Uncertainty. This is the first word that comes to mind when I think of the world we live in today, especially when I think about the economy.
Every day news headlines report the ups and downs of Wall Street and the weak job market. It’s a source of stress and anxiety among most people today, especially young job-seekers who are just beginning their careers.
One of my friends has recently been searching for a job, so I decide to ask her about her experience. Jess is in her twenties and is a friendly, outgoing “people-person.”
Passion for photography
I meet up with Jess in a busy coffee shop half-way through her week. Around us workers are ordering coffees, trying to get the most out of their lunch-break. As we order drinks and talk about how the week is going, I don’t get the sense that she is stressed by her daily tasks. Instead she is happy and relaxed, at peace in the middle of a busy day.
After working at a series of temporary jobs and running a photography side-business for the past few years, Jess recently decided to begin looking for work as a full-time photographer. “I have a passion for photography,” she explains, “and I wanted to get more experience so I can start my own photography business.”
As she began the process of applying for jobs, Jess experienced that thoughts of anxiety came very quickly. “One of the first things I thought about was the economy,” she recalls. “I was a little intimidated and tempted to be scared, actually.”
When these thoughts came, Jess found that God’s word was a guiding light. One of the Bible verses she quotes is James 4:8: “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”
“If I draw near to God and his word,” Jess explains, “then he will draw near to me and I am filled with his Spirit instead of thoughts of unrest.”
Anxious for nothing
Jess recalls how she faced an ongoing battle against anxious thoughts during this time: “You have to fight for rest when there is change,” she says. “You can be tempted to anxiety one hundred times about the same thing.”
She also explains how the verse in Philippians 4:6 was a strength for her: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
“At first it was hard for me to pray about something like a job,” she remembers, “but this verse was perfect for my situation.” When she prayed to God, Jess was able to come free from these anxious thoughts.
“After I prayed I sensed that it was God’s work – it was in his hands,” she says with a smile. “I came to rest and I knew what I needed to do.”
Jess went to several interviews and eventually received a job offer, but she says she would be at peace even if it things hadn’t worked out that way. “If the end result wasn’t a new job, I would still have the same rest,” she explains. “No matter what, God is faithful to give me rest when I seek for it.”
As we clear the table and get ready to leave, I ask her what she has gained looking back on the whole experience. “I have been filled with thankfulness,” she says, “because God’s word is true. It is how it’s written and that’s how I experienced it.”
On my way home from the coffee shop, I continue to think about my conversation with Jess. I know that no matter what situations I am faced with, I can pray to God and read his word to come to rest. How blessed are those who find this key to joy and peace!