The Paid Work Dilemma

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In this post, I’m going to offload some frustration which has really been getting me down recently. This article is more about my life circumstances than philosophy or theology, so feel free to skip this post if you follow this blog for the philosophy and are not particularly interested in my life struggles.

I have prayed to God dozens, possibly hundreds of times, about whether I should begin working again. He makes me feel excited about the possibility of working, then brings fears to my mind in relation to how stressed I would be and how it could lead to financial instability and a lot of headaches. These two polar opposite feelings plague me on a daily basis and have done, on and off, since about 2008.

For those of you who don’t know, the reason why I have been out of work for some time is because I have a mental health condition, diagnosed as schizoaffective disorder, for which I take medication and have been hospitalised on several occasions.

I did actually register as self-employed a few years ago with the intention of starting a small business offering web-related services, but I was living in a five bedroom ‘supported housing’ mental health property at the time, and everything felt so unstable that it just wasn’t viable to work, so shortly after registering I wrote to HMRC (who administer taxes in the UK) to revoke my self-employment status.

Even prior to that, when I was living in a different shared house between about 2010-2012, I thought seriously about self-employment, and even made some business planning and strategy documents.

For whatever reason, God always seems to take me to the brink of self-employment, but I am never able to go through with it. When I’ve prayed about it, God has promised me that I will never work again, so that is always at the forefront of my mind when I’m considering what to do. I just wish, if God’s promise is true, He wouldn’t continually give me feelings of enthusiasm about the possibility of working.

I never really get bored, because I have this blog, my books, my music, Tealight Books (my publishing imprint), and some other projects which excite me and stimulate me creatively. I’m not a lazy person, and enjoy working, but it’s very different working on what are essentially hobbies, to undertaking paid work and the responsibility that brings.

Sometimes I feel I am well enough to work, even though I’m taking some really unpleasant medication with all its side effects. At other times, I feel work would be too difficult, what with my troublesome neighbours making so much noise, the medication, the risk of sacrificing my government financial support, and the risk of having a relapse of schizoaffective disorder.

There is also a significant stigma surrounding people with mental health problems working, and I do worry that this could affect the number of clients I get. It’s true that I don’t necessarily have to disclose my mental health problems as part of my business activities, but it only takes a bit of online research for people to find this blog or my book The Philosophy of a Mad Man, and then it becomes clear that I’ve had mental health problems, which will no doubt put some people off wanting to work with me.

The considerations outlined in this article are continually in my thoughts, and as much as I pray about it, God never gives me peace of mind over my circumstances. My thoughts always seem to come back to God’s promise that I will never work again, which I feel I have to trust, even though it very often seems counter-intuitive, and is very difficult to explain to others, such as my atheist care coordinator, my atheist doctor, or other people in my support network.

The arguments for and against undertaking paid work feel about 50/50, but what always sways it for me is when God brings to mind His promise that I will never work again. I do sometimes wonder whether I should see God giving me this conviction as part of my mental illness, but He never gives me clarity in relation to this, so I am always frustrated and confused.

I have so much to be thankful for in terms of the way God provides for me materially with food and shelter, and enough money (at present from State benefits) to be able to live comfortably. I mean, I have to be careful with my finances and I normally only spend £1-2 per meal, but that doesn’t bother me at all as I’m happy to live frugally and in a very basic way.

It may be that if we get a Labour government there will be reforms to the welfare system that will make this predicament easier and enable me to see a solution. But I fear our country has become so morally corrupt and spiritually lost that we may well end up with another Conservative government after the General Election in December. If that happens, I will pretty much lose all hope for the future of the UK.

I do always remind myself that God is above all these circumstances and that He is working out a plan for my life and for the world with great care. I just wish I was able to feel a sense of peace in relation to my day to day living and financial situation.

I suppose it’s part of human nature to always strive for more peace and stability, and I guess that’s what I’m doing when I’m wrestling with all these issues. If I felt able to commit to Christianity, I wouldn’t be struggling with these issues nearly as much, although these struggles would be replaced with a different set of struggles, of course (I know because I spent years as a Christian).

Well, that’s a snapshot of my life which should help you to understand why in my last post I wrote about the fact I’m feeling very frustrated. Thanks for reading, and prayers are always appreciated.

Peace and blessings,

Steven ❤️✌🏻

(Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay)