Help Wanted: Coming-of-Age in a Recession Can Shake Our Faith
We focus our attention on everything because somehow it seems irresponsible to focus on one thing—one job, one relationship, one goal—when doing so might overlook our imminent need for a fallback plan. My generation has turned suspicious of stability, because the world just doesn't seem built that way anymore. It sounds too good to be true.
This economic and societal pressure can aggravate the kinds of timeless issues of faith, community, and priorities we all struggle with. Like pride. It's one thing to know what I'm worth to Christ, and another to not have an answer when someone asks me what I do for a living.
"Didn't I work hard to meet goals? Haven't I exceeded expectations in every job I've ever had?" These are the questions of a desperate, but not patient, heart. Patience sustains our faith; it gets us through the tough times when we can't see the next step.
In order to walk that path with less angst, learn to appreciate work, even if it humbles you. As Mike Rowe from Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobswrote, "Jobs don't come from hell. They come from people with money who are willing to pay other people to work for them." Similarly, a solid work ethic shouldn't suffer from unemployment or underemployment. As Pope Francis reminds us, "where there is no work there is no dignity."
After getting laid off, I found myself working hard, but still underemployed. I took coding tutorials and built a web page. I worked on my novel. I volunteered at a therapeutic riding clinic. I often felt I should be toiling endlessly on job applications, but instead of (just) focusing on the problem, I listened to God prompting me through my interests. That also made such useful pursuits less stressful, and more enjoyable.
God doesn't provide cookie-cutter guidance. He knows our passions, large and small. I had to remind myself that even if I kept worrying about my career, God was big enough to keep track of the things that simply delight me. To him, our lives remain full and meaningful, even after losing a job.
Proverbs says wisdom is calling out in the streets... meanwhile, millennials are glued to our smartphones. We must constantly discipline ourselves to reject the desire for distraction.
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