Looking for a job, learning how to trust
Ynex Lee // July 14, 2017, 2:55 pm
In five months of job-hunting, I have gone for a grand total of three interviews.
I’m ashamed to admit it. I’ve spent hours polishing up my resume, scouring job portals, crafting personalised cover letters to each company. I prayed over each application, asking God to open the right door in His time. I’ve knocked on all sorts of doors, but walked through none of them.
Meanwhile, the people around me have been cramming multiple interviews into one day, some even having the luxury of multiple job offers to choose from.
What have I been doing wrong? Has God forgotten about me?
WHERE ARE YOU, GOD?
Growing up, the world taught me how my life would work: Study hard, get a good job, settle down. So I went into the job search confident that I’d “get a good job”. I’d done my part as a good student; the next step should be easy, right?
Nope. Five long months of waiting, complete with exactly three brief glimpses into windows of what could have been. The last rejection, for a job I really hoped to secure, left me utterly broken. I fell away from God, into a dark hole of doubt and self-pity.
I should mention here that during these five months, I wasn’t completely jobless. In between applying for full-time jobs, I received freelance opportunities from friends of friends. I hadn’t asked for any of these; they really just fell into my lap. Some were only for a day or two, but others stretched over weeks and months.
I’d been acting just like the grumbling Israelites, who asked for more and more, without seeing how God was already meeting their needs.
But I failed to see them as blessings – I mean, how long can a freelance job last? The pay is inconsistent, there’s no CPF, it’s not sustainable. When I told others that I was freelancing, the usual response was that it was okay as an interim measure, but I should find a full-time job instead.
So my usual line to others was, “I’m working, but it’s not a real job. I’m still looking.”
I’VE HAD MY EYES OPENED
I only became aware of how blinded I had been over a conversation with a good friend. He recounted Exodus 16, the story of God’s provision to the Israelites in the desert. Despite their ungratefulness, God still provided for the Israelites. However, He only gave them exactly what they needed. No more, no less.
God gave the Israelites manna and instructed them to gather just enough for themselves for each day. Yet the Israelites ignored His command and hoarded much more – only to have it rot the very next day. They didn’t even know what it was at first, just as I did not recognise blessings from God!
Reflecting on this story made me realise how bitter and discontent I was with what I had. I’d been acting just like the grumbling Israelites, who asked for more and more, without seeing how God was already meeting their needs. They did not trust that what He had given them was enough.
In focusing on my own insufficiency according to the expectations of the world, I failed to see that God and His provision were absolutely enough for me.
For a long time, I struggled with feeling inadequate about my lack of a full-time job. During this difficult period of uncertainty, God has well and truly challenged my faith and trust in Him. Till today, I live in limbo, not knowing when the next job (freelance or full-time) will come along.
But these past few months of freelancing have truly revealed God’s faithfulness in His provision. As a freelancer, my workdays and pay are not as consistent as what I would have had with a full-time job. Yet by His grace, I earn enough to get by.
I DO NOT GIVE TO YOU AS THE WORLD GIVES
I have learnt to be thankful and treasure what I have.
In the last few months, I have been able to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with my family, attend a four-day church retreat, and spend valuable time with friends – mostly on weekdays, without worrying about having to take leave.
And in terms of job experience, freelancing has taught me so much. Being exposed to different work environment and working styles teaches you how to adapt fast!
Freelancing is definitely not the conventional 9-to-6 life the world demands I live. But this doesn’t mean that it’s an experience that is inferior to any other.
I look back on my calendar and it’s crazy how each opportunity has fallen so perfectly into place. There is no way that I could have done this on my own. Day by day, I know that it is God who is taking care of me.
I struggled with feeling inadequate about my lack of a full-time job, but these past few months of freelancing have truly revealed God’s faithfulness in His provision.
When we’re in the midst of the sandstorm, it’s near impossible to see how God is providing for us in that very moment. Our limited human vision restricts us from seeing what happens in the future. Living by faith can be scary.
And sometimes that fear can cause us to forget that He has already provided all of us with the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ.
In His unfailing love and grace, God has redeemed us for eternity. Surely we can trust in Him who has given up His very own Son in order to save us sinners (Romans 8:32)! The world can only give us temporary material satisfaction. But the love of God through Jesus Christ is the same forever.
And not just forever – He loves me today.
I wish this was a success story, and that I could tell you I’ve finally made peace with God and found a full-time job. But it isn’t.
I still don’t know when the door to a full-time job will be opened. But till then, I know that I can cling onto His provision, for He knows exactly how much I need in each moment. He who promised is faithful indeed.