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Four months passed by, and I was still out of a job. Desperation set in. The bills kept pouring in—but the paychecks did not. Overdrawn credit cards, utility bills, and mortgage payments began to suffocate me. I had submitted hundreds of résumés and gone for nearly thirty interviews. But I still had no job offer. Continuous rejections began to affect my self-esteem, confidence, and motivation. I felt powerless and scared.

Then one day I hit rock bottom. That’s when I made a total surrender to God’s will—not because I saw the light but because I felt the heat. Exhausted, lonely, and desperate, I knelt by my bed and prayed fervently to God. “Dear God, guide me to the right business that can offer me a paying job,” I prayed aloud. Instead of asking for answers, I asked God for direction.

I received a sign the following morning. It was as if a voice within me instructed me to pursue a different job-hunting strategy—to go canvassing door-to-door for job opportunities. I put on my best business outfit, said a prayer, and stepped out of the house with a smile. Something felt right that day. My intention was to visit local businesses and ask if any jobs were available.

I greeted the manager at each business and said cordially, “Good morning. Are you hiring right now?” In some places the answer was a prompt No, at which point I proceeded to the next business. In some places my question was followed by the question, “What kind of job are you looking for?” I replied promptly, “Anything that pays.” I went to the carpentry shop, the bakery, real estate offices, hotels, publishers, and plumbing services, among many others.

Some businesses responded to my query with grace; others  were impatient with the interruption. The responses were humbling, and even the gracious ones eventually tested my perseverance. I found that face-to-face rejection is far more difficult to accept than a rejection letter in the mail. Simultaneously, I found that it was a useful learning experience through exercising courage and hope.

Initially, I took the negative responses personally. But after experiencing dozens of them within a few hours, however, I came to realize that the responses were about the job market and not about me. This change of attitude brought a great deal of mental solace and has been a valuable life lesson for me.

By four o’clock in the afternoon, I had experienced 196 face-to-face negative responses in my job search. Even though disheartened, I reminded myself that I had been impressed in answer to my prayer that I was to use this method of job hunting. I was determined to ask and seek, until I found a door that would open.

Tired and hungry, I came to a quaint carpet retail outlet. Now on auto pilot, I walked in confidently and said, “Hi, I am looking for a job. Are you hiring right now?”

“Yes,” came the answer. “This must be my lucky day. I was just thinking how great it would be to have an assistant. When can you start?”

“Right now,” I replied eagerly, almost unable to believe what I had heard. To hear the word Yes after a day of continuous rejections was a refreshing breeze. Silent tears came into my eyes, and I felt a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I said a quiet prayer and thanked God for helping me to find a job.

Every day of work at the carpet store has been a joyous experience. I am constantly being challenged with new and interesting tasks. I like my job and enjoy the people I work with.

The heights we can reach after we admit our powerlessness and ask for God’s direction are amazing. Ironically, buried underneath my desperation was an inspiration that I never knew I possessed. Hitting bottom was the key to finding an opportunity. Finding a job has been a test of my faith in God. I learned that when I think that I am in control and that I know what is best for me, I am doomed to failure. But when I followed God’s directions and put in the effort, God took care of the outcome.

Even though at first surrender to God can be frightening, it brings us closer to God’s plan. Letting go of trying to be in control and humbly accepting God’s plan secured me a job in the end.

Preethi Burkholder writes from Aspen, Colorado.

Finding a Job Through Total Surrender

by Preethi Burkholder
From the October 2005 Signs