When I graduated, I somehow managed to bypass the new-grad-unemployment season by ending up in my dream job. I embarked on one of the greatest adventures of my life as a cross-cultural missionary in a closed country. 

I spent the next two years in a beautiful, mountainous region meeting with students over steaming cups of tea to share the gospel with them. My teammates and I hosted secret gatherings in our apartment to create community for Christian students. I laboured in learning a language that had me making sounds I didn’t know I could utter. 

And I relished every minute of it. 

Read more: What is global missions? And why does it matter? 

Responding to God, not fear

When it came time for me to decide whether or not I would stay in this country long-term, I was eager to hear what the Lord had to say. 

I had thought that there were so many obvious reasons for why I should stay. So, when I spent time asking and seeking the Lord’s will for my next career steps, I was surprised to feel him leading me back to Canada. 

Read more: Determine God’s call with this guide to emotion-free decision-making

At the time, the Spirit helped me see that my predominant reasons for why I wanted to stay in Asia were born out how comfortable I was there. The Lord was gracious and kind to reveal to me that I was trusting more in what I knew, than trusting in him. 

God didn’t give me a 50-point plan for what he had for me in Canada (honestly, I’m not convinced that the Lord ever gives this to us, but a girl can dream, right?). All I had received from him was a nudge to return to Canada with absolutely no job prospects. 

Read more: Can I be confident in knowing God’s will?

Peace apart from my position

I was being asked to trade in the security of my dream job for the instability and discomfort found in unemployment. 

I was nervous and at peace about it at the same time. The nervousness was something that I expected, but I was surprised to have a deep peace alongside it. 

I couldn’t articulate it then, but in hindsight, I can see that the Lord was letting me experience a peace that comes only from knowing Christ. Peace that I thought would come from my job security was something I was able to experience in its absence.  

Read more: How do I find freedom from the need to be amazing?

Unemployed yet unashamed

When I got back to Canada, I remained unemployed for four months. Which, in my undergrad, would have absolutely scared me. The idea of not having anything to “do” or show for my life had previously motivated me in destructive ways. 

In those four months, I saw the Lord produce some of the richest fruit I have ever seen in my walk with him. I was surprised to see that unemployment did not cripple me because I knew that my identity was in Christ, and not in my work. I marvelled at the way I was able to tell people that I was unemployed without any shame because I knew that the Lord was still pleased with me.

I thanked the Lord for the seemingly endless time that he gave me to rest in a deep wonder and awe of him.

Read more: 5 things waiting on God taught me

Lessons from the waiting

And yet, all the while I was unemployed, the Lord was still preparing me for what he had next. At the time, I didn’t know where I would end up. Or who my coworkers would be. Or what kind of work I would even be doing. But the Lord was shaping my perspective for each of these things. 

I learned that wherever I would end up would be because the Lord had prepared a place for me

I was reminded that I would have a chance to be an ambassador for Christ to my co-workers, many of whom may never willingly step into a Christian environment. 

I was released from the pressure of finding meaningful, impactful work because even the most menial of tasks can be for God’s glory, as long as we offer it to him.

Unemployment did not cripple me because I knew that my identity was in Christ, and not in my work.

Being unemployed was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. Not because I loved instability or enjoyed living off of my parents. But because of how the Lord shaped me to be more of myself in that season. 

Which, I would argue, is what he is always after: his glory and my good. 

Read more: With a faithful God, it’s worth the risk to step boldly into new seasons

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