Years ago, while going through a divorce, I needed to find a job. I felt apprehensive and unsure of myself as I hadn’t worked outside the home for years and didn’t think I had any valuable skills.
However, a delightful story guided me in my job hunt. As I recall it, one day a spider in a clock shop crawled into the back of a clock that was open for repairs. After the clock was fixed and closed up, the spider had no way to escape. So it did what it could and knew how to do best – it spun a web. The web interfered with the workings of the clock, so the clock had to be opened again. The spider was then free to crawl out.
Rather than do something, that spider could have just sat in the clock, stuck in a very narrow world. In my job search, I felt so stuck. But I kept in mind that there had to be something I could do, something that would be as normal and as natural as web-spinning is to a spider.
Sometimes when job hunting, we look over the positions available and fret about what we aren’t qualified to do. Instead, I’ve learned to be open to what I can do. Like numbers that never blend, we each have individual and unique niches to fill. So we’re never actually in competition with anyone else.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and wrote “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” referred to God as Soul, which “has infinite resources with which to bless mankind …” (p. 60). Each of us is one of Soul’s resources. We can be a resource of infinite blessing to others, both on and off the job. Because we’re created by God to glorify Him for all eternity, we can express all the Christlike qualities He imparts to us, such as wisdom, reliability, kindness, willingness, creativity, and patience.
Soon I saw a newspaper ad for a teacher’s aide position at an elementary school. I’d volunteered as a helper in my children’s classrooms when they were younger, so I felt I could naturally and easily do the job. And to my delight, they hired me.
These ideas about our expression of Soul continued to be helpful over the years. Later, when I moved across the United States and needed to find work again, a friend offered me a position working on an embroidery machine. I’d never heard of this before, but I’d done some sewing when my girls were small, so I knew I could do a job related to sewing. I happily accepted the offer.
God, who is Love, wouldn’t require us to do what He hasn’t prepared us to do. Since living on my own I’ve worked in eight very different jobs, and with each one, I had what was needed to do the job successfully and joyfully.
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Go not so far out of your way for a truer life; keep strictly onward in that path alone which your genius points out, do the things which lie nearest to you, but which are difficult to do...”
An example from the Bible illustrates this point. The Apostle Paul and his companion Silas were doing their jobs, teaching the Romans about Jesus’ life and challenging some of their practices. They were imprisoned for this, their “feet fast in the stocks.” Yet, in spite of the way things looked, God had not ceased to employ them. So, like the trapped spider, they did what they could – they sang praises of gratitude to God. Singing might have seemed difficult after being whipped and imprisoned. But they could do it, and did do it, and their praises freed them (see Acts 16:19-35).
When we need a job, instead of spinning our wheels, we can start spinning our webs by being willing to do what we can. This frees us to fulfill the wonderful opportunities God has already put in place for us.