Thirty-Six Emails And Counting

I crawled out of bed and slowly walked to the kitchen. I threw away the old coffee in the filter from the night before and started brewing some fresh coffee.

I took seven short steps over to my dining room table, which in all actuality was a coffee table so short you had to sit on the ground to use. I turned on my computer, wiped my eyes, and prepped for my voyage to send out a sea of emails.

As my computer loaded and with coffee in hand, I turned on the new live episode of SportsCenter. I logged onto and begin firing away. I was four months away from graduating college and I felt pretty confident about my job prospects.

Despite the fact that we were in the wake of another Great Recession that saw 53 percent of college graduates jobless or underemployed in 2012, I thought my resume was fail proof.

Boy was I wrong.

I cracked my knuckles and got to work. One email after another ... one email after another, until I applied or inquired about 36 jobs. By 8 a.m., I shut my computer and got ready for my day filled with classes, a job, and an internship without pay.

This process continued the next day and every day after. Despite my 36 emails and counting I was jobless, and being jobless left me in a state of constant rejection.

At this point many of my peers and professors were alarmed by my job search. They knew my resume boasted some heavy hitters in the journalism field, but it didn't matter. Every day I felt like I was sending emails to space as I often heard no response. It hurt. It was embarrassing. 

Weeks before graduation I felt a shift in my purpose and started to pursue a ministry career over the journalism field. This decision was grueling and difficult -- and coincidently the day I decided to go full in on ministry, I got an email response with a dream job offer -- GO FIGURE! (Read full story here)

I emailed churches, like I did with the media companies, and still no luck. The lowest point came when I applied to be a receptionist in various towns and still had no luck. I was defeated and gave up.

One month from graduation I decided to stop waking up early to send emails. I did nothing. Interestingly enough the week was peaceful and I wasn't worried about my future. The Friday of the week I took my email hiatus, I received a call from a church I had previously connected with. It was about an opportunity.

The offer was significantly less than normal part-time pay, but I committed to working full-time hours. I assumed God would take care of me (He did, by the way). It wasn't the job or career field I ever thought for myself, but hey, I got a job offer!

By Monday, I accepted the job and started working two days after college graduation. 

Shameless Persistence

I never understand God's timing. Never. It almost feels like he wants you to sweat things out because He knows He'll look better in the end. That's how I felt during my job search.

In Luke, the disciples ask Jesus how to pray. He tells them how and then shares a story.

Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this — though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.
— Luke 11:5-8

Jesus proceeds to talk about the common go-to verses of ask and you'll receive, seek and you'll find, and knock and the door will be opened. I think when we read this it's easy for us to grasp it. It's not a difficult concept -- it actually makes a lot of sense.

The difficulty comes with the application. When I was going through some dark days of depression, anxiety and failure, I didn't lean on this understanding. I was persistent -- I'll go as far as I needed to say I demonstrated shameless persistence, but I didn't see an end in sight.

In the beginning of our situations of need, what do we always do? We pray about it. We might even pray about it for a week. But so often the case is when God doesn't move in one week we get discouraged. Now feeling discouraged we don't feel like praying anymore. Instead, we resort to self-imploding because of our circumstance.

This is where I lived and, if we're being honest, still do sometimes.

We're a part of a society that craves instant satisfaction. Let's think about that -- what reaction do we have when the WiFi is slow? How about when our food takes longer than we expected at a restaurant? What about traffic coming home from work?

We all get upset. We probably all become slightly aggravated and dare I say even in a bad mood. This makes the waiting game with God difficult for us. It's unnatural for us to remain patient in God's timing and difficult to be persistent with asking, seeking and knocking when we don't see God moving.

I wonder what peace I would have had in my job search if I applied this scripture. I wonder what comfort I would have experienced knowing that my persistence would pay off. Eventually, God's timing prevailed (like it always does) but it caused me a lot of worry and unwarranted stress.

So, keep moving forward. Keep your head up. Keep praying, keep seeking Jesus, and the situation will turn around.  

It most likely won't be in our timing or in the way we would expect, but it will be done. 

Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door WILL be opened.
— Luke 11:10