As I left the design office on my last working day, I was filled with a mixed emotion of pure joy and peace. Not only was I free from the self-parading environment of the workplace but I was moving onto an adventure that was completely God -given. I do not want to talk about the office. It was not that it wasn’t doing good work. In fact, it was doing excellent business in terms of working their heads off, on interesting projects. Everyone had a sense of accomplishing something. Some did it by trampling over others, while some did it by helping people up and moving forward. ‘To each his own’, a motto, which could be well understood by someone used to a Delhi lifestyle.
It wasn’t a place for someone like me who would like to believe that she has a sense of right and wrong. I had begun meditating over my Bible in September 2015. 2015, was an arduous time of my life. By the end of the year, I was flushed. Making a move into the architecture world was all I craved. Somehow, the idea of being ‘just’ at what I did was weighing me down. More than liberating, I found it to be a burden. Architects that I looked up to, suddenly became people who were working for themselves, no matter how much they advertised otherwise. I was torn inside and just wanted to be active in something. My dad came in with the offer of working at a certain corporate name firm and so I got swept into it. My sense of being lost almost came close to my five year long experience in college. I was now in, and felt I could never get out.
Walking out of the firm, however, I still remember thinking of the night where my closest friend and I had bent down and prayed so rigorously. With cries of pleas, I prayed that He show me something to do – almost praying that it was something other than architecture. Sitting beside her, my inhibitions took a backseat and both of us were emotionally drained. She prayed to be united with her fiancée with her visa not yet delivered and I craved for something as intimate- another chance to serve Christ. Between our Bible studies, we realized that every verse we picked to read was an excellent piece of advice by Jesus, reminding us that He is in control. It was a Tuesday morning – I put in my resignation, prepared to face anything that comes with it (the terrible HR ordeals and supervisor rants). On the other side, she patiently waited in the visa office, prepared to face her worst fear of more waiting. Both of us got what we wanted, with hardly any difficulty. My supervisor only scoffed and my friend was duly given the visa with which she flew off to the US that very night. My fears were not only fought by the strength to resign but also by the miracle of my sister walking into the home with a pamphlet she picked up from her regular visits to the YMCA. It was a pamphlet of an architecture and engineering firm looking for interns and volunteers to join them for building a world of hope for the lesser privileged. In doing so, be working for Christ and grow spiritually. A miracle? Yes! It came out of nowhere and in perfect timing. The process was so smooth that it seems so unbelievable. The notice period I served, was a cakewalk, with people surprised at the big smile on my face and a ring in my step. What a beautiful day! Praise the Lord!
“My sin was great, Your love was greater’!” My first day in the new office, just 30ft dimensionally smaller either side, than my previous office, was a blast! Honestly! Was I timid with fear for working in a spiritual office (Yes well, only during my testimony)? No. Everyone was so happy! I wondered how someone could be so cheerful. People with kids and wife, smiling and joking around. The morning devotions with praise and worship to His name, were so light and calm. Prayers were humble and held conviction of being heard. Almost every day I wondered if I had signed up for an architecture office with ‘some’ spiritual background or was it really a spiritual firm with a ‘little’ bit of architecture? I kept telling everyone that they can’t be this happy in Delhi! It is a crime!
It was so contagious. My hope which was fully answered by Christ was turning into so much Faith and just even more, into Love. It just seemed incongruous to me, suddenly, to even believe there was evil in the world. It came with the awakening – Was I not held by God and isn’t my hope in His coming? Why should I shy away from being nice and good just coz’ others couldn’t be nice anymore? Within a week, I had friends and within a month, I had a family. We prayed together, ate together and yes, sometimes we even shared beds to sleep with. There were project trips to help out some Christian ministry in need, who were themselves helping the community around them – be it medically or through education or both. Such faith and love with which they were working were beautiful testimonies to God working in them to touch these people. Some people saw the light and craved it, while others just found shade and went away. Either way, people were getting blessed while the Spirit moved like an inextinguishable fire within these communities. I sometimes wondered if it is even good to have ulterior motives of spreading the gospel for doing the work they were doing. Every time, I was answered with the same answer that the only reason they had to do it was because of their love for Jesus. Many times I waivered, almost defensive of wanting to work more secularly but every time God walked with me and asked me why I wanted to work among the poor, anyway? Was it because of my own want or was it because He gave me the craving? We walked together almost 3 months before I finally saw the crumbling of a huge architecture N.G.O firm by the name of ‘Architecture for humanity’. Not only were they in debt, the organization hardly could get up from their destruction. And just as I silently mulled over this, one of the head architects remarked that ‘without Christ, no humanity is real humanity’. I was taken aback. Over the days I searched and looked for even more firms that had the same line of work. Old organizations with the same crumbled effect and new ones with hardly any framework and willingness to work with true purpose. So pointless they looked to me. Nothing seemed satisfactory. Finally, giving up, I looked upto Christ and whispered a heartfelt Thank You. Thank You for giving me the identity I have as a Christian to understand that without You, I am only a falcon with broken wings. He knew and smiled back.
The next 3 months, went smoothly. With the huge burden lifted off my chest of creating this ‘identity’ of being a humanitarian, I was more focused. Anything I did, started off with a small prayer for His guidance and His wisdom. He guided and others helped. Professionally, I felt more comfortable in an egalitarian setting. Taking responsibilities came easy to me, rather than being thrust with it. Processing brief, visiting the site, making field notes, sketching, conceptualizing and developing was just an added gain. My supervisor entrusted me with presenting to clients and stood beside to give me every push he can for my development. Spiritually, I took up my guitar. I asked God to take me and use me for His glory again. He gave me a beautiful friend who ventured to talk about Christ working in his own life. Having grown up an orphan in an adoption center, run by a Christian pastor, in Manali, he talked about how he took Christ and his guitar skills, seriously just a few years back. I was moved and just enough motivated to give what I could to make him and myself feel good about the learning. My hope is that my music and voice would bring people to see the love of Christ. I am not exactly gifted with a public speaking skill, hence, I hope, this is how I could be used. However, every time I hope to be used in one way, Jesus would anyway go ahead and work in some other way. I am no longer frightened. And that is what makes this whole experience so worthy of re-telling.
Today, it has been one and a half months since I ‘graduated’ from the office, both professionally and spiritually. With my heart filled with hope again, I look for opportunities to show other people this contagious joy and happiness that is so required in this despair- filled world. It takes great courage to stand and fight the many fights we need to fight as individuals to make a difference. I honestly, respect people who are able to do it without anybody. I wonder however, that with the grief and disappointments that follow, that had they known Christ and let Him, work how He does, would things have worked differently and would he be re-filled with hope? It makes me so proud, more than ever, to say that being called a Christian is such an honor and I almost sympathize with people who just see it as a religion to be followed. But who am I to judge? I pray that whoever prays to God to be used completely for His glory, may be able to ‘actually’ turn their prayers into actions and walk out of their many comfort zones and seek Him honestly. The rest is just a smooth ride. Trust me. I know.
God bless you and I ask humbly for your prayers in Christ for my future.