HodgePodge

H’lo.

[Disclaimer the tone on this post is a bit different I think because they were actually reflections and QT thoughts for Jam but I was typing them here and. Tone got weird]

I think I’m slightly stressed. By things. Life. In general.

Then again when am I not. hwahahaha. haha.

Um um ok QT thoughts first. (That is the December advent devo which I’m doing with Jam wew https://document.desiringgod.org/good-news-of-great-joy-en.pdf?ts=1479878227)

So for advent devo (4 Dec), I sometimes don’t feel appropriately little enough. Like, I think it’s hard to remember the scale of things, how actually big God is and how actually small I am relative to that. And how we are just dust. Most of the time, my life revolves around me and I’m the biggest person in my universe. Which makes it hard for me to die to myself, and take up the cross and follow Jesus. If I’m that big in my universe and if I’m my own priority, then I’m just too full of myself to do what God wants me to do, to be chiseled by him and become more Christ-like. Eh perspective.

On the flip side, I can get to feeling the littleness that I actually am and collapse on myself at how scrummy I am and now the world is so big and out of my control and how I’m a literal nothinggg.

I guess humility is still the safer side of the balance. Because if you’re humble and you remember how big God is, then that’s a good place to be.

5 Dec just mostly how it’s not about what God could do but what he willed to do (with respect to how the God of the universe could have overlooked the inn bookings such that there was no room for baby Jesus to be born somewhere nice and comfy lol lol). Good reminder how what may seem like a detour to us with our own limited human understanding is part of God’s perfect time and plan. And that is super comforting because ehhh I foresee many detours in my soon-to-be adult life where I will have no idea what I’m doing half the time. Gonna be such a. Exponential faith growth right there. Ha ha. Ha.

Apart from advent, what’s been on my mind is prayer, more specifically, to pray intentionally for people. I’m committing to praying for more people more, in general, like, praying for some people everyday. Because. Hmm, I always say I want something for them from God/God to work in their lives etc etc but then I don’t commit them to prayer or I only commit once off. But we are supposed to pray unceasingly. So, at least for the whole of December, I’m praying intentionally and with expectancy for people, friends and fam. Because if I really believe in the power of the God I’m praying to then it would be stupid to not pray for mountains to be moved and blind eyes to openn. Also such a privilege to be able to present prayers and requests to God, to even be in his holy presence and intercede for people. It’s such a gift. Need to pray. More often than not, I’m blessed by praying as well because it at least helps me get the conversation flowing with God. Seriously if you’re on a dry prayer walk, pray for someone else.

Other small thoughts and concerns:

Managing my time well in the hols. I have so many creative projects that I want to embark on/continue and so many other more official tasks at hand that I’m slightly stressed. But what I’m more concerned about is jumping headlong into my creative writing projects that I compromise God and basically lose my centre. I go really deep into imagining things and “using/appropriating” people in my work so sometimes I can go off into a bit of an idol frenzy. Just basically worried that giving free rein to being creative might make me lose my centre. Meh.

Always second guessing myself as a friend, and my social interactions with people, and my ministry as cell leader and whether what I do is good/helpful/needed for the kids. Sometimes I feel phony about cell leading apart from the Bible stuff because it’s a weird overlap space of “friend/cell leader”. I mean, I thank God that they are such nice kids and that I genuinely like them and want to be their friend. But. I don’t know if they ever think that “oh she’s tryna be our friend cos it’s her job as a cell leader”. Which is half trueee I guess because if I weren’t their cell leader I wouldn’t make the effort/even know them. More double consciousness wew. Also, whatsapp conversations are weird to have with them. I’m always trying to think how to close the conversation appropriately/least awkwardly even though I was the one who started it as an attempt to. Be. Friendly. Cell. Leader. My social anxiety. Anxieties. Yea I also have friends/acquaintances who go the same way. I wanna be your friend and we are so nice to each other and all that but I always feel like I’m skimming on social ice because we still haven’t BARED OUR SOULS TO EACH OTHER SO THAT I CAN BE A GOOD FRIEND AND FEEL USEFUL AND FEEL LIKE I’M NOT A BURDEN FRIEND TO SUSTAIN WITH NICETIES. Burp. Not that it’s their fault but like. That’s my in-built mechanism. such an infp whateven.

Hmm ok anything else anything else. No I think I feel the most stress about the social thing. Nya. And just gonna be praying the whole December yay.

Did I mention that I’ve given a name to one of my recurring sins so that I can avoid it more easily in my head now that it is embodied somewhat. So there was a video going around about seeing depression as this dog that kind of followed you everywhere and stuff. I watched it, can’t really remember much about it, but somehow the idea got to me and so now I’ve embodied my sin into the idea of a bad dog called Hugo. Which helps me because I’ve defined all the stuff that defines/associates with Hugo as actual sin so I won’t be tempted to be like “no that’s ok it’s not realllly sin”. Yea no, the “not-really” sins are now tied together with the “yes-clearly-sin” and everything is just called Hugo so equal sin seriousness. No fudging. So when thoughts. Seep in. It’s just like “ok that’s Hugo go away Hugo”/or I’ll walk away from it. Living holy life 101: calling sin sin = know when to run away/what to run away from = safe.

Yea I just wanted to mention Hugo so I can refer to him if needed and also that he has been sniffing round the block for a bit last week when my QT got a bit dry/rocky even tho my QT life had been pretty solid before the dry spell. zzz Hugo wastes no time. But also I think that, ehh, with Christmas and all, the Hugos will be really trying their best to derail people. Because what would really suck in this holy season is to be entangled with some sort of Hugo and be robbed of all the Christmas joy/peace/love. Ya, so PSA. Spiritual warfare is a thing. Be awakee.

Maybe now I shall no longer be able to own black dogs because Hugo. I saw a video about how black animals seem to be discriminated against somehow. Is it because they’re all used in thought experiments like this whoops. I shall redeem myself by getting a black cat, if I get to get a cat at all then. Hmm.

Well, we’ve digressed.

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all other ground is sinking sand

in one of those feeling empty places

still on the surface but rocky underneath

not rocky, uncomfortable

melancholic

i don’t. even want to scribe it. because putting it into words means it exists. and i can’t even find the right ones.

it’s not that big a deal. nothing bad happened. it’s just one of those times in your lives where you happen to feel a bit like a nothing. in a what am i doing with my life way.

not even looking at it from a where do i go from here immediate future way which has been occupying a bit of my mind.

i don’t want to give it a name. or to say/write it.

just that. hmm. i wanna. be. more. like. more.

what’s important to be more of.

want a different life but wanting it from the outside so not sure if that’s what i want. and. don’t think i could pull that kind of life off anyways. hence the melancholia.

how do people do it.

how are they so balanced and mature and silly and sane all at once. why. am. i. not.

which also begs the question. why do i want to be. so badly. besides that it is good. but i doubt myself for wanting it simply because it is good.

is it double conscious i suspect it’s double conscious. ungh.

because i’m sure i’m making progress. and growing. just that. um. only i know, i guess. and God. maybe friends. but not the world. i think it bothers me that the world doesn’t notice. but i think i might die under the world caring because double consciousness. i think God may never let the world notice me because i’m too vain and i will forget Him. not strong enough for that. really admire the people who are, though.

i know. God knows. friends know. fam know. that should be enough. gotta find that. contentment. in the important things. from the important people.

ok this is good. sifting thoughts through layers. moving the still waters to get someplace. kind of liberating writing in bits and pieces. kind of stifling in not being able to write everything explicitly. not that i want to. i don’t think i want to. if i can unclog myself without, then it’s fine.

maybe i’m mourning for what i could have been, what i could never be. but also. hopeful. maybe what i could be. somehow somewhere.

these words kept looping in my head the past few weeks, not intentionally, just that i find myself arriving at the same words, the same sentiments when I open my mouth to pray and i can’t find the words except this sigh from the abyss of my heart:

oh God, all I have is you. and then. all I need is you. 

(lel always cringey to read thoughts to God like this with it being three/four times removed but oh wells it is what it is just being reals)

because life is too unpredictable. and i realise that i have literally zero control over my life. and i have nothing. i have nothing. i know nothing. not even myself. i only have God. i only know God.

and the follow up on that thought is, well, that should be enough for me. and it is enough for me, whether i know it or not.

getting rambly but amidst me in my general lostness which was exacerbated here, there was a good word today about calling, God’s calling and keeping my ears out for it. basically, if you wanna know what God’s calling you to do, you have to know who God is first, so that you can recognise His voice out of the world’s noise. and i felt that to be true in general period of lostness. just felt the tug to sit and pray for a bit some time this past week. still sitting and praying. pray ceaselessly.

also just watched a random video on the suggested list while writing this (much distracted I know) which. made me feel much better. it was so random, I’m so surprised it was suggested how did it get there. but felt like it was what I needed quite specifically. hmm. so cools.

ok feel so much better now. so good to get all that up and out here. thought about it, emoted about it, prayed/praying about it. time to put it out of my mind and think no more about it (fave Huck Finn reference I used this in year 1 and I love this). at least, until the next existential life crisis lelel which I hope will not strike soon in the near future. we will. see.

wonder if I’ll look back on this and be completely lost because I left things so vague. should i leave a clue for myself hmm hmm.

church things

don’t know what happened just now but. worship. at least for me. wasn’t part of it. kasjnlkcns.

need to jam later.

I just feel so bad and terribly sorry towards everybody for my lack lmao unghhh. but at least it’s bad feels stemming from a place that’s not double conscious (ie not from how other people think of me and therefore not about me wew big step there clap clap).

I don’t even feel bad as much as I feel apologetic. Which is good, I think. Cos at least. I feel like practicing and trying to get it all down and working it all out. Instead of just wallowing.

lmao I just feel sorry in advance for the people who will be in the band as I learn. on the job.

zzz I need to do so mucchhhh need so much help. help.

But but but despite crashing and burning throughout, I managed to look up and actually see the congregation this time and I saw people worshipping, like people actually ready and worshipping and responding. So yas, it was really just a reminder that if God wants to move and He wants to come and meet His people right, our lack can’t stop Him. He will just do his thing and be there and touch people. It’s really not about us. Never was, never is. So assuring that people got to worship despite me huehue.

of course that don’t mean i don’t level up lelel gonna werk it.

Also, on a happier note, one of my kids came back to cell today and cell was fun stuff. Before we split up into our cells, the host was like “leaders, please take some time to share with each other about life and get to know your cell moore” and then we prayed and I had this brainwave for the usual ice breaking routine thang.

We did like a “go around the cell to share how you are feeling today but you can’t repeat a feeling if someone else had said it” hahaha. And so naturally someone wanted to start first which was gr8 no awkward silence there wew.

On the whole, cell was feeling excited-tired(me haha I said this so that the kids couldn’t cos they’re like tired every week lmao)-happy-reluctant-discontented-amused-exhausted-(forgot oops)-amazed-on the edge-released. Haha. What a mixed bag. Synonyms unleash. It was a great sharing sesh. People were sharing about what was going on in their lives and everyone had something interesting to say and to engage with each otherr. Broke the ice completely and got everyone nice and comfy so. awesome stuff ptl.

That was God right there, seriously. Actually, God has been providing me with the icebreaking activities for cell for every single cell time such that I don’t have to stress about it (and socialising always stresses me so). Yea Imma just amazed how God can just give great ideas five minutes before cell time. Crayy. God you cray. love it.

Yea and then we had a chill time of playing some board game and snacking on cake and strawberries, peace offerings from another cell which came to crash. aye fun stuff.

Ok that was a satisfying/good conclusion to the church thangs, apart from the sermon (ironically haha which was about death in case you were wondering). Just learning about God and seeing Him irl in addition to the sermon. Always different every week. always busy, not always all good, but always much fruitful.

Schooled

First week of school. Learnt so many things. All the transferable analogies to God. And the occasional purely academic interesting stuff. Gonna just dump it all here. Cocktail of everything. It gets better. But in case it doesn’t, you have been warned.

That Chinese illustration lunchtime seminar

Value of Chinese Illustrations of animals in medical texts, specifically the bencao gangmu

Evaluating Chinese Illustrations in itself

  • The artistic style of the time was that of abstract art. Stylistically, abstract art more valued which may explain the less literal/detailed drawings
  • Illustrators were not the actual scientists/doctors studying the animals; they usually just copy from other traditional texts or draw from the text as a supplement
  • The text was not written to include illustrations; people considered the text comprehensive enough. The illustrations came later. Words were valued more than illustrations
  • The medium of drawing was used for other purposes eg. adverts, erotic text
  • Had the existing tradition of drawing mythical animals 
  • There were illustrations of animals in other medical texts that were more accurate

Disclaimer: Shorthand bullet points taken half asleep from some seminar by some chap whom I’ve forgotten the name. Don’t quote anything. I just think it’s interesting. A bit. 

Drawing

2 ways of seeing

Recognising

  • Logical (cannot recognise -> see nothing/change the way you see things -> incorrect seeing = incorrect drawing)
  • Memory
  • Objects
  • “Something”

Observing

  • Lines
  • Shapes
  • Colours
  • “Nothing”

Drawings tell you which way you are seeing from/ no good or bad drawing

I just think this is a really cool analogy to reading the Bible.

Most of the time, we read the Bible with preconceived notions, trying to fit God and the Bible into our sense of logic, morality and expectations of what we think God should be like. And when it doesn’t fit, when God offends our sensibilities and doesn’t meet our expectations, He suddenly becomes impossible to exist.

For example, “A good God can’t exist because a good God wouldn’t let bad things happen to good people.” That’s our logic talking. We do see things happening around us, but we tie it to our own ideas of what’s good and bad, and draw patterns for what we see in a fairly logical way.

But look closer. Observe. How is God working in and through these people in these circumstances? What are the blobs of colour that don’t seem to make up a picture you can recognise?

Learn to see to learn to draw

Learn to read the Bible to learn to reproduce it/live like Christ. Your life could be the only Bible someone reads.

Contemporary Literature

Just toying with things like subjective morality and no morality = no free will. Or vice versa. 

Multiple truths and narratives in a world turning to science to rationalise and deal with the uncertainty of everything.

Writing our own narratives.

But isn’t multiple narratives a way of rationalisation too?

What stops you from killing another human being?

The law? Jail? No, those are only consequences of murder. 

What stops you, as a human, from killing another human being?

You could, you know. I don’t reckon it’s hard nowadays. But what stops you?

Conscience maybe. Or religion (and here I baulked because behind “my religion tells me so” is a whole ‘nother school of theology about being created and who owns life and sin and all that shebang. feel slightly miffed to just shove it under ‘religion’. maybe other religions say different things. i’d like to know).

Prof hopes we like the texts. He believes in letting the texts speak for themselves instead of constantly referring to the context of history and author’s background. Context is fine and dandy, and truth be told, we can impress any lens and reading on any texts if we tried hard enough, but he wants us to let the texts breathe and I think, in a way, not come at it from “outside”.

Reference to the drawing lesson.

Bible is one dubious piece(s) of literature. Is it true/real in that did these things happen? What is it’s history? Is it authentic?

Maybe we’ll never know. But in going around all that context, how about letting the Bible actually breathe and explain itself? It would be a pity to never read it just because of never knowing/believing how it came about. In looking for some things in the context (which does have value in and of itself), you might be missing out on what the texts actually wants to say, which also has value in other areas.

Early American Literature

Just impressed that people used to have a map with Jerusalem in the centre of the world and the other countries around it because of the priority of God owning the world and people respecting that at some point in recent human history. 

And just watching revivals swell and fade in that time.


Ok, brain dumped.

This is fun but I don’t know if I’ll have time to do this again.

Also want to brain dump various cells/sermons/Bible studies but unghh will it happen I wonder

so what did i miss

Hello.

Back from the dead.

But I didn’t want to say it so loud yet in case I jinxed things.

I don’t actually know how I got here.

I got tired of myself and falling into a sin I didn’t want to keep anymore. It still took me a while to kick it though, because I’d still turn to it just for hecks. So I had to be intentional about it. Just not. Going there.

I don’t know when the turn happened. All I knew was that I was ready to be rid of it and was getting serious about kicking it so I stopped feeling hypocritical when I prayed. Great start.

Also, a lot of things happening, moving in the Spirit. Things to do. That I realise I can’t be down and out now. There are just too many things to do.

God things, of course. And I need to be on the same page with God to be able to do them.

I’m feeling a holy burden. For exactly what, I can’t say yet. But it feels like it’s something to do with prayer. The thing with holy burdens is that you want to do so much at once and you want to do it now and also I’m scared of the possibly many obstacles and discouragements along the way. But it’s so heavy. I feel a fire starting somewhere.

Actually, I feel like there’s a fire started somewhere already in my community, in my country. Just needs to catch a blaze. Fan fan.

I prayed for my cousin today. And I’m really proud of that, not because of me but because I was working onboard with God. Like, I felt Him prompting me in my Spirit to do it. And it happened. And I didn’t chicken out. Praise the Lord~

Nothing extremely spectacular followed per se, as it always seems to in testimonies. It was more of a big deal for me and the act of praying for somebody, a testimony of God for His strength in allowing me to do that for someone I love, than anything else.

She was really touched and I just felt that something beautiful happened there and then. It was just a moment but I felt that God was there and He did do something, however small, revealing His heart and love for people. And I felt she was moved, not by my prayer (lel nervous so I missed out some points here and there) but that I was praying for her, the gesture of prayer itself.

Rediscovering the privilege of prayer. Feeling that we don’t do it as often as if should, to intercede for people, as we are called to do as a chosen people and priesthood. Sure, we do it in our prayer closets at home, and we should do that, but I think it’s time to take it to the marketplace. Take God to the marketplace. Don’t tell people what to believe, show them. Pray for them. It can’t hurt. That’s what Jesus was on about anyway, going to the cracks of society to meet their needs and show them His love for them. That’s what draws people to God – how His love meets them where they are.

Of course, it scares me, the marketplace. I don’t even dare to pray for my own family members like that, ripe harvest in my own backyard.

But I wasn’t scared today, like I usually am. I think because God was very clear in wanting me to do this thing and I wanted the same. And it happened. It’s quite cool. He helped me overcome myself, like not to think or worry so much, not being anxious about what my cousin might think, and to not care about anything being awkward (greatest arch nemesis ever). Really felt this supernatural peace, that this is right and good in God’s sight to do and it will be done and I’m just literally His hands and feet. I just hope I’ll be able to do the same with other things, obey His call in the marketplace. It’s usually a big (scary) deal for me, sharing God in the marketplace. I think it always is for a lot of people.

Busy week ahead. Teaching cell and doing worship on the same week wew. Literally cannot life until after church on Sunday akdsnakln.

Then again, this is the life. Better busy in God’s house than letting the devil do his work with idle hands.

And for my sin… it will be the proverbial thorn in my side which I shall contend with until I die I think. Retreated back under the carpet for now. Only hope its relapse won’t be that messy. Ungh it consumed me for three months. Have to make up for lost time now.

new fear

that i will be so used to this sin that it stops becoming such a big deal to me and i lead my double/pretend lives which only God can see but I don’t care anymore

i am a saul. i am a saul. i say one thing, the good thing, the right thing, but i do the sordid in disguise. the lord became his enemy and saul fell on his sword and took his own life.

How can one live if even God becomes his enemy

i am simon, the magician, and ananias and sapphira. i see the signs and wonders and believe but i keep a little corner of my life to myself apart from God. they say simon died horribly. ananias and sapphira were struck dead on the spot.

Because my God will not be mocked.

stand firm stand firm not only in the morning, but at noon and at night so that you might stand firm the whole day, then tomorrow, and the next day. then you might stand firm always despite everything. 

it doesnt matter what your intentions were the whole day, if you kept clean the whole 20 hours out of 24. the one minute you fall, you fall. they trickle into hours, much fewer than your 20 good intentioned hours, but they spoil everything.

wars arent fought and won on a grand scale of months, weeks or even days. When it comes down to it, it’s who you bowed to in that one minute that determines if you live or die again.

Dead today. Will try to live tomorrow. And hopefully, hopefully not on my own.

sos

help

turning into mush

i sincerely wish that everytime i write or meet people it will not be consistently of me breaking down or being in some sort of trouble

it wasn’t going to be

itwasn’tgoingtobeitwasn’tgoingtobeiswear

(just to be clear i had a great birthday. i had a great internship. i wanted to talk about these great things. but the static on this wave is drowning them out)

i have a chronic problem

because sin

im sorry

just read a testimony of my friend pulling out of a her own season of struggle and headed for a mission trip now and im just so touched/blessed at the place where she is writing from, a sinner saved by grace and being so humbled by God’s grace despite her weaknesses, and what am i doing with my life

it amazes me how man can be so aware and exalted to behold the highest realms of truth and beauty and still agree to be enslaved by the lowest of inhumane passions

how

how how

what the hell girl what even

cannot tank

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Romans 7:15-20 (NIV)

i dont even know how people can doubt the existence of a spirit man when the war is keen and the struggle is real

ungh god save this soul