Culture

The circuit breaker that reset my plans but saved my life

Lisa Haryono // July 20, 2020, 6:13 pm

QUITTING JOB DURING CB

Growing up, I always had an inclination for music. My mum would encourage me to sign up for music classes and music-related extracurricular activities.

So naturally, when opportunities came, be it in school or outside in the years after, I took them on. And in 2012, I started out in the local music scene gigging part-time.

I would have loved to have gone full-time in music earlier but was unable to because I had to take on some financial responsibilities for my family. With me and my sister studying in Singapore, my parents in Indonesia had struggled to finance our education through the years.

Photos courtesy of Lisa Haryono. Lisa playing in a junior ensemble in primary school.

By God’s providence and grace, I was able to find a stable job straight out of poly, where I stayed for the next 5 years.

I pursued many music collaborations and projects on top of work until recently, in February 2020, I took the leap of faith and quit my job to do music full-time. 

Friends who knew of my decision were supportive, although they did warn that path would not be an easy one. How bad could it be? I thought to myself then. Finally going all out to pursue my dream was liberating and I was very happy. 

However, 3 weeks after I quit my job, all live entertainment establishments were closed and for the past few months, I have not been able to do live gigs like I used to.

And it has been tougher than I ever imagined.

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With all my gigs cancelled, I was worried about paying rent and sustaining myself until I could resume working.

Thankfully, family members and friends immediately reached out to encourage me. They reminded me that this is the perfect time to evaluate my life: my relationship with God, family, friends, and even with myself.

True enough, because of the circuit breaker, God began to surface issues that I had previously swept under the rug for many years. Issues of burnout, a lack in confidence and even a sense of unworthiness.

I had encountered those feelings in the past from time to time, but I always had work and project deadlines, making it easier to distract myself from them and move on.

So when the circuit breaker started and I was left with so much time yet so little to do, I was forced to confront these feelings head-on. It was overwhelming. 

#StayHome and stay sane

While I took the time to process and recover, my mind still often spiralled into self-blame and I would chastise myself for “wasting my time being emotional” or that I was “not making the best of the circuit breaker”.

There were times where I would stay in bed for days on end, ignoring my phone, unable to fire myself up and feeling more alone than ever.  And whenever I wound up in that state, it was like being stuck in a vicious cycle of feeling useless and beating myself up about it. 

But as I shifted my focus to all the good things that God has done for me over the years, I was suddenly overwhelmed with peace and reassurance that He had not forsaken me then and neither will He forsake me now, regardless of my brokenness, my mistakes or pain.

The circuit breaker broke me

I believe that it was a divine opportunity that the circuit breaker started the moment I left my job so that I would have time to work on the deeper issues that I had previously ignored.

In fact, one of the prophecies I

received when I decided to quit my job was of a blazing phoenix shedding its feathers.

The person who was praying for me told me that what lay ahead of me as I quit was going to be a process of refining and shedding of things from the past, and it was not going to be easy.

But, that person also said, I will come to choose simplicity and God will fulfill my dreams.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Haryono. Lisa (right) and her sister (left) at Esplanade Outdoor Theatre for a singalong show in December 2019.

I still don’t really know why there’s been such a strong desire in my heart towards music and how it has led me here. I may face struggles in the upward journey, but I remind myself of God’s promises of peace. He is teaching me to trust Him no matter the situation I’m in.

I believe I am right where I’m supposed to be. So I say this every day: God is in control.

I am reminded to be kinder and more gentle with myself as a reflection of God’s unending grace and love towards me.

I do hope that with the exposure I get from being part of the music industry, my music will one day be a tool to reach out and share this reminder for hope, that not only are we never alone but God is in control of our lives.

Through this downtime, I have learnt that it though takes time to bounce back and the process is never easy, I can take comfort in God’s warm and non-judgmental embrace. I am reminded to be kinder and more gentle with myself as a reflection of God’s unending grace and love towards me.

There will always be highs and lows in life, but I’m learning to give thanks and glory to God as I celebrate the high points, just as I choose to remove the yoke of self-blame and judgment during the low points.

Only then can I fully understand God’s love that restores.

Lisa’s story and song premiered on episode 2 of “By The Fireplace”. Hosted by Fireplace Worship, you can listen to more musicians like her share and sing on weekly Wednesday episodes at 9pm over InstagramFacebook or YouTube.

For more stories from “By The Fireplace”, check this one out:

Caught between the States and Singapore, I finally found my identity in something higher

THINK + TALK

  1. How did the circuit breaker disrupt your plans? How did you feel about it?
  2. What were some life-giving lessons that resulted from the downtime you faced?
  3. Moving forward, how are you facing life differently in the wake of the circuit breaker?
  4. How can you trust God for the next disruption that might come your way?