Facing the Fear of What Lies Ahead
Twelve years ago, I was standing on the wooden platform of a ropes course, 60 feet up, hooked to a zip line – hesitating. Then I heard a friend’s voice behind me: “Jump now. It doesn't get better later.” He was right. I jumped. You can too.
As you consider the crossroads in your career, you may be hesitating. Why? Global employment changes have brought a new world of work with new rules. You are responsible for your own career. Most of us, however, have little or no training in career planning and job search skills. Even fewer of us know how to hear and follow God’s calling.
Reach Forward to Opportunity
You can accept the opportunity waiting for you in the future in both depth and breadth.
In Depth: Today is the first day of the rest of your life. You can make decisions now, for the better, that will last forever. Ask yourself:
How would I like to see my future?
Did God put me on the planet for a purpose?
When I am 84 years old and looking back on my life, what would I like to see?
See a future for yourself in which you are maximizing your full career potential. Begin to picture your work and calling in ways in which you are content, fulfilled and in alignment with God’s will. Make plans and think about what it will take to accomplish them.
In Breadth: There are over 1,000 different industries, each one with thousands of employers. There are over 30,000 occupations with millions of workers.
Whole industries and occupations come and go – sometimes rapidly. Millions more people are becoming self-employed versus employer-employed. You can no longer rely on an employer to guide your career. It is up to you to find your own way. Part of your work is to learn how to find work. You have to figure out what you do and like best, and then find an employer or customer who needs and wants it most. The market for workers is global. For example: Imagine an independent contractor located in North Carolina, working for an office in China, and owned by a British company doing a deal in Iraq.
If you are like me and millions of others facing an uncertain future, you can be paralyzed by fear. All of these choices, things to learn and the heavy weight of earning money and living with purpose – they can be overwhelming. Oh my gosh! What to do?
Face the Fear
Even with the assurance of God Himself, we can still feel fear. It’s what you do next that's important.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
List the people, places, things and activities that make you anxious concerning your job and career search.
Following the principle that “perfect love casts out fear,” start walking toward the people, places, things and activities you fear. Do what would be in the best interest of those involved. Pray for and help the people who make you anxious. Trust God to work out the details.
Think of people who can encourage and pray for you: people you trust and people who care about you - your spouse, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a business associate, someone from church, a minister or a counselor. Ask them specifically to pray for you, and write their names down.
When anxiety appears as a companion to your day, greet it with prayer.
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