Learning to Seek His Kingdom First
Learning to Seek His Kingdom First
I continue to hear heart wrenching stories about colleagues being out of work due to the economic impact of Covid-19, so I felt compelled to post my experience of being out of work because of uncontrollable circumstances in the hopes that it could encourage those who find themselves in a similar situation.
In 2010, I was a year out of college and had just been laid off from a financial advisor role. I was unemployed for a total of 10 months, as the US was recovering from the “great recession.” Though this time was tough, I learned something that I will take with me every day for the rest of my life. I used to believe that if I worked really hard and made the best of my opportunities that things would just come together for me. That is how I was told the world worked. But what if I never got the opportunities that lived up to the aspirations that I had for myself? How could I make the best of something that never came? I felt like I was doing all the right things, but my career wasn’t coming together the way that I had envisioned. It came as a painful realization to me that getting the opportunity to succeed in my career may not be within my control.
After being unemployed for two months, I was quickly running out of money. Putting in a heavy effort and not receiving call backs for job interviews had taken its toll. I was ready for a change in my mindset. I started to pray differently. I read Matthew 6 in the Bible, where Jesus talks about chasing after ways to provide food, clothing, and shelter and how Jesus said, “Don’t worry about such things, instead worry about His Kingdom and His Righteousness and everything else will be provided.” I thought to myself, “I am a Christian. If I truly believe these words, I should put them to the test.”
For the next eight months, I started every morning out by praying these words out loud, “God, how do I seek your kingdom and your righteousness today?” After I would ask this, I seemed to have a new option come to my thoughts as a plan for the day that I hadn’t thought of before. Either that, or I had a little more clarity of mind in what I should do that day. Sometimes it was to read several books of the Bible or sing along to worship music. Other times, I would have the desire to go show someone that I care about them in some way. I would find myself desiring to physically work out every once and awhile. Some days, I felt at ease about just resting and lounging around the apartment. Each day, I had enough money to do what I felt the answer to “seeking His Kingdom” meant for that day. Each day had a different worry, none of which was to apply for jobs.
In the tenth month of being unemployed, I got a call from a contracting agency to come in for a job interview at the Best Buy corporate headquarters for a role as a credit fraud analyst for bestbuy.com. I had not applied to the contracting agency or for the position, nor did I know anyone at the company. After the interview, I met the staff and heard a more detailed description of the role. I was excited. It sounded like a job that I would love. The management seemed to be sold on me, and I was happy with a job that sounded incredibly interesting.
Three months after getting this role at Best Buy as a contractor, I was let go due to the holiday season being over. I was bummed, but I remembered what I learned from being unemployed the first time around, and I was not going to worry. Two days later, my manager at Best Buy emailed me to tell me that he had passed along my name to a manager at Target.com for a fraud prevention specialist role that he had heard about. Again, it was another job that I got that I didn’t apply for. Fast forward to present day, I work at ArkOwl (a vendor of e-commerce fraud prevention) in another role that I did not apply for.
I look back on the season of my unemployment as a time when God showed me the difference between the career story that I was trying to write for myself and the power of seeking Him and giving Him the pen to write my story. At ArkOwl, I continue to keep the mentality that I learned to seek “His Kingdom and His Righteousness above all else” every day.
Hopefully my story is an encouragement if you are out of work and battling the thoughts that come with investing time and effort into something every day, only to find yourself back to searching. Hopefully my story is a message of peace and freedom to those who trust in the Lord and are seeking Him to write their story as well. He is the maker of opportunities.