April 7, 2017

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Faith reminds us to be grateful that God loves the ‘real’ you

Patti LambRecently, I found myself job searching—and searching and searching.

Life revealed to me that it was time to re-enter the workforce in a full-time capacity, and the search was no small feat. Someone once told me that searching for a job is, in itself, a job. That was sage advice.

I searched, applied and networked with friends and family members.

Most openings required online applications, and I submitted my credentials through a plethora of portals. I repeatedly got bounced out if I failed to populate an entry column appropriately. The process was time consuming. I silently claimed a small victory each time I received an e-mail stating that my application had been successfully submitted.

Despite the fact that I’ve been out of the traditional/full-time workforce for years, I was grateful to receive several interviews. First came phone screenings, followed by in-person interviews, some with panels of interviewers far beyond me in terms of experience, advanced degrees and business savvy. Those experiences proved to be quite humbling.

When applying for jobs, we’re essentially trying to prove our worth. That starts with our crafting our resumes and, if we’re invited to interviews, elaborating upon the credentials we listed on paper.

Throughout the process, I was repeatedly asked about what I could contribute, what value I could add, and to talk about instances wherein I performed as a hero in times of likely demise.

At one interview, I was asked, quite candidly, what I could bring to the company that the other four candidates could not.

“Why are you the best?” the hiring manager asked.

My confidence was not full to the brim, and truthfully, I could not say. In fact, I considered myself the dark horse. I’d been out of the full-time workforce for a while, and perhaps my skills weren’t as sharp as those of the others being considered.

At that moment, before answering, I whispered this prayer: “Come, Holy Spirit.”

Then, I gave an answer suggesting that I couldn’t say that I was the best, but I could at least bring “new eyes” and energy to the position.

When I came home after that interview, I paused to thank God that he thinks differently than the world thinks. He just loves us. God doesn’t expect us to prove our righteousness to him, or explain why we are worthy of his love. On the contrary, he taught us that humility and self-sacrifice are to be respected. That’s the model he gave us when he died on the cross.

When Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2015, he said something that I haven’t forgotten.

The Holy Father said, “Jesus keeps telling his disciples to go out. … He urges them to go out and meet others where they really are, not where we think they should be.”

I have always found those words encouraging.

Our faith reminds me that, while I might not have what it takes to impress others and succeed by this world’s standards, my priority should simply be to please God. Too often, however, I get caught up in measuring myself against a worldly status and forget that God will always meet me where I am.

I’m enthusiastic that I’ve found employment with seemingly wonderful people.

Above all, I’m grateful to God for loving the “real” me, who is sinful, imperfect and unworthy of his love.

And I look forward to soon celebrating Easter, which reminds us that, despite our inadequacies, God only wants to invite us to his eternal embrace.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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