Solution

One of the biggest dilemmas of life is this: To understand what you are here for and what you should do about it.

Intertwined into this terribly complex subject matter is the issue of your faith. It is not just about what you fill into the Religion field of a form detailing your personal details. It is the entire trajectory of your life. The sum of all your life choices, convictions and the very core of what makes up your personality. The sense you make of your past. The force driving you to push forward into a better future.

These are such important aspects of your life that they are so hard to fathom. And even tougher to write about.

Yet I feel that I should attempt once again to talk about these things to you, my dear reader. It’s been a long time since I have done this. And regrettably so. But I have had such a hard time sorting out these thoughts in my head for a very long time. In fact, I continue to ponder some of these issues every day. Some questions remained unanswered. But time and again, I have found that I have enough to keep me going, to assure me of things yet to come.

So I am writing this post with the intention of communicating the hope that I have found for myself. That impetus for things unknown. That anchor for the soul.

I am here to talk about my journey of faith and where it has taken me. I feel small, because my tale pales in comparison to so many other more spectacular ones out there. Yet this is my story. And it ought to be the song I sing to any willing to listen. Or in this case, whosoever should read these posts of mine.

There’s so much of background stories to address that I don’t know where to start, honestly. But let’s just talk about what’s happening currently. And then maybe, if the need arises, we can, figuratively speaking, travel through time to help it all make better sense to you.

I am, at the moment, a mother to a toddler on the brink of preschool, and a wife to a man contemplating a career move. I am also a self employed individual, supplementing family income, but at a reduced capacity due to my choice to work at home to look after my son.

I am also the daughter to church leaders. My father is an elder of a small independent Charismatic church, and my mother has been in and out of church leadership roles in support of my father’s position throughout the years. My parents have also played a part in pioneering several churches that are now among the biggest ones in the Klang Valley. This is my legacy and the foundations upon which my life has been built.

I am a Christian, both by heritage, but also by personal choice. I believe in upholding virtues of truth, justice and integrity at all costs. I live my life seeking a higher purpose, one that is determined by God alone and which I believe He would reveal to me if I maintained a close relationship with Him.

I question daily the decisions that I have made to be where I am presently. Did I choose right? Is it affecting my family’s quality of life in a positive way?

One major dissatisfaction that I consistently have is with regards to the state of my spiritual life, because I used to do so much more in this area than what I do today. In essence, I often feel displaced, unsure of my footing and what I should be aiming for. The destination I should be heading towards.

I do not have a lot of the answers I long for. I am frequently cynical when I review my past and what it has made me become. Sometimes I feel somewhat resentful towards God because I was promised a lot in my earlier days, and it doesn’t seem like any of it is materialising at all in real life.

I have reached a point in life where I openly admit that I have no idea anymore where I’m headed in life. I just know, for every given moment in time, what my focus should be and which responsibilities I should shoulder. Currently, I believe my main objective is to nurture my family (support my husband in whatever he does and raise my child well).

What I am certain of is that the decision to be at home with my son and relinquish a full time job was God’s will for me at the time my son was born. What I was (and am) not sure about was how long this would last or what should happen next. I am reaching the point where I need to contemplate what this should be.

Amidst this uncertainty, while I was attending Sunday service, I was prayed for by one of the prominent women in my church. At the time she approached me, I was praying with Luke 5:5 in mind. I was telling God that all I needed was a word. A word from Him and I would spring into action to do whatever it was that He desired of me.

And then this lady prayed for me. Much was said, but the one thing I want to share here is that she mentioned that I was seeking a solution and that God was my solution. A cliche thing, I suppose, to any bystander eavesdropping on us. But to me, it clicked somehow.

I am worrying about how my husband and I will afford preschool for my son. We have yet to work it all out, or to even decide on where to send him. But this. This timely encouragement from a church member who knows almost nothing about the finer details of my life, is what I needed to hear.

I am still working things out over here. But I am comforted.

And this brings me to the main thing I would like to say in this post. The fact that we are always questioning and seeking what God’s will for our lives is. He most definitely has a master plan for it all, but the reasons that He only reveals it partially to us are unknown. What I do know now is that He does this on purpose, and it’s for a good reason. Because if He told all, we’d likely think we are smart enough to make it without Him. But we aren’t. So we need to trust that when He is in charge, it will all be alright.

We need to have faith. To abandon the familiar paths and formulas and conventional wisdom that others tell us is the right way to go. We have to realise that ours is a unique journey, and that nothing or no one can prepare us for it. Yet we have all that we need to make it through. We have Jesus. He is all we ever need.

* * *

Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word, I will let down the net.”

And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.

And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”

So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

– Luke 5:4-11 (NKJV)

Judge & jury

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” – ‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭1‬ (NIV)

My father quoted this verse to me years ago as he and my Mum stood over me and prayed for me regarding an ongoing struggle I had which at that time felt like it was endangering my service to God.*

Undoubtedly, this is a comforting verse, yet the reality of it all is that while you’re a Christian and living here on Earth, you are seldom, if ever, truly free from condemnation.

Yes, God has most certainly forgiven you, but there are still plenty of other ways in which you will inevitably continue to feel unworthy.

My own thoughts and perception of myself and where I stand spiritually is one such source of condemnation. Perhaps logic is to blame. The more I try to reason how guilty I am and how tarnished my spiritual records must be, the worse I feel.

Then, there are my fellow believers. Perhaps they do it while unaware of the deeper consequences of their actions.

For example, I often find myself on the receiving end of a judgmental glance or outpouring of a strongly entrenched spiritual perspective.

I recall vividly being promptly admonished by older Christian women just because they felt my dress was a tad too short or perceived to be too revealing. Well, it’s not like they badgered me about it, but just the way they looked at me while I was wearing the said dress was usually enough to make me feel like I was a convicted felon.

They would follow that up with the action of coming up gently beside you, and then leaning in close to whisper to me their opinion of what I had previously thought of as a pretty outfit.

During another past incident in my life, someone to whom I had been reporting to in my line of spiritual service apparently disapproved of a certain something that I did with my boyfriend (now husband). No Biblical code of conduct had been explicitly broken, I can assure you, but in this person’s eyes, my actions could only result in a very narrow set of outcomes.

It would have been fine had he confronted me about his concerns so we could sort things out. But that is not what he did. He raised his objections to another leader instead. How considerate.

I only learned about his opinion of my actions through third party sources, and this revelation, coupled by the fact that I was now aware that many others may also hold the same view as he did about me, led me to feel demotivated about serving and ultimately, unworthy of the responsibilities I had been carrying at that time (I too was a leader in some capacity back then and hence, every move I made is interpreted as setting an example to others under my care who were usually younger in age and spiritual maturity).

So, as you can see, there are all this ongoing assaults to your confidence and spiritual dignity throughout your Christian walk.

On the one hand, I guess we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be influenced by negative thinking or the criticisms of others and concentrate our energies instead on charting our life’s course in a manner that brings glory to God, but you cannot deny that these things do affect us.

Well, they it certainly had impacted me and I have felt discouraged so many times from being a Christian leader, not to mention just being an ordinary believer.

It comes to a point sometimes that I wonder is it worth trying to be a good Christian, to follow in the path of holiness that is demanded of by our Father in heaven. After all, it’s inevitable that we fail – whether in conforming to our own standards, that of the church, or even what is written of in the Bible.

Truly, I often arrive at a similar conclusion to the writer of Ecclesiastes that everything I do for the sake of my faith feels more or less “meaningless”.

So what is it that keeps me trudging forward? I’m not sure. I’m still here, still doing my best, but I cannot shake the nagging feeling that I will inevitably always come up short.

* In actual fact, it didn’t really jeopardise much of anything in the end, and I have since comes to terms with the issue concerned and accept how it has shaped my spiritual walk and personal character.