In Singapore, getting a scholarship is seen as the thing. Sometimes, it may be seen as the only thing.

Winning a coveted scholarship seemed to be the surefire way to security, prestige and a comfortable life.

Or so I thought.

When I signed the scholarship deed as a 21-year-old, I signed up for security.

I didn’t want to think about having to look for a job. I didn’t want to think about having to be promoted, because I thought I would be on the fast track.

I didn’t want to think about having to make more career decisions, because signing a scholarship with a 6-year bond meant that my life was sorted till I was 30.

Or so I thought.

Then the day came when I graduated from university.

Armed with a first-class honours degree and credentials as an “overseas scholar”, I thought I was oh-so great.

Sure enough, I got interviews. And I got offers.

52 applications and 13 failed interviews later, I’m still looking for a job.

Just two years later, however, when I had to look for another job, it was different.

52 applications and 13 failed interviews later, I’m still looking for a job.

Yes, I’m the one who sits by my email – that pesky person HR hates who keeps asking for updates or feedback for if I was rejected.

What gives you security?

As I reflected on 2021, there was a deep knot in my throat.

I felt like I was wasting time sitting at home, without a job.

That was when it suddenly struck me: Where did my security lie?

Was it in my job? In my title? In the work that I did? If all of that was stripped away, did that mean I was a nobody?

I left my job in October without any offer lined up. It was a step into the unknown. I want to be spiritual and say that I sought God about leaving, but I didn’t.

I just thought I knew better.

Despite this, God provided a steady stream of freelance work. It wasn’t in the thousands, but it was enough.

Security means different things to people. For me, it was about coming up with fancy Excel sheets, calculating my assets, my reserves and how long they could last.

Seeing God provide for me was my first lesson in security — knowing that He is enough. It got me wondering: What if God was the only security I needed?

Still, the truth is that most mornings I am seized with worry about what to do with my life. Or when I’m going to get a job.

In those times, I sit down and write a gratitude journal. I take time to affirm myself.

Fear led me to come up with my own sure-fire plan for security — a 6-year bond — but I discovered God had other plans.

I don’t know the whole path of this plan, only the next step. But I’m taking each step with God.

Where is your identity?

If everything was taken from you today, who would you be? Without a job, without work, without a salary — who are you at your core?

The past two months have been a painful exploration of who I am without my job.

When I saw my salary disappear, I stopped being able to hide behind the personal development courses and books I bought to show off to others.

Indeed, my security and basis for identity were taken away. I have been humbled greatly.

But I am learning that grief can lead to growth.

Pain can come before possibilities.

And I know that because I have God, this painful experience will produce character.

He alone gives me the strength to rejoice like Habakkuk each day:

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

  1. What does security mean to you?
  2. Where do you derive your identity from?
  3. Are these sources of security and identity shakeable? Can they be taken from you?
  4. What are some promises God has given us in His Word about security and identity?
  5. How can these Scriptures transform the way you live? Start today.