Five months of seeking and not finding, more than sixty job applications, a dozen interviews paired with rejection letters, and I’m feeling cold and wet.

Last summer, God spoke to me about a life raft and grace, and unlike Jonah, I jumped in and volunteered for the belly of the whale. Confident it was God’s will, and in my enthusiasm, I believed surrender would be easy, pleasant.

But it wasn’t and isn’t.

How does one sell herself? Puff herself up above others to beat them out for the coveted job in such a competitive market? How does a Christian look for a job?

Long ago I made my life’s ambition to humble myself and serve others. No wonder this competition wears uncomfortable, out of place, and my sales pitch unconvincing.

I’m lost for an approach to proving my worth with a résumé. It’s been a lifelong lesson that my worth is only found in Christ, one not easily unlearned for a job interview. Jesus is the only black words inked to a page that matter. 

Can you say “Jesus” at a job interview? 

This is why I never pledged for a sorority in college. I didn’t want the humility of begging a group of girls to want me, accept me. Pledge week culminates in sitting on a dorm room bed, alone, waiting for a note sealed by Greek letters to be slipped under the door. It was all too degrading for me.  I already knew who I was—I didn’t need a label to prove it. I had a whole book of Greek love letters proclaiming my acceptance. He was enough.

But in job hunting I find myself on that dorm room floor willing an acceptance letter to arrive under the door’s edge. I was right: it’s pathetic and humiliating.

Each rejection letter heaped atop the one before crushes fierce. The corporate logo accomplishes its goal, makes valid the letter’s message: “Dear Dawn: You are not good enough….”  

I begin to believe it. The breaking heart wants to pull a Ricky Ricardo, “Lord, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!” But I can’t—won’t.

And God whispers sweet, “It’s true.”

“Lord, what are you doing? I want to learn it and move on—it’s painful—can we hurry up to the paycheck part? We have some financial goals here to tackle for your glory.”

I lace up my sneakers, but I can’t walk it off.  Rejection, failure, rejection, failure. They keep cadence with my steps. My companions won’t be out-paced, and pain is not far behind us, gaining ground.

It’s a surprise pity party; I, the guest of honor.

“Lord, please ….” 

Jesus likened the belly of the whale to the grave. Five months to realizing the life raft that is grace, that is the whale, is a coffin.

God chose Jeremiah to a task of rejection and failure. He has called us all to rejection and failure, to lay to rest worldly acceptance and self-worth in the belly of the whale.

Is this why it’s taking so long? So rejection can be repeated until I believe it, accept its entirety? Things are alive to me that should be dead. The wrong tomb is still empty.

I want to accept the via dolorosa. God help me—I do. I volunteer for it all: a life of death, success through failure, rejection. Every. Stinging. Blow. However fragile I must feel before I crack. And then the cracking.

And Ninevah is yet a long way off, because I still don’t know what to say at my next job interview.

by Dawn González, Everyday Ordinary Dawnings

  • I Live in an Antbed

    Thank you for your testimony to His Faithfulness. We know His timing is perfect and purposeful, but it is often hard to see from our perspective. Your trust in Him brings Him glory!

    • Dawn

      Knowing God is at work in my heart is reassuring. His timing is always just right. I am in constant need of practice trusting Him. This is definitely one of those instances.

  • Beth Williams

    I can soooo relate to you. I, too, have been in the belly of a whale – job searching many, many rejections. So many that you begin to believe them “Not good enough, no expereince, not the right person, stupid, dumb, etc.” and the list goes on.

    I know in His perfect timing I will eventually land a job that I enjoy and do well – now I’ll just be content where He has me.

    Thanks for the inspiring post!

    • Dawn

      My hope was that others in the same “boat” would find encouragement that God is indeed at work in them, and we all will “land” the job through the provision He has for each of us. (Aren’t these Jonah analogies fun?)

      Lord God, I pray for Beth right now, that you would walk with her in her own job searching journey. Your grace, your provision, your protection go before her. May she find rest in you through it all. Amen.

  • Mike Gonzalez

    Great writing, inspirational, convicting. The Lord certainly knows how to reduce us to the conformity of Christ, to God be the glory! If we are really looking we can see Him working through every circumstance. “..for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).

    • Dawn

      Thanks, Sweetie. You didn’t have to, but I’m glad you did. Love.

  • Amy

    I am taking a leap of faith and putting all my time & effort into building my Arbonne business. We are moving to another city next week, and every job I applied for left me feeling discouraged, hopeless and defeated. I don’t want to go somewhere, make mediocre money and not feel satisfied or fulfilled. I’ve sold Arbonne for 5 years, but it’s never been something I HAD to do. I have a blast doing it, I love helping people and it brings me so much joy. So, I’m jumping in and going to build my business, schedule my own time and I know this is the path God is leading me down. He’s forcing me way out of my comfort zone and whispering “Trust Me”… so I’m going to:)
    If you’d be at all interested in this opportunity I would love to share it with you. It’s an awesome company and I’m surrounded by the most motivational & inspiring people. Not a lot of other jobs can offer that!!
    Here is my website
    I’d love to help you, I want to build my business with other Christians who will advance the kingdom of God by helping others live their very best life.

    • Dawn

      Amy, the future can always be scary. What an adventure you are on. I hope you find God’s blessings along the way.

  • Elizabeth

    Dawn, I am going to be praying for you today!!! I went through my own struggle with finding a job this past spring and summer. I dealt with rejection after rejection and often wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that my previous experience was working for a campus ministry organization. The Lord is faithful though and He does receive glory when we speak out for Him in places where His name is taboo. He was faithful to provide me a job in JUST the right time and taught me invaluable lessons in the waiting. Praying for His provision and perfect timing for YOU!

    • Dawn

      Thanks, Elizabeth, for your encouraging words. Seeing others further down the path who have been there and gotten through it is inspiring, indeed.

  • Katie

    I am so with you on this one. I’ve been unemployed for 11.5 months and widowed. I never thought I would be living on unemployment. That was for those OTHER people.
    God is teaching me so much during this difficult journey. Trusting Him one DAY (or less) at a time. He has supplied all I need for today. He is with me TODAY, he is not with me in my future imaginings. I so identified with the rejection feelings. It’s hard to hold on to the understanding of my worth in Christ with all the you not good enough messages. I know that God is at work and he has a good plan for my life. Just wishing His timing was a little closer to mine ;). Keep writing. I look forward to hearing more about your journey.

    • Dawn

      Wow, Katie, “He is with me TODAY, he is not with me in my future imaginings.” Just love this thought. It will keep me from worry in the future…hopefully. :)

      Hugs to you in your situation. God knows what he’s doing in your life. And I’m with you on hurrying him up. It’s hard to be still clay on the Potter’s wheel sometimes…

      May God make you whole again after losing the one God made you one with.

  • Susan Mc

    Great thoughts Dawn. Dying to self is so hard ….I heard someone say once that the problem with those living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off the altar…so true. I’ve seen myself slink off so many times and crawl in the pit…. I will pray that God will give you the opportunity He wants you to have in a place to maximize His glory! This place is a good start …you’ve done that today!

    • Dawn

      Susan, friendship with you has been one of the unexpected blessings of blogging. Thanks for ALL of your encouraging words to me over the last year.

  • Julie

    This one really hit home with me! I have been looking for a job since last April. Living in a big city, there just did not seem to be any opportunities for me. I moved to a smaller place, and still have not been successful. It can be incredibly depressing, but then I remember that God is in His heaven, and all is right with the world…

    • Dawn

      Lord, I pray you will fill Julie’s heart with comfort and peace as you work the details to your glory. May she trust and follow you wherever you lead, as you provide as only You know how. Give her stength and endurance as You see her through. Amen

  • Katie

    Thanks for sharing, Dawn! I am there right now too with a long period of unemployment and looking for jobs. I know the pain of rejection, and sometimes I feel just like the Israelites complaining in the desert – it feels like I will be stuck here forever. I can’t see the Promised Land or the good plan God has in store. Though I can definitely see how God has done a whole lot of work growing and shaping my heart and humbling me through this trial, and He has been renewing an openness and passion for His will and glory! I’m glad God never gives up on us and helps us through! I like Isaiah 43:18-19 that says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” I also decided to make Romans 15:13 my life verse for this year – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

  • Dawn

    Katie, I think you’re on to something here. Seek Him and all the other things will be added unto you. Don’t give up hope, or get off track. Our God is faithful, even in the hard times.

  • Janis@Open My Ears Lord

    Dawn, I was in the same position last January and wondering if I would ever get a job. Lord, what would you have me do? I kept praying. In the midst of sending out a zillion applications and cover letters (those were the things I hated the most), the Lord led me to start a blog. I had no idea what a blog was or how to set one up. Having a background in journalism was a little help but the rest required a lot of research and help from my techy older son. Since that started last March, I have landed a “real” job–one that pays. But I must say that the Lord provided for our family in the most creative and unexpected ways during that time I was not working. That was exciting and so was the writing.

    I learned during that time, that He is faithful to provide and to even create within us new ideas that we would not have had on our own. So, the blog continues at “Open My Ears, Lord,” and I am happily working as a Special Education Teaching Assistant. I had not been in the education field for 10 years! He does amazing things!

    And, Dawn, I know He has something amazing for you as well. Something beyond anything you can think or imagine. Let me know when it comes through. I’d even be interested in the journey there.

    Praying for many blessings upon you,

    • Dawn

      Janis, what a beautiful story. It’s reassuring to see God at work in so many lives around me, in my own life as well. He’s there, working out the details for his glory.

      We started blogging about the same time, and I think it’s neat how your writing coincided with your going back to work. Mine has too, in some ways. I haven’t fully connected those dots, yet. The Lord is still tying all that together for me.

      Thanks for sharing your story. It’s beautiful.

  • Erica

    Hi Dawn – I tried finding an email address or a different way to contact you but it looks like this is the best place! God most certainly has a plan for you and he will use all of your experiences here for His glory! I am not sure where you live but my husband and I work together for a financial services company that you may be interested in looking into. It is a business opportunity, not a 9-5 job, but it is built on helping people financially. If you would like any information, please feel free to send me an email! Thanks and God Bless!!