Froze

So it was time for us to walk in. Took my high chair, picked up my guitar. Preview came on and we bent over so that we would not block the audience’s view.

Just 10 minutes before, someone pointed out that I was still not getting it right. I didn’t have time to get it right.

We kept our heads down. While waiting for Preview to end, I felt something rising from within. That’s anxiety, I think. 

Get out of it, come on, get out of it. Breathe, what’s next, what shall I do to get out of this…

Suddenly, I got shaken out of it. Wilson whispered and tried to calm me down. It’s just that one song. Well, I don’t know what he noticed since I wasn’t even sure what had seized me, but I guess something showed.

That’s the first time I’ve ever experienced that. It felt like something inside was close to breaking down unless I quickly snapped out of it. I didn’t find the way to, but thankfully I got shaken out of it.

They came on stage, decided to swap the songs around. That song was going to come first instead. Took a glance at Wilson, took a deep breath, let’s do it.

They said it was a good job. I don’t know if it really was, but thankful for how God brought me through the session. That was the smoothest I had played through since Friday.

What an experience.

#commonground

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Froze

Counting Blessings

  1. Been staying in the office way past office hours (till 7ish kinda thing), which is against the principle I set out for myself when I first started working. But did this because it’s easier to crutch home when the trains are not so crowded. As a result, I had the opportunity to spend extended time with O as we both stayed back in the office after work hours the past few days. Thankful for the time together, though I still can’t quite put a finger to what makes her special in this organisation. But just, feeling glad :)
  2. Had an engaging conversation with an Uber driver this morning. So engaging that I got off the car happily and forgot to pay. I got in touch with Uber to rectify that mistake, so yes.
  3. When I left office today, the rain was just getting heavier. As I tried my best to hobble down the steps (with a guitar on my back, and thinking to myself I’d better not fall) so that I could get to the shelter as quickly as possible (I minded my guitar getting wet more than me getting wet actually), I suddenly sensed a presence behind me and the rain drops were gone. Well, it wasn’t a divine cloud that sheltered me and me alone, but still quite divine. A gentleman came up from behind and held an umbrella over my head. As I turned around, he told me to take my time lest I fall again. Thank God for the kindness showered upon me these days.
  4. For all the outstretched hands, the seats offered, the eyes that watched to make sure I will be supported should I need help, thank You for people who cared.
  5. Was at an impromptu worship practice for Sunday just now. Impromptu in the sense that I took over another brother just last evening. Yep, had issues with my sense of rhythm, again. But thankful for Wilson who was there as the cajon player. He broke down what others termed as “by feel” into numbers that I could visualise. He counted very patiently alongside me as I tried to catch the rhythm. Immensely thankful that he was there. I think whenever I play in a band, my favourite musician is the drummer. Simply because I rely so much on them; their presence really really boosts my confidence in playing so much more. It helped that Wilson’s a drum teacher too haha nurturing much.
  6. Got a GrabHitch just now, praise God! Second GrabHitch ride I’ve actually managed to get.
  7. More than getting a GrabHitch, it was the driver that made the trip and the night so much better. We had a chat and found out that 1, he’s been hitching people from our church 2, he’s a Christian too 3, he attends the church right in front of my house 4, he’s somewhat my neighbour actually. At the end of the trip, he carried my guitar up to my doorsteps for me. And for what was originally a $12 trip, he only accepted the $10 note from me. All these people whom God has provided along the way these days really make me feel like this world is a better place than I had thought. Heart melts really.
  8. Dennis’ encouragement that made this night a little better. I was feeling quite :( actually. I felt that everyone was just waiting for me to get it during practice just now. Then came Dennis’ text to say that he has heard the songs and know that it’s difficult to catch those songs given the limited time I had. Thankful.

 

Counting Blessings

Thoughts at the moment

Just came out from music practice. Love the sound of the guitar plucking alongside the piano. So… soothing. Still thinking about it.

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Why am I serving? I lost that passion in playing the guitar some time ago. Not good in music either – though by God’s grace, increasingly confident and less insecure.

Would it be good that I’m not playing because I love music? Would that help me draw a clearer line between serving and merely playing a song? Would that help keep me focused on loving the people that I’m serving because I will keep on giving my time only because the northeast centre needs musicians who are willing to travel? Would one less acoustic guitarist make a difference though lol but I guess, this shouldn’t matter in whether I continue to give.

Reminder for every single time I serve in the kids’ ministry: Give with the best that I can offer regardless of whether they can hear the difference or whether they even care or not. Because, I am serving the living God, the King of kings. This is a sufficient reason for me to give my best offering. Instrument, skills, and heart wise.

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The other day, the best friend at work was just telling me about his photography course. I was quite amused by how he got increasingly excited and started entertaining the thought of us starting a photography business and then tell our boss, “We’re done with taking photos of the birds here.” Seems like someone found his passion.

Thoughts at the moment

Nothing is Impossible

Packed week. Before Tuesday morning came, my plan went like this: Take half day on Wednesday, go home practise for Northeast HopeKids’ Easter service, and then worship practice on Thursday evening. But on that Tuesday morning, I heard about what happened with Jolynn’s dad and I scrambled to rearrange my schedule because I had wanted to make it for her dad’s wake. In the end, I only managed to squeeze in less than an hour on Wednesday afternoon to listen to the songs and scribbled my notes for 1 song. Reached home at about 11pm last night and went to bed after showering, because I woke up at 5.15am in the morning and I knew I should sleep.

Didn’t have time to settle down and worship God even as I prepared for the worship service. I’ve never liked rushing through my preparation because that makes me feel as if I’m just going through a motion (i.e. play for service because I’m rostered) rather than preparing my heart to serve God and His precious little children. So I felt bad before practice this evening and apologised to God for my lack of preparation – to the extent that not only did I not find time to prepare my heart, I didn’t even practise through the other 2 songs. I turned up at practice just having listened to the songs over and over again at work, with some scribbled notes here and there.

So yes, at the start of worship practice, I was just trying to translate everything to my hands to play. Thank God that He has given me the ability to see chords and play right away and the recently added ability to pick up songs much faster than before, so I managed to catch up with the rest. But of course, that meant that I was just preoccupied with trying to get techniques right. It’s just… bad stewardship.

We had moved on from the first song to Nothing is Impossible, the second song. We were trying to figure out the details, who should play what, and kept replaying parts of the song as usual.

When we had to refine the chorus, I felt like God suddenly caught my attention. There was like a “Hey, did you realise what song you’re playing? Nothing is Impossible. Do you remember I showed you the same thing on the fridge that morning?” kind of moment.
Was slightly amused when I realised what He did there. It’s like I listened to the song yesterday, kept the song on repeat the whole day today and played through it a few times and didn’t even realise what I was playing for the week. It just felt as if God waved His arms to make me realise it’s not by chance I’m serving this Sunday and playing this song. And I JUST realised how timely this is because this will be the final week they do this song because they are on the final part – sermon titled Victory – for the current series (they do the same set of songs every week they are on the same series). In fact, JL was just sharing with us that Grace didn’t think it would be good to do this song again this week because the kids didn’t quite respond to it (maybe cos it’s a new song), but JL (aka worship leader for this week) decided to try it again anyway. So. Timely. (And this story just became unexpectedly long-winded; had meant to keep it short but ‘JUST’ realisations are cool.)

At that point of realisation, we were rehearsing through these lines:

Through You, I can do anything
I can do all things

Funny ah, God. I know You told me that the other day, but I really have no strength to do it anymore.

‘Cause it’s You who give me strength
Nothing is impossible

Okay. What else could I say to that right? Just, worship.

Thoughts?

Since last week’s prayer meet, I’ve been consciously making effort to not keep up with that “0% possibility” thing though that did help me to move on. Because it seems like He didn’t like the idea of it. Yet at the same, I wouldn’t do anything nor even want to think about it, because I’ve tried what I needed to and I’m done trying. I don’t know what’s going on now, I don’t know what needs to be done now, so I decided I’m just not going to do anything. No time to meet anyone else this month, and I want the next month to myself, so well. No strength till He convinces me otherwise, anyway.

My response tonight, well, I get it. Alright, I believe. Nothing is impossible with You. I get it. But I really don’t know what to do about the situation. You do it.

Nothing is Impossible

Audience of One

What I can learn being an acoustic guitarist is that really, I’m playing for God. The other day during practice, one of the vocalists couldn’t hear me so he was wondering if I was plugged him. He was very perplexed about that, so I just explained and kept assuring him that it’s normal for the acoustic guitar to be covered up. 

I give what I have to play, not because people will come up to me and say how well I’ve done, but that this is an offering unto God.

Yesterday during service, a thought came to me – why do I still keep on going in this faith when I’m so tired? Why don’t I take a break? For God. Because I fear that if I stop, it won’t be as easy to return. And I hope that this be my true reason rather than because I’m fearful of how people look at me. Because if I’m doing these for God, I will never ever leave Him. Because He is faithful, because He is constant, because He is mine always and forever.

Audience of One

Give

​”It’s supposed to cost you something… When you love someone, you give something of yourself; that costs something.”

This part of my friend’s wedding exhortation left a deep impression in me. Love costs us something.

It’s been months since I last shared with my (ex-)LG that I want to love the people whom I’m serving. If I didn’t remember wrongly, that was some time in April. I said I didn’t want to just be bothered with what’s in my hands, but I want to be concerned about what people need. 

It just occurred to me that serving is just like cooking. A chef who has the diners in mind would tailor his food to their preferences. Think about it, the same dish with the same name can taste so differently in different cultural contexts because diners look for different tastes that they are used to. Sometimes it’s not so much about authenticity (as in retaining the roots and exact same taste of a dish) that makes a dish good, or shall I say it’s not even about the cook, but it’s about how the dish appeals to the diner. 

This was what I saw when I was at the worship gathering earlier on as Derek shared his appreciation for some people on the team. He shared about how these servants gave. They gave in a way that had people in their minds, being so ready to re-design their service in ways that would better bless people, especially those who are different. In my opinion, they gave in a way that cost them much time, effort and perhaps other things? I asked myself then, am I willing to give this way? I.e. am I willing to love this way?

What I see in myself is that when I give, I tend to look at my own hands first. I step back because it’s just too much hassle and inconvenience on my end. I feel tired, I give up. 

Well, there are times that I give at the expense of myself, yes. That’s when I love my friends. But I guess the same struggle to love the masses remains. I’m not putting up a fight on whether I ought to be loving them, but I ask God to teach me what it means to love them. I’ll still give yes, but I desire to love so that as I give, I’ll be like the chef who cooks with those I love in mind. To bless them in ways that truly bless them rather than in ways that I’m used to doing things.

Give