3 Truths for When You Don’t Get the Job

Have you ever been minutes away from a peaceful night sleep only to be shell shocked by a last second ‘bad news’ barrage?

If you answered, ‘yes’, welcome to the story of my life last Tuesday.

Before I continue, for those who’ve been following our story the past few years, you’ve probably noticed how ‘perseverance in challenging work environments’ has been a prevalent theme; however, today…I’m going to talk about the other side of the coin (i.e. the roller coaster ride that is “job hunting”).

Now, I’ll be honest: I’m not a renowned expert in “job hunting”. In fact, since I landed at TDOT in April 2012, I’ve only been able to engage the search for eight months with hiatuses attributable to Master’s work and recent life changes1.

But while I may not be the greatest career transition consultant, what I can say is: such a road, while disappointing at times, can be rewarding if we remain steadfast in patience and determination.

Yet, for many of us, it bears discussion how to cope with the discouragement that comes when denials and ‘no calls’ start to accumulate…

…which finally brings me to Tuesday night.

So there I am sitting in my bed when a mental alarm reminds me to check a certain well-known Christian company’s ‘current openings’ page. By this point, it had been a little over two months since I applied to (what appeared to be) the most exciting position I’ve come across in a while. I’m talking about the prospect of working as a…

Youth. Ministry. Specialist.

Just let that sink in for a bit, consider my night gig, and then let it sink down even more.

‘Cause truth is: this had me written all over it…like ‘magnum 5.3 mm, chisel trip, permanent sharpie ink’ written.

I mean…the very thought of me not receiving a phone call, an e-mail…anything…didn’t even cross my mind back when I was carefully packaging my writing sample, résumé, references, and questionnaire.

But alas…’tis what happened.

 Thus, as you can imagine, my mind couldn’t help but wonder…

what did my references say…?

…what are my credentials lacking…?

…is it because I’m still involved in youth ministry…?

…is it because I’m not affiliated with sou…(cough)…a certain denomination2?

Seriously…I’ve been involved in youth ministry for eight years…pastoring the last five. Forget the fact I have the drive and required skills to succeed. I’m a young voice with fresh, ‘2016 perspective’ on where youth ministry is in America these days. Why not take a flyer on this alone?

Granted, I still have no clue how many applicants applied…or if the job simply went off the radar without any notification.

All I know is for a few dark moments, I felt ‘struck out’ knowing a golden opportunity was now nothing more than an expired dream of what could/should’ve been.

Nail in coffin, I softly whispered, ‘Lord, help me. This one is gonna hurt’ before graciously drifting off.

Flash forward to today…and I’m feelin’ better. A little sore…but at the same time, I know when you’re down, you can’t stay down. Fall down seven, get up eight. Such is the philosophy of our ‘carry on’ culture, right?

Yet I also know, with every hurt, there’s not only a way out, but a transition out. The difference being…a way implies direction, but transition implies process. Thus, it’s fair to ask ourselves, ‘How do we navigate the process of overcoming when the pain seems unbearable’?

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Again, I don’t have all the answers. But based on recent experiences alone, I can confidently submit:

1. God’s ways are always greater3. 

Sure, we may not understand this in every situation. Yet, when we contrast our finitude in light of sweet sovereignty, we ultimately discover the refuge behind God knowing what is best for us, even when it doesn’t make sense. I’m not sayin’ you’ll never feel like a sinking sailor caught up in a sea of potential, but I am sayin’ this shouldn’t ever deter you from trusting your Captain.

2. We can’t assume how things would’ve panned out.

This one may seem obvious. Yet, how often do we assert the wrong declaration? For instance, I can tell myself, ‘Things would have been great there!’ Then again, I’m basing my rationale on a piece of paper…an image on a screen. Yeah…I might feel judged being judged by a piece of paper, but what’s the point in reciprocating by conjecturing? Truth is: Only God knows the coulda/woulda/shoulda’s of life. Thus, why not proclaim the veracity of God’s faithfulness as it pertains to what he shields us from? Just sayin’…

3. At some point, we must embrace ‘careerealism’4.

Whenever we’re notified of not being the best fit, to be upset is only human. But to be professionalism in our attitude when no one is looking? That’s the kind of ‘wheat from chaff’ attitude we should aspire to.

If it helps, remember the four pro’s and three per’s:

Four pro’s: professional, proactive, productive, proficient

(i.e. to be professional is to be proactive in being proficiently productive)

Three per’s: perseverant, perceptive, persistent

(i.e. to be perseverant is to be persistent in being perceptive)

Combine these all together and you got a solid recipe of getting back on track the way God would have you.

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Perhaps you’re wondering what your next move should be or are struggling to process work/job hunt-related disappointment. If you can relate, we want to encourage you today. So if you want to share your story in the comments below, feel free to do so…or if you’d rather shoot us a private message, that’s perfectly fine as well.

‘Til then, keep looking up and know the best is yet to come!

~ Cameron

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Footnotes

  1. Highlighted by pregnancy, Caeden’s birth & new home
  2. What is the official “religion” of Tennessee, Alex…
  3. Isaiah 55:8-9
  4. Inspired by http://www.careerealism.com

Photo creds: careerfaqs.com & http://www.bpodiary.com

3 Ways to Overcome a Fear of Rejection

No doubt, we all burn to belong.

Makes sense…considering we were made for relationship…to put on love and commune in harmony (Romans 12:16; 1 Corinthians 1:10, Colossians 3:14).

But let’s be honest…such desires aren’t always realized, are they.

Relocations…busyness…life changes…even the walls we put up…cycle through as hindrances interfering with our need to find unity in community.

Yet, perhaps the greatest obstacle we face when we talk about healthy relationships is the fear of rejection1.

Now, I admit: I’m still progressing through my own set of relational insecurities. But while I may have much to learn, I’ve also grown a great deal having persevered through idolatrous pursuits of acceptance in my early 20’s , in addition to recent challenges as a bivocational minister.

So when I say a fear of rejection is one of the most paralyzing strongholds, you can take my word to the bank.

As far as dealing with this fear type, you’ve probably heard much on the topic already.

Yet, for bivocationals juggling multiple responsibilities on the fly, it’s worth re-emphasizing given fear’s tendency to find its way on the backburner.

Thus, in the spirit of stirring awareness, here are three practical ways to conquer a fear of rejection:

1) Own it. 

Statistics show the vast majority of what people worry about is either vain (false reality) or beyond their control (false expectations). In most cases, we fear once we sense a loss of control on a desirable outcome. For example, we want people to like us, but find we lack “chemistry”. We want to be living our dream, but find our reality is far from it. We want to reap securities, but find all we have is fractured hope.

No question, the chasms are real; however, this doesn’t mean we’re chained to them until the bridge forms. Why? Because it’s only when we relinquish our lust for control we start to conquer our fears.

So next time you find yourself fearing rejection, questioning your fit, place, image, safety..or that of a loved one, own it, surrender the stress, pray the Word, embrace self-control, and faint not.

2) Reject it.

Sometimes, we treat fear like a giant game of dodgeball. We think if we can just finagle through life without getting hit, then we’ll be okay. The problem with this idea is…at some point, you will get hit, if not with the fear, then the temptation of it.

The best way to combat fear, especially the fear of rejection, is to value what equips you. ‘Cause when you realize you have what it takes to overcome, you won’t hesitate to stand your ground when the dodgeballs start flyin’, not to mention you’ll be in position to catch and dispatch them.

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Just remember: When a fear of rejection is elevated to the point of dodging certain people and situations, you’re ultimately giving it the power to manipulate your emotions and decisions. Instead, why not dare to be a conqueror (Romans 8:37) and reject fear rather than let fear do the rejecting2?

 3) Replace it.

Perhaps one of the most misinterpreted passages in all of Scripture is 1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” At first glance, we may think Peter is suggesting love cancels out certain offenses; however, when we dissect the text, we find love, in this context, is a covering, more specifically…an opportunity for us to confront3, forgive, and press on in love-soaked honesty.

How does this apply to a fear of rejection? Well, for starters, the opposite of love is fear (not hate). Furthermore, love must speak truth (Ephesians 4:15) and requires action with respect to sin. Thus, if we value honesty as the first step of love4 and recognize fear as a reciprocating response, then we’ll realize how a) a fear of rejection numbs us to what we were created for5   and b) the absence of fear is not the endgame, but rather the beginning!

In other words, if you want to move on the right way, but are still burdened by a fear of rejection, don’t just recognize and renounce it. Rather, take the next step and ask God specifically how He wants you to replace it!

‘Cause when you do, you’ll not only discover a new commitment to communicate the truth in love, but also unlock a stronger fear of Him6.   

Footnotes

1) Note: Initially, I had planned to write this piece on the fears of rejection and mediocrity; however, I’ve since decided to split this up into two parts, with today’s discussion focusing on the fear of rejection and next week’s feature on the fear of mediocrity.

2) There’s basically two responses to fear: “Forget everything and run” or “Face everything and rise

3) …without taking offense

4) Inspired by Steve Fry’s sermon at The Gate Community Church on Sunday, May 31

5) Seriously…what sense does it make to forfeit even the potential for relational restoration and/or clarity in exchange for passive living, isolation, guilt, and dissatisfaction.

6) As honesty abounds, you’ll find a fear of rejection will confound.

Photo credits: shifttohappy.com

Why We Need Vulnerability in Bivocational Ministry

Have you ever wondered what to do when you feel stuck and misunderstood at the same time?

I know I have.

In fact, it’s hard to remember a week when I haven’t thought about this at least once.

After all, when we talk about persevering through our purpose, no doubt, the topic holds perpetual relevance.

But for the bivocational who feel their life is like the Truman Show & Groundhog’s Day had a baby, sometimes truisms aren’t enough.

Not to sound blasphemous or anything. I just know for people like me, it helps when I’m able to  voice the struggles that come with the territory…and partner with people in troubleshooting their quandaries.

Thus, if any of you can relate…let’s just say you’ve come to the right place.

Bible_and_mouse_9605814_ml_1_RGBBefore His Girl Fryday launched, Lyssah and I did some research on bivocational issues and noted plenty of materials concerning the benefits of “bivocational ministry”; however, when it came to the challenges, we noticed a startling lack of content.

So in the days following, we asked ourselves some hard-hitting questions…

…like what makes the “cost of bivocational ministry” a taboo topic

…and why do some avoid confronting the truth when it seems to lack appeal?

After taking time to drill down, we realized:

The #1 thing bivocational ministers crave above all else is encouragement; hence, why so much content caters to this particular need.

However…

Bivocational ministers in hope of inspiration often stiff-arm opportunities capable of better equipping them for adversity.

Granted, it’s completely human to want edification; however, as bivocational ambassadors, we must realize we’re not called to manufacture floatation devices when storms come. ‘Cause truth is, if we want to walk in true freedom, we must get real about our struggles as opposed to tuning them out*.

And hear me…I get how easy it can be to rely on personal strength and distractions when we sense hopelessness knocking on our door.

Yet, it’s at that point we must embrace what we were ultimately designed for (i.e. accountability, intimacy, endurance, community, etc) to see and live the whole truth as God intended.

So while I’m all about encouragement and inspiration, I’m also aware we must be fearless in addressing the deep, dark closet spaces of our hearts.

Thus, in the coming weeks, we’re going to “de-taboo” some of life’s most complex questions…like…

  • What do you do when you feel like you’re not making a difference?
  • How do you respond when your authorities persecute you?
  • How do you cope with the fears of rejection and mediocrity?
  • What do you do when you feel old rejections are holding you back?
  • What do you do when you’re in the right place, but can’t connect relationally?
  • What do you do when you doubt God’s plan…and all you want to do is give up?

Of course, these questions only represent the tip of the iceberg.

Yet, as we tackle these issues, it’s my hope we not only discover the beauty in being bivocational but also the power that comes when we embrace the cost.

So in closing, I encourage you to ask yourself: Are you willing to let go of anything not God for the sake of trusting Him every step of the way?

In the meantime, stay tuned for a new post next week when we address our first question: What do you do when you feel like you’re not making a difference?

Fighting the good fight,

~ Cameron

Footnotes

*Trust me…I’ve tried self-medicating many different ways. It never works.

Photo credits: revivingthesoul.com & synergyforministry.org