2020 has been a year of interviews for me. I kicked January off with a healthy dose of four job interviews, and more recently have done two graduate school interviews in the past week. The process of interviewing (applying, practicing, dressing up, and then trying not to sweat through your clothes and stutter for 20 minutes) is quite the strange scenario to find yourself in.
The whole point of an interview is to prove yourself: to put forth your best qualities and experiences, communicating with clarity just how above-average you are. While you tell yourself “you’re enough!” and your friends say “anyone would be lucky to have you,” you know that the interviewer will have the final say. Are you actually unique and qualified, or did another applicant outshine you?
One interview experience particularly forced me into that comparison game: a group interview over Skype. Yes, that means that I, along with three other aspiring grad students, all got to answer questions and listen to each other’s answers.
I’m not sure if there’s anything more comparison-game-worthy than this: watching and listening to three composed, professional, and experienced young ladies, all the while stealing glances at your own face on the screen and wondering if your soft smile makes you look like Sid from Ice Age. Aaaaanyway, that’s just my experience.
I’ve also noticed that while preparing for interviews, I’ve boiled myself down into a few bullet points that I hope sound impressive. It seems that my past jobs, my degree, my carefully worded weakness, and my three strengths are who I am. And sometimes, sadly, they haven’t been enough.
Before this year, I’d never interviewed for something and not been accepted. That’s a formula for pride, so being rejected a few times has helped me see life in a more realistic way. It’s also tested my ability to put my identity and worth in things outside of myself and my success. These questions have risen to the surface:
Am I still valuable when I’m working a job that wasn’t my first choice?
Am I still loved when a few employers found candidates they liked better?
Am I still hopeful when I can’t accomplish something that I thought would be easy?
When it comes down to it, I don’t earn my value. I don't make myself lovable or worthy. My value is intrinsic because I, along with everyone, am made in God's image: not because I can accomplish big things. This is easier to accept when the lint roller, firm handshake, and perfect interview answers don’t earn me the position I really wanted.
I’m thankful for the reminder that only Jesus can give us unshakable certainty. He has redeemed us with his life, and given us unchanging value, love, and hope. He makes us more like himself in every circumstance: in success, failure, joy, and disappointment.
This steady foundation changes everything.
We don’t see life as our one shot to prove ourselves and earn our worth. Instead, we view life as a series of opportunities to love people and trust God more. It can be that simple. Jesus frees us to take chances and follow where he leads, without the pressure of perfection.
We may fail, but we’ll be okay. Our purpose and hope remain the same, no matter where we find ourselves.
Hello! I'm Anna, a college student living in the Midwest. I'm a strong believer in uncontrollable laughter, powerful words, and a morning cup of coffee. I pray these posts will encourage you to live a full life with and for God: unhindered. Follow me on social media for post updates!