Sunday, January 10, 2010

On my knees, looking up!

"...Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:8b-9 (NIV)

I get to start a new job!

Each of our moves presents me with the opportunity of a new job. I've had the absolute delight to work for some of the most amazing health care, publishing, post-secondary education, and non-profit ministry organizations.

I now find myself working in the world of the arts; non-profit classical ballet to be exact. Once more, my stomach is in knots and my eyes divulge a rather stunned, deer-in-headlights demeanor. I know absolutely nothing about the art form of dance!

Now that I think about it, at the time I also knew nothing about hospitals, publishing, or Christian ministry. Looking back, I can trace how each position served like a rung on a ladder. With each job, I learned something new that helped prepare me to take the next step in my business career.

The Old Testament book of Joshua takes the story of Israel's history forward from the death of Moses, through the conquest of Canaan, to the death of Joshua. Joshua himself was born in Egypt. He became Moses' right-hand man during the exodus and desert wanderings.

An excellent military commander, he was one of the 12 spies sent to investigate the land. He and Caleb alone had the faith and courage to recommend advance and in consequence were the only ones to survive the 40 years of wandering. Long marked as Moses' successor, Joshua was given the formal commission to lead the nation of Israel into Canaan directly from God as Moses' life drew to a close.

Imagine how Joshua felt when God tells him Moses is dead and he is to get the people of Israel ready to cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land promised to them. What an awesome undertaking as the responsibility of Moses falls to Joshua! Three times the LORD commands Joshua to be strong and courageous.

Accompanied by failure, the book of Joshua is an account of conquest and fulfillment for the people of God. We know Joshua meets with success as the leader of God's people. Approaching the age of 110 (Joshua 24:29), he delivers a farewell address recalling the victories the Lord has given and reminding the people of the instructions he was given years earlier. "Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left." (Joshua 23:6)

Joshua's faithful leadership demonstrates two kinds of promises in the Bible--conditional and unconditional. The fulfillment of unconditional promises is based on God's trustworthy character alone. When God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), His commitment to that promise is not dependent upon our actions, but on His character.

God's promise of success to Joshua, however, was conditional upon his following the laws of Moses. Obeying God is the key to the people's success under his leadership. Humanly speaking, had he not obeyed, we may have never heard of him.

Taking on a new job is like entering unchartered territory. Full of "what ifs," I don't know how this new chapter of my life will play out. I'm certain that if I go it alone, I will at best, mucky up my opportunities for success. At worse? Well, let's just not go there.

By the grace of God, like Joshua I'm adhering to the Lord's commands with courage and faith. Entrusting the unknown to the all-knowing God, I'm assuming a posture that has served me well over the years--overwhelmed and pushed to my limits, I'm on my knees looking up!

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

PS Dear friend, if you're experiencing a job search, I hope the 10 Tips for a Successful Job Search below will be of help to you.

Assessment - Before applying for a specific job, give serious thought to what you like and don't like, what you do well, and what you enjoy doing. This includes on the job and in your personal life.

Job search plan - The more thoughtful and systematic you are developing a plan, the more options you're likely to have. Learn about the job market in your area. Create a daily schedule to keep your search going. Establish professional sounding voice mail and e-mail address systems. Upgrade your skills, if necessary; work as a volunteer to enhance your qualifications.

Get connected - Talk to anyone and everyone you can about your plans, goals, and ideas; attend networking events, seminars, job fairs; join user groups, online job boards. Stay informed of the latest business news in your community or the city where you want to work.

Resume - Regardless of your occupation, work history, or objective, you need a well-written resume. Write your resume to reflect a strongly positive and proud portrayal of your depth of capabilities and talents.

Cover letter - When selecting job applicants, most employers read the cover letter first. A well-crafted letter shows what you bring to the company and why you are a good match for the job.

Interview - The secret of having a good interview is selling your strengths. Be positive and leave your baggage at the door. Take time to research the employer, anticipate questions, and prepare your talking points. Always overdress and arrive 10 minutes early.

Follow up - A short thank you note reminds the employer of you. Mention the position, reiterate your interest, reinforce the connection between your experience/skills and the job qualifications.

Learn from experience - Take time after the interview to replay the experience in your mind. What did you do well, what should have have done differently, what did you learn that suggests you should change your approach?

Keep track - Track everything you are doing. Include name and contact information of people you meet, job sites joined, username/passwords established, meetings/networking events attended.

Don't give up - Looking for employment is never an easy process. If you select and prepare yourself for new opportunities that fit your personal values, skills, and work environment, you will eventually be rewarded with lasting satisfaction and a sense of self-worth through your work.

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