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)

Response ability 

Should we merely to point out to our loved ones their weaknesses or actually help them change and improve on it? 

And if it is the latter that we are to do, is it considered meddling too much into their personal life/development? Or is it part and parcel of our duty to them, because no one else would take the trouble? 

Well, if they do want the help, then that’s all really great, but what if they don’t? Do we insist on working to change them because we know it will benefit them in the long run? 

Or… Do we just tolerate their behaviour while only gently prodding them to make the change on their own time and based on their own readiness? Because if they don’t see the need for improvement, why should we force it out of them? 

After all, if we do actively try too hard to change them, then we are not loving them just the way they are. 

Then again, is love meant to be just that? Accepting of a person in their entirety, but with no effort to help them shape the best version of themselves? With that thought, the question also arises: “Best version” on whose terms, anyway? 

What a neverending line of thought. Perhaps it’s enough just to work on my own weaknesses. 

Destiny and other dangerous dilemmas in life

Okay, so I have a confession to make.

After growing up as a Christian and learning to hone a relationship with God, I actually feel quite disappointed. Here’s why.

Back in the days when I was a teen, I remember listening to tons of sermons about God’s will for me and how He has wonderful things in store for my life and that I will rise up to become an adult who will eventually do great things for Him.

I guess most of us who grew up in Christian circles would be familiar with these sorts of positive messages, which were usually accompanied by an exhortation to lead a life that’s pure and holy by always standing up for what we believe in; sharing our faith with others; abstaining from pre-marital sex, drugs and every common kind of evil which tempts a teen; and developing a close and personal relationship with Jesus.

Looking back at those times, I guess I can see what these preachers and spiritual leaders were trying to accomplish. They were sowing seeds of faith in the lives of us youth, giving us hope for our distant future and encouraging us to plod along in our spiritual walk by telling us that it will all be worth something in the end.

I believe those words did get me through many difficult seasons in my teenage days. Days when I struggled with believing that I was someone of value to God or when I felt all alone and unnoticed as I did my best to serve God and maintain that fine balance in life where I was adhering to His commandments for my life and at the same time, excelling in my studies.

But in some ways, the awesome promises put across by those speakers of my teenage days often make me question if I have really ever attained that abundant life in God that I’m supposed to have possessed now that I’m an adult.

Back then, they could successfully encourage us by asking us to look ahead and believe that there was a whole lot of exciting things in store for our lives. So much potential lay before us. Studies had not yet been completed, careers and life partners still unchosen, financial decisions that would tie us down for many years to come a distant concern.

Here, however, in my 30s, I have experienced all these things already.

I have earned my passage rites into the working world, changed jobs, worked out a career path that is agreeable to my personality and achievable based on my given abilities.

I have dated, been proposed to, married and now have a child on the way.

My husband and I have made multiple decisions about money, some of which will impact our lives for years to come. Loans to pay. Investments made in earnest, in the hopes that we will have enough to survive in the twilight years of our lives.

Now that I am at this juncture of my life, I feel that everything is undeniably so… ordinary. Relating with others has taught me that much that I experience is common to what others go through. I am not particularly outstanding, I just am here and have a certain lot in life which God has graciously afforded me.

But there is no great plan that unfolded before me. No conquest into unknown worlds or slaying of giants. No throngs of people asking Jesus to be their Lord and Saviour all because of my life.

And so, I feel a tad disappointed.

Perhaps also thankful in a way… since if I had that wilderness wandering, death defying, giant slaying life I’d probably not be living the quiet, peaceful way that I am today.

I would likely not be married. Maybe not even have a full time job and would be instead a pastor or the head of some obscure church ministry. I’d be travelling to remote places to reach out to a group of strangers that I was somehow convicted about and believed God wants me to preach the gospel to. I’d have potentially no savings, and a huge treasure stored up in heaven.

Or perhaps that’s just the stereotype Christian martyr lifestyle that we were all raised to believe. It could all have been just a misguided concept of what the ideal Christian ought to be doing with their life.

The reality might be that God intended for me to be exactly where I am in life right now and that this is the spectacular future that He has always planned for me to possess.

There’s no denying there have been plenty of miracles and blessings I’ve encountered along the way. No fireworks or explosions or mighty signs and wonders though. Just tiny sparks of meaning, that remind me at just the right time that there is a God who cares about me after all.

It’s a dilemma of sorts that I face here. Whether to just be content with my lot in life and to give it my best shot, or whether to refuse to believe that this is all that there is to it, and to strive endlessly for that elusive Christian greatness that could be out there for me. Or might not be.

Either option requires faith. So perhaps choosing either response may not be wrong.

What do you think?

Personality, perspective

In general, being an optimist is considered a good thing to most people whereas the pessimistic viewpoint is mostly looked upon with disdain.

So what happens if a particular individual’s personality leans more towards being a pessimistic rather than optimistic view?

Does that necessarily mean they would need to work at completely altering their personality to be in tandem with the ideal characteristics that society upholds?

Or do they just comfort themselves in the thought that they are just being their natural selves, and that they need not feel obliged to conform to society’s demands?