Q: I have followed my courage in trying to be fearless, especially since my past six months of unemployment took me on a rollercoaster ride from bliss to deepest depression. I thought I was getting very close to winning a much sought after job and expected to hear good news almost immediately. But they have not called at all and I am back in my deepest despair, despite my tendency to keep a cheerful attitude. I must renew my job-hunting efforts. I pray daily, but I still feel like something is being held back from me. Please guide me. Thank you. — gpq, San Francisco and Honolulu

A: Dear GPQ,

Your need for employment offers you a chance to reflect seriously on what direction you want to take. It’s not easy to make course changes when you’re already locked into a job. But now you have the opportunity to carefully weigh your career goals according to your aspirations, aptitudes, interests, experience, and the prevailing job market. Check out the Job Hunter’s Bible for practical encouragement and guidance.

Naturally you need support, because career change and unemployment cause much stress. You’re uncertain about the future. Happiness and prosperity seem to hang in the balance while you depend on other people’s decisions that affect your life. Anxiety or disappointment can take a downslide into depression and despair. If these feelings grow too strong, please seek help. The counseling center staff at the college or university nearest you can provide referrals to low-cost counseling services in your area.

Your daily prayer is also an invaluable guide at this time. Stay open to hidden possibilities that lie outside the scope of your hopes. Often in retrospect you can see that what life gives you at certain junctures is incalculably better in the deepest sense than what you thought you needed. So be patient and humble, while holding on to faith that even your current difficulties will work towards your highest good. You will never be forsaken when your prayer is sincere and open enough to accept God’s will and wisdom. Your very gratefulness beckons life to supply what you truly need.

On the point of your feeling ‘something is being held back’, try to lovingly embrace this very feeling in prayer. It may be your intuition of a fate not yet ripe, or it may be something deep inside your own psyche that holds you back from moving forward in a positive way. Sometimes a basic fear keeps us held back from engaging more fully in life, even when our surface awareness believes we’re on the right track.

By taking this feeling of ‘being held back’ deep into prayer, holding it up to love and acknowledgement, either one of two things may happen. If the feeling is based on recognition that not all the necessary favorable conditions are in place to further your career hopes, then a deep acknowledgement of the feeling will align you with God’s will in your life for the present. Feelings of hope, patience, and peace may then push out the anxiety and despair. If the feeling of “being held back” is really a projection of some hidden fear inside you, then consciously permeating it with love and acknowledgement may help bring it to the surface to dissolve. Then a new energized feeling of possibilities can well up within you. After this, circumstances will probably start playing out differently.

Best wishes for your journey,

William Young