• The Cookie Cutter Life
  • The Cookie Cutter Life

Being successful in the career of my choice was something I strived for in my early 20s.

When the opportunity came for me to be a professional soldier, I dived right in with enthusiasm and was affirmed by my employers that the role was the right fit for me and that I had performed exceedingly well—with awards to show for it. It was a promising start, and I was filled with confidence that I had landed myself my dream job.

But all that lasted for a grand total of six months. At the most pivotal phase of my newfound career, my prospects of a bright future came to an abrupt and painful end due to an accident at the workplace. I was devastated. I remember going through weeks of feeling lost, not knowing what I should do next with my life.

After some time, through the counsel of trusted friends and family, I decided to put the painful job experience behind me and to delve into a new area of work in an unrelated field: teaching. Though this was a career path that I had not originally intended on, I began to enjoy the scope of work and was affirmed by colleagues and bosses of the value I brought to the team and organization over time.

But four years into that job, I faced another setback which resulted in my exit from the industry. By that stage, I felt like God was playing a practical joke on me, and that my desire for a successful career was unimportant to Him.

Tired of chasing the career of my choice and having multiple doors slammed in my face, I told God that for once in my life, I wasn’t going to go with what I wanted but will follow after His leading. A job offer that I had never considered before and one where my academic qualifications and skills were not relevant came to me and I begrudgingly accepted the offer. In an unexpected twist of events, I spent the next eight years in full-time Christian ministry. I’ve found it to be one of the most enriching and fulfilling experiences of my career.

In retrospect, the last job I landed after a series of disappointments chasing my own dreams was what I needed in order to see that I had omitted God from my career-planning process and my future. God had a different definition of success as well as outcome for my life. Isaiah 55:8-10 reminds me that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than mine, and If I truly want a life that reflects God’s presence in my life, it needs to be met with the acceptance that my plans might not be the same as God’s plans for me.

Looking back, I can now clearly see God’s leading in that decision and the important lessons He needed me to learn in that time. In fact, the experiences gained from the first two “failed” attempts at securing a career of my choice proved beneficial in my work in later years.

It is assuring to know that where God leads, He makes no mistakes. We can trust His thoughts and plans over our own (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Artwork by YMI X Estelle Quek (@morethanworks)

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