Staying Productive Without a Job

I'm still new to this unemployed stint of mine, just a couple of weeks fresh off of daily phone calls and wrapping up loose ends.

It's not all that easy, you know, to spend a whole day by yourself and feel useful. It's a job of its own, to keep up with every little thing there is to do and actually do it, now while I can. The weekend that my job ended, I pulled out a big colorful weekly agenda and began scrawling out a massive running to-do list, whether big or small. Moreso than before, I feel like this is essential to enjoying this respite in which I've found myself, because without some feeling of fulfillment or satisfaction, what can be relaxing can easily become racking. This has become something of a security blanket when the feelings of boredom start to well up. I turn to my list, divided into categories, another page for daily tasks, and I get to work checking them off.

I've found it to be incredibly useful, else I'm afraid I might find myself in the middle of my living room, looking around with eyes wide, lost, and unsure of what to do with myself. Of course there are always things to do; that's one of the things I've learned about life. You can make a great meal tonight, but tomorrow another will need to be made. You can get ahead on this week's laundry, but next week a new load will surface. There's always something.

And so I endeavor to strike a balance between these productive "to do's" of keeping up with an apartment forever gathering dust and mounds of day-old clothes as well as trying to take advantage of the extra time I have to spend time at length with the Lord.

I recognize that there are few opportunities like this in life, when I have little responsibility tugging at my sleeve for 40 hours a week. It's the first time in six years I haven't held down a full-time job. And when most women find themselves staying at home full time, it usually comes with the around-the-clock job of motherhood. But here I am, a stay-at-home wife.

I don't want to look back on this season—whether it lasts a month or a year—and wish I'd taken advantage of this jewel frozen in time when I have all the time to spare to be Mary and sit at Christ's feet and soak up his teaching and ready myself for this next season of life that awaits.

And do you know, sometimes it's hard to let myself just sit. I've been in such the go-go-go, do-do-do mindset for years, that sit-stay-pray is difficult. Yet, I recognize how much I need it. For today but also for all the days to come. This is a time for me to root myself in the Lord. A pocket of time when I have the opportunity to readily drink from those waters without deadlines or diapers cutting me short. A pocket of time I must make sure to protect and savor and put to use—that unique usefulness that matters most.

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  1. This is really great and humbling post. You go girl :)
    Praying for you!

  2. I'll reply to your comment later but I just wanted to tell you that I shall put you guys on my prayer list at home. Chelsea is right...this is very humbling. But don't get discouraged....I know it feels to strange to be working then not. Trust me. haha When I quit my job to go to school I felt so useless and unimportant. But to make myself "feel" worthy I cleaned the house every chance I got and did a series of meaningless projects. But of course, like you know...none of this matters. At the end of look to Him with helpless eyes and just know that you are His child and whatever HE says you are. I'm sure it's hard not having a job but I'm sure God will teach you something great during this season of life. Love you sister!

  3. Good for you. Make the most of it! I am guilty of not planning and prioritizing well at home. I need to do better. Thank you for writing this post. I needed it too ;)

  4. I can totally relate to this post, Carmen, because as you know, I was going through a similar season about a year and half ago. Now that I've been employed full-time again for almost a year, I can—and do—look back on that time as a season of learning, growing, and faith-building. It was extremely challenging, and at times incredibly disheartening, but I am able to see how God used it to bring me closer to Him. Thanks for sharing such a beautifully honest post. You'll be in my prayers, and I am certain that the Lord will do amazing things in this season. God bless!

  5. Thank you for such an encouraging post, Carmen. I'm also currently unemployed and sometimes find myself fighting those dreaded "What do I do with my day" moments. I don't want to waste this season in idleness. You have a great idea of having a list and planning the day beforehand. And what a precious time to spend more time with our Lord Jesus. Thank you for the reminder that no matter how fast or slow our schedule, it's important to be wise with our time.

  6. I miss having that kind of time to do that. When my life is busy I struggle to keep learning with God. I find that the busier I get the more I substitute that time of sitting at Jesus feet for all the other millions of things that I need to get done.

    When I'm not working, it's so easy to remember to take that time to sit at Jesus' feet.

    I think in that respect, I am much like Martha. even though I feel like I'm not really that productive anyways, I'm always busy trying to do other things I seem to subconsciously deem more important.


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