Tag Archives: prayer

A FISHBOWL & A HEAVY HEART

3 things that I’m thankful for:
A shoebox of my own in just under a week
An inspiring church that’s just a 10-minute walk away
A job interview

Yes, I took a leap of faith and upped and came to New Zealand, just as I’ve said that I probably would in my previous post. I’ve loved every moment of it since my arrival – the temperature (a steady 14 – 18 degrees), the sights and sounds, and just the convenience of moving about. Oh, and the public library!

But the real struggle is when you’re here on a mission, and not just for a vacation – the game changes. It’s been 17 days in to my little adventure but I am still trying to find that spot of calm, that peacefulness of knowing that ‘everything will be OK’. I knew it would be tough to attempt settling into a foreign environment, but I didn’t have a gauge on the extent of it until I embarked on a job hunt for a full-time position. It’s been tough. Sending out more than 10 applications only to hear back from just a couple sure leaves a dent in your self-confidence. But on the flip side, it has also reminded me of how blessed I’ve been for all these years. Back in Malaysia, I had jobs that were waiting for me. While I was in the midst of my college degree, I was referred to a small creative consultancy that did amazing works for one of the world’s largest shopping malls. I interned with them and eventually became a full-time hire. I worked there for seven years, and when I resigned, I immediately had something else to take on. I did not actually have to go through a job hunt.

So here I am now, actually experiencing what would be my first job hunt in 29 years of my life.

While the calm is taking a while to set in, I have made conscious effort to try things I otherwise would never even think of – applying for an assistant store manager role with kikki.K, for instance. Haha! Yes! I am very aware that I do not have the experience for that role, but what the heck, right? It could only go two ways – a. they won’t hire me, or b. they’d love my enthusiasm and train me for it. (ps: I’ll give an update to this if they reply me.) Also, I’m practising letting go of things and events that I really just have no control over – whatever happens after I hit the ‘Submit’ button on every application I send out. I’m almost a control freak, if not one already. I don’t like the feeling of not being in control of things be it my finances, schedules, or my future. And this leap to Hobbit Land has definitely stretched me in a lot of somewhat uncomfortable ways. But, I try.

I try to look on the bright side. I feel very grateful for everything I’ve achieved so far and know that other people have to struggle up much bigger hills than my own. But sometimes, gratitude and optimism can only get you so far. Gratitude and optimism can’t satisfy lingering doubts, or tell you what it all adds up to – or if it is meant to add up to anything at all. They don’t soothe the voice that keeps prodding and asking, “What are you doing? Do you think any of it really matters?

The voice wants answers, but I haven’t got any. I just keep going, ploughing ahead, and hoping to God I can pay my bills, while I watch the days and weeks flit past. These 17 days have sometimes felt like an exercise in contortion. They have sometimes felt like I have twisted and wrapped myself into strange shapes to continue on. Sometimes I have felt like I have become someone else entirely: the kind of person who doesn’t think about anything other than the achievement of goals, not their meaning. The kind of person who is committed and confident and sure. The kind of person who believes, intrinsically, in what they are doing. The kind of person who is not afraid.

When you go to bed after hours of being someone else, your head feels as full as a fishbowl and your shoulders feel as heavy as your heart. Instead of relaxing, you find yourself trying to reconcile the distance between who you think you are and who you need to become to get by. I have tried letting go. I have tried resigning every conceit I have about myself and just accepting that I need to become someone else for good. But every time I have tried to let go, I’ve found some small part of myself clinging determinedly to the remaining strands of who I imagine I am, or who I imagine I should be.

So I carry on and hope that, in the end, it all works out.

17 days in to this adventure have definitely done a very good job of pushing me out of my comfort zone, right into something I knew very little of. I’ve got a loooooong way ahead of me, and a lot of praying (and crying. Haha!) to do, so wish me luck and keep me in your prayers.

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WHAT WOULD YOU TRADE TO GAIN?

Young, happy and dead.

This is my friend, who would’ve been 27 this year if she were around. And just a couple days back, her mom dropped dead from a burst blood vessel in her head.

And there’s the usual wake, and the funeral that follow, and the eulogies, the appreciation speeches, the weeping and the coping with life after a death.

We take our lives for granted, and above all, the people in them. We live our lives as if we will always have a tomorrow to count on, an another day to live by. We are quick to forget that we live on borrowed time, and slow to remember that it is the people that matter, not the things and achievements.

I have always struggled with prayer, frankly. At times, I believe myself to be a church-going, principle-keeping, prayer-believing Christian. And more often than not, there are those other times that I am but a burnt-out, bored as hell, God-doubting Christian. But don’t get me wrong; I still do believe anyway, that all the goodness and greatness in my life cometh from above. It’s just that in a hideously frank manner, I have to admit to being just like every other scaredy cat out there that turns to God – whether or not they believe in Him – when I’m at my lowest, rock bottom moments. When things are spinning out of my control, when I want something bigger and better to happen, I know to pray. I am such a horrible Christian, really.

At one point in my life, my job was my priority and I was the sort that was so married to it that I had this nudging feeling at the back of my mind that if God decides to humble me, He could take away my job and I’d be more or less, dead. It was at this point that I was so blindly passionate about my job that I was ready to trade anything to keep it at its peak. I would actually pray, “God, please don’t take my job. Don’t humble me that way.”

And then I began to see things differently when Mr. Bentley came around. He’d whine about my work hours, and my constant checking of emails despite being away on a holiday with him. I learnt slowly to check my priorities and set them straight – doing my best to make time for us, for hanging out, for dessert dates and the occasional coffee round upstairs. But I regret not learning these things earlier, and learning to appreciate the time we had together a lot more than living my job as if it defined my life. It was too slow of a lesson learnt for me that I did still consider trading my relationship to keep my head in my job (we even argued about this once). Shame on me, honestly.

Now, I find myself praying that He doesn’t take away my relationship. I have asked for a million things in prayer when we’d argue back then, but now, I just want things to go back to how they were before – rough, tough but undeniably in love, and strong above all. Those were the best days of my life, I’d say. And they are on the verge of disappearing. It’s been years since I did this but out of desperation, I went on my knees last night praying, “God, please don’t take my relationship. Don’t humble me that way.” For all the confusion I’m putting Him through, God must hate me, if He did actually hate anyone at all.

It’s funny how the person who once made me realize how much time and effort I’m pouring into a job that’s temporary, is now drifting away from a permanent something I have come to build my world around. The change is too…sudden.

I now know what it’s like to be traded in gain of a career’s success, and I promise I will never make that mistake ever again. So really, the question is…in a life that’s fleeting, what would you trade to gain?

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