So since my last update (which was exactly one month ago), the only thing that’s happened was that I went on an awesome trip to NYC with three of my best buds. It was an all girls’ trip, four single girls hitting the town. The trip was much needed, and I felt carefree for a while.
But all good things usually come to an end (most of the time). I came back and resumed my job search. While I had some leads, it’s summer, and not a lot happens then, especially around August. I’m not too discouraged about this particular hump, but I am a little discouraged about my general job hunt. Tomorrow marks the fifth month of unemployment, and it’s really this fact that is gnawing on me keenly.
Last night, after some more tears, I prayed to God for some comfort. Here is what he sent to me.
Every day of your life, you have a choice:
- You can focus on the obstacles before you, or …
- You can be confident in the truth that God is pouring his strength into you.
Are you severely troubled right now? Are you afraid and confused by the waves and the turbulence God sovereignly allows to enter your life? Have you left no stone of your faith unturned, yet still not found any well of peace, joy, or comfort? Does your life seem completely barren to you? Then look up and receive the quiet contentment of the Lord Jesus.
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
When you think you can’t do something on your own power, that’s OK. Lean on God, and he will give you his power to do what he’s called you to do. You lose your fear when God is near, and he’s promised to always be with you.
What’s been bothering me lately? Fear. Specifically, fear that I will never get any job. Coupled with the fact that I’m going stir crazy at home, I feel that I’ll never land any job, let alone the one that I want. That I will have to settle. It’s not so much the money (okay, it is a little bit more than I’m admitting), but it’s been a huge blow to my self-esteem and self-confidence. Something I’m trying to build back up slowly, but trying (and failing) to doing it God’s way.
Right now, my son has this whole week off from daycare. While I love my son and I think he’s the best thing since sliced bread, I can only take him in small doses, with a lot of me time in between. Very un-mother-like of me, but there you go. I was never meant to be a stay-at-home-anything (unless I’m working), and that’s what I’ve become, and I’m feeling a bit trapped. Job hunting is also a full-time job, so it’s been difficult for me (and therefore very frustrating) to schedule things like when to do my health expenses and meeting up with people. I always feel I may have to cancel on someone. It has happened more than once in the past.
But I will keep looking to and leaning on the Lord. Or at least try.
I’ve been pretty busy lately. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been taking a couple of technology courses in the bid to make myself more marketable on the job front. One thing that I found shocking was that the instructor of my first course had offered to let me take the second course for free. Free. The instructor turned out to be co-owner of the training centre that I was taking course #1 at, so it was his prerogative to do such a thing. I paid about $2,500 for the first course, and the second course was pretty much the same price. For anyone who works in my industry, this is actually an average price for one course. It was surprising for me that he wanted to offer me the course for free. He said that there was only one other person registered for the course, so he wanted a second body there to at least make things a little more interesting. I can see his point, but it was awfully generous of him. I’m certain that he’s also hoping that the goodwill will one day, be reciprocated. Nonetheless, I feel that God has allowed it to happen. Whether or not this is a part of his plan remains to be seen.
I’ve also still been applying to contract positions, and I’m faced with a three month opportunity. While I think it’s a decent opportunity, the thing that hit me was that if I take this opportunity, I won’t be eligible for Employment Insurance any longer. This really scares me because I had always regarded the EI as a backup until I could start getting my feet on the ground. No EI means that we are truly living off of one income. I talked with my husband about my fears, and he told me not to worry. We are debt free. We have savings up our ying-yang. If I really want to work, then he will support that, even if means periods whereby we are living off of one income. God is yanking my security blanket away from me again. Firmly.
So in today’s Bible reading, God is pushing me towards my leap of faith. In the reading, it says:
The Holy Spirit releases his power the moment you take a step of faith… God waits for you to act first. Don’t wait to feel powerful or confident. Move ahead in your weakness, doing the right thing in spite of your fears and feelings. This is how you cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and it is how your character develops.
I have lots of fears and bad feelings. I need to take that leap of faith. God is definitely pushing my character building!
I liken it a lot to my 3-year old boy. There are times when he just doesn’t want to take a leap of faith, no matter how much I tell him it’s okay, and I’ll make things okay. He won’t do it, for whatever thoughts and feelings that are inside of him. From my vantage point, it’s not sensible, and it’s not necessary. But he still won’t trust me. This is where I need to put my trust in God and just leap! knowing too that he will take care of things for me, just like I take care of things for my son.
I read an article in Woman’s Health magazine (June 2012) issue about Impostor Syndrome. Wow, I think I have this. When I was writing up my resume, or even before that, when I was doing my performance review, I kept on asking myself: “What were my accomplishments?”. I tend to come up blank when answering. It’s not that I didn’t have any accomplishments, or that I was doing things that were meaningless and had no real value to the organization. However, I saw most of what I was doing as “just part of my job”. Hence, my accomplishments faded into the background.
I think a lot of this Impostor Syndrome also tied in with my self-esteem. I am generalizing here, but women are taught from an early age not to boast. In fact, they’ve done studies, and both men and women find it annoying if a woman boasts a lot, but when men boast, it’s not found as annoying.
The biggest thing that I got from this article was that it really pin-pointed what I’ve been struggling with for a while. While I still need to learn how to best cope with this, the fact that I allow unrealistic and untrue negative thoughts in how I view my accomplishments is a self-awareness thing for me. In the article, one woman mentioned that when she used to run track races, and if she wasn’t at the front of the pack, she would constantly be comparing herself to other. She would see how others were doing, and started a cycle of self-doubt: “I can’t run fast enough, I’m not good enough as the person who is in front of me”, etc. How she overcame this was to put the pack of runners out of her line of vision and periphery. So instead of staring with the rest of the pack, she would start at the head of the pack.
This is what I’ve been doing. I’ve been comparing my inabilities with others, to the point whereby I obsessed over the fact that they had jobs and I didn’t. One woman who I am friends with on Facebook, I see her statuses and envy her as to where is at her life. Right after I was laid off, this same woman told me that she had spent a year in a very bad time in her work life. I don’t know what the details are, but I can imagine that she had difficulties looking for a job as well. Bottom line is, I need to stop comparing myself to anyone else. No one is like me, has my skills, ability and experience. I am unique, so trying to compare my own situation with someone else’s is like comparing apples and oranges.
So while I still may struggle with my own way of overcoming Impostor Syndrome, being aware of it is already more than half the battle won. Hopefully, in time, I will overcome it and really learn to acknowledge and appreciate my accomplishments.
I cried a little this morning. Today, I realized that my “idol” that I worshiped above God was my frantic desire to finding a job. Now. It’s not even about the money, although earning money again would be nice, and would give me back my security blanket. But really, it is more to do with my identity as a person, and my sense of self-esteem. Much of how I perceive myself is through what I do at work. Plus, I’m doing a slight shift to my career, and to be able to get a job doing what I want to do, that would really make me feel much better about my abilities and my future.
So I put this day in God’s hands, determined to enjoy my day visiting with my family and dragging my son out to the playground for some much-needed fresh air and sunshine. It was the first time that my grandmother has gone out since she had her illness, and my son always needs to run off his energy. To feel the peace from focussing on God and not obsessing about my job search, despite my current situation, and knowing that he will care and take care of me no matter what.
At church, they are going through a series of sermons on prayer. This past Sunday, the speaker asked us to spend five minutes to write down our prayer, and to possibly share it with others. While there was no time for sharing, I thought I would write it down here. One of the things that he mentioned is that our prayers sometimes needs to be transparent, so some of the ideas that he had to start prayer off are:
- I think you are amazing. You…
- If I’m being perfectly honest…
- I am really worried about…
- You have been so faithful…
- If you really kept your promises you would…
- I am angry with you…
- God you’re so good…
- I with everyone could know what you have done for me.
- If it were possible, I wish you would…
- Please! I really need you to help me!
- I called out to you and you answered me.
- I know you care about me…
- I know you care about me, but…
- It doesn’t feel like you care about me…
One think he pointed out is that, we are God’s children, and we shouldn’t feel like we’re paying lip service to God. I certainly would rather have my own child be honest with me than tell me what I want to hear. Also, God knows what our thoughts and feelings are even before we do, or even before we tell him. So it is okay to pray in different way. What I’m putting down next is what I had written in those five minutes. It is all my pent up emotions and feelings about my current situation:
The thing that is weighing me down is the fact that I don’t have a job right now, and I feel so uncertain in my life as to what my identity is. I feel useless and stuck in my life. I worry about money and the future. I’m trying to be patient and not be discouraged, but it’s so hard. I’ve felt like I’m starting over again, and that’s so frustrating and discouraging. I really would like to find something before the end of the summer holidays, but I don’t want to get my hopes up. I feel like I’ve failed.
I felt like it was wrong for me to be whining all the time, but this really is a big hurdle in my life right now, and I’m feeling pretty depressed about it. I sometimes feel that I need to vent, and there’s too many people telling me that it’s going to be okay, and that I shouldn’t complain. I mean, my friend just discovered that her mom has breast cancer, and may not have long to live. I’ve been told that I was lucky to be getting interviews so soon, and so many interviews so quickly. I look at my eye doctor, and think about the one child that she had lost while she was still a baby. I look at my friend’s brother who had lost his hands and feet from some mysterious illness, and is slowly recovering and re-learning how to do the simplest tasks. Why should I be complaining when I am actually financially well off, and at least trying my best to look for a job, in a pretty hot job market at that?
I think we are, in a lot of ways, like children: very self-centred and selfish. Not in a mean or cruel way, but we are human, and these are tendencies that we lean towards. While I know that God will take care of me no matter what, I also know that this may be either a test, or a moulding of character. Or both. These things are painful. I also feel that sometimes we need to acknowledge our true feelings, as selfish as they are, so that we can find ways of (hopefully) moving past them.
One thing that really impressed me about the written prayer is that it forced me to really be honest with how I was feeling, and to verbalize that to God. Many times when I’m praying, my words tend to be aimless, my thoughts distracted. This helped me to focus a lot of what I wanted to say to God. I think I’ll try it again sometime, even though my prayers may be negative. God, I think, would still like to hear them nonetheless.
Wow, I haven’t blogged in almost a month. One of the reasons why I decided to set up this blog (I have others), is because I wanted to see if I would have the discipline to keep this up. So far, June was a spectacular fail blog-wise. But promised myself not to get stressed out about not blogging, so it’s not a big deal for me.
First, an update. June was tumultuous at best.
I thought my grandmother would be passing on, only to have her miraculously recover and thrive. She’s now been discharged from the hospital and is adjusting to her new digs at a local extended care home. The Boy has even visited once and had a grand time pushing his great-grandmother around in her wheelchair. Win.
The Boy is deep into his three-ness. For those of you who never went through this stage, I feel it’s worse than the Terrible Twos. It’s certainly more frustrating. The Boy is becoming really independent and wanting to to EVERYTHING (and I mean EVERYTHING) on his own, and on his own schedule. For instance, he will brush his teeth his way, and when he’s good and ready to. And everything now takes twice as long to accomplish than even three months ago. This is frustrating when you have a schedule to keep. I liken it to when my own mother nags me to do things a certain way, and I don’t like her interference. It’s the same thing, only it’s more maddening because we’re talking about a 3-year old testing his boundaries big time. The other night, after repeated requests to wash his hands before dinner, he didn’t do it until it ran into his bed time. Well, by then it was too late, and to make a long story short, I put him to bed without dinner. We also suspect since I’ve been at home more often, The Boy has less of a fixed routine. My son does best with structure, and the lack of it sets him off in weird ways. Parenting is really frustrating.
On the job front, I suddenly had a whack-load of interview, all within a two week period, and all of which didn’t pan out. It was stressful for me. Looking for a job is a full-time job in itself. The sending out of resumes and cover letters, the prepping for the interviews and going to interviews itself. All time consuming and energy draining. Right now, I feel stressed, uncertain as to my own abilities, depressed, drained, worried about money, and mad. It’s been almost three months since I was let go. I’m really wishing that I find a job, if only for the sake of my sanity (I am so not cut out to be a stay at home mom/wife), and hopefully, give The Boy some more structure and routine. And don’t forget, amongst all this, I’m taking an online course, which ended up eating up a fair bit of my time.
On top of all this, while I was yet again struggling to get Lucas out the door today for school, my mom comes buy and comments that I look tired and peaked, my face is lacking colour and I should do something about it. I yelled at her, which I felt badly about afterwords. This is my mom’s typical comments to me, and they are hurtful. I heard them constantly. I’m tired, stressed, I haven’t been sleeping properly (Lucas has been waking up once a night for weeks now), and I’m depressed about my job situation. My mom had a really hard time listening and putting herself in other people’s shoes. She is empathetic, but many times it comes out the wrong way.
So I prayed to God about this, because I feel like I was at my wit’s end. Here’s what he had to say to me (Part 1, Part 2). Yes, I need God’s grace, now, and yes, He is molding me and shaping me, and I need to be patient and wait on him.
So this week is The Boy’s last week in his daycare class. We will be going to visit my in-laws the next week, and flying out to visit. The Boy is super excited about flying in an airplane, constantly demands that we go now! This week will be visiting with friends and getting ready for the trip. I’m hoping that I will get to de-stress a bit and come home with a new energy to job hunt.
May – August 2012
Based on the Following Scripture Theme:
“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection” – Romans 6:4-5
FOCUS – Sparked Faith to Remain
John 15:8: “We are to bear much fruit” I need to continue spreading the good news.
ADORATION – Intentional Praise
Psalms 13:6: God has been really good to me. I need to remember to praise him.
CONFESSION – Listen and Agree
Jeremiah 31:21: I have been straying away from God’s promises and listening to my own self-doubt. I need to get back to God.
THANKSGIVING – Faith Exchange
Deut. 33:29: God will give us the power to conquer all
SUPPLICATION – Unifed and Empowered
Psalms 56:8-9: God does listen to our cries for help. And He will help us over all our challenges.