Every once in a while, I spend a few hours reviewing all the current job postings listed by a growing collection of organizations I have bookmarked. Although I’m usually prompted to do this research because I happen to be working with someone in particular and am looking specifically for them, I NEVER fail to stumble across job postings that seem to be a good fit for someone I’ve worked with in the past. It only takes a minute or so to copy the link into an email to them with a “saw this and thought of you” subject line and message.
I’ve been doing this for years and here’s the thing. It’s very rare for someone to reply and tell me they had already seen the posting. More often than not, when they reply to thank me for sending the link, they tell me they haven’t been looking. The reasons vary, but at the core,
discouragement is sabotaging their job search.
If this is happening to you, please DON’T GIVE UP. Go ahead and keep sifting through those daily emails from indeed and continue to peruse job postings on LinkedIn, but don’t forget about postings on the websites of individual organizations.
I’m not naive enough to think that this one change alone will guarantee you’ll land the job you’ve been looking for. But I guarantee you’ll find opportunities you didn’t know about before.
The Holy Spirit nudged me awake before the crack of dawn yesterday and as usual when that happens, I tried to ignore Him and go back to sleep.
It was 4:12am, fercryinoutloud.
But keeping my eyes closed doesn’t prevent me from hearing the persistent invitation of the Holy Spirit and in the silence of a sleeping house, His quiet whisper can be even more intrusive than Patrick Swayze singing “I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am” on repeat.
By 4:26am, the increasing activity of my mind was impossible to ignore, so I stopped being stubborn, slipped out of bed and went downstairs.
By 4:45am I was sitting on my loveseat with a fresh brewed cup of coffee and a Bible, being stared at by three confused and sleepy cats.
I have a few Bibles, but by (what I now believe is) non-coincidence, the new year had prompted me to start reading a chronological Bible. If you know anything about Biblical timelines, you know the Book of Job was written early, around 6th century BC, so that means in a chronological Bible, Job shows up MUCH sooner than he does in a traditionally arranged Bible.
Meaning that yesterday, at 4:45am in the morning, I found myself reading the Book of Job. Specifically, the part where the Lord “answered” Job. Chapters 38 through 42.
I’ll say right now, Job 40:3-4 is among my favorite passages, but I’m jumping ahead.
In chapter 2, after Job has lost everything, and I mean e v e r y t h i n g, three friends come to him and give us an example of what to do for a friend who is suffering when there really is nothing we can do:
“Then they sat on the ground with Job seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him because they saw how much he was suffering.”
Because, sometimes, there are no words.
After seven days and seven nights, Job starts talking to them; actually, lamenting to them. His friends reply. They spend 35 chapters slugging through Job’s suffering, all he has lost, why God would do this to him and Job lamenting about how he wants to talk to God and ask Him Why? Why? Why would He DO this!?!?
Then, in Chapter 38:1, God shows up in a storm and “answers” Job’s questions:
“Then the Lord answered Job from the storm. He said: “Who is this that makes my purpose unclear by saying things that are not true? Be strong like a man! I will ask you questions, and you must answer me. Where were you when I made the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.”
“Excuse me? Are you lookin’ at me? Did you rub my lamp? Did you wake me up? Did you bring me here? And all of a sudden you’re walking out on me? I don’t think so, not right now. You’re getting your wishes, so sit down!“
Combine my Disney Genie/God comparison heresy with scripture and my paraphrase goes something like this:
“You wanted to talk to me? You don’t think this is “fair”? You want answers? You want me to explain myself to you? Here I am. And I have a few questions for YOU. Did YOU create the earth? Did you…“
Question after question in verse after verse, each one another confirmation that God is God and Job is . . . not. and then,
“The Lord said to Job: “Will the person who argues with the Almighty correct him? Let the person who accuses God answer him.”
Then Job answered the Lord: “I am not worthy; I cannot answer you anything, so I will put my hand over my mouth.”
That right there. Emphasis mine. One of my favorite passages of the Bible. Job 40:3-4
Why did I take the time to write this and go out on a potentially heretical limb to share it?
Because I believe that:
We may struggle and face dark days ahead, but no matter how bad things get, God is SOVEREIGN. None of what’s happening right now is out of His control or even surprises Him.
God has a history of redeeming situations that satan means for evil and using broken people to accomplish his greater purposes.
I recognize that people who are suffering seek God exponentially more often and more intensely than those who are safe and comfortable and satisfied and successful by the world’s standards, like the story of the rich man in Mark 10.
So. No matter what happens,
when the Holy Spirit leads me to someone who needs encouragement or help, I need to pray and ask Him to equip me to be His hands and feet and eyes and ears and voice because I can’t do it on my own
when worry creeps into those quiet moments between awake and asleep, I need to pray and ask God to remind me that He is sovereign and He is with me and I can trust Him.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” C.S. Lewis
you inspire me. yes, I mean YOU.
If you are overcoming challenges, you inspire me to persevere.
If you are making a positive difference, you inspire me to join you.
If you are killin it, you inspire me to work harder.
If you are consistent, you inspire me to develop discipline.
If you are gracious, you inspire me to be kind and patient.
If you help someone, you inspire me to pay it forward.
If you give, you inspire me to be generous.
If you are discouraged, you inspire me to encourage.
If you are heartbroken, you inspire me to be compassionate.
If you face a problem, you inspire me to learn.
If you are struggling, you inspire me to equip.
If you are striving, you inspire me to edify.
If you judge, you inspire me to investigate.
If you generalize, you inspire me to acknowledge nuance.
If you oversimplify, you inspire me to sort out complexity.
If you blame others, you inspire me to take responsibility.
If you complain, you inspire me to take action.
If you hate me, you inspire me to forgive.
If you mock someone, you inspire me to stand up for them.
If you dehumanize someone, you inspire me to #seepeople.
If you point out the negative, you inspire me to recognize the positives.
If you misjudge me, you inspire me to prove you wrong through consistent word and action, rather than explanation or argument.
you inspire me. no matter what. whether you recognize your actions on this list or whether I’ve missed noting them. you inspire me.
because everyone is #justadifferentkindofbroken and even when we “miss the mark” God has been redeeming the failures of broken people since the beginning of time.
It doesn’t always seem that way at first or at the surface, but in my experience, when I get to know someone more deeply, we find our common ground. And when we build our friendship on that foundation, it’s resilient and edifying.
Tired of facebook selling your time and attention as a product to their customers (advertisers)?
Been censored, warned or suspended by facebook and/or twitter because your content “violated” their terms because you posted or shared anything from a bible verse to a youtube video to a newspaper article?
Have you and/or your posts been shadow banned? suffered from limited visibility?
I’ve only been on a few days to a few weeks and have limited connections on all three platforms, but here are my first impressions:
(1) mewe.com looks and feels more designed for personal use to facilitate social connection, and is probably the most similar to facebook – again, first impression.
It allows comments, reposts (shares) and the emoji choices for likes allows you to choose from a full library of emojis, not limited to like, love, laugh, etc. It allows privacy settings on your account and your posts.
One fun option are the icons under your profile pic and banner that allows you to “click to add…what you’re eating, drinking, reading, listening to, watching and quoting”
(2) Parler is currently more political – if you choose to see “All” in your feed BUT, there is an option to view “Subscriptions only.” I would assume, that if you choose to view only the accounts you subscribe to, your feed will be significantly less political. It also has “upvotes, similar to Reddit. You can follow me there: @juliestilesmills
(3) locals.com is unique. Although you can set your account to be free to viewers (I’ve set MY account to be free), Locals seems more geared to accommodate content providers who charge a minimal monthly fee for access. Again, you don’t have to subscribe to anyone if you don’t want to. You can follow me there: @JSMPragmatic
Again, I encourage you create an account on all three platforms and give them a test drive.
Until and unless facebook and twitter stop deciding what content you can share, you’ve got NOTHING to lose.
The use and/or abuse of inflammatory language is one reason I don’t rely on anyone else’s explanation or interpretation for accurate, objective information. I search for and read/watch original sources rather than trust articles and videos which summarize, interpret or ‘splain them.
(And yes, “splain” is an inflammatory word, a derivative of mansplaining, but it’s genderless condescension. I said I don’t rely on inflammatory words for accurate, objective information. I didn’t say I never use them.)
But back to the post…I wanted to see what kind of reaction those 98 words evoked. The comment count showed there were 4.3K comments, but when selecting the option to see “All comments” the thread indicated only 2960 comments were available (that’s an example of shadow banning, btw)
While reading through the available comments, I was prompted to look up another definition.
I have a personal aversion to groupthink, so the potential negative effect of an echo chamber is one reason I make sure I intentionally and consistently seek out and include listening and processing alternative interpretations and conclusions.
That said, if those alternative interpretations and conclusions are built on secondhand sources – or no sources at all – they lose credibility with me.
Monday through Friday, I get a daily email from Chirp (chirpbooks.com) with the subject line: “Today’s audiobook deals” and in the email are links to limited time discounted audiobooks. If you click a link in the email to view a particular book on the chirp website, you can view all of the limited time deals. I sort them by “Expiring Soon” which allows me to delete the email daily to keep my inbox clear without missing any deals.
They have a free Chirp app for android and apple When you sign up for a free account, you can specify the book categories you’re interested in.
You may have seen the following letter written by “This is Us” actor, Lonnie Chavis. These images are from his original facebook post:
I haven’t watched “This is Us” yet. But I did see the 4 minute clip he talks about here and it was a punch in the gut.
“The director and writers told me that they didn’t need me to cry for the scene. However, it was hard for me not to cry as I witnessed what I had just learned was my reality. I wasn’t acting. I was crying for me. Can you imagine having to explain to a room full of white people why I couldn’t hold back my real tears while experiencing the pain of racism?” Lonnie Chavis
We’ve come so far in the fight against racism and we’ve made so much progress on the road toward cultural competence and inclusion. Until just a few months ago, I genuinely thought we were still steadily moving forward.
At best, it seems progress is stalled.
At worst? If we’re not careful and intentional and diligent, we could slip backwards toward segregation and division.
It will take incremental steps and years for continued change to come to fruition. Implementing extensive change throughout widespread and interlocking systems and institutions is a mammoth objective with countless prerequisites and dependent tasks. The shadow of this mammoth task can block our vision and prevent us from recognizing opportunities to be active partners within these larger efforts, as well as prevent us from seeing opportunities to use our talents and skills to effect change within our own circles of influence.
Unless we intentionally search for those opportunities, we can fall into thinking that, as an individual, our voice is too small to make a concrete difference and that to be heard, our options are limited to voting and activism; such as protesting, signing petitions, donating money, and posting on social media.
Unless we recognize the cumulative and exponential results that grow from countless individuals working one-on-one to change the trajectory of a single person’s life, we run the risk of becoming incapacitated by the self-defeating belief that our individual contribution “isn’t going to cut it” as someone told me recently.
Acrimonious cynicism is counter-productive and that conclusion is unfounded. I’ve seen firsthand the results of helping a single individual break the cycle of generation poverty and overcome situational poverty and that kind of transformation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. When you help one person, the change in their life is contagious. It infects their family and friends. I’ve been focusing on helping individuals for over 5 years now and I’m not going to give up on them because of a cynical dismissal that equates the results these hard working people achieve to being “coddled.” They are courageous and earn every hard fought success.
Some may call me naive, but I believe we can do more than protest, sign petitions, donate money, post on social media and vote.
If we want continued change and effective reform
I believe we need innovative ideas from
diverse groups of people uniting together,
blocking groupthink and creating synergy
I believe we need achievable goals
with sustainable results and
strategic plans tactically deployed
by teams of dedicated individuals
I believe we need patience and perseverance
for incremental steps, grace for failing,
course corrections and permission to try again.
Each of us has unique talents, skills and passions and there are countless opportunities for each of us to be good stewards of those gifts and make a positive difference in someone’s life by meeting a need. If you really want to find a way to help, look for organizations who are already serving in ways that align with your passion. Call a school and ask if there’s a struggling student who needs tutoring, check out Big Brothers Big Sisters of America or similar organizations. It doesn’t even have to be local. Now that so many people know how to use video chat, you can volunteer without leaving your house. Don’t devalue what you’re good at and look for ways to share it, equipping, inspiring and encouraging someone, even if you only have an hour a week or an hour a month. You can change someone’s life.
I recently learned of an inmate who is making a difference in individual lives – from inside prison. Curtis “Wall Street” Carroll entered prison illiterate at age 17 and after teaching himself to read, he studied finance and the stock market. When a warden (strongly) encouraged he teach other inmates, he started teaching financial literacy. These days, Robin William’s son, Zak co-teaches with him to support prison rehabilitation programs.
No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.
When I agree with someone about a point they make,
it does NOT follow that I agree with EVERYthing they say or believe.
When I DISagree with someone about a point they make,
it does NOT follow that I disagree with EVERYthing they say or believe.
If you know me, you know I read and research a lil’ bit. 😉
I often say that I “eat the chicken and spit out the bones” and I’m not talking about barbecue.
I can honestly say I don’t limit my searching and learning to align with my own “latitude of acceptance” as it’s called in communication theory. I have books written by atheists organized alphabetically along with theologians in the apologetic section of my bookshelves. Doesn’t make me a heretic.
I research all sides of an issue because I’ve come to understand that dismissing, ignoring or ridiculing alternative viewpoints doesn’t invalidate them or strengthen my own beliefs.
Very often, this kind of research puts me in the position of recognizing valid points on both sides of a complex issue. There’s tension in that place. Paradox. Conflicting thoughts, opinions and ideas don’t fit together easily. Doesn’t mean the ones we don’t agree with are invalid.
Like I said. Tension and paradox.
But accepting that tension and paradox is what makes it possible for me to agree or disagree with someone about SOME things they say/believe and NOT agree or disagree about EVERYthing they say/believe.
It’s also why I can respect a person who disagrees with me about something without inferring from that disagreement that they are ignorant, hateful, intolerant, “brainwashed” or that their character is severely flawed.
People and issues are complex and understanding is hard work.
Saw a comment by an HR professional in which they condemned someone for posting a link to a story and then strongly disagreed with people commenting on the post, calling them “disgraceful and dishonorable.” They ended by saying:
“I hope the people you work with have access to some of the hateful comments some of you have shared here.”
My first thought was, wait.
Did an HR professional just promote doxing and termination?
This person’s entire career centers around employee development and training. They are a professed Christian and appear to have a lifelong passion for helping people find and reach their potential. Doxing and termination seemed counter to everything they work toward. They had an opportunity to influence and not only did they miss it and waste it, they intentionally threw it away.
It nagged at me. Like, “couldn’t sleep till after 4am” kinda nagged at me. I prayed about whether to reply and if so, what to say. Nothing seemed right. So, the next day, I went back to the post and replied, ditching all the possibilities I had considered and just straightforwardly asked:
What do you mean when you say “I hope the people you work with have access to some of the hateful comments some of you have shared here.”
I was genuinely hoping I was wrong and that if I wasn’t, that there might be an opening for dialogue.
Within an hour, they replied:
“The message above is very clear.”
For a fraction of a second, I thought about responding. I prayed. And this thought popped into my mind:
I’m not responsible for the outcome of the conversation.
My responsibilities are, at the very least, to:
1. respond to opportunities to have conversation and
2. ask the Holy Spirit to equip me for the conversation so I can respond instead of react
3. do my best to respond respectfully and humbly.
I genuinely believe part of my calling is to put stones in shoes, and leave the work up to the Holy Spirit to soften hearts and open minds. What that means to me is that, if after a conversation with me, someone is thinking more deeply about something than they were before, then I’ve been a good steward of that particular opportunity.
and I need to let it go so I can get some sleep. Because I need to be alert enough to recognized the next opportunity.