Hello! I’m blogging from an island right now. It’s a nice change from the city, with a gorgeous view of the sea from my window. I worked the whole weekend at a property exhibition and I must say that I feel really, really blessed to be here.
There’s something so calming about watching the waves crash against the rocks beneath me, knowing that I’ll never tire of this view nor will I be bothered by the commotion of the surface, no matter how rough the waves might get. It’s never too intense nor too wild. It’s just the perfect shade of bliss.
I haven’t blogged my heart out in a while. Most of the time, I write about things that cross my mind, places I’ve been to, things/people that inspire me, and so forth. But today, I’ve decided to go a little deeper.
A few weeks ago, I was feeling extremely overwhelmed with all the changes and uncertainty that was suddenly happening in my life. I felt like I was being dragged along on a nocturnal current without a safety vest, and before I even had time to process what was happening, I was drowning in a sea of doubts. (Oh, and please excuse my metaphors. My environment influences my writing, and being near the sea has definitely taken a toll.)
Sometimes, I fear that I’m not doing enough — career-wise. Yes, I’m stuck in a career limbo again. I’m surrounded by successful, ambitious friends who are so good at what they do, and suddenly I’m questioning myself all over again. Lately I’ve been asking God if this is really where I’m meant to be.
I’ve been praying about whether I should stay on in Malaysia or move to Singapore. Ever since I returned from the States last year, my family’s been urging me to apply to Singapore, simply because the job perks are way better there. Everyone knows the Malaysian ringgit can’t rival the Singapore dollar. Unless you’re a big-time editor or a head-hunted copywriter, writers generally don’t get paid much. In an industry bursting with thousands of talents, competition is stiff, and with that said, it’s a universally known fact that writers don’t make a lot of money.
But I didn’t go to journalism school to be rich. I chose journalism because I love writing, and I knew that journalism would grant me the opportunity to grow both my writing and people skills. I knew I’d be forced out of my comfort zone to interview strangers, ask tons of questions about their personal and professional lives, and risk being rejected in the face (it’s happened several times before, but it’s all part of the learning process). I knew it was going to be uncomfortable, especially with a gazillion deadlines breathing down my neck at 3AM — during which I’ve lost countless nights of sleep and ran on caffeine just to make it through the day — but I made it. And I wouldn’t mind doing it all over again.
So when my family encouraged me to apply to Singapore, I sent in a couple of applications last year to appease them. Did I really want to move there? At that point in time, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t think I was ready. I’d spent 3.5 years living in the States and now that I was finally home with my loved ones, I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of moving away so quickly. I wanted more time with them.
I prayed and God opened a door — a Christian magazine! It seemed like the perfect idea. I was able to do what I love for the One I love. I put the work-in-Singapore idea on hold for months, until my company hit a huge financial roadblock during the year, which affected my salary. I wasn’t the only one — a lot of my coworkers were struggling with the salary shortage as well, but we pressed on. I prayed, and God continued to open other opportunities for me in photography. That is why I consider every photography gig a blessing from Him, because He was the one who drew in the clients — I barely knew these people, and they were approaching me for photoshoots. That’s a testimony right there!
There came a time when I was literally depending on photoshoots to survive. My friends would say, “Carissa, you haven’t been paid in four months?! How are you not broke yet?”
And I’d smile and say, “I don’t know, guys. But it’s all God.”
As cheesy as it sounds, it’s the truth. I couldn’t have done it without His favors. Despite my unstable income at my full-time job, I was never in any lack. Of course I had to limit my outings and food cravings, but God still saw me through each month. I was still able to tithe, and I was still able to save.
Two years ago, I would be scouring the internet for the hottest, biggest journalism industries to break into. It was always about what I wanted, or what I thought was best for myself. My prayers were always, “God, please help me get into Conde Nast.” or “God, please favor my application with Elle Magazine.” I was constantly gunning down the powerhouses of the journalism/fashion industry that I never bothered to ask if that was what God wanted for me. So late last year, I changed my prayer to: “God, what do You want for me? Let Your will be done. Not mine, but Yours.”
We can plan big things for ourselves, but when we learn to surrender those dreams into the hands of our Creator, He will amaze us with His plans, because they’re far bigger and better than what we can plan for ourselves.
I don’t think that joining this company was a mistake. Yes, we’re facing a hard time right now and the fate of our company will soon be determined in the upcoming meeting — but I have no regrets. I’ve learned so much and met some really amazing people that I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t accepted this job. I’m thankful for everything I’ve learned and experienced, and I think that’s the best takeaway from this. Because through this, I’ve been able to experience God’s grace and mercy in ways that I’ve never experienced before.
The reason I didn’t throw in a resignation letter is because I actually enjoy my job. I still do. But if it’s time to embrace a new season elsewhere, I’ll go. It’s just a matter of when and where. Whatever the outcome, I trust that He knows best.
If you’re going through a similar season, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂