Freedom from Striving

When Julie experienced a sudden job loss, she struggled to find her purpose. Then Jesus reminded her of his love, and she found a new sense of identity.

by Julie Burleson

I had always felt like I knew what I was supposed to do for a job, I felt actually really called by the Lord to a specific profession from a very young age.

In my mid 20s, I found myself doing that exact job – it was amazing, because that never happens. I was able to do that for a few years, and then all of a sudden, I walked into work one day, and walked out without a job.

I was completely blindsided, I had no idea that was going to happen – and I had so known that that was what I was supposed to do.

Being without that job, I felt like I lost my grounding. More than that, it just felt like everything that was sure in my life was completely gone. It felt like everything that I thought that I knew, and even how I defined myself, was gone.

My identity was so wrapped up in my work, and I questioned so much about myself and my relationship with God. Like, "Why I wasn't good enough to be used by God anymore? And if I had been called by God to do that, had I messed up somehow? Had he taken that from me? Did he feel like he could do it better without me or something?"

The term wilderness so perfectly describes it, because I just felt like I didn't know which way forward was anymore. I didn't even know how to look for a different type of job. It's all I knew and it's all I ever felt like God wanted me to do.

I was frustrated and I was in that place for a really long time.

I was praying one day, and just expressing all of that, and God's so clearly said, "I don't need you to do anything for me. You're my kid, and I love you.", and that changed everything for me.

What was so crazy about God telling me that in that moment was that I would have told anyone that that's how God felt about them, but I didn't believe it for myself. I thought that I had to earn the thing that he had so freely given to others. And it turns out, I didn't.

I thought that I had to earn the thing that he had so freely given to others. And it turns out, I didn't.

Had I not been in the wilderness and had he not met me there, I would not have really known that for myself. I am still a girl that struggles with striving, but I have this clear memory of God telling me how much he loves me, not for what I do, but for who I am – setting my identity in him and not my work. That has changed everything for me.

Somehow, I am really thankful for that difficult moment of losing my job and I know that I always have God to hold on to.


Maybe you're struggling with loss like Julie, or maybe, you always feel like you're striving for something that's unattainable. Whatever you're going through, your story matters to God and it matters to us! We believe that God has more for your life, and we would love to come alongside you and pray for you.

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Tags: identity, jesus, freedom, purpose, striving, job loss

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