You walk into work on a Friday morning, thinking about all that you have to do that day and what you want to do that weekend. Soon after you get in, your boss calls you into his office. After you sit down, he tells you that you no longer have a job at that organization because your services are no longer needed there. He then informs you that you need to pack up your desk by the end of the day. And for the rest of the day you think through how a job loss will impact your financial situation.
Can you relate to this? This is a difficult experience to go through. You have to fight thoughts of worthlessness and worry. Because a job loss feels like an attack on your identity. But it shouldn’t be.
You are not your job. You are not what you do. Because you can change what you do. And a job loss can be a great blessing if you look at it the right way.
After a job loss, you can move forward and not just move on. Here’s how.
Nearly 20 years ago I went through a dark time. I was in between jobs for a year. That was a difficult time financially. But more than that it was a difficult time emotionally. I’m not sure if I know what depression feels like. But if I have ever been depressed, it was at that time. My thinking had gone down into a downward spiral. I was despairing of ever being to get out of that situation. I had to search the Scriptures to remind me of who I was. Because everything around me was telling me who I was—and not who God told me I was. So I had to remind myself what was true. And not allow myself to get dragged down into something that wasn’t true.
Your identity does not come from your work. Your identity comes from God. You are God’s fellow worker (2 Corinthians 6:1). In Him, you live and move and have your being (Acts 17:28). And you are Christ’s ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:17-20). Therefore, God wants to work with you, in you, and through you.
Use the time during a job loss to reflect and refocus on who you are. Do not be preoccupied with what you will do. Or else you will lose sight of the opportunity before you.
Don’t hear what I’m not saying. You still have to work. God expects you to work. Work should be a big part of your life. But it is not your life. Because it is not healthy to define yourself by what you do. You must work from your identity. And you must resist the urge to work for your identity.
Not only is it important to recognize where your identity comes from, it is important to establish that fact firmly in your mind. You can use a time of a job loss to transform your thinking, so that this time in between jobs can become the most impactful time of your life.
Turn the time you are out of work into an opportunity. Do not allow yourself to look at yourself as playing defense. Instead realize you can use this time to play offense.
I have learned that the only one who truly knows my identity is God. As a result, I must take my cues from Him. Instead of allowing my circumstances or other people to define who I am, I now look to God for that definition. And I remind myself of it often. Now I can become who I am supposed to be. And I can help others understand how they can be who they are supposed to be.
Once you have a better understanding of who you are and how you can maintain that understanding, then you can begin to retool where you are going.
It is only after you see yourself correctly that you can see the opportunity before you. You then can write your own ticket because you are no longer worrying about what others think about you. You realize at that point that you are performing for an audience of One (Deuteronomy 6:4).
Then you can begin to see more clearly what you are really good at and how you can serve others better. But it comes with seeing yourself clearly (Matthew 6:22-23; Luke 11:34).
This process is not easy, but it is worth it. While it can be scary, it is also exhilarating. Once you come to terms that the only safety net below you is God, you will feel emboldened to do things that you never thought you could do.
People are desperately looking for someone who is at peace with his/her identity. The next time you have a job loss, embrace it as an opportunity to refocus, renew, and retool. So you can become the person who God made you to be—and the world desperately needs you to be.
Did you know that I am an experienced coach? I can help you refocus, renew, and retool to take advantage of your next opportunity.