Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why Are You Still Afraid?

I took my daughters to a nearby park on Wednesday morning while Amanda was helping with Lucas' first grade class.  It was Sept 14th, the week after I received my layoff notice.

One of the pieces of playground equipment that Clara decided to climb was like a spiral ladder, with one bar for each of the steps.  Well, this was a little bit challenging and scary for a two year old, so I stood by her and offered my assistance and instruction ("now reach to this bar with your left hand.  There you go...").  I also stood prepared to catch her, in case she lost her grip or balance.

She had made it all the way to the top step/bar, and all she had to do at that point was step over to the main portion of the equipment platform. She was fairly high off the ground though, so she was (justifiably) afraid.  To help alleviate or at least minimize her fear, I reached over to her and held one of my hands flat on her chest and the other against her back.  I was next to her, so I couldn't hold under her arms comfortably.  My presence and touch wasn't sufficient to combat her hesitation though, so she refused to take that last big step to stability.

I was thinking to myself though "What on Earth are you afraid of, when you can feel both of my hands on you?  Don't you know by now that I'm easily strong enough to hold you up, since I do it all of the time?  And you should know by now that I would catch you before you fall, and that I would never let you get hurt, especially when I'm standing right here next to you.  So why are you still afraid, child?"

Then I had the realization that God was telling me that that's how He feels about me.  Why should I be afraid when I know God is way big and strong enough to hold me?  I should stop being scared and trust His strength, even in potentially difficult situations (like being unemployed).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My First World Problems (sob, sob)

A couple of months ago I read a post on The Chive titled 20 First World Problems.  It was a list of MEMEs (pictures with funny captions) showing people with sorrowful expressions and words over them that described a miniscule problem in our spoiled culture.  I thought it was silly and fun at the time, but now I find myself being totally encouraged by it!

Lately when I have encountered something frustrating or angering, as soon as I start uttering a curse word under my breath or start to get angry, I involuntarily say the phrase "First World Problem" to myself.  I can almost picture the text describing my situation overlaid on a picture of me with a crybaby face.  This has really helped me to put the situation in perspective and then just get over it much more quickly.

Monday, September 19, 2011

They Took Our Jobs!

For those of you that don't get it, I'm referring to a South Park Episode.

But I'm not here today to talk about South Park.  Last Friday (9-9-2011) I was given my two weeks layoff notice from Northrop Grumman.  Work has been slow (virtually nonexistent) for a while though, so to be honest, the only surprise for me was that this day didn't come sooner.  It still sucks though, and now I'm one week into looking for new work and trying to enjoy the extra time that I have now at home (pretty successfully I might add).

I have been getting plenty of encouragement from my friends, family, and acquaintances though.  Additional encouragement was even offered by a amazingly timed Dilbert cartoon on Sunday:

Mostly though, I am trusting God in this.  While not negating the necessity of my own efforts (I don't expect to sit back on my butt and expect God to have someone call me up and get a new job for me), I know that God is able to handle problems much bigger than mine.

On the flip side though, I know several other families from church who have gone for a couple or years (or more) without finding work.  These are people who I consider to be God fearing, Christ following Christians too, who I totally respect for their faith.  So why should things be any different for me then?

Really, I don't know the answer to that.  In all honesty though, even if we do end up losing our house through foreclosure, would it really be that big of a deal?  Our payments are way too high and we're completely upside down in the loan-to-value of it anyway.  In fact, I would consider us to be plenty blessed as long as we have each other, our health, food to eat, and some kind of roof over our heads to protect us from the elements.  I am truly thankful too, to live in a country that has many safeguards to protect against a scenario where I would find myself homeless or without food.  These include unemployment, food stamps, and even welfare (if it came down to it).

These are all situations that would inspire and require a great deal of humility, to be sure.  Hopefully it won't come to that though.  I'm just thinking through all aspects of this and going down the worst case paths in my mind.
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