This past spring, I decided to apply for a summer job. I went around collecting a total of 12 applications from restaurants, shoe stores, and other random places around my town in New York. My brother, Jeremy, drove me around all over gathering up these applications, taking three hours out of his day for me.
A few days after getting these applications, I had high hopes of finding a job somewhere. My mom took me out to lunch, and we sat there for four hours working on finishing all the applications, and my résumé to go along with them. I had not yet taken any time to pray about the situation, and at that point I did not feel it was necessary. Everything was going well, and I was sure I was going to get a job.
The next day, my brother drove me around (yet again) to drop off the applications. We started at a new local pizza place. I politely asked to speak with the manager, and handed him my application while introducing myself. He listened to my introduction with a smile, then I watched his smile slowly fade away as he told me I was not old enough to be a waitress and they were not hiring hostesses. He assured me they would keep my name on file and would contact me if they needed any help. This kind of response became a trend for the next 11 places I went to.
My hopes fell as I walked into each restaurant, shoe store, and bakery, looking for some manager to say they would give me an interview. No one did. By the end of the two hours parading around town with my résumé and finished applications, my pride was demolished.
I returned to my house and told my mom what happened. I felt like I had nothing to be happy about. She pulled out a Christian Science metaphysical article she had read and prayed with and I didn’t even take the time to listen to what she had to say. As far as I was concerned, all hope was lost, and I might as well just forget about having a summer job that I had wanted so badly.
Realizing that human will was overpowering my willingness to listen to God, I felt free to let go and mentally "cannonball" into many spiritual ideas.
The next morning, while we were in the car on the way to the gym, my mom pulled out the same article yet again. I rolled my eyes and turned my head to look out the window. Of course, being my mother, she wouldn’t take my sass. “Read it,” she urged me. Reluctantly, I took the article from her and started to read. It was all about God leading me to my “right place.”
My thoughts had cleared already. Why was I so keen on choosing my right place? As I followed God’s guidance, the place that needed me would “find me.” My skills and spiritual qualities were needed. The work I did could be a joyous activity, and nothing bad could come from it, since everything would be under God’s control.
Until now, all I had been thinking about was what I would be doing that summer, and I wasn’t really living in the moment. So I immediately took a step back and was grateful for everything I had right then. Realizing that human will was overpowering my willingness to listen to God, I felt free to let go and mentally “cannonball” into many spiritual ideas about divine Life, Truth, Love, and Principle. Although I had heard that God supplies us with everything hundreds of times before, these ideas I was praying with were now creating a rock-solid foundation.
This went beyond me. I began to see that the idea of “getting” a job has been a constant struggle in society, especially in the past few years. To take my prayers further, I saw that struggling to find a job absolutely does not have to be typical for me or anyone else. Buyer and seller, worker and work are being brought together by God—everyone is included. God’s perfect law of supply is absolutely without doubt or question. These concepts were so powerful to me, and my mom and I prayed with them for the next few days.
None of the restaurants I’d applied to called, but a friend of my mom’s suggested I apply to work as a counselor at a day camp. I had some doubts, but they were soon forgotten, and I e-mailed the coordinator of the camp and also dropped off my résumé. Days later, I received an e-mail with a welcoming statement and a schedule of the weeks they wanted me to work!
The job turned out to be the perfect one. I could not have asked for a better summer work experience. Coincidentally, one of my good friends from middle school was working at the camp at the same time I was and we had a chance to rekindle our friendship—a friendship that had been lost in the past few years. Another bonus was that I worked every day with adorable five-, six-, and seven-year-olds. I’m sure that I learned more from them than they ever could have learned from me. The camp also brought back a sense of childhood innocence into what sometimes feels like my chaotic teen life! I connected with my campers through our nature expeditions in the woods and played many games of “camouflage” among the trees.
Putting my trust in God was the best thing I could have done because everything worked out, to the very last detail. The camp even left two weeks free for me at the end of the summer so I could spend time with my family and prepare for another year at school. Human will had been forgotten and something better had come along following my realization of God’s perfect law. I had “made a place” for God in my thinking, and saw the amazing results.
Gwen Umbach is a junior in high school.
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