What Do You Do When Every Door is Closed?
This is the story of a girl who did everything right (and failed anyways).
The story, my story, starts last October when the first internship application opened up. I quickly, and excitedly, sat down in front of a computer to update my resume. Then, I spent hours Googling, “How to write a cover letter.” Hours more after that were spent writing said cover letter.
Finally, the application was sent off to my dream internship. But of course, being the overachieving planner that I am, I did not let myself get too confident. Week after week, month after month I continued the process of searching for the perfect summer internship.
Any internship within a 100 mile radius got my resume, and some even further away than that (just to be on the safe side). By this point, there must be 100 organizations with a copy of my resume in their email inbox. And that’s only a slight exaggeration.
After each application I followed up with a short email or phone call, just like they tell you to in class.
And each week I checked the go-to internship search engines to see if there were any new postings. If there were, you can bet that I filled out the necessary applications and put my name on the list.
Like I said, I did everything right.
As April rolled around, my friends started getting their acceptances. I tried not to worry, but found myself asking the question, “What if no one hires me?”
At first it was a private question, one I only let myself think when I was alone.
Then more public, I found myself asking it to my professors during office hours. Then to my friends over coffee or dinner.
Underneath that question, the true question rested in the subtext, “What if I’m not good enough?”
Each time the question was asked, it was shooed away by myself, professors, and friends. I, after all, had done everything right. Right?
It was about that time when my dream internship rejected me, and so the panic set in. It was mid-April, after all, and all of a sudden my perspective shifted. Previously, I thought the silence I was getting from all of the places I applied meant “Application Pending.” Only after being rejected did I started realizing it might mean, “Absolutely Not.”
I appealed to friends and family via Facebook, and began reaching out to any company or organization I could find still accepting applications. Each time I got my hopes up about something, they were quickly dashed by an email letting me know the position was already filled
When I emailed prospective employers, I became hyper aware of how they must be viewing me: College slacker, waiting until the last minute to find an internship.
Some were kind in their rejections. Others were not.
How can you explain in your cover letter that you did everything right? How do you convey desperation without coming across as, well, desperate. Let me know if you figure it out, because I still haven’t.
Here’s the caveat: While I was stressed out, struggling, and crying my eyes out — God remained still, silent, yet evermore at work.
And no, I am not saying that because I have found the internship of my dreams. Or any internship at all for that matter.
Last week, after my dream job rejected me, I sat with my mentor, boss, and friend Katie. She let me cry for a moment, and then asked me, “So, at what point do you believe that God is still in this?”
In that moment, I sure didn’t believe it. And as the days have passed, it has become increasingly more difficult to see a plan in all this.
This is not a post that will encourage you to look around at all the closed doors and simply find the open window. I’m not much for cliches, and I don’t think it’s always that easy.
I am, however, encouraged by this interpretation of Jesus’ words in Luke 12 –
Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
Take it from me, the girl who did everything right.
O ye of little faith.
All of my striving was for naught, and as it turns out so was my worrying.
I may not know what the future holds. All of my plans may have fallen through.
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord and he answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. (Psalm 3:2-6)
So what do you do when every door is closed? Stop trying to do everything right, take a breath, and rest. You are enough, but more importantly, Christ is enough.
Even when you don’t have it all figured out. Even when it hurts. Even (especially) when you did everything right, and it still all goes wrong. Even when you don’t feel enough.
Have you ever experience a time when you felt less than perfect, or all the doors were closed? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading.