Layoffs, freedom, and purpose

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

With today's slow economy and numerous layoffs, I've found the idea of being "let go" is often misunderstood. Too often it's accompanied with feeling rejected, incapable, unwanted, or even worthless. But this perspective falls far short of where we really stand. I've found God does not view His children within limited socioeconomic conditions, but as free, endowed with an abundance of gifts.

Recently, a colleague of mine was laid off. I prayed to God to know how I could help him. I wanted to understand how God viewed this situation. I began to see my colleague not as the victim of an unfair firing but as the recipient of a gift of freedom to take his career into an unexplored direction.

I pictured a bird being held in someone's hands. When released, the bird doesn't fall but finds freedom. If our expectation is that it will fly, we can delight in seeing the bird do what it does best - soar.

Similarly, when someone we love loses a job, we, as friends, family, or former colleagues, have a decision to make as to how we choose to view their retrenchment. In the case of my colleague, while I miss his contributions to our workplace, he will be benefiting others in a new way, which will be more fulfilling to him.

But what about the uncertainty and loss of income? I find comfort in this passage from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy: "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" (pg. 494).

A few years ago, I found myself unemployed with limited savings on which to support my family. When I asked God if He wanted me to live on credit until the right job came along, a resounding "no" came to thought, so I began searching for work. My search led me to a temporary employment agency, which offered me a receptionist position. After two weeks in the position, my supervisor recommended me for a full-time position in which I had no experience. Because of my lack of experience, the hiring manager offered me the position with trepidation. But this job met my family's needs and turned into a career I continue to enjoy today.

Bringing gratitude to this search for new direction enables us to shine however we're being asked to give.

Several years ago a friend of mine was given the choice of being laid off or relocating to another part of the country with his employer. Rather than seeing this as an unfortunate turn of events, he and his family saw it as an occasion for him to pursue his dream of writing books for children. When I asked him how he knew this was an opportunity, not a misfortune, he said he had been thinking about this passage in Science and Health for a long time: "Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way" (pg. 454). This passage reminded him that God, Love, is the ever-present source guiding our lives, so when he faced this decision, it was abundantly clear to him that it was time to pursue this dream.

The passage continues, "Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action." With the support of his wife and children, he is now earning his living writing for kids, with several books to his credit.

Lifting one's thought reveals new possibilities. The individuals who've been let go have been given the gift to better use, explore, and discover new talents while seeking to understand more fully God's love, care, and direction in their lives.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "Let us watch, work, and pray that this salt lose not its saltness, and that this light be not hid, but radiate and glow into noontide glory" (Science and Health, pg. 367). Because God imparts all freedom, we can never be laid off from the One employing us all to do good in our workplace, in our homes, and in our search for employment.

Let thy work appear
unto thy servants, and thy glory
unto their children. And let
the beauty of the Lord our God
be upon us: and establish thou
the work of our hands upon us;
yea, the work of our hands
establish thou it.

Psalms 90:16, 17

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