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
ABOUT DAWN GONZALEZ
Dawn rears teenage PKs in Columbia, SC with her pastor-husband of 22 years. Thinking life tastes better with Cuban coffee, she is reader of books, writer of life's marvels and chief dishwasher....