One of the most stressful thing I am learning to manage now is how to find avenues of freelance work that I can manage and provide sufficient income. It is difficult for me to find a fulltime job now because mental illness is still a terrible stigma in Singapore. Working part-time is also a problem at the moment, as I am physically very tired and mentally easily stressed. Most fulltime job requires filling up a job application form, and I will not be able to get the job because I am required to declare in the job application form my health status. Once I declare my diagnosis in the job application forms, I don't hear from potential employer anymore.
Freelancing seems ideal for me now. Freelancing is also my dream come true as it allows me to have more time to serve God and to reach out to others, as well make use of my skills to be useful and productive. This is what I have always wanted do to.
But the reality about freelancing is that it can be very stressful and difficult in the initial stage of learning to find suitable freelance assignments as well as negotiating for suitable charges and deadlines. I will need to work very hard to build up a good credibility as well as give myself time to find a pool of suitable clients.
I am feeling very very tired due to effect of manic recently. I am slowing down now but the tiredness doesn't seem to go away despite having many hours of rest daily. I am doing some simple exercise every morning and it has been helping me to keep me going for the day.
Recently, thank God I have some freelance opportunities but as they are mentally very straining and need much concentration, I have not been able to do very much daily. I couldn't take on some projects though they pay well partly because of the extremely tight deadlines and also because of the complexity of the projects. I saw opportunities lost but am thankful that I can keep my sanity. But I also do feel disappointed that I can't even manage freelance assignments.
This morning, I felt sad that I can't seem to do anything well enough to earn a decent living. I felt rather useless. This is another struggle I sometimes have - this feeling of uselessness which is eating into me. I keep reminding myself that I have limitations due to bipolar, others may reject me or despised me, but God cares for me and I can still be useful and able to serve God and others through my skills. But sometimes this sense of uselessness eats into me. Oh, how I need the grace to look away from self and circumstances to a God that is all powerful, loving and kind. Money is not all important in this life. As long as I have sufficient to cover my own and my mother's expenses I am contented. I trust that God will work His ways out for me. I need His grace to wait patiently upon Him.
I talked to the Lord and told Him that I know He cares for me and will provide for my every need. I asked that He gives me the strength to look away from myself or others, not to depend upon myself or anyone else. He Who clothes the lilies and feed the sparrows will continue to take care of me. He can provide in His own wonderful ways. Isn't it good that I am daily made to be dependent upon Him? If I am sufficient of myself then I will forget about the Lord. I am humbled as I remember afresh that God owns all the cattles on the thousand hills. He has fed the hungry 4000 who waited upon Him for spiritual and physical food. God uses a raven and poor widow to feed Elijah (1 Kings 17). Moreover, we are not to live by bread alone but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).
A commentator commented :
So Elijah goes off to hide. God has promised him provision from ravens! To the Israelites ravens are considered unclean (Leviticus 11:13-15). Nevertheless these birds feed Elijah, twice daily. “Elijah was learning experientially that Yahweh was the only source of food, fertility, and blessing” (Constable). God provides when we are obedient to his word. Picture Elijah living by an obscure brook, waiting patiently for food from birds. His experience demonstrated the certainty of God and prepared Elijah for the bigger challenges that were coming in his life.
Sure enough, the brook runs dry. There is, after all, a drought in progress. But God is still providing for Elijah for now God sends Elijah to the care of a widow. “Then the LORD said to Elijah, ‘Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. There is a widow there who will feed you. I have given her my instructions’” (17:8-9).
What a comfort and encouragement!
Another source of stress is my mother's expectations of me. She is a caring and wonderful mother, but sometimes her expectation of me is unrealistic. My mother does not know that I have bipolar disorder and that it is cyclical in nature. She thought I have recovered from my recent depression episode and that I am fully well now and should return to fulltime work. She doesn't know that with my diagnosis of proneness to bipolar it is almost impossible to find a fulltime job in Singapore because of the stigma. She doesn't know that I am physically and mentally not able to take on a fulltime job yet as I am still learning to manage my condition and physically I am easily tired. She doesn't know that her expectations of me is stressing me up and that stress is one of the triggering factors of my depression episodes. I can't share any of these things with her as she will get very worried and she can't sleep when she is worried. Then her blood pressure will go up and she at risk for stroke or heart attack as she has other illnesses as well.
Coping with the stress from my mother's expectations, the stress of not knowing how to find suitable freelance assignments and not knowing how to cope with stress from certain freelance work that are difficult and with tight deadlines, sometimes really drained me.
My friend, Paul, recently counseled me to give myself at least 1 year to progress in this freelance work. My friend, Grace, also advised me how to cope with the expectations of my mother in finding a fulltime job. Thank God for friends like them and some others who are more caring and understanding. Sometimes I feel so alone but when I think of these friends, I know that I am not alone. And the Lord is with me.
Everyday, all kinds of thoughts and emotions threatened to overwhelm me. But I am learning to cast all my cares and anxieties upon our Lord. I try to look at what I still have now and of all the opportunities I have to serve our Lord in small ways daily, to take better care of my mother and reach out to my church friends and other friends, as well as to share His goodness on this blog. I thank God that He is my God and therefore despite whatever fear or difficulties I have, I still have His joy and strength to live for Him. Sometimes my peace are interrupted when I look too much at the storm or the impending storm, but I am learning to remember that He is able to calm any storms in my life. Though the future is so uncertain and can sometimes be very scary, I can face the uncertain tomorrow because He lives! I sing this song to myself again this morning to remind myself that I am serving a risen Saviour and He is with me through all the changing scenes of life. The Lord is my shepherd and I will not not lack any temporal or spiritual needs. Before my last ounce of flour finishes, God will provide! With Him all things are possible as He owns all the cattles on the thousand hills. I must trust and not be afraid. Moreover, nothing is ever going to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. So I need to learn not allow any difficulties or losses or lack to cloud my vision of God. He is good in all His ways.
I am encouraged by God's love and precious promises in His Words. He will give me strength and grace as I look to Him daily. There will be difficulties, there will be stress and fears at times, but God will never leave me nor forsake me. Courage is not the absent of fear, courage is pressing on despite the fears. With God's presence with me, I will go on courageously, by His grace. He has a purpose in these difficult trials and I pray that I may know more of His mercies and faithfulness, and continue to share it with others so that they too may put their hope and trust in God, Who will never leave us nor forsake us. To Him be the glory.
Matthew 10This lovely bird is taken by my friend and brother-in-Christ, CW Fong. Thank God for his kindness to share this photo with us.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
19 Lay not up for yourself treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.....
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink: nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment?
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Where withal shall we be clothed?
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for tomorrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof
The Lord said, "Fear ye not .... ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:31)