What can I do to stay encouraged when finding a good job seems impossible?
"Rejoice in the Lord always." This is one of the easiest things to say and the hardest things to put into practice, especially in the midst of a prolonged job search. Philippians 4:4–7 says "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." When you choose to be thankful and cast your anxiety on the Lord, He promises to guard you with His peace. Above all else, as hopeless as finding a job may seem, remember that with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
While you may be worried about appearing lazy or like a failure to others (or even yourself), you need to remember that God is not worried about how things appear to you or to others. He is concerned about the condition of your heart (1 Samuel 16:7). It's possible that God wants to heal you of internal heart issues before He opens up a new job opportunity. Perhaps He wants you to prioritize taking care of your physical or mental health—things that you would have a harder time integrating into your life when working full-time. Maybe God is asking you to move into a different job field than you initially thought. Perhaps He is giving you more time with family or an opportunity to volunteer. Whatever the situation, if you are in Christ, you can trust that God will use it (Romans 8:28–29). So draw close to Him and take this as an opportunity to deepen your faith and trust in Christ. Ask God to give you wisdom in the most effective way to spend your free time during this season of unemployment. Also ask Him for clear direction in your search. He is faithful to guide us when we ask Him and rely on Him (James 1:5; Proverbs 3:5–6).
Finding a good job requires practicing patience, which is uncomfortable when looking at your own looming practical needs. What you need to know is that you can trust God fully throughout the process. God's ways are higher than your ways and His thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8–9). His reality transcends your reality. You just can't see it with your own eyes. Pray for your spiritual senses to be strengthened and your heart to be focused on God. Ask to see your situation through His perspective.
Where is your focus? Is it on troubles, anxiety, fear of failure, and impatience? Focusing on these things will only increase your distress. What is God wanting you to focus on in this situation? He wants you to be thankful. Meditate on His faithfulness and goodness. Ask God how you can be a partner with Him in accomplishing His plans and purposes for your life.
Be aware that you have an enemy to fight; Satan would love nothing more than to keep you discouraged and downtrodden (1 Peter 5:8). You need to stay connected to Christ and His Body, the Church, so that you may stay encouraged. Isolation leads to discouragement (Hebrews 10:24–25). Stay connected to others who can help encourage you in your season of job searching. God will be faithful to encourage you when you seek Him. You can trust that even though sometimes God's actions stay behind the scenes longer than you would prefer He is working things out for your good if you belong to Him (Romans 8:28).
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