I have always been a very busy person. In college, I led Young Life and worked 1-2 jobs on top of an 18 hour semester workload. While it was physically draining, I developed a love for that pace of life. Well- maybe less love and coping mechanism. When I’m busy, I don’t have time to think deeply about anything, or sit in my feelings. I can justifiably ignore them because I have to many things to get done. I also get to feel useful and valuable, something my Enneagram 3-ness (sorry, I know, I’ve become one of them) thrives on. With each item I check-off my to-do list I reinforce the lie that I am only valuable because of what I get accomplished. A lie I know isn’t true, but not something I have time to deal with…
… that is until now. Currently, I am unemployed living in a new city far away from all my close friends. I’ve got nothing but time. And it’s killing me.
Honestly, it feels selfish saying that because I’m sure some of you are looking at your mile-long list of things that needed to be done yesterday and would give anything to get a break, but it’s truly has been one of the hardest things about the last few months.
It has illuminated the extent to which I put my worth in doing. As the weeks have gone on I’ve found myself being ashamed to tell people I don’t have a job yet. I avoid the question with every fiber of my being. Not wanting to to hear their disappoint, disgust, or disdain masked by a fake encouraging comment.
Pause. Let’s acknowledge the lies in that sentence: People are disappointed, disgusted, or disdained by my lack of job. That comments made by others are insincere. The opinions of other people are able to change the value I assign to myself. Unpause.
I became so convinced that I was totally worthless it was hard for me to leave the house. I didn’t want to meet anybody. I didn’t want anyone to know how useless I was, how little I had accomplished. It took me weeks to sort through layers of emotion until I realized what was going on. I was effectively burying myself alive with shame. Completely trapping myself off and slowly suffocating.
Praise the Lord that He helped me name this problem through a variety of channels; my own prayer time, sweet and undeservedly patient Jason, mentors, friends, strangers (seriously). The Lord knows how dang hard-headed I can be, and really had to hammer to get this one through.
Now that I can name it, I have been able to separate it from myself. Identify when it’s happening (sometimes, not perfectly), and choose to speak truth to myself instead.
And I lived happily ever after. jk. It’s still feels like the Lord is doing open heart surgery on me and forgot the anesthesia. It HURTS. I cry all the time. I question God and his timing. Every part of my worldly body wants to get up off the table and run as far away as possible. Not only is it painful, but sometimes it’s terrifying. It has brought up thoughts and temptations- as someone in recovery from an eating disorder, it’s not surprising- that scare the living daylights out of me.
As much as I want to run, I would much rather be healed. I’d rather lay myself bare and allow this season of unproductiveness to rip away the parts of me that are not of Christ. I am not loved because of what I accomplish. I am enough, just as I am. Today. Jobless and full of fear He delights over me.
“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
I have been meditating on this verse daily (a new practice I can do with all my time). As much as I would like to say I can totally rest in this truth and have integrated it into my life, I can’t. Somedays I can barely get through 5-10 minutes where the only purpose is to let this scripture be true.
Thankfully, that doesn’t change a thing. The Lord is still with me. His love for me unchanging. That is true for me, for you, and for every person. We are loved as we are right now (employed or not).