“YOU ARE BEING DEMOTED. Your job has been given to someone else.” My supervisor spoke casually, as if he had just thrown out tomorrow’s weather forecast.
I sat in my chair, too petrified to move and not able to think clearly. I was being rejected and tossed aside. All my efforts to work hard and earn a place in the Christian institution where I was employed were not appreciated.
I had prided myself on being an excellent worker. I had been promoted before and always had outstanding recommenations by my supervisors. But this deomotion made me realize something: doing well and being appreciated at my job had become a part of my self-wroth.
Adding to the stress of my demotion, my husband was going through a similar situation at his place of work. It seemed that no matter what he did, he could not please his supervisor. A couple of months later, a bigger challenge came our way—he was laid off. In our family my husband has always been the dominant breadwinner because I prefer flexible jobs so I can take care of our small children.
I still remember the taste of fear. We were in a race against time to find a job before severance pay ran out. For the first time in 12 years, our church organization had let us down. We felt rejected and abandoned. Out of the flock, you might say.
Blame, guilt, anger, sadness, and grief were a constant presence. But God never left us!
During that time, I watched the thought-provoking movie Overcomer. One of the characters, a convalescent man, asked the coach, “Who are you?”
In my mind, I also went through a list: I’m a woman, a wife and a mother, a school counselor, a sister and a daughter. But, wait. Do I see myself as a daughter of God? If everything was taken away from me, how would I see myself? Does a job define who I am? Does my family define who I am? Do I have value as a person even when
mistreatment, sickness, or other challenges come my way?
Recently I sat down and made a list of all the blessings my husband and I have experienced since that day we both suffered job disappointments. Here is a summary: My husband received severance and unemployment benefits. Our church paid for our children’s schooling in its entirety so they could remain in their Christian school. I took a job that held us over financially until my husband found a job five months later.
My husband’s new job was clear across the country, another challenge in itself. Not my first choice, but God worked in me to accept moving again. Furthermore, we were never late on our bills, and we had enough money to move. My husband became an Air Force reservist, which resulted in several financial blessings. God took care of us on our trip across the country. He provided financial aid for our kids to attend Christian education through a new and wonderful church family. We have also met some great people who are becoming dear friends.
Is everything solved? No, but I can’t deny the power of God and the miracles He has sent our way. I’m on the job hunt right now, and I’m constantly praying about it. My husband, a hospital chaplain, is also currently training to be a military chaplain. He is again having to learn that self-worth comes from God and not from humans. As Christians, we answer to a Higher Power, one who is loving, merciful, and forgiving. What we do—our job—is a gift from God on this earth. But if you think about it, most of our jobs will be obsolete in the New Earth, so who are we going to be?
Let me ask again. Who are you? Do you base your self-worth on your looks, on money, on a physical ability, or on your musical talents? What would happen if you became paralyzed? Would you still praise God and live for Him?
Are you joyful to be persecuted because you are a Christian? Is your identity wrapped in Christ alone?
These are important questions. Our survival as Christians depends on knowing we belong to Christ and that we have the utmost value to Him. Therefore, we can trust Him and have peace against all odds. Psalm 118:6 says, “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (NIV).
If you feel lost or battle low self-worth, take courage. God will never discard you. He loves you and has plans for your life. Lean on Him for strength, and He will direct your path.