Written By Priscilla G., Singapore
Five years ago, I shared about the shock of being redeployed in my late 20s, and how God helped me secure another job within three weeks of being told of my redeployment.
By God’s grace, I’m still in that same job today, in the communications team of an agency that serves persons with disabilities. In the four years since I made the career switch from journalism, I was promoted, became part of my division’s core leadership team, and am now a supervisor to two staff whom I love.
But the transition to the new job wasn’t easy and took much longer than the three weeks it took to secure the job.
Struggling in transit
Reading the daily news triggered negative thoughts. I envied the journalists who got to write interesting stories and lamented the poorly written ones, thinking I could’ve done better.
Even a TV advertisement became a trigger. In the ad, an employee carries a cardboard box of items into his new office, but to me, the cardboard box represented shame. I recall seeing retrenched ex-colleagues walking across the large newsroom to the exit with cardboard boxes of their items.
Then there were the challenges of adjusting to a new job, moving out from my comfort zone to a new role and environment where many aspects were unfamiliar to me. For about six months, I wrestled with God:
God, how does this move work together for the good of those who love You (Romans 8:28)?
How is this a plan that will prosper me and give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)?
You say You are doing a new thing and ask me ‘Do you not perceive it?’ (Isaiah 43:19). I can tell this is new, but how is this a good thing?
How God helped me transition
1. Face the past and grieve well
Facing the past entailed looking at the wound instead of being in denial, honestly telling God that I fondly missed some aspects of my job, and being able to talk about it calmly to people when they ask. To grieve well, I had to be honest about the sadness and allow myself to feel it, trusting that God was listening to me and my feelings of sadness were being validated.
Writing my earlier testimony was one way that God helped me to face the past and see how he had allowed me to achieve various dreams in my previous job despite the redeployment.
Because the transition to the new job was so fast, I had moved quickly into the future without fully coming to terms with what had happened. So about two months after I started my new job, God showed me how He saved me from attempting suicide.
That day, after being told of my redeployment, I had gone to the office rooftop (which is easily accessible) to process the shocking news. There was a heavy downpour that evening, and I recall how it felt like the heavens were crying with me. In a moment of anger, I began to have suicidal thoughts, wanting to inflict guilt and leave an impression (and massive blood stain) that would remind people of the injustice and hurt they caused.
Months later, during a conversation with God, I thought back to that evening, all the tears I had shed, and how far I’ve come. And in that moment, God reminded me of how He saved me.
I sent your cell group leader to call you but you rejected her call as you weren’t in the mood to speak to anyone. The suicidal thoughts continued to run through your mind. Remember the other person who walked up to you to clarify something? That was not a coincidence. I had to send someone to physically walk up to you, so that you would have to respond to her, and your train of suicidal thoughts would be interrupted. I saved you.
I have not contemplated suicide again since then. To quote from the song Mercy Mercy, God helped to “arrest my heart from its reckless path”.
2. Don’t dwell on the past
I felt God leading me to fast from reading newspapers for a while. It’s like making adjustments to your diet when you’re unwell—in and of itself, some foods may not necessarily be unhealthy, but when you’re ill, avoiding them would help speed up the recovery.
I was dwelling on the past because I was brooding over what I could’ve had or how things should have turned out. For instance, after seeing a senior journalist’s profiling of a newsmaker I’d interviewed before, I felt aggrieved that people would think it was that journalist–not me–who first uncovered the interesting story. I also grumbled about the performance of the organisation, how it didn’t seem better off even after the restructuring exercise.
But God convicted me that I had no good reason to worry about a workplace that I was no longer a part of. Instead of dwelling on the past, I could choose to bloom in the new field that God planted me in and improve the welfare of my new workplace.
I began to focus on learning the ropes in the new workplace where God planted me. I learned to take difficulties in stride, and accepted that stumbling is part and parcel of learning how to walk through a new season.
3. Find hope for the future in God
In the months that I sought to understand His plans, He comforted me through three main sources: His Word, a Christian article, and a Christian song.
I held on to Psalm 32:8, which God spoke to me at a church service before I secured my current job. I believed that He would instruct, teach, and counsel me, not with a fault-finding eye, but with a “loving eye” on me.
God also led me to read an article about Ezekiel’s change of calling. After decades of being trained as a priest, he was called to be a prophet. His story assured me that people walking in God’s ways could also have a change of calling, and it could be a change for the better.
Then there was the song Defender (written by Steffany Gretzinger and sung by Francesca Battistelli). The lyrics from the bridge express how God saved this shipwreck of a heart when I was redeployed. After I lost such a significant aspect of my life—a job that I’d wanted since I was a teenager—God reintroduced me to His love. He “picked up all my pieces, put me back together”.
The song’s chorus became my anthem of victory over my redeployment. He saved me from dwelling in failures and shame, He saved me from hurting myself, and His ways are better than mine (Isaiah 55:9).
Seeing the bigger (and lovelier) picture
Today, I can say with confidence that I now see how the move to my current job is a good one.
At my previous workplace, after the restructuring that led to my redeployment, two more rounds of retrenchments followed.
Meanwhile, at my current workplace, my skill sets have expanded as my job looks into communicating stories via a wider variety of platforms. I have also picked up more people and project management skills, which are useful in ministry work and in future jobs as well.
I also became a supervisor two years ago. Coaching and mentoring people is one of my favourite parts of the job. I find it similar to discipling someone, only it’s in the workplace setting. I believe this appointment is God’s answer to my prayers made years ago.
Meanwhile, wounds of the past don’t sting anymore. Watching that TV ad of an employee who got retrenched, visits to my former office, and reading the daily news no longer trigger negative thoughts of the past.
Do you feel unfairly treated or wrongly accused? Know that God is just: He will repay with affliction those who afflict you and grant relief to you who are afflicted (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7).
Are you thinking of changing jobs, or wondering why He took you out of a workplace you loved? Seek His will and His ways. Remind yourself of what His Word says about Him: His goodness, His wisdom of knowing the beginning and the end, His unfailing love for us.
Change is a constant, but so is Jesus’s character (Hebrews 13:8).