Lately I have been filling out job applications every day. Seriously, every single day. The last time I actively looked for a job the internet barely existed. (By the way, happy 25th anniversary, internet!) Back then it was a different ball game entirely. It was more like hand to hand combat, less like a computer chess match. You physically had to put on your pantyhose (do they still make those?) and your 4 inch pumps and you went from place to place, actually talking to people. Nowadays nearly all applications are submitted online which has its' pros and cons.
The pros? You can stay in your pajamas all day long, and you don't have to nervously psych yourself up to go introduce yourself to people.
The cons? The computer program Du Jour may have glitches and you may have to start over. Again and again. Like I did today. You also may never hear from the company you apply to. You may take it personally. You may not.
Also, this is the first time I have job hunted as an old person. Really old. (That comes with it's own list of pros and cons.) The whole procedure is hard on the self esteem. You have to ask yourself not just where you've been and why you are here, but also where do you want to be. More importantly, WHO do you want to be. The process of applying for a job introduces the most unwanted influence. The very thing most of us try to avoid in life. Rejection.
Fear of rejection causes us to wonder, "Am I good enough? Do I have what they're looking for? Am I too old? Too young? Am I too fat? Too experienced? Not experienced enough? Not educated enough?" That thing you do becomes your identity, and that is not what God intended.
The application process reduces a person's identity to a list of qualities, highlighted only to expose the things that person chooses to disclose, leaving the whole of who they are neatly tucked away somewhere. Neat. Tidy. Truthful but inauthentic.
I think I approach God that way sometimes, especially when I need something. I have thought, "Let Him see how good I am, yes, I will build my case as I stack up my list of spiritual accomplishments to display how much I deserve that thing," as if I am applying for His approval. As if He can't see right through those disingenuous prayers of mine.
Aren't you glad that isn't the reality of what we can expect as we approach our Father, God? The reality is that there is no need to hide. Anything. Let me tell you what I have learned, He sees you completely and He loves you unconditionally. Who you are is NOT what you have done or what you do. You're identity is found in what He has done. Romans 3:24 tells us that we are, "justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," (ESV) Justified means that the way He sees you is just as if you had never sinned. God views you through the blood of Jesus, and that means God sees you as perfect. You do not need to tippy toe around Him to show Him your good side, all the while carefully disguising the ugly. He has made you beautiful. He calls you qualified. Fully known and fully loved. Genuinely. All of you.
The Message translation says it so well, "It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone." Ephesians 1:11-12 (Message)
So no matter what you are gearing up for in life right at this moment, remember:
1. He planned for you.
2. He has designs on you for glorious living.
3. You must get your identity from Him.
4. Go ahead and get your hopes up. In His reality, you've already got the job. Run with it!
Stay posted for news of my ongoing earthly job hunt...