Currently, I dread when the conversation turns to me. I am afraid when people ask what my life looks like because I am embarrassed of the successes I have as defined by the outside world. While my parents paid for me to receive an education at a private university and I delved into a life of student loans to fund my graduate endeavors, I sit here with nothing to show for it. The diplomas are proof of a well achieved academic life and the student loan statements provide the undeniable evidence that it was I who earned a Master's degree. Yet I am unemployed and not by choice. I have spent a few years applying, interviewing, and desperately longing for a 9-5. I've lost track of how many applications and cover letters I fill out and send. And after each interview that I think I have nailed, I sit on the couch in my own disappointment, with tears burning my eyes, as I receive the news of yet another rejection letter.
I want to know about my friends lives and I don't want to be sparred the details. I desire to encourage them and cheer them on and then I hope for the conversation to end. Not because I don't enjoy the company of their phone calls but because I don't want to have to tell them that I think I've failed. For a girl who lived as an over achiever, I get panic stricken when I don't have any successes within my grasp. While I know I am the luckiest girl alive to call my husband "mine," I wonder what comes after the white dress.
I am filled with envy when friends plan trips, make plans to buy new cars, and post pictures of new fashion ensembles. I wish that that was our life, our dream vacation, and our shiny new car. I believe those things aren't ours because of me. I don't believe they are the definition of happiness but I resent myself for not being able to supplement my husband some well-deserved fun. And so each week I wrestle with myself, my purpose, and my failed attempt at success through unemployment.
I wonder what my friends think of me. Do they think I'm lazy, unmotivated? Do they believe I lack drive? My family reminds me it does not matter what they think because we know the truth. I know my circumstances and I know that a full-time job would wreak havoc on my fragile body. I spend my time volunteering and looking for ways to still feel alive. And I cry. Angry tears because this is not how I pictured my professional life. And tears of sorrow and shame because I don't know if things will ever change.
That's just it. I don't know if things will ever look different than right here and right now. Sure we may one day have more than one car and a one bedroom apartment but will I always be embarrassed of my tiny list of professional achievements?
In the bible it says, "Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands." Deuteronomy 7:9
Faithful? My God? I will admit I don't always understand His definitions of what it means to be faithful. Sometimes His extensions of faithfulness, the olive branches He brings, seem like just the contrary.
But my God, He is God. And today, I have to believe that there is faithfulness in the unemployment. That His covenant of love for me is even present in this situation. There is a reason for where I am at. While financially we may hunt for more, Nate and I know that there is faithfulness in keeping me unemployed. Only God knows what my body can withstand. He is the only one who knows the amount of pain I am in and so He keeps me here. Worldly successes aside, He is faithful and knows what we need in every season. His covenant of love is apparent in the faithfulness He has provided in a loving husband, a roof over my head, and food to nourish me. My God is a shelter in the storm.
No matter our circumstances, we must remember that God is God and He is faithful, every day. In unemployment and in pain, His promises are kept. Life's aim is not to be happy or to have things to show off to the world. Life is about loving and recognizing the blessings of His faithfulness in our insecurities.
I still cringe at times when the conversation turns to me, but He knows what is best. And while God's faithfulness does not always look like what we might dream up on our own, it still remains. Perhaps he hasn't left me here, in a state of unemployment. Yet instead, He has been faithful in giving me the right conditions for my body and health in this place. Call me crazy, but hey, He is faithful. It's up to us to realize his provisions right in the middle of our believed to be problems.