Many people believe that success is the ultimate goal in life. Success, then, is often measured by things like material possessions, status and popularity.

With these standards in mind, some Christians struggle with the question of whether to follow God’s calling, especially when it seems to lead them on a path that is not considered conventional or one that may not lead to success by the world’s standards.

That’s why we wanted to showcase stories of believers who choose to trust and follow God’s plan even when it didn’t make sense to the world, and who found immeasurable rewards along the way.

In this article, we’ll hear from three such individuals who took an unconventional path to live out God’s calling for their lives:

SAMUEL: a recent graduate of NUS Business School, currently launching his mentorship movement, FaithX

I attribute a significant portion of my growth to The Boys’ Brigade.

When I was in Secondary Two, my officer offered to mentor me. I didn’t know what mentoring meant then.

He asked my friend and I to meet every week to learn leadership from a Christian leadership book.

I was given projects to practice leadership skills, given a sandbox to try and fail, and I had many father figures to look up to.

When I entered JC, I had another mentor who refined my programme planning and execution. He also spent each week teaching me to play the guitar.

When I entered the National University of Singapore (NUS), I was in the midst of doing campus ministry when a pastor I knew decided to mentor me. In that season, I learnt about pioneering movements.

Looking back at my life, every mentor that God placed in my life created a season of exponential growth. I gained wisdom I never knew I could ask for, and I have security knowing that my mentors love me deeply.

This made me form a conviction that everyone needs a mentor.

In the brown tee: Samuel

However, I soon realised that my life was an anomaly of sorts.

During campus ministry, we invited our graduated seniors to share their experiences with us.

However, I was saddened to hear some of my friends’ stories: some felt meaninglessness, were disappointed by failure and misplaced expectations and had even lost their connection with God when work overwhelmed them.

Most of my friends have never had mentors. For them, overcoming challenges and transitions in life felt like groping around in the dark.

That was when I decided to take action.

I created a Google form for my friends in campus ministry to sign up if they wanted a mentor in their transition to the workplace.

I was surprised when I had fifty three sign ups, even from people beyond the fellowship. And that was the start of FaithX.

I took a gap year in university to start the mentoring movement.

Being calculative and hesitant, I told myself that I forfeited approximately $4,000 x 12 months of salary, not including delayed progression, bonus and accrued investments.

Money meant the world to me as I was not from a well-to-do family. Money meant opportunities — I only took the plane for the first time in JC2 through my own savings.

Following God came at a cost that I couldn’t understand, but God blessed me in ways I never knew I needed.

If I had taken the linear route of doing an internship during my gap year, I would not need much faith. I just needed to flow with the system.

Stepping out during my gap year to pioneer something meant I had to be more in tune with the Holy Spirit than ever.

I could do anything or nothing with my time, and nobody would breathe down my neck for KPIs.

But now I need to be self-driven, seek the right advice and meet my own targets.

Freedom can be scary once you find it.

God has given each of you a calling. Go pursue it with all your might.

It is easy to stick by the conventional definitions of success. However, that is not God’s definition of success. Even in a conventional job, God has unconventional assignments for you.

Live your ordinary life in an extraordinary way.

If you want to walk on water, you must first get out of the boat.

DENNIS: helps students build resilience, wholesome habits and provides life coaching as a full-time job

I’ll say that I’m only where I am now because of God’s goodness and grace. Since I was a child, I have had a difficult life.

My father abandoned me and my mum when I was three years old, and my mum needed to work most of the time to put food on the table.

I had always craved and sought affection. It was only when I came to know God that I realised that what I really lacked was a father’s love.

I was introduced to church at an early age, but never fully experienced God there or in life. At the age of 10, I completely stopped attending church.

The rented apartment that the government was supposed to give us wasn’t ready, so we ended up staying in the trash and gathering leftover food to eat.

Eventually, I lost interest in studying and saw a decline in my academic performance.

I started to hang out with the wrong crowd/toxic people and engage in all kinds of foolish activities.

I completed eight years of primary school without a PSLE certificate.

Afterwards, I went straight to VITB(ITE). My time at ITE was a total of six years.

Having had a difficult childhood himself, Dennis is serving the next generation to help them avoid his mistakes and thrive in life.

At the age of 13, my mother became unemployed, leading her to become a rag-and-bone person.

The rented apartment that the government was supposed to give us wasn’t ready, so we ended up staying in the trash and gathering leftover food to eat.

I often wondered where God was and questioned my terrible circumstances, especially when I saw that others around me were living happily and effortlessly obtaining their needs and goals.

I wanted to end my life when I was 21 because I felt that life had no purpose.

But that was when I encountered God and had an experience with Him. To be more precise, I had a conversation with Him.

Any questions I had that had never been answered were all answered at that moment.

Reading the Bible began to make sense where it had before been futile and meaningless.

Unbelievably, that was just the start of God’s work.

Never in my entire life would I have imagined that at the age of 34, I would earn a degree. For a long time, I believed that the best I could hope for was a diploma — and I was content with that.

The road I took with God is undoubtedly not one that is simple and trouble-free. Redemption must occur, and in order to become who I am, I had to seek forgiveness, lay down my rights, die to self and walk in faith and trust that He will deliver on His promises.

With the history that I had with God, I sought a change that eventually led me to work with youngsters in ITE.

If you have yet to identify your life’s purpose or aim, that’s okay. Just keep traveling down the road and journey on, you will discover it ultimately. God will show you the way if you are willing to seek Him.

PEH MUAY: Working in HR for Cru, also runs coaching course based on biblical principles. Part-time student at Singapore Bible College

Knowing God is the wisest counsellor and has my best interests at heart, I seek the Lord’s guidance in my decision-making.

During my final year in NUS, I had a lot of questions in my head regarding future pathways.

I pondered about whether I should continue my research and pursue my master’s, become an engineer or a teacher.

So, I sought the Lord’s guidance.

Eventually, the Lord revealed to me that His choice for me was full-time ministry — something which had not been on my radar.

He knew all the reasons I had in my mind and heart why I did not consider full-time ministry without me voicing them out.

I thought full-time ministry wasn’t an appropriate choice for me as I was an introvert.

I knew that each day in ministry would be filled with people; the thought of interacting with them constantly was overwhelming for me.

“It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

At that point in time, I was studying the book of Mark in my quiet time.

I felt the Lord say to me then: “What does it profit a man to gain the world but lose his own soul?”

I told God then: “I know that the soul of man is more important than anything else in this world.”

My mother was also a non-believer back then.

As such, I told God that I could do ministry full-time, but let me delay it by five years so that my mother wouldn’t think I had been brainwashed or was joining a cult group.

I wanted to work as an engineer or teacher for five years so that I could make her happy. I wanted to let her know that I was making use of my degree before going into full-time ministry, in the hope that would make her feel less disappointed.

But then, I felt the Lord speak to me: “Peh Muay, do you think it’s easier for her to accept your full-time ministry call after you work for five years? It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

“Isn’t it easier for you to enter full-time ministry right now when you have no pay at all than when you have higher pay five years later and have to give it all up to become low? The call is now.”

That was how the Lord asked me to come and join the harvest field upon my graduation.

In time, the Lord led me to the garden of Gethsemane in the book of Mark.

It dawned upon me that Jesus reminded the Father that everything is possible for Him: “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Jesus modelled surrender for me because that is the price that we must pay to truly follow God.

It struck me that even as Jesus was asking the Father if He could provide a way for Him to avoid the cross within the domain of His will and purpose — Jesus’ desire was still for the Father’s will.

For the Father’s highest. For the Father’s desire. Only if Jesus’ request was within the scope of his Father’s intention did He want it answered.

I went to my garden of Gethsemane and made a prayer similar to Jesus. I said it three times and the Father didn’t change His mind.

That was 30 years ago.

As I mentioned before, I am an introvert. Even today, my fun time involves me playing with a Rubik’s cube or doing a Sudoku puzzle alone.

When I entered full-time ministry, the Lord gave me strength to lead not only one but a few Bible study groups, mission trip teams and to interact with people 80% of the time.

I remember something someone once told me: in the word ability there is no “availability”, but in the word availability there is “ability”. Be available and God will provide the ability.

… in the word ability there is no “availability”, but in the word availability there is “ability”. Be available and God will provide the ability.

My then boyfriend and I also had a common understanding at the time that if he did not was not called to missions, we would part ways as I could not be going to the mission field alone as a married woman.

That is why many lady missionaries stay single. And when I found that my commitment to the call was wavering, we agreed to take a half-year break.

But God took care of us. Today, he is my husband and the father of my three daughters.

Peh Muay with her husband, Hock Chye. The couple are both serving in Cru.

If you make time to seek God through His Word and trust His leading and promises, He will bring to past all your struggles and glorify Himself through you, but only if you seek and obey Him.

Don’t run ahead, walk with Him.

Don’t lose your own soul

The decision to follow God’s calling can be a challenging one, especially if it looks like our obedience will not lead to worldly success.

However, these three stories remind us that the journey towards our calling may not be easy, but is immeasurably worth it:

  • Dennis reminds us to keep on keeping on, and that God will show us the way if we seek Him
  • Samuel encourages us to pursue our calling with all our might, even if it means stepping out of our comfort zones
  • Peh Muay assures us that seeking God through His word and trusting His leading will bring us through struggles and glorify Him through our lives

If you found these stories and insights beneficial: Dennis, Samuel and Peh Muay will be speaking at our upcoming Youth Night on personal calling.

Come ready to ask your questions on dreams and destiny, and join us this Thursday night from 7:15pm at Chapel of the Resurrection!