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Why I Quit My Full-Time Job

Two years ago, God called my husband and I to take a year off work to spend time seeking Him.

We had just completed our sixth year of work. So I quit my job while my husband took no pay leave. And from May 2015 to May 2016, we attended a discipleship course in church, volunteered our time at various church ministries, and visited different individuals. It was a full 12 months of doing things for God, which many people would probably consider a “fruitful” and “meaningful” use of time.

Fast forward to 12 months later. My husband went back to secular work as called by the Lord. I, on the other hand, didn’t feel God prompting me to go back to full-time secular work, so I embarked on what many people would call a very “different” journey. I know some would view how I spent my past year as a “waste of time”, but, as I’ve learned over the year, the definition of “fruitfulness” differs for everyone.

You see, over the past 11 months, I have been working part-time in an administrative role. And because I am working part-time, my monthly salary is a fraction of what I used to earn.

On top of that, I no longer qualify for employee benefits like allowances, annual leave, and medical leave. Things that I could once easily afford are now luxury items that I need to carefully consider whether to purchase. So why did I choose this path? you might ask.

I’ve asked myself the same question. Why did I leave a full-time job to take on something part-time which does not pay me enough to feed myself? (Note: my husband has been supporting me by co-paying for my expenses.)

Truth be told, I felt rather aimless the first few weeks. Apart from working three half-days per week, I stayed at home and did some household chores. With so much time on my hands, I started to do what I enjoyed doing: I read the Bible and played worship songs on the guitar and the keyboard.

The thing is, I don’t have much training in music. So, in the beginning, I struggled to figure out the chords, play them according to the timing, and sing at the same time. After some months, however, I realized that my fingers were moving pretty much on their own without me having to try to follow the score or timing. They were moving to random melodies—which, surprisingly, actually made musical sense to my ears. That triggered my interest in writing simple worship songs for the Lord.

It wasn’t always smooth-sailing, of course. But on occasions when the melodies just flowed, I felt as though I was directly downloading the tunes from God. Once, as I played one of the tunes and sang the lyrics that God gave me, I felt myself being ministered to by the Lord himself; tears kept rolling down my cheeks and I just couldn’t stop.

In that song, I was reminded of the truth that no one compares to God, for He is God most high: He is our God, our Lord, our strength, and our King. He is sovereign and is worthy of our worship. And there is nowhere else we would rather be than to be in the presence of His Glory.

At that moment, I realized that perhaps this was exactly what God was calling me to do: to take time to worship Him. And though it may not seem that big of a deal to others, I knew it was a fruitful use of my time.

In all honesty, I wished I had more “song downloads” from God over the past few months. At the same time, I am reminded of the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Both the servant who was given five talents and came back with another five, and the servant who was given two talents and came back with another two, received the same response from their Master, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23)

Through these 11 months, I’ve come to realize in a very personal way that fruitfulness is not always measured by what we reap materially. It does not mean making the most money. It does not mean gaining the best reputation. It does not mean gaining power in the corporate world or climbing the corporate ladder. It does not mean being fashionable or always having new clothes and accessories to wear and gadgets to hold. It does not mean eating at the best restaurants or knowing when or where the next Michelin Star restaurant is opening at.

Fruitfulness is doing what God wants you to do. And it’s not even about quantity or quality—it’s about our heart. (Matthew 5:8)

It’s hard being the oddball. It’s hard having no full-time job. It’s hard earning so little. It’s hard saying no to friends and sometimes even family. It’s hard not following common paths. It’s hard resisting the world. But it’s even harder to live a life without God. (Matthew 7:13-14)

My dear friends, I may not know you personally or know what you’re going through right now. But I do know that God has a perfect plan for you to be abundantly fruitful, according to His ways and His will.

The Time I Hurt My Husband Deeply

My husband and I had a huge argument some nights ago. It was about my pride and unwillingness to see my own faults. He was so hurt that he went straight to bed after his shower. For the first time in the six years we had been together, he had not insisted we resolve our argument first before the day ended.

Truth be told, many unpleasant thoughts came to my mind while I was taking my shower that night. Those thoughts assured me that I was right and had done no wrong. In fact, my self-righteousness even led me to believe that my husband was in the wrong and that I ought to forgive him when he apologized to me—because that’s what Christians do.

But when I came out of the shower and saw him already in bed, my initial readiness to forgive him vanished immediately. I started boiling inside. “How can he go to bed without talking to me?” I thought to myself. “Does he not care about us anymore?” As I went about my usual bedtime routine—drying my hair and closing the windows—my mind was filled with all the faults he had committed.

I switched off the lights, sat on the bed, turned to my husband and looked at him. All of a sudden, I felt a wave of sadness wash over me. For the first time, I realized the hurt that I had caused him. What had I done to the man that God had chosen and blessed me with? Where was the godly wife that God had called me to be?

I started to pray. I asked God to remove my pride and self-righteousness so that I could see my sins clearly. I asked Him to guide me away from all my sinful ways and to make me more like Jesus.

When I woke up the next morning, my husband didn’t say a word to me. Again, this was a first in our relationship. I found myself trying to break the ice. As I got him to start talking, I realized the deep hurt I had caused him. There was no way I could justify myself to him.

I had run out of moves; I was desperate. So I did the only thing I could think of: I asked if he would pray with me. He prayed a very short prayer, which showed how exhausted he had been from the argument. I prayed after, confessing my faults before God and my husband, asking God to change my ways and make me a better person.

I thank God for always being faithful and merciful towards us. He immediately softened my husband’s attitude towards me and we shared a long hug before he left for work. I was relieved to see his beautiful smile and loving eyes once again.

After he had left for work, I reflected on all that had happened. It brought me to this realization: It is good, and it is right to pray—especially in such situations. And an effective prayer is one where we come before God and repent of our sins, not one where we ask God to change the situation or the other person. Also, we need to pray for each other and confess our sins to one another so that we may be healed (James 5:16).

As a human, I know that I will sin again. But I also know now that when that happens, my first response ought to be this: to confess my sins before God and to others. 1 John 1:9-10 says, “For if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

This is the hardest article I have ever written. After all, it does seem “disgraceful” to tell others of our sins—what more to have it down in black and white as a permanent record. But what’s even more disgraceful is this: not to give God the full glory when He—and He alone—truly deserves it. God had prompted me to share my experience, which I hope will encourage you in your own relationships, whether it is with your parents, children, friends, or even colleagues. To God be all glory!

God Provided . . . So I Could Tithe

Tithing: the practice of giving 10 percent of one’s income to the Lord.

“Tithing” is a sensitive word, especially to someone like me, who has been unemployed for almost 10 months. When I had the opportunity to work ad hoc for just a few hours some months ago, the $210 I earned was precious. It wasn’t much, but at the back of my mind, I knew that I still had to set aside some of it as a tithe.

But there were other needs to consider. My husband and I had been trying for a baby for almost three years, and after much discussion and prayer, we decided to use the few hundred dollars I had earned to seek medical help. I was prescribed three weeks of supplements to boost my health, and the medicine cost $135.

A week later, while walking in a shopping mall, I spotted a backpack that was just right for my size. After much consideration and with my husband’s support, I decided to purchase the bag. It was a tough decision as the bag cost $54, a hefty sum for an unemployed couple. (Both my husband and I were taking a year of rest, as prompted by the Lord.)

Later in the week, while I was in the shower, I was reminded of how our Lord always provided exactly what we need. My mind drifted back to my earnings and I decided to calculate my expenses over the past two weeks, as well as the tithes that I should give. It was then that I realized that all the numbers fell into place: the medication and bag came to a total of $189, which left me with $21—the exact amount I needed for tithes!

As I stepped out of the shower, I couldn’t stop thanking the Lord aloud for His abundant provision and His great love for me. The Lord had not only provided me enough to seek medical treatment and purchase a backpack I needed, but He also provided me enough to give back to Him.

Indeed, in all things, God will be glorified. And I am just thankful to be blessed by Him.

 

When I was Blessed to be Sick

Recently, I was blessed to be down for a few days with a bad flu, sore throat, and fever.

Yes, you read it right. I was blessed and I thank God to have been down for those few days.

Please don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t thankful to be sick so I could escape work. In fact, I’ve been unemployed for nine months now. Being sick meant that I had to miss a reunion dinner which I had been looking forward to, with a group of elderly folks whom my husband and I had befriended six months ago. Due to the viral attack, I also had to be absent from my church’s monthly prayer and praise session, which I really wanted to attend as it was the first one for the year.

During those few days, I felt physically drained, and my muscles, joints, throat, head, and back ached badly, making sleeping an arduous affair. As I couldn’t lie down flat, I could only slouch in my couch, tossing and turning every so often to alleviate the aches. There was so much to complain about and nothing to be thankful for. Or was there?

Because of the headache, I wasn’t in the mood to watch television, nor was I in the frame of mind to read a book. The only thing I could do was close my eyes . . . and spend time with God.

The moment I did that, my mind drifted back to the last time I spent time with God. Sure, I pray daily, worship often, read the Bible, attend church, am active in a ministry, and attend cell group meetings. But when was the last time I really spent time with God? That was a very long time ago.

As I lay on my couch, God eased some of the pain, and I felt a sense of stillness and warmth surround me. It was as if someone was hugging me. I thought about what God had told me some months back—to be a “runner” for Him and bring His wandering sheep back to Him. I was also reminded of my duty as a wife, created to be my husband’s helper. God brought to mind the times when my husband had to complete certain tasks on his own because I had failed to help and support him. Deeply convicted, I repented and asked the Lord to teach me and give me the wisdom to be a godly wife.

It’s been only a few days since I’ve recovered, but I now see the kitchen as my new God-assigned office and my household as my field. Things which I once saw as daily tasks are now God-given tasks to me. In the days ahead, I also plan to meet people God had brought to my mind during my quiet time with Him. My eyes have been opened because I had been sick and had spent time with the Lord.

Now, ‭‭I wake up every day with a new awareness that in order to perform my God-given tasks and bear fruit, I need to abide in the Lord. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (‭‭John‬ ‭15:5‭‬‬‬‬‬). ‬‬‬‬To abide in Him, I need to know Him. And to know Him, I need to spend time with Him. ‬‬‬‬‬‬

I pray that you too will join me in spending time with the Lord.