After more than six months off, I am beginning to think about heading back to work. Just something part-time and low-key, but it is unsurprisingly quite difficult to find things I feel comfortable applying for.
Sadly this week I heard that I had not been shortlisted for a job, which could have potentially been really great. Then yesterday I heard that I had not been successful at interview for a second job, and that the third job (the one I really wanted) had been filled internally. So I began the week with three opportunities, and ended it with none.
At the start of the week there was excitement and smiles. Last night and this morning there were tears.
So, how do I negotiate the emotions that accompany these events?
In the past I would have been embarrassed by how much I had been impacted emotionally, and so endeavoured to quickly bypass the emotions, and get on with being alright about what had happened. It might be obvious to other people, but I have had to learn that this strategy is a silly attempt to bypass being human – a human being with emotions, as God intentionally made me.
But if I am going to engage with my emotions, I have to know what they are! – When I was going to counselling, my counsellor would often ask me how I had felt about things, and I found that I really struggled to express it to her. When you’re trying to bury emotions, they don’t get given names and context. They just get pushed into the big mass of emotional stuff that is all under the surface.
So these days I’m trying to work out what the emotions are and what has prompted them. Once I know what I am feeling, then I can bring these things to the Lord. I can bring my hurt and my fears to him, and ask specifically for his healing and provision. And I can apply God’s word to my heart.
This time round, this means reminding myself that nothing is too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14), that he knows precisely what I need (Matthew 6:32), that he isn’t withholding good from me (Romans 8:28), and that just because I can’t see the means by which he will provide for me doesn’t mean that he isn’t bringing it about.
It means recognising that I am feeling a bit lonely not working, so I can think about other ways this need can be met. It also means recognising that I was hoping that a job would mean that I wouldn’t have to keep battling with the benefits system, and that it’s OK that I am finding this really hard.
I am learning how to be human. I am learning not to be ashamed or scared of my emotions. I am learning that coping by forcing myself to be alright is not what it means to do life Christianly, but instead I can discover the freedom of being a dependent child of my loving heavenly Father.