Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Random thoughts for jobless times

Some updates of a more personal nature...

As some of you know, I am still hunting around for a job. I wrote a little piece, Fixed Points for Jobless Times, by way of reminder for myself a while back but I won’t deny that I tend to forget just about all the time! I had quite a tough January in fact – I finally managed to secure a proper interview, then proceeded to mess it up, needless to say I didn’t get it.

I think I can safely say that I continue to discover how much of a sinner I am. I was going to say that I’m appalled at my lack of prayerfulness even in difficult times, but I think it’s truer to say that I’m appalled by my lack of any dismay over my lack of prayerfulness! I can be a bit of a Sunday-only Christian. Or take self-pity. It might sound justified to do so in my context: “Boo-hoo, woe is me”, but as John Piper astutely observes, self-pity arises from a sense of innate worthiness; it is a subtle form of unapplauded pride. Even as I look at some of my blog posts of last month I think maybe that I don’t heed Proverbs 10:19 – "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise". A couple of posts back I quote McCracken on the fight to keep hanging onto the gospel of grace. It’s absolutely true, I find that my thoughts and actions continue to show how much of the immeasurable riches of what Jesus has done for me I have yet to grasp. We never move on from the “basics”.

I think in times like this there is inevitably going to be some wondering over issues of guidance and such, and I continue to wrestle with them, wondering if I have sufficiently thought through some of my decisions and second-guessing others. There are no quick and easy answers here, and I accept that this is where I need to truly trust in a God who has already shown, through his Word, that He is thoroughly trustworthy. Plenty of alternatives abound, all a variant of self-sufficiency: thinking that it is ultimately my CV, my skills, or my personality (or my lack thereof) which will determine my destiny. It also means waiting...and make no mistake, waiting can be akin to the tension stored within the twisted pieces of wood of a catapult.

...tension is a passing note... :)

I don’t think I’m the only person with a tough January though. There’s plenty of uncertainty amongst those working in the financial sector due to the credit crunch and I’m sure some of my friends are affected by rumours and hearsay. I sat next to a Kenyan Christian too recently, and while he assured me his family were all safe and sound, I can imagine how that could be a potential cause for anxiety. One of the things I’m really grateful for this past Sunday evening was the opportunity to hear out a friend of mine who was really struggling in his final year at university and then to pray for him. Similarly, I think of another friend who this past weekend shared some penetrating insights on both my particular situation as well as life as a Christian more generally. This same friend had his own pastoral situations to deal with – he had someone ask him, “My friend, who is a Christian, was demon-possessed and committed suicide. What does Jesus have to say to that?” I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes!

As Eugene Peterson, the anonymous Christian and Ruth have all reminded me in the last few months, being a Christian doesn’t take us away from our earthly sojourns here even as we live in light of eternity. To borrow another phrase from Peterson, Christian spirituality is earthy: dealing with everydayness, in the midst of doing the laundry, in the middle of traffic, in the nitty-gritty of life, yet continually aware that "in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ...through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit." (Eph. 2:15, 18). Christian spirituality is Trinitarian spirituality.

So to borrow yet another phrase from Peterson – the guy is a true wordsmith - the road ahead is “a long obedience in the same direction”. “[Israel] worked and played, suffered and sinned in the world as everyone else did, as Christians still do. But they were now going someplace – they were going to God. The truth of God explained their lives, the grace of God fulfilled their lives, the forgiveness of God renewed their lives, the love of God blessed their lives…Repentance, the first word in Christian immigration, sets us on the way to travelling in the light.”

On a related note, I’ve been listening incessantly to You Are Holy (Prince of Peace). It’s not that new a song, but I’ve only discovered it recently. I had not realised that it was penned by MWS either. What I really love about it is that we get to sing both objective truths – “You’re my living God / You’re my saving grace / You will reign forever / You are Ancient of Days” and so on while singing getting to respond in song subjectively at the same time during the chorus – both important to worship I feel! You can tell that all that time spent in Anglican churches have rubbed off me somewhat...


Oh, and finally, Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Chinese New Year!

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Blogger pearlie said...

Interviews are always stressful events for me - maybe they always will be for INFJ/Ps! :) :)
I know it won't help but what I happened to me was that I went to so many that by the time I get the hang of it, I come across one that is so crucial i.e. one I am really interested in that I have to ace it. There is a lot of online help - did you check out any? I downloaded a whole list of questions and start tackling them like assignments. LOL.

1:58 am  
Blogger Debibo said...

I don't like interviews either and am quite, quite grateful I went through fewer than the digits on my hand (yes, ONE hand). I tend to want to be the interviewer's friend first which means ideally, I would do great in the second interview only, if you don't do well in the first one, they don't tend to ask you back for another :p

2:37 pm  
Blogger BK said...

thanks, both of you did more or less pin down what I absolutely hate about interviews. I tend to get a little self-conscious although I try not to around people I don't know, and it's made worse when you think of that person as evaluating you! When I went for my uni interviews, I had already gone through 2 mock interviews and had such low expectations that I was a little more relaxed - I was so convinced I wouldn't get in and of course, the opposite happened.

I have looked at a few "how to do job interviews" type stuff on the Net since so hopefully will be a little more prepared next time. :)

5:29 pm  

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