Devotions for the Unemployed
Unemployed? Start your day with a devotion.
If you are unemployed, you have unique needs.I have written some brief encouraging words here. While you are going through the job search process, I hope you will take time to pause and not just look through the classifieds online or in the newspaper, but also look to the scriptures for hope and help, encouragement and guidance.
Whether you just lost your job, have been unemployed for a long time, or are looking for your first job, being jobless is very frustrating, and can be discouraging. I hope that as you continue the search for employment you will be encouraged through these simple writings.
Scriptures are taken from the New International Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted. There are links to BibleGateway.com are included with the quotes.
Each day's devotion will follow this format:
Brief story or word of encouragement
Prayer using scriptures
iTune to encourage you
These 5 devotions can be read one a day for the next 5 days, or one a week for the next 5 weeks. They are brief enough for you to read all 5 today, then apply one at a time over the next several days or weeks, whichever you prefer. Of course, if you like, you can print this article and make a new commitment to look to God's word for help.
That gentle nudge or giant shove you receive as you keep plodding along on this journey, will be between you and God. I don't know you but as I write this article, please know I'm praying for you, asking God to honor His Word, His promises in the Bible as He makes himself and His word real your life.
You can read my bio here at any point.
Let's get started.
In review, remember each of these devotions will be brief and to the point.
Each includes a scripture from the Bible as they touch on a life issue and end with a short prayer.
Also be sure to listen to the iTune that I've selected for the day, as it may remain on your mind throughout your day to encourage you.
In the photo a man searches the newspaper and the scriptures for direction for his day. (Public Domain clip art photo revised and licensed by me.)
CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE
Judy Cockrum Photos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Overview - An Encouraging Word for the Unemployed.
Whether this is your first job or you've worked for years ...
You need a job. You need to support yourself, and/or a family and must have more income to keep up with the times.
You are not alone. I thought of this abandoned building and tree in the middle of nowhere. You must avoid, at all cost, isolating yourself, getting into an emotional slump which can lead to depression.
You may be experiencing many rejection letters or calls already; that is if anyone returns your calls and/or inquiries. Discouragement may have already set in for you and other family members, especially if you've been unemployed for any length of time. If so, I hope you make a personal commitment to focus on the topics in this 5-day devotion I've prepared and I pray that it gives you just the encouragement you need to push through this difficult time and come out on the victorious side.
I operate on the belief that God exists, he cares, and he hears our prayers. If you have different beliefs you are still welcome to read and follow this devotional.
Job hunting can be grueling. I've been unemployed when our sons were babies. Please know I understand and I've written this to encourage you and help you have a great perspective when you go for interviews, fill out paperwork, make calls, emails, and reinvent yourself for your new normal.
There is a scripture we must remember throughout these next 5 devotions ... "God is watching over His Word (the Bible) to perform it." Jeremiah 1:12 Amplified Bible
ONE: Discouragement - Don't Give Up - I must categorize my disappointment so that I can move forward.
Whether you lost your previous job through lay-off, cut backs, a major move or you've never found a good job, the job search can be exponentially tough especially if you get discouraged in the process.
I've lived long enough to watch the progression. From disappointment comes resentment, hurt, fear, pride, intimidation, then discouragement and often depression. At one point Moses questioned God about "troubles."
He said, "O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? ... you have not rescued your people." Exodus 5:22 NIV
If you aren't familiar with this story, I highly recommend you read the full story. Moses was selected by God to lead God's people out of captivity, and Exodus is all about the leading, the following, the victories and the failures, the disappointments and the promises. Before the journey even gets going Moses is discouraged, disappointed in the way things have turned out, and is complaining to God. What does this have to do with being unemployed?
If you think about it, if God is intimately involved in our lives, then he must already know our feelings. He can handle our anger, and complaints.
I was without work for several months when our sons were babies. My Vietnam Era veteran husband was a full-time student finishing his degree on the GI Bill, so mine was the only income. My last 6 weeks pay had been withheld by a company that was going belly-up. The owner kept saying, "Next week we'll have the money to pay you." Then the lay-off, unemployment and devastation.
There were so many bad feelings when I was finally jobless.
Being unemployed hit our family hard, we had all the usual expenses, rent, car, utilities, diapers, groceries, etc. I was not a believer so I didn't even think to call on God or ask others to pray. After several days of finding someone to babysit so I could job search, I established a day care for unemployed moms in my home. We all alternated watching each others children during interviews and Unemployment Office appointments. That day care became a home day care once many of us finally got jobs.
So today, I'd like for you to remember, God never quits caring and providing. After today's prayer if you have the time I highly recommend you go read Exodus 6:1-8 and only focus on all the promises God makes to Moses, and to his people. "I am God, I will fulfill, I will rescue, I will deliver, I will bring you out, I will free .."
PRAYER: God your scriptures say you bless those, "whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditate on your law day and night." It also says, "That a person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither-whatever they do prospers." So I choose to delight and meditate on your law, which is your scriptures, and you watch over your word, so that when we lean on it and trust it, "You perform what you've promised in your word." Today, I ask that you never let go of me.
I say, "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him." I choose today to take refuge in you Lord and ask you to direct my path. AMEN
Scripture references from BibleGateway.com: Psalm 1: 2-3; Jeremiah 1:12; Psalm 34:4-8; Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
TODAY'S iTune: "Never Let Go" by The Dave Crowder Band
(Soon you'll notice a pattern in each of these devotions.
The prayer that sums it up will be quoting scripture;
not my thoughts, opinions or teachings.)
TWO: Discover Your Talents and Gifts - You are an important addition to the work force in your field of expertise.
Your own personal identity can often be wrapped around your relationships and your career. God knows this. There is a scripture that says that God gives us the desires of our heart. I truly believe the scripture means he gives us those desires, then fulfills them. He plants a unique interest, a gift of sorts, several talents that are unique to us as individuals. If we pursue those gifts as we are made aware of them, we begin designing our career choices around our abilities.
Some people are born leaders and can motivate a large group of fellow workers without getting emotionally involved or being detached from their staff. Others are great hard workers who, when employed by a solid leader, are very productive by following their lead. There are people who love working outside, or alone, or doing the same task as the person left and right of them, others like having a task, going off and accomplishing it and turning it in online, maybe never even meeting their employer. There are so many options, but it is important to know yourself.
I took job after job when I was young thinking I could move up to management. Doing clerical jobs when I was a trained computer programmer with systems analyst skills. When I finally started applying for management jobs, my career was launched. You, like me, may be looking below your abilities, especially if you've gotten discouraged. I'm not saying to turn down a job offer if you're in a bind and need to support a family or are behind financially. I'm saying maybe you need to assess your skills and see if there's another avenue you can take that better meets your skill set.
Each one has talents, and we want to make sure we are using ours, as they are God given for a purpose.
Romans 12:2-8 in the New International Version of the Bible says,
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
The summary of these verses is to know your gift, and do it diligently.
If you read further in Romans 12 you'll find some "Love in Action" challenges, and for me, I find that when I'm really discouraged, going and doing something out of character for me really lifts my spirits. So, if you've done all you know to do and you've gotten no response to your unemployment situation, then get on a bus and encourage someone else, go to a clinic and sit with the sick in the waiting room to cheer them up take a small bouquet of flowers. Stop by a store and give stickers with a smiley face to all the clerks. Go through a drive-through and pay for the people behind you in line. Give of yourself and see if you don't reach down inside and find a deeper meaning to this time away from the job you left.
Stop and stare at the Begonias!!
PRAYER": God you know me best because you created me. Because of the situation I'm in, sometimes I forget that I have talents and skills that you have given me. Please help me use these skills, and remind me what they are daily. Your word says you give us the desires of our heart, and I'm asking you today to show me what I really desire, then help me see how you have already begun the process to fulfill them. I trust in you and look to you as I seek another job. AMEN
Psalm 20:4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
Psalm 21:2 You have granted him his heart's desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.
Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
THREE: Keep a Great Attitude - When the storms are moving in, check your attitude.
I have a lifetime goal. I hope to end being effective and productive, a person of influence with a great attitude throughout the journey.
There is a very in depth story, in the Bible, about a young man, one of 12 sons, who was favored by his Mom, and his Dad saw so much potential in him he had a special piece of clothing made for him, but none was made for the other brothers. To top it off, most of the brothers were older, yet, this young man had a dream that he would rule over the others in the future. Instead of pondering the dream and waiting for it to come about, he bragged about it to the brothers, not gaining any favor from them.
In fact the brothers were cruel to the point of selling the young man to slave traders and telling their Father that he was dead. Even taking the special made coat, smeared with animal blood, to the Dad to prove the son's death. If anyone had a reason to be angry, discouraged or depressed it was this young man.
The full story is in Genesis 45. Verses 4-8 tell of the brother reunion years later. With a good attitude things turned around for him, and he was able to help his entire dysfunctional family escape a famine and death.
We never know why we are struggling with so many troubles adding up, but we do know that we must get through it with a good attitude or we won't recognize the victory when it comes our way.
I recently wrote a blog post called "My Reactions Are Showing." If you'd like to do some additional reading on this topic and see more of Joseph's life check out my blog post and read Genesis 45.
PRAYER: God your divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of you. You who called us by his own glory and goodness. You have given us you very great and precious promises. Now, I'm asking you to help me avoid being ineffective and unproductive as I continue to search for a job, and look to you to help me check my reactions to troubles. I'm standing on your scripture that says, "5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:5-8 Now I commit my day and my job search to you, and trust you in this. AMEN
2 Peter 1:1-8
iTune for Today: It is Well
FOUR: Celebrate the New Day - Celebrate New Opportunities
Today is a new day. Celebrate the day. "This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it." Choose to do something celebratory today by yourself or with special family members or friends. Make it a day of celebration for no reason other than the fact that you woke up, the sun came up, and you have another opportunity to discover what God has in store.
Sometimes your faith grows by leaps and bounds when you simply say, "I'm giving this day to God. I choose not to worry, I'm resting in all the work I've done so far, and I'm going to enjoy whatever comes today."
This day features Psalm 118. The quoted verse above is verse 24. Here is 5 to 8:
he brought me into a spacious place.
6 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
7 The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
I look in triumph on my enemies.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in humans.
Trusting that things will work out gives you great peace to move forward. A walk in the park, a day at the museum, lunch with a friend all can give you a new perspective. Speaking your confidence in what will come of this challenge will give you more courage to walk through the trial. Hopefully this will also help others get on board keeping you upbeat and on target.
Some tips for making your free time productive:
Be honest with yourself, admit when you're disappointed.
Reach out to others in the same position, unemployed, between jobs, underemployed, etc.
Expect slower days, pace yourself. If exhausted your not going to respond well to others.
Admit things are out of your control and commit the situation to prayer.
Try being creative, pick up a tool, a craft, a trade you've always wanted to explore.
Help a stranger or a neighbor for a day, it builds character.
Expand your knowledge of a skill set by reading online or at the library or bookstore.
Mentor a peer or tutor a child, and get a new perspective on the level of needs in your community, and don't forget to make your needs known to people who care, and those friends or family members who will pray.
PRAYER: God today I want to seize the day. Let love and faithfulness never leave me; bind them around my neck, write them on the tablet of my heart. Then I will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Your word says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." I want straight paths. I chose not to be wise in my own eyes; and to fear the Lord and shun evil as this will bring health to my body and nourishment to my bones. I will be on the lookout for joyful events as I go through my day. AMEN
FIVE: Be Creative - A New Career - You are an expert at something, have you ever considered making a career out of that expertise?
(The photo is our grandson his first Easter after being adopted from Russia. See our son's story in today's devotion.)
Writing these devotions has helped me recall all the times I've been unemployed:
When we first married it was a 650 mile relocation for me. new job.
8 months later, my husband joined the US Army, new job.
When he got out of basic we moved 700 miles away, new job.
After his advanced training, I moved home, he went overseas, new job.
He came home, we were relocated, new job.
Got out of the Army, relocated new job.
Went back to school in different city, new job. Over 20 jobs in my career.
I haven't looked at my work history for several years, but I know my resume' was full of short term jobs. I finally broke into management when I was able to stay in one place for a longer period of time. Each job was building my experience and expertise, so it was all worth it in the long run.
If you're connected online and you've done any search for jobs in the wide wild world of the web, then you know there are a plethora of choices out there for work from home opportunities. I would never recommend just quitting a job and starting a business without a lot of thought, planning and counsel from those who have been there, and done that!
If you are an expert in your field, you could be missing the opportunity to to become a consultant, a contract employee.
We were relocated right when personal computers were coming on the market. I had helped a college set up attendance records on a PC just before resigning my job. I had written the program in BASIC using my skill set from mainframe computer programming. I was one step ahead of most people who didn't have a comfort level loading software onto a computer. When we arrived in our new location my husband got a job with the court system. I was still job hunting. An attorney heeded new software loaded and customized on his new office PCs. I drew up a contract, made up some business cards, called myself "Computer Tutor," and suddenly we had the financial break we needed. From that assignment I went to the courthouse in our town and consulted on software for tracking probationers, and ended up installing computers and software, then training many people in our community on PCs. This step of faith pushed me, yet it led to a great job in the information systems field eventually.
Commercial break!! Yes, I would like to take just a moment to introduce you to our son's book: Free Marketing 101 Jim Cockrum was along for the ride, all the moves, and was a teenager when I briefly had my own business. I hired him on a few occasions to help me in this venture.
His story is pretty awesome. He actually had a plan to start his own business, felt like he should let his employer know his plans, and he was fired on the spot. This truly launched his business. That was almost 10 years ago. Jim is a great example of pursuing your dream, being creative, and living proof that " ... in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his (God's) purpose."
~end of commercial.
One of our son's first ventures was to approach businesses that had walk-in lobbies, to place a nice designer - color matched wooden candy dispenser in their lobby, at his expense. He would keep it filled, donate a percentage of the proceeds to a charity, and collect his money. One visit at their home, the floor of a spare room was filled with buckets and bags of candy - for refills, and change from the proceeds.
The income from this business helped them adopt their first child internationally. He sold the lucrative business to friends, a brother and sister preparing for college.
All things do work together for good when we depend on God to work it out, and it always helps if we're watching for God's hand in the deal.
PRAYER: God your word promises that if I put my trust in you, then you will work out the details and make even the bad things that come my way become good things in the end. I want to wait on you and let you do this because you do all things well, so help me be patient, caring, build character, be creative and simply trust. I'm looking forward to my future, because I know you have big plans. AMEN
Today's iTune: "Create in Me A Clean Heart" John Michael Talbott
ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM READERS - Stories submitted by readers (and myself) to encourage you.
- I was between jobs, had a very lucrative job offer waiting, when we had an accident. I ended up never taking the job, but instead taking care of my husband 2 years, then working side-by-side with him in a full-time ministry to bikers for the last 13 years. We feel that although God didn't cause the accident, those things just happen, God did direct us to this new ministry which has been a very fulfilling journey.
- One time I delivered a resume' and got an interview at the college where my husband was a student. They told me they hadn't hired new employees in several months and definitely didn't have openings in my area of expertise. I was gracious, thanked them for their time and asked if it was okay to call back in a month or so to see if anything had changed. They agreed this was fine.
The next day I got a call, the lady working in financial aid trained and prepped for bringing in the new computers had resigned because of relocation. I had the job. I honestly feel that keeping a good attitude, leaving a good impression and continuing to trust God would work it out helped me land that job.
If you have an unemployment story that will encourage those in the middle of searching for jobs. Post the story here and I will add it to the list of ENCOURAGING WORDS below.