By Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck
National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling CoachesSM
Where do you find hope when things look bleak? Times are tough, and many job hunters find themselves feeling overwhelmed by fear. And no wonder! Headlines, news stories and casual conversations focus on the growing unemployment rate, increasing numbers of foreclosures, dismal sales retail sales figures, decreasing value of stock portfolios, looming layoffs and more. All this can instill a sense of hopelessness-especially if you are currently looking for work.
We have been helping many individuals who have been laid off or displaced. While there are key tactics that can help people find jobs more quickly, one of the most important strategies is cultivating a sense of hopefulness. Hope is critical to a successful job search. Without hope, we lose momentum and stop taking action to move forward. With hope, however, we are motivated to keep going. Hope enables us to believe that things will get better and that we will be able to overcome the present difficulties.
The Power of Hope for Job Hunters and Career Changers
The source of hope for Christians, of course, is not a new President or new economic strategies, but, rather, God. And yet, while we may profess to believe in a God who knows us by name, cares about our lives, and has the power to see us through whatever difficulties we encounter, we may still find ourselves wrestling with despair and discouragement. How about you? If you could use more hope in your life and job search, try out these suggestions:
1. Before you log on to internet job boards or scan the newspaper's classified ads, spend some time with the Lord. You are bombarded by media headlines as soon as you get on the computer or open the paper. While media sources can provide important information, they can also create fear and discouragement by continually confronting us with negative messages and images about what is going on. Fear paralyzes us into inaction.
Faith, however, is the opposite of fear. Faith fuels action. Whichever you feed most-fear or faith-will have the most power in your life. Throughout today's activities, take time to focus on strengthening your faith in God and His provision for your life. Right now, ask God to help you to pay more attention to His truth than you do to the messages coming in from the world around you.
2. Focus on God's faithfulness. In times of economic insecurity, we are tempted to worry about almost everything. Often, we dwell on the worst possible outcomes that could happen in our situation. If we're not careful with our thoughts, we begin to treat those negative images as our "reality," which leads to more fear and inaction. Instead, we need to work on "renewing our mind" (Romans 12:2) by focusing on God's power and provision.
Study biblical events in which God was faithful to His people in difficult circumstances. The God who parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14), brought down the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6), miraculously supplied flour and oil (1 Kings 17), and multiplied the bread and fish (Matthew 14: Mark 6; Luke 9; John 6) is still at work within you and the world today. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). Make a list of the ways God has been faithful to you and your family in the past. Thank Him for His past, present and future faithfulness.
3. Exercise faith by taking action. Choose faith over fear, and watch how God will bless you. "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Hebrews 11:6, NIV). What is one thing you believe God is calling you to do that you honestly are afraid to do? Pray about it, prepare to do it, and then just do it! In Scripture, we often see that God doesn't step in until the person steps out in faith.
Saint Augustine once said that we need to "pray as though everything depends upon God and work as though everything depends upon us." Are you confident that you are targeting the work that fits your design, using a resume that gets results, interviewing in a way that proves that you can meet the employer's needs? If not, you are not alone,one study found that 95% of job hunters make mistakes that delay their employment. Make sure that you seek out the assistance that is needed to maximize the action steps that you take.
4. Ask for help and support when you need it. In our book, Live Your Calling, "going it alone" is one of the calling blockers that hinder us from doing what God is calling us to do. There are many challenges in life, both large and small. We need other people so that we can not only survive, but thrive, during life's ups and downs. God created us to function best when we are connected with others, not as an individual battling life alone.
Job searching can be isolating and lonely. Make a point to get together with people who will encourage you and energize you to keep going. Ask fellow believers to pray for you, and share specific requests with them. Schedule times with a friend who can be a support and accountability partner.
If you're uncertain which career path is right for you, or how to conduct the most effective job search, we invite you to use the resources of ChristianCareerCenter.com, including scheduling a free consultation to determine what services would best fit your needs. You don't have to "go it alone"; you can experience guidance and support from career professionals to help reduce the time it takes to find your next job.
Hope as Your Anchor
If you are out of work, or uncertain about the future of your job, work on deepening your sense of trust and hope in God. As Hebrews 6:19 says, "We have this hope [in God] as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." When your soul is well anchored in God and His power, you can do anything He calls you to do!
Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck are the authors of Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life. As National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling Coaches, they are recognized experts in helping people identify their giftedness and find their purpose in life. If you are interested in career coaching and testing to discover work that fits your God-given design; or would like assistance with writing a powerful resume, interviewing effectively, finding job openings, or other aspects of a successful job search, you can schedule a free consultation session at www.ChristianCareerCenter.com.