Spiritual Effects of Unemployment

I ran into a friend of mine at church recently.  Still out of work, he smiled and tried to be positive about his prospects as another week went by without work.  I could see him clinging to a possible interview in the near horizon.

I wish this were the first such conversation with a friend who is unemployed but it wasn't.  These days, it feels like every week holds another conversation with someone I care about who is still out of work.

The good news in all of this is that a serious revealing of God's will is right around the corner.  No joke- there is nothing like unemployment to increase your dependence on God's will.  You would never choose it but it can be of some value.

The AP reported this past week that over 70K jobs were gained last month.  For those who are outside of that number, it's meaningless.

Unemployment can have some spiritual consequences as well.  From the emotional drag of being "without work" to the mental focus it takes to keep on looking, joblessness is by all standards a real test of one's faith.

A few things are helpful in this period of transition:

  • Focus on God's will.  This is a time of faith.  Become more prayerful than ever before and seek His will on a daily basis.  For God to allow this, there has to be a lesson in it.

  • Stay physically activeWork expert Dan Miller encourages folks to keep fit, especially during unemployment.  It will allow you to stay mentally alert and will provide a sense of accomplishment.

  • Set a timeline for when you must return to work.  Unemployment should not (and cannot) last forever.  Nail down your finances in order to know when you absolutely must return to work.  Even if you have to pump gas, some income is better than no income.

In all of this, the words of John Paul II in 1981 ring true:

"Work is a good thing for man - a good thing for his humanity - because through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being and indeed, in a sense, becomes 'more a human being'." (Laboren Exercens)

*Photo by erix