I sit and wait for something to happen and as each day goes by nothing happens, no calls, no emails, no acknowledgment.
A few times in the past I have posted about rejoining the workforce. I had all the intentions of landing a full-time, meaningful job in a relatively short amount of time. Yet, I have found the process more difficult than I initially thought. As I reviewed all the jobs which are available, I was sure I would have a job within a few days. I looked and considered the job openings for churches, chaplain positions, non-profit ministries and veteran’s non-profit organizations. I started sending out resumes to churches that listed opportunities on ministry job websites. I was convinced I would receive a phone call or an email right away. However, I found the opposite to be true. Out of all the churches I sent resumes to, only one church actually responded in any sort of manner. It was a nicely worded email and straight to the point, informing me they believed other candidates were better suited for the position. I was not upset or offended by the email. I was, in fact, happy, that at least one church had the courtesy to acknowledge I had submitted a resume. So here I sit waiting for something to happen and as each day goes by nothing happens, no calls, no emails, no acknowledgment I have submitted an application, resumes or cover letter. Just crickets chirping away in the background making me feel I am engaging a world that does not even know I exist.
So far the search for meaningful employment has not gone very well, maybe it because I’m not very good at being a civilian. I’m still waiting for the email or phone call from the Army chaplain personnel manager to tell me where I am going for my next assignment and the job they set-aside for me. But unfortunately, no personnel manager is about to inform me of my next assignment or position. For some reason, I thought I would be different. I thought I would buck the system and land the first Job I applied for, yet I was wrong. I have not even landed an interview, a callback or even an email showing any type of interest. At one point I applied to a major pet company to become a dog trainer. I thought I would work a side job until I could land another career job. But alas, I never heard back from the company either. Not saying it was discouraging … but it was, I can’t even land a service job let alone a meaningful professional job.
I am a Pastor called of God to minister to His people
whether I am called Chaplain or Pastor … it is all the same.
As most veterans have come to learn, trying to translate military experiences and job titles to a civilian job is very difficult. I am amazed at how many church leaders do not view me for what I am … a pastor. Most will not even take the time to read my resume; they see the words “Army Chaplain” and never equate a chaplain as a full-time pastor. When I list the chapel services I was responsible for, pastoral search committees do not associate my experience for what it is, being a pastor of a church.
To make it a bit more challenging, throw in the fact I have PTSD. Something I cannot hide as a minister. I minister out of my life experiences; I can never minister to people without revealing this significant aspect of my life. I cannot share how God has worked in my life without sharing how God has brought healing to my soul and my struggles with PTSD.
By the way, both my Healing the Storm blog and my Facebook page truthfully address the struggles I have with PTSD.
So see, I can’t really hide it or not mention it even if I wanted to, of course, my service Dog Delrin gives it way also.
What makes the struggle even harder is the general misunderstanding, and misconception people have concerning those of us who suffer from PTSD. The prevailing thought of a Soldier who has PTSD is that we are on the verge of having a major break down. They are afraid at any moment we are going to “go off” and lose control of ourselves and either seriously hurt someone or even kill someone. We are seen as emotionally unstable, untrustworthy, a danger to others or ourselves. We are someone who needs to be carefully watched “just in case.” Does my PTSD cause me difficulties at times? Yes. Does my PTSD cause me to withdraw from people from time to time? Yes. Do sounds, smells or things I see sometimes trigger me? Are there times when these triggers cause me to be scared, become hyper-vigilant and aware? Yes, they do. Are there times when my triggers go so far as to make me believe I am back in Iraq or that I am in imminent danger? Of course, they do. Do my triggers make me unfit, unsafe and unstable to minister to God’s people? No! For even the Apostle Paul tells us in the book of Corinthians that God chooses the weak things of the world to confound the wise.
It is very difficult to hold onto encouraging words.
So I have learned looking for a Job is a lot harder than I thought. Just navigating the initial application process with the hope I can have a small chance to prove I am a viable candidate is trying in itself. Throw in my status as a veteran with PTSD who has undergone treatment in a mental health treatment facility and it becomes even more challenging. Will I ever get a professional job again? Will I get the opportunity to once again serve in full-time Christian ministry? Will, I ever have the chance to once again to do what I love most, and that is to preach? The easy answer people will give is “God has a place and a ministry for you.” However, it is challenging to hold onto those encouraging words at times, especially when churches do not even acknowledge they received my resume.
O’ well that’s my sad story for the day and all my complaining for the week. I’ll post this today and then start looking for a meaningful job once again tomorrow morning. Where that leads, I have no idea.