Shock. Anger. Gutted. Disbelief.
I will never forget how those emotions seared through my body in the course of seconds when I discovered I lost my job. To say I was blindsided would be an understatement.
I was working at a Catholic school, had won Teacher of the Month, planned successful field trips, wrote dozens of letters of recommendation, increased ACT and SAT scores, was a TEAM Lead, earned almost perfect scores on my teaching evaluations, and my contract was still not renewed, with no real explanation as to why.
Fighting the Embarrassment of Job Loss
Over the next months, I kept the news to myself and my immediate family. I was overwhelmed with embarrassment and disappointment. I couldn’t bear to tell my coworkers, my friends, or my students out of fear that they would judge me and ask what I did wrong. Because the truth was, I didn’t know. So I let the unknown, self-doubt, and self-deprecation eat me alive.
I kept the tidal wave of emotions inside, letting them continue to fester almost every part of me. I tried to figure out where I went wrong, trying to determine what I could’ve done better. I began to let this questioning and fear for my future turn me into a person I didn’t even recognize.
For five years, my job was my identity, and here I was, at a crossroads, not knowing what I wanted to become.
Turning to Him
It was also during this time I begrudgingly turned to God. Though I went to Him in prayer, I found myself also questioning this path He was putting me on.
Why was God punishing me? What did I do wrong in His eyes?
I would sit at the altar, frustrated, during Adoration or quiet prayer, and I let Him have it. During those moments of silence, I let go and gave it to God. The beauty was that He let me. He let me cry and He provided comfort in ways I couldn’t even begin to fathom.
While it was difficult at times to hear Him or accept His comfort, I used prayer to really focus on what He had to say to me and learned how to open my heart to listen to Him better than I ever have before. During these moments, I experienced tremendous growth and prepared my heart for the next season of my life. And was even more prepared for when I lost another job this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gaining Through Loss
Without a doubt, losing a job causes us to lose a part of ourselves. Often, our jobs becomes part of our identity and cause us to shape who we are as a person. As someone who has lost two jobs in one year, I know how this time feels inescapable. It consumes us in ways that those who have never lost a job will never understand. It leaves scars on our hearts for years to come.
With that said, I can tell that this time will pass. God opens the doors to something even more beautiful than you could imagine if you just adjust your focus from what you lost to what you can gain for this trying situation.
Looking back at this last year, I can very easily list all the things I lost when I was laid off: my students, incredible coworkers, a sense of self, and confidence. While it is easy to harp on the negative, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also name all of the things I gained during this time of true emotional turmoil.
What I Would Have Missed
Though it was hard in the moment, God brought me immense blessings during this time. He showed me my true resilience, grace, and fortitude. He forced me to depend on others to help me through, instead of always keeping it all inside and to myself. He did this through my friends and introduced me to the man I am going to marry. He knew that this road would be hard, so He placed people in my life that would help me on this journey.
Therefore, I challenge you, sisters, that even though this time has you focusing on all that you lost, whether it be money, sense of self, confidence, or friends, focus on the fact that God has you. It might not feel like it now, and honestly, it might not feel like it for a while, but He is placing things before you that will prepare you for the next chapter.
During this time, I encourage you to write down at least three ways God has blessed you each day. The biggest struggle when losing a job is taking our focus away from negative and shifting it towards acknowledging the true blessings God has placed before us.He is placing things before you that will prepare you for the next chapter. #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Listen to Him
The beauty of losing a job—yes, I said that—is the unknown. While the unknown is terrifying, it also allows us to truly reflect on His plan for us. Use this time to pray with God on what is supposed to happen next. Maybe you’ve wanted to change careers, and this is the kickstart you didn’t know you needed. Maybe you’ve wanted to move for a while, and now is your chance to look at a map and go!
I found it incredibly helpful during my many emotional moments to just chant or sing in my head, “Jesus, I trust in You,” and it helped to calm the storm at bay.
Be Kind to Yourself
As you are reflecting and praying about where God will lead you, it’s vital to be kind to ourselves. It is easy to rip ourselves apart, but the beauty of this time is to allow ourselves grace and truly reflect on what we did right. Even though we lost our jobs, we were hired for our gifts and our potential. We were not hired to be fired. We were hired to grow.
Even though our period of growth is ending at our current place of work, that does not mean our overall growth should be stunted. Use this time to focus on what you do well (because you did, don’t let any feelings tell you differently) and how that can contribute to your next venture. We can only do this if we listen to God and turn to Him, no matter how we are feeling.
You’ve Got This
I will be the first to say that the storm of job loss is tough to navigate. The beauty of every storm is the calmness and beauty it brings upon its conclusion.
Sisters, allow yourself grace and kindness during this storm. Open your heart to God and where He is calling you to go next. Be open to new opportunities, seasons of life, help from others, and how you can use your gifts to help this world.
Once the storm passes, there might be debris that still follows you, but God will not allow it to weigh you down or prevent you from moving forward. You’ve got this because God has you, in the palm of His hand.
Has anyone else weathered the storm of job loss? What was your experience like? How did the Lord help you heal and see His plan with fresh eyes?
The Beauty I Found in Job Loss #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Written by Danielle Sanok.