I was called to full-time while climbing the corporate ladder
Eileen Lau // June 4, 2020, 10:10 am
All photos courtesy of writer.
Financial freedom, independence and excelling in my career – these were the desires of my heart.
I grew up in a family of six with my father as the sole breadwinner supporting four school-going children. Finances were often tight and childhood luxuries such as the latest toys and family holidays were a rarity.
I recall an incident when my school result slip was withheld from me, only to find out later that it was because my parents had not paid my school fees. I felt extremely humiliated.
Being the immature child I was, I was not understanding. Instead, I felt bitter about our family’s lack of finances and often compared what I did not have with what my peers had.
So I grew up with a grudge against my parents, attributing our lack of finances to their poor financial planning.
Life was good and it was slowly but surely falling into place.
Never wanting to be in a situation of financial need again, I became driven and ambitious, determined to attain financial independence. I was certain that I could work my way into the life that I longed for.
At 23, I graduated and started work.
At my workplace, I had favour with my bosses and was able to advance faster than my peers. I was also actively serving the Lord in the Music Ministry at my church.
Life was good and it was slowly but surely falling into place.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16:9)
One day during a prayer meeting, I sensed the Lord telling me that He wanted me to take a big leap of faith into a new season in my life that He has planned.
Over the next few weeks, I continued to seek the Lord on this matter. Eventually, He revealed to me that He wanted me to join my church as a full-time staff, assisting the Music Ministry.
This came as a shock to me as I had never considered entering full-time ministry, knowing that it was not a place for career advancement or where I could fulfil my ambitions.
Furthermore, I had only just begun achieving milestones in my career and was not ready to give them up.
I was reluctant and sought the Lord repeatedly for signs of confirmation, to see if this was indeed His will. Each time I prayed, the Lord gently affirmed me of His promises of His providence and presence that would follow me into this new season.
The final call came when the Lord told me firmly, “Go.” Then, I finally relented.
Some questioned my decision to work in church and advised me to “get a proper job with a better salary”.
I joined my church as a full-time staff on March 1, 2018 at the age of 25.
Thinking that I had overcome the “tough part” when I accepted the call, I later realised that sticking to the decision was tougher.
I found myself often looking back, pondering on the life I could have had if I continued in the corporate world – the career advancements, the financial security and freedom.
Hanging out with my peers would often leave me feeling discouraged when I listened to their conversations on their careers and prospects but was unable to join in.
Some close to me also questioned my decision to work in church and advised me to “get a proper job with a better salary”.
I soon grew bitter towards God and often found myself questioning His timing: “Why couldn’t You call me a few years later or when I had saved enough money?”
However, God remained silent on this matter until a year later.
God spoke to me regarding this around mid-2019, about a year after I entered full-time ministry. I remembered I was travelling to work one day when I felt God randomly say to me: “If I had called you five years later, would you still be able to respond then?”
As I thought about how difficult it was to surrender my future and aspirations at the start of my career in the corporate world, I realised it would be much harder if I had to do so years into my career or even at my peak, when I probably would have achieved more. It would be harder to surrender with “more to give up”.
I saw that if I had carried on seeking the things of the world and building worldly treasures, I would have become unable to put them down! This was God’s grace and wisdom for me.
During this difficult season of adapting and accepting, God also graciously sent a dear sister to comfort and counsel me.
She helped me realise that I was still clinging on to my old dreams and that they were preventing me from accepting the dreams and plans that God had for me. That day, we cried and grieved together as I made the decision to let those dreams die and bury them.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Our Heavenly Father knows us best. When I had not realised that I had intended to devote myself to an endless pursuit of worldly treasures, He saved me from myself.
Each time I came battered before Him, seeking Him for answers and explanations, He never failed to graciously draw me closer to Himself, comforting me while revealing Himself to me.
Eventually, He also showed me that my parents had provided for the family to the best of their ability and helped me to release the grievances that I had held against them.
In August 2019, I chanced upon Awaken Generation‘s one-year worship and music mentorship programme.
I was especially interested in the songwriting stream, even though I had never dabbled in songwriting and was uncertain if this was what God was calling me to.
Regardless, as there was an audition requirement to submit an original song, I took it as an opportunity to ascertain if this was indeed what God had intended for me.
I asked Him to give me a song, and that was how the lyrics of “Have Your Way” came to be. They reflect my journey of surrender to His will and sovereignty as I recount the wondrous work He has done in my life.
This call to full-time ministry is not a one-stop destination for me, but a lifelong lesson on obedience and reliance on Christ. God has been leading and guiding me so faithfully in my life and by His grace, I know that I will carry on.
It is my prayer and hope that this song will bring encouragement to those who are also struggling to fully surrender to God.
May this song remind us that Jesus is worth so much more.
THINK + TALK
- What are the top 3 desires of your heart?
- How do you think you would be as a person if you attained them?
- Would you still be in love with God?
- Take some time to recommit yourself to God today.