Up the Down Escalator
Have you ever tried to go up the down escalator? Think about it.
If you’re going at the same pace, you don’t get anywhere.
If you slow down or stop, it takes you down with it.
If you’re faster, stronger, persistent, focused on going up, you persevere and then you’ll get to the top.
First scenario – You’re in a rut. You try, but you don’t get anywhere. You take 3 steps forward and fall 4 steps back.
Second scenario – You’re tired, worn-out, burned-out, the weight of the world is on your shoulders, one thing after another knocks you down, you give up and you go down.
Third scenario – You focus on the goal, find strength and energy to make it to the top.
My first thought when I woke up the Monday before Thanksgiving 2 years ago was, “I wish I could sleep through this whole week.” Why?
1. I had been unemployed for over two months.
2. I ran out of money the month before and unemployment insurance hadn’t kicked in yet.
3. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my hands and they ached.
4. I had been force-feeding a sick cat for over a week and he didn’t seem to be getting better
5. My so-called boyfriend hadn’t called me in over a month – not even to check up on me after I lost my job.
6. I didn’t have a confirmed invitation for Thanksgiving.
7. I hadn’t heard from any of the hundreds of potential employers to whom I had applied.
8. If I didn’t get a job in three months, I would lose my house.
9. The creditors were calling daily.
Depressed? I didn’t want to end my life, I just wanted to go to sleep and wake up with everything back to “normal”.
In all my 50+ years of living as a single person, I have never been through a trial as bad as this one. I graduated from college in the middle of a recession, but I lived with my parents – no worries. I was in Miami for Hurricane Andrew and spent two weeks with out electricity, it was miserable, but I had a job to go back to. I relocated to Phoenix without having a job, but with my computer skills, I was able to get temporary jobs until I got a permanent position. I could always count on temp jobs to get me through those “between jobs” weeks. Not this time. I haven’t been even able to get temp assignments. There’s just too much competition out there and not enough jobs.
I cried at the littlest thing. I’d be driving and an overwhelming wave of fear would sweep over me and I would start crying. If someone hugged me, I would cry. When I heard that yet another company was laying off thousands of people, I would cry.
My worse-comes-to-worse scenario was moving back with my mother in Puerto Rico. That would mean selling everything, including my car (you can’t drive there) and start from scratch. Besides that, I really disliked living in Puerto Rico. That made me cry.
All I wanted to do was curl up and go to sleep and wake up somewhere over the rainbow.
Well, I did manage to get myself out of bed that Monday morning. I got online and sent out more resumes. Then I got an email confirming the Thanksgiving invitation — cool. That afternoon, a potential employer, with whom I had a phone interview about four weeks before called me to ask if I was still interested in the position. Heck, yeah! He said he had to talk to his partner and he’d get back to me in two days. Three days went by and I still hadn’t heard from him, but my unemployment insurance finally kicked in. All this money just appeared in my account the day before Thanksgiving. Gee — I now had something to be actually thankful for! It was gone by that afternoon.
The Friday after thanksgiving, when other people were shopping, I was driving around with an extremely sick cat looking for a vet who’d put him down and not charge me too much. I ended up selling my guitar to be able to pay the vet. I couldn’t play it anyway with the arthritis.
As a single person — all my life — I’ve been pretty self-sufficient. I didn’t want to burden anyone with my problems. I had no shoulder to cry on. I was wrong. The shoulder was there all the time, but I was too scared, too prideful, too distrusting.
I’m still on that down escalator, but instead of focusing on my problems and my lousy situation, I’m focusing on the goal, looking up instead of down. I’ve learned to trust God and incredibly, He has provided. I won’t go into detail, but believe me, He has.
The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
With thanksgiving. We shouldn’t wait till the 3rd Thursday in November to give thanks, we should live in an attitude of gratitude daily and be thankful for even the little things like a roof over our heads and running water. Ask and you shall receive, but give thanks for everything you’ve got, before you ask for what you need and God will provide!
Happy Thanksgiving and may God’s Grace be with you!
Soli Deo Gloria
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