I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write for this week’s post, and after a few attempts at different topics I decided that I wanted to share a testimony about my plans for the next year. It doesn’t particularly relate to a specific topic in architecture, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about.
For those of you who don’t know, I had a major antsy/panic period between late March to the middle of May because… well, I didn’t know what I would be doing for the next year or whether I will actually have something to do next year. In February I had finally compiled a portfolio and sent it to several architecture firms in the hopes of getting a position as an intern or a junior architect. I had asked graduate students, an alumnus, and a professional for help with everything, and I thought that the final product was decent enough to get me a starting position at a firm.
But as one rejection turned to two, and two to many more, I became worried. I looked up jobs on job search engines and applied to whatever I qualified for; I even considered applying for a company and a position that I had never thought of and was never really interested in. I began grasping at whatever I could, becoming increasingly desperate each time a new rejection popped up in my email.
As the number of closed doors grew, I began to regret decisions that I made and didn’t make. A big one was applying for graduate school. I blamed myself for not having applied this year, as it would have saved me from all this unrest and anxiety. I found myself thinking about a lot of “should have”s and “could have”s, like I could have just balanced four courses, a thesis, and job search or I should have spent more all nighters for studio so that I had more presentable material for firms to see in my portfolio.
This inevitably led to some friction in my relationship with God. I began to accuse Him of not stopping me from making what seemed to me regrettable decisions and not providing me with a clear plan for the next year. My faith in His power to provide dwindled to a point where I no longer turned to Him for guidance. Instead I tried to fix whatever I could on my CV, cover letter, and portfolio to increase my chances of getting hired.
Around mid-May, I shared my concerns with a friend that I made in Hong Kong. She was working at a firm there, and suggested that I apply. I said that I would, but after so many rejections I was skeptical of receiving any good news. The friend herself was an intern and could only do so much to sway their decision to my favor, and the continued rejection had made me convinced that my portfolio would not stand a chance against local graduates who would be applying for the firm.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -Matthew 6:25-34
So it was a surprise when I received a reply from the firm’s HR a few days after my application. What is more, within a week of that first reply they extended an offer for me to work at the firm for the next year. I was astounded by just how quickly all this took place and, more importantly, at just how little my role was in making it all happen. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was all about God and Him timing things according to His own plans, not mine. By making me wait, God exposed my dependence on my own merits and on affirmation in the form of job acceptances. He showed me that these will ultimately fail me and that it is Him who has the power to open doors and the right ones at that.
In that sense, I’ve been able to not only understand but also experience God’s provision that Matthew 6:25-34 talks about. It’s not my fussing and getting anxious about my own needs and plans that get me anywhere but absolute trust in Him. As I begin my first year outside of Princeton, it’s a reminder that even when I don’t have worldly securities, there is no reason to fret as God will always be the greatest security that I could ever have.