of peace and accepted that for whatever reason it was not to be.

I never do that. I’ve never done that. Theologically, I don’t believe God micromanages. I believe my actions have consequences but sometimes that leads me to bear an extreme amount of anxiety that was not intended for me. My resolve redefined what would otherwise have been a bitter experience. In that moment, I felt secure that I was where I needed to be and that I had done what I was able but most importantly that God was looking out for my best interest.

It’s what Donna’s been trying to tell me.

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One Response to The Job Market

  1. Wanda Livingston says:

    I love what you wrote – “Job Market”. I am especially glad you figured it out. Your wife is right. God is in control. Trust Him. I love you. Mom

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