“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” – Matthew 7:24-27
I didn’t want to write about this, but I feel like I should. I haven’t posted anything in almost two weeks because I lost my job on February 1st. This is the third full-time job in a row where my position has been eliminated. It’s funny how we talk about such things. Fired, laid off, let go, position eliminated, downsized, etc. Trust me, when you’re the one being – whatevered, it makes little difference what they call it. It still means you’re in deep trouble.
This time, it was a Friday morning. They let me go around 9am. With my wife at an all-day seminar and the kids with Nana, I went to the mall to walk around and think for a while. I suppose I should be grateful that I already have some experience with this. It didn’t feel nearly as devastating this time, though in reality, the circumstances are more dire, in some respects.
The reality of the situation is this: Jobs come and go. If you find your identity and your worth in your work, it’s like building your house on shifting sand. I know that work is woven into the fabric of a man. It has an effect on how we feel about ourselves, but it is more about doing something of value than it is about the particular job. We must remember what is of eternal value and keep that in perspective. It feels terrible right now, but this won’t last. There are pains that don’t go away. They are to be avoided at all costs.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. The Lord works out everything for his own ends…” – Proverbs 16:3-4
It’s almost a paradox, isn’t it? “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed,” BUT, “The Lord works out everything for his own ends…”? Well, I guess the only wisdom I have to offer here is that I don’t have any wisdom to offer. I mean, I’ll make my plans and commit them to God, but He knows best. While I feel like I want what I want, I know that God working out his own ends is ultimately the right thing.
While I was walking around the mall I passed the record store where I worked about 17 years ago, shortly after I got married (I know what you’re thinking – “What’s a record store?”). It was having a “going out of business” sale (see the picture above). I guess things really are tough all over. You know, I was pretty upset when I got fired, but I quickly started thinking forward to where I’m headed. I decided that I’m going to be one of those people who gets fired and, a few months later, says, “That was the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” I’ll write more about that later.
Have you lost a job before? What does it feel like? What advice do you have for the newly unemployed?