24/7 is too hard.

Excerpt from Competent Christian Counseling  (Dr. Timothy Clinton & Dr. George Ohlschlager):

What’s happening to us?

The 24/7 pace and the pain of our day has taken over. The cry for relief is deafening; the need to simply slow down and live a simpler life is compelling. More than 50% of all adults in the United States now claim to be stressed out, too busy to make sense of their time-starved, cluttered, and unstable worlds (Barna & Hatch, 2001). Trapped in the difficult paradox of chasing excitement and pleasure, most people feel too fatigued and overworked to simplify, reflect, and satisfy deeper longings for meaning and renewal.

Faced with an uncertain future, many people believe they are falling further behind and will never get the chance to stop and smell the roses. It’s too late, they think. I’m in too deep. As a result, it is easy to conclude that significant numbers of individuals in today’s world are overwhelmed and confused by lives that have turned out far differently than they were supposed to.

Crowded and pained lives led to fatigue, even the mysterious “hurry disease” of CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome). We are even too tired and overwhelmed to exercise, eat right, sleep more, read a good book, be a coach, or teach a class. More forces than ever are tearing at our relationships and competing for our time, energy, and affection. Before long, tension builds, tempers flare, stomachs turn, ulcers bleed, and poor choices are made. Worse yet, hurt people hurt people (Wilson, 1993). Brokenness is everywhere.

Questions to consider today:

  • How do you relate and how are you “giving in” to the pressure to live a 24/7 lifestyle?
  • Where can you simplify, reflect, and satisfy deeper longings you have for meaning and renewal today? If not today, when will you plan to withdraw to make time to do so? Set a day, a time, a specific location, and anything you need in order to eliminate distractions or conflicts. The more specific you can be, the more likely you will follow through!
  • What will you gain by slowing down? What will you lose by not? stress

I am learning all of this with you. It is a difficult reality to imagine because I know so few people that are committing to making this their reality: a 24/6 kind of lifestyle instead of a 24/7. And although I can work harder (be more successful in getting coaching clients with more energy and time exuded, have a higher paying job, having more friendships, have more parties and events I’m invited to, etc), the cost of losing myself in the process and burning out is not worth it to me. That is, for this season, I have created a lot of extra time for myself, to reflect, to wonder, to question, to wrestle with God, to deepen specific relationships and my marriage, and to celebrate the recovery process I am on.

Where are you and what changes do you need to make to be in a place that is right for you in this time? 

Dear Santa,

Christmas is almost here, which is a terrifying reality for me as I wait until the last minute to find the absolute perfect gifts for everyone that I love. Gift giving is not a huge love language of mine.. but quality time, quality conversations are for sure my #1.

Or you are also like me, and people want to know what you want for Christmas, and you have NO idea. NO clue! So here’s an idea…

Ask for life coaching as a gift your parents or spouse or sibling or best friend can gift to you this Christmas!!! It is the perfect way to start out any of those New Years Resolutions you have, but don’t have the accountability that you have needed to push forward and stick with it. We all get stuck and need a push (or a lot of pushes, lets be honest). Life coaching can help you not only push forward for 6 sessions, but it can also help transform the way you process and make decisions. It can give you courage to make necessary changes as they arise, and take responsibility for the parts you can control or change.

CHRISTMAS GIFT

From now until the end of the year, I have a THRIVE promotion package that will make for a perfect Christmas gift.

Includes:
~ One complimentary session (so you can see what life coaching looks like, feels like, and what rises up as I ask you pointed, and powerful questions to get down to your WHY? before we find your how and what)
~ 6 one hour life coaching sessions with me
~ Coaching exercises that will be used during our sessions that will guide you towards greater understanding of where you want to go, and how to get there
~ Learning how to take ownership over your life, and understanding the parts you have control over vs. the parts you don’t have control over
~ Greater clarity of what matters to you right now, and deeper understanding for where you want to be using action steps and SMART goals

What can you gain, learn, grow, stop or start by taking this next step and working with a life coach for 6+ sessions right now?

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

FOLLOWthe yellowbrick road (1)

Follow the yellow brick road… follow the yellow brick road… follow follow follow follow follow the yellow brick road… 

How many of you sang that like I did as I typed it?

When I graduated college, I had my life figured out. I was going to work for an anti-human trafficking organization, or at the least move somewhere that I could volunteer heavily to learn the stories and faces of the people in America that have been trafficked. I would gain some knowledge, skills, maybe go back to school for an MSW (Masters in Social Work), and open up my own dream home I have called Jericho House.

Jericho House would be a home for trafficked girls. That is a dream of mine for another day. But, I had it figured out. 

After over 70 contacts (initiating conversations with board of directors, applying for nonprofits, researching every possible organization that could hire me to work to combat trafficking with them… I heard… “We have no openings at this time,” or even worse… silence.

The yellow brick road didn’t seem to be there anymore. I faded into depression for the first time, with too much time on my hands and too many decisions and directions to make. I felt mentally paralyzed, terrified to make a detour and screw all aspects of my life up.

Guess how many times I have detoured since then? 

I have changed my direction SO many times from boys I wanted to marry, to career paths I wanted to chase, to dreams that developed as I have experienced life and get to know my authentic self better.

Everyone has a yellow brick road. There are constant reminders that we need companionship to help get us to our Emerald Cities through the mess of our haunted forests, and winged monkey attacks. And we get so close… we can SEE our Emerald city… but we fall asleep.

As the poppies cover our yellow brick roads, we no longer have the motivation, the energy, or the willpower it seems to make the changes we need to in those moments to just keep running towards the city.

That has been depression for me several times. I sit in the middle of the floor, with my scattered business ideas, Jericho House dream, relationship with my husband, my counseling homework, the hobbies that bring me joy, my sadness and anger… and I sleep. I get exhausted and lose sight of where I am headed. 

Did you know that you are normal if you feel this way?

Guess what? I’m still here. And because of my story with depression, I have deepened my compassion for others in a way I wouldn’t have been able to without going through days of crying on the bathroom floor, or doing things like working out and seeing a counselor and attending a Celebrate Recovery group at my church even though I didn’t feel like it. I might fall asleep sometimes as I’m going to the Emerald city, but I wake back up, and do my best. And that is what I want to help others do. To be freakin’ GRACIOUS with yourself! To accept the things you cannot change, courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

party for you time.

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I don’t do a great job celebrating my small victories. I get tied up in my bigger goals that I neglect to Celebrate the progress I am making, little by little.

I Celebrate myself because I am learning how to express anger in a healthy way by journaling and talking to my husband so I can learn how to feel what I feel and process it out loud.

What do you Celebrate about yourself today? Share below and encourage someone else!

The Fern

The Story of my logo | Oh how I loved designing this logo. P.S., I created one with an image from Google, and my cousin Maria said she could recreate the fern with watercolor and make it my own. Look how beautiful it turned out!!

| BEFORE |

Copy of Thrive 2 logo

| AFTER |

Copy of Thrive 2 logo (1)

I have always had an obsession with trees and ferns. I almost got a tattoo on my birthday this past year of a tree based off of a favorite passage in Scripture (hopefully next birthday I’ll be wearing the ink on my arm). I also was persistent during wedding planning season of telling my mom I wanted to incorporate ferns in some way.

So, naturally…I went with a logo that looked like a fern or a tree.

I love that trees are growing, change with seasons, and also have a history that can be told by looking at the number of rings that exist when cut down.

Something I love about ferns is that they can survive in various climates and on different altitudes. Ferns are considered an invasive species due to their increased reproduction rate, and their ability to occupy new habitats quickly. They have a fibrous root, which means they can absorb water and nutrients quickly in order to grow. Ferns are used for various things like:

  • Absorb heavy metals from air and soil, preventing pollution
  • Absorb nitrogen from the air, which is why they are used by farmers as a natural fertilizer
  • Building materials

I want my life coaching business to help you thrive like a fern! Can you imagine the change that can happen if you spent some time investing in yourself, your dreams, stepping away from unhealthy relationships or habits, etc etc etc? There’s something in your life that just doesn’t feel right, look right, or makes you feel stuck. I don’t know about you, but I want my life to be like a fern’s! Being stuck is the worst, and I’ve been there several times without knowing what to do.

I want to: 

  • thrive in different environments 
  • grow with time 
  • be strong enough to build new things
  • be a person who can “fertilize” the ground I’m on and invest in myself and people around me with authenticity and forward movement  

I’m so thankful for this opportunity to start a life coaching business because everyone has untapped potential and needs someone to come alongside of them to believe in them! Change is hard enough, but to do it alone can feel impossible.

Who wants to be a fern and thrive?

Our Story | Paul + Jacqui

I sat there across from one of my co-worker’s brothers…sipping the coffee he bought for me so that he could tell me about InterVarsity and why he was going to plant a chapter at Monroe Community College.

He began to ask me what was going on in my life, what my college experience was, what kind of rebellion I flirted with, my frustrations with the church, where I wanted Jesus to take me next. Wow, talk about skipping the small talk. 

At the time, my heart was aching to be with a guy I fell in love with. I told this almost-stranger across from me how I had been praying for a couple of years that God would restore the relationship. Then I began to talk about my desires and expectations for marriage. God, you get the glory and honor no matter what the outcome of this love story will be, I remember thinking.

We sat there and talked for over three hours. We got up from the wooden stools, and just as I was about to say goodbye – he asked if he could pray for my relationship. Who was this guy?

I left not thinking anything of it other than “wow, what a big sweetie” and “I want to partner with that dude because I know God wants to meet students on their college campuses.” I didn’t know it at the time, but after he got into his car and drove away – he called one of his buddies. “Dude, I’m in trouble. I just met the most amazing girl. She loves Jesus, she loves people, and she’s pretty too. But she’s in love with someone else!

One month later, that love story I talked about fell apart. And four months later, Mr. InterVarsity almost-stranger man and I were set up hardcore at his sister’s wedding that we were both in.

If you won’t go on a date with Paul, I will just make you two walk down the aisle together and I’ll make sure I put you two together at the same table at my reception,” Julia said.

Julia won. Operation Paul and Jacqui set-up was in motion. 

The very next day, I get a call from Paul. “Heyyyy! What did you think of the wedding? Give me your highs and lows!” After we shared how much we love to dance at weddings, he said: “Hey. I’d like to take you on a date next weekend. What time would work for you?Uh…uh…can I get back to you on a time? 

I did what any girl freaking out would do after she was just asked out. Ran to my mom. Mom! Mom! Paul asked me on a date! I’m not ready for this. I’m an emotional wreck. Unstable. Confused. I shouldn’t go. Should I? Should I go? Maybe I should just go and tell him in person that I’m not ready…I can be honest. I’d rather be honest up front. Yeah? 

Aww! You should go.” my mom said. I began to rehearse what I should say for the next week until we met for our date.

I did everything you are not supposed to do on a first date. I crieda lot. We sat there on the pier looking out at the calm water and evening sky, and he was so gracious. He wasn’t threatened in the least that my past still haunted me and that I was scared of the prospect of dating someone else. He talked about how for a while he looked at married couples that lived so small trying to make their spouse happy, buying a house, having kids, living comfortably – and thinking, “what a small vision….that is miserable sounding!” I couldn’t agree more.

And so we began. Paul was a complete surprise from the Lord. I have been a part of a beautiful story about two broken people who adore Jesus above anything else. We desire to watch people develop and come to know what Jesus thinks about them.

Paul has a huge heart. He gets along with everybody. He is genuinely interested in each person he meets, what their story is, and makes each person feel so special. He cares so deeply about people knowing Jesus loves them and will do anything to show that to them.

Paul is a dreamer and has inspiring vision. Whenever he talks and prays about Monroe Community College, and his students – the joy and expectation he has for God to meet needs and desires is contagious. He truly trusts that God is big, and can do big things.

Paul adores me. He laughs at all my really awful corny jokes, holds onto me really tight because he doesn’t want me to leave, includes me in his plans and what matters to him, listens well, prays with me almost every time we hang out, and shhhh don’t tell him – but I catch him just staring at me, smiling all of the time.

Paul loves studying Scripture with people. He starts Bible studies with people who are Christians, people who come from different religious backgrounds, and people who are just curious. He loves discussing and asking lots of questions. He is never quick to give an answer or assume he heard right the first time.

Paul loves to have fun and to laugh a lot. He bought elephant masks for us to wear to his brother David’s quidditch game because their mascot is an elephant, he had over 60 students sing or rap to him in exchange for some stupid stickers that say “Nice Try Satan” on them, he writes hilarious raps for people on their birthdays or special occasions. He made a CD with one of his buds for me as a Christmas present of three songs where he rapped our story and inside jokes that had me laughing and crying it was so good.

Paul knows how to be a good friend. He is thoughtful in how he responds, is slow to get angry, and is one of the most patient people I know. He always assumes the best of people, and doesn’t bash people behind their backs. He is honest and trustworthy. He is the kind of friend you want talking about you behind your back.

Paul was a big surprise, and I am so thankful that I know a man like him. Because of him, I am encouraged to love well, listen better, be happy in how God made me, and to walk courageously knowing God is on my side always.

The Fence.

Fenced in.

The idea of being fenced in gives me one of two feelings. If I see danger on the other side, being fenced in makes me feel safe. If I see excitement on the other side, being fenced in makes me feel stuck.

I used to always see God’s will as a fenced in area. God’s will was within walking distance, with all the corners of the fence in viewing sight from where I stood. I would pray, “God, what is your will for my life?” I wanted him to set clear parameters. I wanted a “yes zone” and a “no zone.”

Isn’t that how so many people talk about God’s will? As if God’s will is a legalistic trap, driving us into performance-based religion where we either get it right or wrong with every decision we make. If we get it right, life will run smoothly. If we get it wrong, prepare to suffer in some way.

Our crutch becomes living a legalistic life because that way we have parameters that make up our minds for us. We believe in freedom, but we don’t know how to choose – so we get scared into a fenced in area God never built for us. A legalistic life, with safe parameters, that makes us good Christians who make the right choices. God’s will turns into our manufactured safe place where we are exempt from pain, or a rigid set of rules we follow that can push us as close to perfection (or at least what we think is perfection) as possible. Somehow THEN we have worth. Somehow THEN we are good enough.

What if we removed our small fenced in areas, and saw God’s will as a wide open field instead? A place where we can run for miles if we wanted, and still not spot the fence’s perimeter.

When I come to a place where a decision needs to be made, I very rarely get a clear answer from the Lord of what I should do. My decision of where to go to college, what job offer to take, who to date – they have all been big decisions that had two completely different, but desirable outcomes.

We have made God’s will a thing we either obtain or reject, instead of making it a way of life.

We make decisions out of fear instead of purpose.

That’s why sometimes it’s easier to pray for clear parameters instead of walking out life in relationship with him. Making choices is difficult. We want to take the responsibility off of us. The essence of making a choice is sacrificing one thing to venture into unknown territory, hoping to gain something better. What if it isn’t better, we think.

But I think God uses choices to teach us that His will is more about trusting him, honoring him, and moving closer to him than about being right or wrong.

Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” {Ephesians 5:17}

So, let’s put aside the cliché cop-out “if it’s God’s will” response we have rehearsed with others, and turn to Scripture to understand what God’s will is.

Where to start reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:18, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Hebrews 13:20-21, John 6:38-40, Ephesians 5:1-21, 1 Peter 2:15.

Crushin’ Hard

When I like someone, all I want to do is spend as much time with them as possible and get to know them (just so we are clear….I’m talking about girls too). I want to hear about what they are passionate about, what they are reading, what they value, what their pet peeves are, and what they are going through. I want to know about their families, the kind of people they gravitate to, their long-term goals, and if they prefer coffee or tea. C’mon, that tells me a lot about you…

When I like someone, I don’t feel obligated to talk to them or meet up with them. I want to spend quality time with them, so I can know them – understand them – share life with them. (Makes sense, since quality time is my #1 love language).

I have always struggled with the concept of prayer. How does God want me to talk to him? How often should I pray alone and why is it important to pray corporately? Can I pray for things I want – is that selfish? If God answers however he wants, what is the purpose of even praying?

When we begin to treat prayer as a Christian obligation – we become more concerned with the logistics and less focused on WHO we are communicating with.

Prayer isn’t designed to be like that conversation you have with your bank teller; it is fashioned to be like that conversation you have with someone you like.

Prayer is an intimate, raw moment with Jesus. Prayer is an earnest pursuit to just be with God. Prayer is a sacred place where you can come in all your vulnerability and still be safe.

Prayer is: access to love, acceptance, belonging, increased faith, and closeness to God.

The more we see prayer as an access to be with God, and less about seeing results – I think that is when we begin to experience the true power prayer holds. It no longer becomes about what we get out of it, but about getting to know Him. How I respond when I like someone…

Could it be that the main purpose of prayer isn’t to change things? Could it be that the main purpose of prayer is to change US instead? Prayer may or may not change things externally, but it sure does change what God cares about most – our hearts.

I think David is referred to in the Bible as a man after God’s own heart because he communicated for relationship, not results:

(This is a prayer David lifted up to God when he was in the wilderness of Judah)

O God, You are my God; I shall seek you earnestly;

My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,

In a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,

To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your loveingkindess is better than life,

My lips will praise You.

So I will bless You as long as I live;

I will lift up my hands in Your name.

My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,

And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,

I meditate on You in the night watches,

For You have been my help,

And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.

My soul clings to You;

Your right hand upholds me.

{Psalm 63:1-8}

5 Ways to Stop Being a “Job Friend”

I’m sorry that I have not been blogging, to those of you who have asked me to keep it up. It has been a hard year to write about, to reflect on, to share. My mind has seemed at most times, a dark place I don’t want to carry people into. The mind and the heart are very vulnerable places I so desperately want to share with people, but more often than not they are my secret places where my musings wander with no productive conclusions. The “pointless destinations” that just leave me disheartened aren’t places I want to walk you to. I’m sure a lot of you (more than I know probably) can relate.

So, here’s a courageous moment I am taking to share a portion of what is on my mind and my heart. I want to talk about pain and suffering. More specifically, I want to talk about how to be a friend to someone who is going through pain and suffering.

A few weeks ago, I started to read through the book of Job again. I have read through the book numerous times. This time when I read it, I really tried to place myself in Job’s shoes. I can’t put into words the feelings that started to overwhelm my conscious. Depressed, lonely, betrayed, confused, hurt, completely hopeless, longing for healing, longing for answers. This is what pain and suffering feels like. I can say so because I have felt each one of those in a deep way multiple times this past year.

As I began to read the responses Job’s friends had for him, I grew angry. “They don’t have any idea why Job is going through this! They don’t understand. They don’t know the dialogue that God and Satan had.” As I read how they accused him for not being in right relationship with God, begging Job to repent, I started saying “Why are you accusing him in his pain and his suffering? You have no idea! You don’t understand! God sees Job completely different than what his friends are crediting him for!” 

Then, I realized…..I have been that friend. I have been the one to share a Bible verse, instead of just listen. I have been the one to need words to speak into a painful situation because silence was too uncomfortable. I was too prideful because in my mind, if someone shared with me in an honest moment that he/she is struggling, then God would give me the exact words to share — profound, wise, godly advice that shows I am holy. I have been the one that has told someone all he/she has to do is pray and things will get better. I have been the one who has judged where someone’s relationship with God is based on how optimistic he/she is in his/her pain.

Have you been a “Job friend” too? 

After the year I have had of transitions — a difficult break up, a graduation from college, being jobless for months and knowing what depression is, a new job to learn, a confusing search process to find the right church community, my friend group dispersing, trying to restore and develop healthy relationships with my family (as we are all under one roof again), and a very aggressive hunger that has developed in me to know what is sound doctrine and theology — I can say that it has been a year where transitions have been painful instead of exciting.

I am in no way comparing my life to others. So many of you have had more difficult experiences this year, with a close family member passing away, not being able to find work, going through a divorce, broken relationships with your family, never having a good doctor’s report, moving and losing your community. The list can go on and on, unfortunately.

What I am saying, is that through experiencing a year that was harder than most for me, I can see how being a “Job friend” is not helpful. 

So, what can we do? Here’s five things we can do to stray away from being a “Job friend.” 

#1 – Listen. If your friend opens up his/her most vulnerable places (the mind and the heart), remember that it took courage to do that. The best thing you can do, is to listen. Be a safe place for them to talk about what is really going on in their head and their heart. By safe, I mean…they are sharing that with YOU, not with you and your three best friends.

#2 – Don’t give advice, unless they ask for it. If your friend is going through a lot of pain (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual), don’t think a Bible verse is going to help them. They are most likely very familiar with the verse, and although it is living and active, it is not always the perfect time to shove Scripture down someone’s throat. Be sensitive, and check your motives in why you want to share a verse with them.

#3 – Pray for them. You can pray for your friend, and not tell them. I always used to think I had to tell someone when I was praying for them. Sometimes that is appropriate, but if it is ever a flaunting act, just stop! Stop telling your friend you are praying for them, and just do it. Pray for their mind. Pray for their heart. Pray for their day, that they encounter God in a fresh way somehow. Pray that they are filled with a hope and a peace that will surpass their understanding. And thank God for them. Thank God that they are alive, and that they are loved unconditionally by Him.

#4 – Find out their love language. I love asking people what their love languages are. It tells me so much about who they are as people, and how they feel most loved. Once you ask them, or figure out their love language — love on them! If their love language is words of affirmation, write them a letter sharing all the reasons you appreciate them. If their love language is quality time, set up a fun outing where you get to spend time together. If their love language is gifts, next time you make your trip to Target, walk around the store and look for something small that reminds you of an inside joke you and your friend have together. If their love language is acts of service, offer to help them organize and clean their apartment with them so they don’t have to do it alone. If their love language is physical touch, offer to give them a back rub while they tell you about their day.

#5 – Be their friend, not their savior. Remember your place. You are a friend, not the person who is going to save them from the pain and suffering. The moment you take on the responsibility for how someone else is feeling, or the responsibility of helping them get out of a place of pain, you underestimate Jesus and His power. Only God is the one who fully understands what any of us are really struggling with (in mind, body, soul, and heart). There is only one savior, and it is not me….and it is not you. Just be the friend who can encourage, pour into, love on, and listen.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” {Galatians 6:2}

Dear College Student Without a Job (yet),

Dear college graduate without a job (yet),

You are not alone. I remember this time last year, I was starting to panic. I had started applying for jobs and internships in January of that year, and now it was May? It was time to graduate, and graduate with no excitement to start something new. It was time to graduate and start a summer vacation that I was not looking forward to, family vacation and days with no plans. Freedom and adventure was the last thing I wanted. What I wanted was an answer, for someone to give me a chance, a plan, or at least a date of when I could expect those things.

As that summer went by and left, I began to feel trapped in my own body. A typical day would look like waking up late (because I had no plans), making coffee, logging onto my computer, and trying my very best to look through the long lists of job openings that existed in Rochester, in Nashville, in Raleigh, in Charleston, in Charlotte. I was so discouraged. On other days, it took too much energy for me to get out of bed. All I could do was lay wrapped up in my blankets surrounded with pillows, and cry. God, why did you give me all those dreams and desires during my college days only to never give me a chance to understand them or walk them out? Some days I was angry, but most days – my heart felt so heavy it literally felt like it was breaking.

I ran into people in coffee shops, the grocery store, at church, when my family was together – and the questions of “What is next?” and “What jobs are you looking for?” and “Are you in a serious relationship?” and “How are you doing?” became questions that overwhelmed me to the point of hopelessness. The uncertainty handicapped me to the point of depression. 

I know you’re probably asking yourself, “Ok Jacqui, so what’s the good news for me??…..”

The good news is this: It will end. This time of not knowing what comes next WILL end…whether that is a job, an internship, or a long-term missions trip.

I spent 10 months applying to jobs before I got my first job offer at the end of October. During that process of pursuing and waiting, I began to expect God to give me exactly what I was longing for – to move out of Rochester, to date the guy I want to be with, to gain experience working in an established nonprofit like A21 Campaign or Samaritan’s Purse with young women. After all, nothing was working out right now because God was magically aligning the stars for me, right? But that is exactly what didn’t happen. I didn’t get to move out of Rochester. I didn’t even leave Roberts Wesleyan College. I didn’t get to have that relationship I wanted to make work so desperately (more than I wanted a job to work out, honestly). I didn’t get to dedicate my energy and time into a job that is helping combat human trafficking or pioneer a ministry to help broken people come face to face with Healing in a healthy community.

But those long days of staring at my laptop screen and glazing over new job openings did end. It ended because I never gave up. Even when I wanted to give up, I continued to press in and keep trying. I kept changing my resume to feature different skill sets, and wrote new cover letters a few times a week. I networked with different people, and contacted strangers who I would send my resume to so they could at least have it on file for when another job opening presented itself. Altogether, I applied to about 70-80 jobs. And although God didn’t “align the stars” to give me everything I fighting for to fall into place, I can’t imagine now that I am six months into my job at Roberts Wesleyan College as an Admissions counselor of being anywhere else.

God knew that I would still be in a place of hopelessness now, and that this job would provide a sense of joy for my soul. I work with some of the most incredibly talented, goofy, and hard-working people I have ever met. I have long hours, but wonderful benefits. I am constantly encouraged by my boss in the work that I do. It is competitive, it is challenging, it is enjoyable, and I laugh really hard at least once a day.

Dear college graduate without a job (yet), Your time is coming.

If I had to boil it down to three things I learned during those 10 months of job searching, it would be:

  1. Don’t give up. Keep searching for new job openings, keep sending your resumes out, keep networking and asking people to connect you, keep calling, keep e-mailing organizations and companies. You never know when it will be your time.
  2. Stay connected. Even though it was extremely hard for me to find the energy to hang out with friends, I forced myself to. I forced myself to hang out with people, to carry on conversation, and to be honest with a couple of close friends with how much I was struggling.
  3. Change some things. When I had those long days to sit and think about everything, I came up with lists of things I wanted to change. That is what allowed me to make some good changes once I did get my job, including buying a car, getting a gym membership, changing churches, reading more, cutting my hair, upgrading my phone. Some of those changes allow me to have more responsibility, and with more responsibility comes motivation to keep moving forward.
Dear college graduate without a job (yet), You will get through this. 

This might be one of the hardest seasons you will go through, but please remember this does not last forever. Don’t give up, stay connected, and change some things.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” {Jeremiah 17:7-8}