Just something about the newness of the year that make people feel all fresh and sparkly and hopeful. How sad that that gets lost along the way and good intentions just disappear. How about hanging out with somebody who not only gives you new life but sustains it and keeps you new and pure like every single day? 😀
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water so that I will not get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
John 4:13-15 (NIV) [on the Samaritan woman at the well]
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
Really wanna do this but don’t know if head and heart are in the same place. We’ll see.
So I did this back in 2014 but I didn’t get round to it last year because of the whole exchange panic. Really enjoyed doing it tho, plus Sam wanted me to do one so here goes~
Challenge number 1: The biggest lesson you learnt this year.
Hmmz this is a toughie. I don’t think I learnt a big lesson but many little lessons throughout the year, as usuals.
Toughest seasons were adjusting back to life when I came back in June, dealing with my physical health and most recently, trying to figure out what all the open/closed doors placed in my life mean. More commitments, more places to serve in ministry. Hmm. Ok, now that I think about it, biggest lesson learnt is that it is a privilege to serve.
So I’ve been called to step up in a lot of things and I’ve pestered friends for opinions, for them to run through practical pros/cons with me and pretty much advise me on what I should do.
There are a lot of things that come to mind when God opens doors.
In no particular order, if I feel like it’s something I can totally do, I get hit by a kind of self-elevating pride, which consequently leads to a slight sense of disdain for the call. Because sometimes I view it as a liability (it will take up my time and effort etc etc) and I have this not-so-good attitude of “alright, alright, I’ll stoop down and help you poor people. augh I’m a busy person but ok, if you really need people, I’ll do it.” I occasionally do stuff sincerely out of need (i.e there’s no one else to do it and I’m genuinely not confident in it but I’ll help). Most of the time, though, it’s a false humility kind of thing, as if life can’t go on if I said no. Lel.
Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
Psalm 127:1 (NIV)
Ok, the verse is kind of the opposite. In the same vein of thought, if God has planned for the house to be built, even if I don’t contribute, the house will still be built by other people. So I’m not that big of a deal at the end of the day. It’s an opportunity for me to be called at all.
The other thing that hits me in being called is fear. Fear of inadequacy, of insecurities, of whether I’d be good at it and whether I’ll be able to cope with it since stepping up = more commitments = less time for other things eg my studies etc. I know that God will bless me if I sought His kingdom first for sure but still, it’s difficult to go all in and just say yes.
For the pagans pursue all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.
I was just lamenting to a friend once. “Why does God give me so many open doors? If He just opened one I would just follow and know that that is His will for me and things would be less complicated.” I’d moaned. And my friend just said, “God is trying to teach you how to discern His will. Besides, wherever you decide to serve in, God will use you and grow you anyways.”
Kind of like the Alice in Wonderland thing.
Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.
Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland
It is a privilege to serve. It really is. I know that but sometimes I don’t act like that. Sometimes I just take God for granted.
It is a privilege to serve. And it’s not just in ministry either. It’s a privilege to be able to love like God. It’s a privilege to be able to know this God so personally and live like Him. The cross is the singular thing that can feel so heavy and burdensome yet light and easy at the same time.
Challenge number 2: One Bible verse/passage to end this year and another to start next year.
For the year that just passed and the season I’m still in:
Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being, for the Lord and not for men, because you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as your reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
I have been called and I will still be getting called, everyday, to die to myself. Service is something I need to acquaint myself with, so that it will become something so second-nature within me. And that’s hard for me. I love myself loads. So I need this. It’s something to close the year but to keep with me as I enter open doors. Need so much grace for this.
For the new year:
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)
This verse popped up three times recently.
So just got back from a youth camp where one of the highlights was that I was finally kidnapped as a hostage for a game hwaha. I feel a slight achievement unlocked there because I’m never the hostage and I so wanted a behind-the-scenes/slack time while everyone else had to find us. Turns out hostages had to work to escape too. We had to do a series of challenges and that was loads of fun. One of the challenges was memorizing the verse given to you. This was my verse. Much meaningful. It popped up again in sermon (2nd time) and in a Christmas card I received (3rd time).
I think to continue in something is really hard, sometimes much harder than starting to do something. It can be so tiring to carry on in a way of life that is so contrary to the world, so contrary to yourself. Instead of doing what you want, you have to humble yourself and put yourself aside for someone else’s will, someone else’s way of life. Sometimes, I’d like a break from that, even though I know that He is the only one that fulfils and satisfies and is good. Sometimes, the weight of holiness is so heavy.
But I think that’s where roots matter, constant building up (instead of stagnation) matters, strengthening and using the faith we have been given matters, and in everything, to be thankful. Being thankful is so underrated.
I was playing this card game with a couple of friends once. It was an interesting game, in the sense that you didn’t count the score as the game was being played. You tally them all up at the end of the game. So I could never tell if I was winning or not. And maybe it was meant to be played that way, or I just couldn’t get the rules, but every time it was my turn, I kept asking “Am I winning? Am I winning?” (competitive weenie alert) I got tired of the game pretty quickly because I couldn’t tell if what I was doing was right, and I didn’t get the instant gratification of winning/losing whenever someone did something. I had to wait till the end to find out if I’d won and it made the playing of the game boring.
Walking with God’s like that, methinks. Sometimes, the small things that everyone reminds you to do is boring. Pray, memorize verses, do devotion, etc etc. It’s hard to keep up with that over an extended period of time. But when it comes down to what’s important, when you get into one of those tug-of-war struggles between your shoulder angel and devil, all that suddenly matters, all that suddenly adds up to a lot. The points which you never saw in real time suddenly appear and makes a difference. Those are the roots right there, under all that soil. Those are the bricks you’ve placed one at a time that have become a wall, a fortress.
So those are my two verses, both from Colossians. This review preview wasn’t as short as the 2014 one but oh wells, I needed it, I guess. Hope I’ll remember my verses.
Lastly, just to tease in one of the Desiring God podcast I was raving about: http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-makes-my-life-significant
It’s a very concise pod/transcript, methinks, on what I really believe in and live by and it makes so much sense to me. It’s good stuff. Check it out.
Ok. Go have a great new year friends.
Love love. ❤