Dealing with Job Loss
Recently, I was talking to a young family man who was on the verge of losing his job. I could tell he was very discouraged and he told me, "No matter what I do, I lose."
To me, those are fighting words. I immediately stopped him and said, "Don’t say ,’No matter what I do, I lose.’ You may be losing your job, but that is all. You are focusing so much on what is happening at your work and how you feel like a victim that you can’t see anything but that. It is paralyzing you and you can’t see what to do." I once heard a preacher say, "The problem isn’t the problem but what we think about the problem."
So many of us do this. When anything bad happens to us, we focus so much on the problem that we can’t function. Instead, we should be focusing on how to fix the problem. It is much like when you are walking on a ledge that is very high up. What is the one thing people usually tell you? "Don’t look down."
Why? Because you will focus too much on the danger and the harm that could happen to you. When you look down, it immediately causes you to freeze with fear and keep you from getting to your destination. At times, it can be so bad that someone else has to risk his or her life to come and rescue you because no amount of coaxing can get you to see that it’s okay. Just keep moving and you will make it to the end fine.
Isn’t that what we do in everyday life? When we lose a job, a spouse, our home or when someone we love becomes ill, we become so paralyzed with fear that we can’t function. We end up being no use to ourselves or to anyone else. We can’t pull our eyes and thoughts away from the bad situation. It reminds me of those snake charmers in the cartoons, where the snake is coming out of the basket and the person watching can’t break eye contact with the snake. They are focusing so strongly on a dangerous situation (the snake biting them) that they can’t do anything to get themselves out of harm’s way.
The Bible says that God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear (and how often does the Bible say, "fear not"?) but of power and love and a sound mind. You must break eye contact with the bad thing that is happening in your life. Instead, you need to become fearless, a person with power over your life and your situation. You must get back your sound mind. Having a sound mind means being a person with wisdom and common sense.
A wise person, one with common sense, will try to solve the problem. Wise people take responsibility for the problem – whether they are to blame or not - and they start actively trying to solve it.
Most of us know the story of David and Goliath. David was one spunky little guy. Not only were people in danger of losing their jobs, their homes and the ability to buy their big screen TVs, they were at the point of being wiped out by one very big giant.
Big strong men stood on the sidelines, trembling with fear, whining and complaining that there was no way to overcome this giant. Then David arrived and said, "What in the world is going on here? Why doesn’t someone just kill him?"
When David, a boy, realized that nobody was brave enough to do anything, he said "I will take care of him." He took responsibility for something that wasn’t even his fault and started actively doing something. So what happened next? Everyone started laughing at David, telling him, "There is no way you can do this." You need to do like he did and consider the source. These were the same men who were so afraid they couldn’t function at all.
Then, when they saw that he was still going ahead, they started encumbering him with all kinds of very bad advice about how he should do it, like telling him what kind of heavy armor he should wear, making David’s job even harder. They insisted that David should use their common everyday solutions, which already didn’t work for anyone else… Heaven forbid that he try something different.
We all know the ending of the story. David used the gifts and abilities that God had given him (good marksmanship with a sling and a brave heart) and killed the giant.
One preacher summed it up in a nutshell when he said Most of them saw Goliath as too big to kill, but David saw him as to big to miss. It’s all in the way you look at the problem.
We all have bad things happen to us. That is just life. It used to be, when things happened to people, most would just pick themselves up and try to keep going, even if their progress was no more than stumbling or crawling. Now, when something happens, we whine, blame and lay down, curling up in a ball waiting for someone else to fix things.
I feel like I am preaching to the choir because our readers are a different breed. Most of them are Davids trying to deal with the giants but for a few of you out there who have just been broadsided by something in your life, take a moment to catch your breath. Then pick yourself up and keep going.
Do you know why we want to be like David? We want to be like him because he won. David and many other Biblical and modern heroes won not because they were special or different but because they had their faith and lots of fight in them.
Here is one more modern day example: I told our young man I mentioned earler to stop looking at what was happening at work and look in a completely different direction. "You know you are probably going to lose your job, so what do you need to do then? Find another job of course. Get your resume together and go to some agencies.
I knew exactly what was going to happen next and it did. The excuses started coming. "I can’t do it because I still have to work and the agencies are closed by the time I get off." Then take one of your vacation days and hit the pavement. When someone tries to shake us out of our paralyzed state, we immediately start coming up with excuses why we can’t move.
The next day, he did exactly that. He called so excited. He didn’t have a new job yet but they told him at the agency that they loved his resume, he had more experience then they had ever seen for his type of job and much more. His attitude change was like night and day.
Bad things do happen, but so do good things. Stop living in fear, with your eyes stuck on your giants, and start looking for a few stones to throw at them. You’ll be surprised how things change.
photo by: stuartpilbrow