How Uncertainty Chose Me
27 Dec 2018. It was merely two days after Christmas when my boss broke the news to me: the company had not been doing well financially, was forced to downsize, and, as a result, had to let me go. As I was only five months into this role, I was in complete disbelief — it wasn’t supposed to play out like this.
24 Nov 2018. just about a month before this news, I got married and moved into my newly-purchased home.
01 June 2018. In the midst of hectic wedding preparations, I made the decision to leave a comfortable and stable job in the armed forces to pursue a career as a creative.
I knew what was coming: a significant pay cut, a home mortgage, as well as hefty wedding and renovation bills. In spite of these considerations, I felt that I had played my cards right and timed my career switch well enough, so as to minimise the risks involved.
Growing up in a family of accountants and coming from a background in the military, life has always been centred on making calculated risks. I was ever cognisant of the odds involved and how much uncertainty I was willing to stomach. This time however, uncertainty chose me, and I wasn’t quite ready for it.
Week after week, my job situation remained dire as ever. After two full months of searching and filling out many applications, I did not seem to be getting anywhere. Despite the constant encouragement from family and friends, I felt the anxiety and pressure mounting; with every new batch of applications, I fretted about my possible career options.
As responses were generally slow, I started making compromises in new applications. Maybe I should lower my expected salary? Maybe I should try a different role? Maybe a lesser known company would land me a job faster?
Through this trying time, I came to realise how God was using this period of uncertainty to reveal to me where I was truly placing my security in.
It is human to find comfort in certainty. We, human beings, crave for certainty because it is a “safety net” which assures us that everything is going to be all right. Each day, we strive towards certainty as a manner of securing our way of life — finances, career, or relationships.
In the past, even though I would say that I trust in God, deep down I already knew what my plans B and C were. Whenever I’m faced with a difficult situation, my mind will immediately find an alternative, like rerouting on Google Maps, thereby placing my faith in these plans rather than in God. When it came to looking for a job, with every closed opportunity, my mind raced to find two other possible doors to open.
During this time of waiting (or wasting time, in my perspective), I began to ponder: What if God wanted to hold me within a period of uncertainty? If so, would I still be certain about His goodness? I certainly hadn’t planned for such a sabbatical at this stage in life. In the face of anxiety and fatigue, I withheld putting my trust in God.
Soon enough, my body caved in as I fell ill with a fever that bound me in my bed for more than a week. Unwillingly, my job search came to a grinding halt. I felt defeated. I was crestfallen that I was unable to land a job and with how uncertain my career was turning out to be.
After all the wrestling, I sat at the feet of God one day, completely undone, and said, “Okay, I give up. I’ve exhausted all my options and I’m handing it over to you.” In retrospect, God was inviting me to a place of complete surrender — mentally, spiritually, and physically — before I could grasp what journeying with Him through uncertainty entails.
In our lives, we can often forget that the only certainty we should possess in life is found in God’s character, because what we build with our bare hands today might not last to see another day. I have since come to understand Matthew 6:30 in greater measure: “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
It is not wrong to desire for certainty, but this very certainty needs to be founded in Him and Him alone. Certainty in God gives us an unsurpassed peace and a daily grace that helps us overcome our worldly uncertainties one day at a time. It is only when we make that constant choice to fix our eyes on Him that makes us less vulnerable to the worries of life and builds our language of faith.
For me, I had to (re-)learn what it means to put my trust in God all over again. It felt as if I was learning to walk again. However, through this process, I have come to learn that placing my certainty in Him rather than in my own plans during such an uncertain time in my life was so refreshing. Each day, I felt a renewed sense of rhythm and grace. As I basked in the peace, I felt no need to constantly come up with a gameplan. The same worries did not have the same stronghold on me.
A week after my turning point of surrendering everything to God, it felt as if the floodgates of opportunity suddenly swung open. Interviews started to fill my calendar and offers came knocking on my door, much faster than I had expected. It immediately struck me that I had been foolish with my life — by not trusting wholly in God, my Provider.
My season of uncertainty pointed me back to the very One whom I can find my full certainty in. If you’re currently in a precarious life situation, be it your next job, financial instability, or an important decision you’ve got to make, may you find the courage and strength to surrender everything to God today. Fullness of life is certain in Him (John 10:10).