I have been blessed with peace in my life recently, but not the peace I wanted. It’s a peace I’ve been blessed with before, however it is somewhat precarious because I sometimes find myself forgetting, ignoring, or fighting with it. To better understand, here’s a short history of my (short) adult life:
2002 – Got laid off, got married, moved to Seattle, started junior year of college, got job flipping burgers
2003 – Tons of schoolwork, lots of burgers flipped, we got pregnant
2004 – Graduated college, moved to Kent, Daniel born, got job at a bank call center
2005 – Raising Daniel, changed departments at work, we got pregnant
2006 – Moved to Fife, Jonathan born
2007 – Raising boys, work moved to Tacoma, we moved to Tacoma, labored on fixing up new house
2008 – We got pregnant, wrangling boys, Megan born
It would be an understatement to say we’ve been busy the last seven years. So when 2009 came around, Michelle and I were excited at the prospect of a down year. My tenure at work earned me a boost in vacation days, and we were finally going to have a year where we weren’t anticipating moving or having a baby! The Allen Family ship was sailing out of chaotic waters towards peace on the horizon.
Then there was an emergency meeting at work.
I was joking with my manager going into the meeting: “hey, are you giving references? yuk, yuk, yuk!” The message at the meeting was, in a nutshell, “You guys are awesome, times are bad, we’re closing this call center… Sorry” I turned to my manager, “no seriously, are you giving references?”
The truth is the company is being as gracious about this as they possibly can. I have until August before my job is eliminated, I’ll have severance if I stay until then, and they’re paying for a professional career placement firm to come in and help us out with job searches, resume writing, and interview skills. The first time I was laid off was with three days notice right before I got married, so this is great (by comparison).
So the peace I was envisioning was swept away and replaced with more uncertain seas for myself and my family. But that’s when the real peace comes. When Michelle and I were in school, we should have been homeless or starving. At every turn, blessings came to help us make ends meet. Whether it was a job, a discounted rate on something, an unsuspected grant, or a gift from a friend, we never went hungry or cold. During that time, Michelle and I learned to rely completely on God because it was obvious that we couldn’t control anything.
Soon thereafter, God blessed us with a steady job that paid more. Although a regular paycheck is no less a gift from God, it is easy to forget how special a gift it is. Now with unemployment potentially at the doorstep, it’s time to remember who we rely on. The peace is there if I’ll let it come. I can forget while I’m scouring want ads. I can ignore it while I’m agonizing over the wording of a cover letter. I can fight it when I get angry for being denied an interview. The dumb thing is that I’ve been through all this before and in the end reflected that I should have trusted God more. I’d like to think that I’m learning, but I obviously not there yet.
My goals during this trial will be to live out Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– I will rejoice in the Lord always
– I will remain calm
– I will not worry
– I will keep in fervent prayer
– I will remain thankful
– I will accept God’s peace (and not seek it elsewhere)
If you see me slacking in any of these, please smack me in the head and remind me (thanks in advance to my wife and Ryan).
God has a plan, and I have to be patient to find out what it is. I know that going through something like this will result in growth for my family. With our economy the way that it is, I know there are a lot of you out there in a similar spot. Don’t despair. God is not subject to economic strain. He is just as powerful as He always has been, and He will see us through these troubled waters.