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Book Review: Still Looking by Vicki Huffman

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Click to Purchase on Amazon. (Note: This is an affiliate link.)

 
When I first submitted my family’s unemployment story to Vicki Huffman, I offered to write a review of her book once it was completed. Only God knew the reason and the season in which I would need to read the inspirational words in Still Looking: Finding the Peace of God in Job Loss.
 
 
When I received Vicki’s book to review several months later, my husband had been once again laid off for no fault of his own. Already, four weeks had passed since the day he showed up for work at his industrial construction job on a Monday morning and everyone had been let go. We were just starting to go through the familiar emotional, practical, and even spiritual fallouts of losing a job when I received the book. As I read through her family’s struggles with job loss—eight in all, I kept tapping the pages of my electronic book reader, saying:
 

“Yes! That’s exactly how I feel. That’s exactly how my husband is responding.”


 
 
Vicki was able to tap into those feelings not only from her own family’s experiences but also by citing renowned psychologists, experts, and everyday people who had the dubious honor of being unemployed at one time or another. She compared unemployment and job loss to the stages of grief and how those who are unemployed—for whatever reason—face similar feelings as those who have experienced loss of any kind—health death, divorce, to name a few. Vicki walks readers through the stages of grief, helping them to see the connections with job loss and how they eventually can move forward with the help of God.
 
 
As I read Still Looking, I began to see stages of grief in my own life—but for different reasons. Last year, I resigned from my corporate job at a Fortune 500 company to become a stay-at-home mom of our three children whom we adopted. Although a joyous occasion for my husband and me—and for our children, I felt the loss of fellowship with coworkers, usefulness and productivity that come from completing projects, and the accolades that accompany great work. I was able to see and work through these issues by reading Vicki’s book. She also helped me to understand the pros and cons of women working outside or inside the home, depending on their circumstances.
 
 

In addition to the emotional issues accompanying unemployment, Vicki offered practical and spiritual insight for times of job loss. She gave tips on how spouses can help and affirm each other during unemployment. As I re-read our own stories that we submitted to Vicki, it reminded me of the many ways my husband and I have supported each other during these times and how we can continue to do so.
 
 
Still Looking is filled with practical and spiritual insight on how to spend time during job loss, as well as other considerations that accompany unemployment, such as the possibilities of relocating and self-employment. Vicki also offers a unique perspective for those who are older and find themselves unemployed.
 
 
I especially liked the “P.S.—Post Job Script” sections that summarized each chapter and provided practical tips on how to move forward in recovery from unemployment. The “Peace to You” sections encouraged me with biblical passages and reminders of the peace of God when money is tight.
 
 
Oftentimes, books on difficult subjects tend to provide trite answers. Not so with Still Looking. It is fresh and original; Vicki Huffman has been there and she gets it.
 
 
From beginning to end, Vicki shows the joys of growing closer to God during times of financial strain. She is a great example of finding true peace during unemployment.
 
 
If I had one critique, it would be this: I would have liked for the book to include a set of study questions, whether at the end of each chapter or at the end of the book. That way, readers could work through the issues in each chapter more readily.
 
 
Regardless, I highly recommend Vicki Huffman’s Still Looking: Finding the Peace of God in Job Loss. It is a great tool to help readers through the valleys of unemployment—not once, but as in our case, several times. Still Looking is ideal for anyone who has a job and feels like it may be time to move on to another job or season in life, or they sense that unemployment might be imminent. It is a great resource for Bible study groups; readers can use it by themselves, with a mentor or counselor, or in a small group format. People in recovery groups also could benefit from it. The book also would be a great gift for someone working through issues of financial struggle.
 
 
Still Looking: Finding the Peace of God in Job Loss is available on Amazon (affiliate link).
 
 
Be blessed!
 
 
Come alongside… Have you experienced job loss? How have you dealt with it? Share in the comments below.
 
 

5 Steps to Clear Your Head

 

I wrote yesterday.

 

That might not mean much—after all, I’m writing right now—but it does mean a lot to me: I wrote in my journal.

 

It’s been awhile since I journaled.

 

Hmm… Is it still journaling if it was on a napkin?

 

Anyway… I needed to clear my head. Lots of stuff has been bouncing around in there, getting tangled up, setting up camp, you name it.

 

So I took pen to napkin and began clearing my head. And guess what…

 

I’m feeling much better!

 

Do you need to clear your head? Are you feeling…

  • Confused?
  • Stressed?
  • Frenzied?
  • Boxed in?
  • Chaotic?

 

I encourage you to put pen to paper—or napkin—or whatever writing surface you can find. It might be tempting to skip the writing part. But resist! Don’t discount the power of writing things down. Writing through your chaos can be a healing tool.

 

Here are five steps to C.L.E.A.R your head.

 

Come away.

You can’t clear your head if you’re surrounded by confusion. So take some time—even five-or-ten-minute increments—to come away to a place that helps you to clear your head. Yesterday, it was my bed. For you, it could be a favorite chair or a spot on a lake, or if you’re a mom, it could just be the bathroom. Regardless, to clear your head of all the confusion, physically remove yourself from all that’s probably getting you in a frenzy in the first place. Remember this: “God is not a god of confusion but a God of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33a).

 

 

Listen to God.

If you’re feeling confused, there might be some internal struggles going on, which can leave you pulled in all directions. When you come away and listen to God—truly listen—with your heart, He will show you the source of the confusion. God can speak to you in many ways; in my experience, His silent whisper speaks loudest. So ask Him to show you. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom — if you want to know what God wants you to do — ask Him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.”

 

 

Empty your feelings and sins.

Once you’ve come away and listened to God about the source of your confusion, empty yourself of all your feelings and any sins. God doesn’t want you to stuff your feelings. He wants you to share them freely with the One who created all feelings. Once you share your feelings with Him, you can more clearly see how you’ve gone wrong—or sinned—against Him. Then you can confess and ask His forgiveness. Remember: “God is faithful and fair. If we admit that we have sinned, he will forgive us our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure.” (1 John 1:9)

 

 

Affirm God’s peace.

Words can kill or they can give life (Proverbs 18:21). When you feel confused, affirming God’s peace in your life through writing will breathe life into your spirit. When you talk—and listen—to God, you will replace worry and “experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6-7). Affirm His peace in your spirit.

 

 

Repeat as necessary.

Chances are you’ll need to clear your head again—maybe for the same reasons or for other situations entirely. Regardless, with all the craziness in this world, your spirit likely will long for peace regularly. Continue in these things: Come away, Listen to God, Empty your feelings and sins, Affirm God’s peace, and Repeat. Be intentional about it.

 

 

 

You can C.L.E.A.R. it!

 

 

Come alongside… Do you need to clear your head? What strategies do you use? Have you considered writing through your chaos? How can these tips help you today and in the future? Share your comments with us in the box below.

 

Go Ahead, Give Yourself Some Love

 

I’ve been wanting—er, needing—a massage for months now.

 

Yes, I said need—for my chronic pain, of course. 🙂

 

Seriously… right now, a visit to my massage therapist Debbie would do wonders for me—physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally, and even spiritually. But I’ve been depriving myself of it—for a number of reasons:

  • I don’t have time.
  • I don’t have the money—or I can use the money for something else—or someone else.
  • I don’t really need it now—I can make it a little longer.
  • I feel guilty.

 

Can you relate? Maybe it’s not about the massage for you. Maybe it’s:

  • Getting pedicures—yes, guys, you can get pedicures too. 😉
  • Indulging in chocolate ice cream—or ice cream, in general.
  • Snuggling with a book.
  • Taking a nature walk all by yourself. For us mothers, it could be just being by ourselves.
  • You name it.

 

What have you been depriving yourself of that would do wonders for you physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally, and even spiritually?

 

And now the bigger question:

 

 

Why have you been depriving yourself of it?

 

 

I’m not talking about unhealthy habits or addictions. Rather, I’m talking about those things that make us feel loved.

 

Please hear my  heart, dear one. You don’t have to wait for someone else to love you. Love yourself—Jesus said so!

 

 

Love your neighbor as you love yourself. (Matthew 22:39)

 

 

God’s not talking about a narcissistic, sinful, lustful kind of “love.” He says do good to yourself, look after yourself—your body, your mind, your soul. And this, not only when you feel you’ve earned it, but routinely and unconditionally loving yourself in healthy ways that say…

 

 

“I love God, and I love myself.”

 

 

That’s a hard thing for codependents: Loving ourselves. We prefer to look after others, sometimes forgetting about ourselves completely. We fear we’re not worth being loved. We deny our feelings—and many times, our needs. We don’t love ourselves.

 

But God loves you, dear one. And I’m sure you love God. And because you do, He wants you to honor Him by pausing from work, obligations, roles and responsibilities to spend some time on yourself. God gives you permission to love yourself. In fact, He commands you.

 

So go ahead, give yourself some love.

 

 

Hmm… Where’s Debbie’s phone number?

 

 

Come alongside… What makes you feel loved? Have you been depriving yourself of it? How do you feel knowing that God gives you permission to love yourself? What steps can you take to love yourself today? Share with us in the comments section below.

 

Oh, God! Quick: Fight, Flight, or Freeze???

 

Your heart races. Stress stings your pores. Beads of sweat sneak through your skin.

 

You don’t know what to make of it, but it has set you on edge. Threatened. Afraid. Fearful. Uncertain. Confused. You can:

 

  • Fight,
  • Flight, or
  • Freeze.

 

These are your body’s instinctive reactions to fear. We all have them.

 

Jesus’ followers felt fear—on many occasions, it was warranted. On one occasion, three disciples accompanied Jesus up a mountain. There, Jesus revealed himself—and I mean transformed himself—in such radiant light that the disciples didn’t know what to make of it. They were afraid. They heard the voice of God clearly, and they were shaken to the core.

 

 

While he (Jesus) was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. (Matthew 17:5-6)

 

 

The disciples panicked. But don’t miss this:

 

 

Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.” (Matthew 17:7)

 

 

Jesus came to his disciples. He drew near to them. Although the disciples went up the mountain with Jesus, they were still a short distance from Him. When He saw their fear, He came to them. He brought them to himself.

 

Even more, He touched them. Not just any touch, but a touch of comfort and strength. And His voice—not angry, annoyed, belittling, or critical—but calm.

 

He encouraged them: Get up. Come nearer to me. Get close. I know you’re afraid, but listen to me: There’s no need to fight. No need to flee. And no need to freeze. I’m here to encourage you—not to frighten you. I’m here to show you who I really am—and who I can be in your life, if you would only listen to me.

 

 

Look what happened next.

 

And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone. (Matthew 17:8)

 

 

The presence of Jesus, His touch, and His voice were the only things that reassured them enough to raise their heads again. And when they felt safe enough with Him, they looked and saw no one but Jesus himself. Jesus—Jehovah, their salvation—saved them from their fears. Jesus alone. No one else.

 

 

They were so close to Jesus that all they saw was… Jesus!

 

 

Fears were gone. The instinct to fight, flight, or freeze vanished. They were safe with Him—as they always were.

 

Dear one, we panic, especially when God wants to show us who He really is in our lives. God loves us. And when He urges us to listen to Him—through His word, prayer, counselors, or others—it’s only natural for our pulse to sprint off with a bang.

 

  • We want to fight what God says.
  • We want to flee in the opposite direction.
  • We stiffen every muscle and freeze.

 

But be encouraged: God wants the best for us—and the best is in Him and through Him. He sees our fearful conditions, has compassion on us, and comes to us. No belittling, no criticizing—just Jesus. Tender. Loving. Calm. Close.

 

Sense His presence. Cuddle up to Him. Lift your eyes and see Him—only Him.

 

Fight, flight, or freeze? With Jesus, no need.

 

How to handle fear

 

Come alongside…. What is God trying to show you? Are you afraid? Are you fighting, fleeing, or freezing up? How can you change your response to Him? Do you have an example of this from your own life? Share it with us by leaving a comment below. Remember, you can comment anonymously, if you so desire.

 
 


 

Resources for Dealing with Fear

 
 

 

Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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