Losing a job can be one of the most taxing ordeals you can go through, financially and emotionally. It can leave you feeling worthless, meaningless, and completely penniless. But a job loss can be an opportunity to start fresh and, more importantly, it’s a time when we get to see God’s miraculous provision in our lives. These silver linings can be difficult to see, though, in the midst of the struggle, so here are my suggestions to help you survive (and even thrive) during a job loss.
Live on the edge of the miraculous
We serve an awe-inspiring God who promises to meet our needs (Phil. 4:19) and tells us not to worry about tomorrow because he’s got it under control (Matt. 6:34). When times are good, we forget to rely on Him and even deign to rescue Him, saying “Don’t worry God, I’ve got this.” Living without an income means living where miracles happen every day through our faith in Him and He never fails to astound. So face this brave new world and let God be God. Trust He has something great in mind for you.
When you can’t stand it anymore, kneel
Pray continuously and ask others to pray for you. You won’t always get exactly what you pray for, and if you do, it’s usually not in the timeframe you expected. Truth is, prayer always increases the activity of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and over the long haul God responds to the cries of his people and will redeem the ugly circumstances of your life by weaving them into his good purposes. Keep praying about your situation.
Trim the fat
Now is not the time to hold our stuff close to our hearts. It’s time to cut the cable, the Starbucks, and anything that is not an essential. You want your savings to stretch as far as they can, so be brutal. Consider downsizing the house, sell stuff, and cut out the extras. Anything that is not food or shelter needs to go. This may seem severe and you may cringe to hear it, but, in my experience, the people who were most worried about letting go of their stuff are the ones who end up the happiest after unburdening themselves.
Contact your creditors
Call your creditors before they call you. They will appreciate this and be more willing to work with you. Let them know your situation and tell them you don’t believe in leaving a debt outstanding and you want to send them something every month. Even if that something is only $10, send it faithfully and continue to pay your debt. God will bless this behavior.
Avoid Credit Cards
Most people’s instinct when money is running low is to reach for the Gold card. But, as George Muller used to say, faith is a muscle that is strengthened through exercise. Using the credit cards instead of trusting God’s provision weakens our faith in Him and strengthens our faith in the plastic.
Don’t stop giving
Giving selflessly out of our poverty is a beautiful thing in God’s eyes. We all know the story of the widow’s mite (Mark 12:41-42) and how Jesus praised her for it. We are called to do the same. Continue to help others even when you need help and you’ll be amazed at what God can do.
Visit the unemployment office
Go down to your local unemployment office (or apply online) and see if you qualify for benefits. If you’ve been downsized, your company merged or you were laid off, you probably do.
Pound the pavement
Treat your job search as a full time job. If you’re accustomed to 40 hours a week, that’s what you should spend finding new work. Check out all the ads online, update your resume, and don’t be prideful. Even if you were an executive before, you may need to take work that is “beneath” you, at least for a while. Don’t be too picky if the money is tight.