Someone I care about is unemployed and looking for work. How can I best help them?
Looking for work is often exhausting and discouraging. Caring for someone means giving space for them to talk about the challenges of their situation and even what they might be learning in this season. Caring for someone might also mean taking time to do something enjoyable with them and giving them space not to talk or even think about their job situation. As disappointing as it might be, you might not be the best person for them to talk to or even to help them. Depending on your relationship, it might be too easy for the person you want to help to feel as if they are a problem or project that needs to be fixed, instead of being a uniquely gifted person whom you care about.
In terms of practical help, God might be inviting you to help them out financially or to connect them to other financial help. You might also be able to connect them with people who are able to employ them or help them find employment. It might also mean wondering together how God might be inviting them to use their gifts in different ways, perhaps even in ways that might not be in full-time work or a typical job but still would allow them to contribute to society in a meaningful way.
We may often feel defined by our job, and thus not to have a job can make someone feel less worthy. Find ways to let others know that they are loved by God, by you, and by their community. Encourage them by reminding them of their gifts, including gifts that might be unrelated to any kind of job they might have. Last, pray for them—not simply that they find a job, but that they might experience God's love and the love of the community throughout the whole season of looking for work and discerning what God might be inviting them into next.
About the Author
Brenda Kronemeijer-Heyink is the CRC chaplain at the University of Toronto. She attends Willowdale CRC in Toronto, Ont.