Has anyone noticed how longmy blog posts have been this week? Sorry. My hope was to keep these pretty concise so as not to eat up too much of your time, which happens to be a perfect transition into today’s post…
This week’s posts have been dedicated to times of job insecurity and job transitions, and I made a big claim yesterday – that these trying periods could become the best period of our lives. It happened to me. When I found myself out of work about five years ago, I had a pastor tell me that I’d received a rare gift – the gift of time.
I know, it sounds like an empty boost of encouragement, but he was right. When we’re out of work we need to spend time job hunting, but that tends to not require every hour of the work day. If we’re in jobs we hate, we’ll likely turn to distractions in our free time to escape work. In either case, these times can be spent getting closer with God.
How? There are lots of ways. My pastor suggested that I start with the book of James and follow the footnotes. What did he mean? If you’ve got a study bible, have you noticed those references on the inside of the pages close to the spine? Those highlight other references that can be found on similar topics. If you read a line that catches your eye, follow the footnotes and see where the Bible takes you. As an example, James 1:12, which says that “God blesses the people who patiently endure testing” has a footnote next to it near the spine referencing 2 Tim 4:8, which is about prize awaiting those following Jesus, which references 1 Cor 9:25, which is about the discipline required to run the race of life. It’s amazing how much you can learn that way. Consider it kind of a Biblical scavenger hunt!
I also spent more time praying (usually while taking walks outdoors) and meditating on pieces of scripture that I felt God was using to speak to me. There are, of course, other spiritual “disciplines” other than prayer and Bible study – fasting, periods of silence, taking a pilgrimage, etc. – and those are also worth exploring if you’ve got the opportunity.
Once I found my next job, I was thrilled and thankful for the new opportunity, but also for the time I spent getting closer to my creator. Within a month, I was complaining that I couldn’t find enough time for God since I was spending so much time working! But that’s probably a good topic for another post.
When the Israelites were stuck in the desert, in-between slavery and the promised land, they were told this (in Deut 4:29):
From there you will search again for the LORD your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.”
If we’re stuck in a period of transition and use our gift of time to search for him, we will find him too.
Tomorrow, one more thought about how a period of job insecurity can become a blessing…