DISC

Just completed the test and read the profile report. Kinda doubt how accurate my profiling is given that I had some prior knowledge of the traits and how I was so intentional in not trying to identify each option to the trait – which means I was kinda aware of what certain option would lead to. But yeah, the profile report seems to have gotten half of me true, in the way I think and process information. The other half on relating with people… hmm not as well as how MBTI did for me. Maybe I really did mess up the test a bit this time.

But anyway, as I was reading the report, I began to see why a once-close-friend saw me as stubborn and unfriendly towards people if they “failed my expectations”. These are things that I have thought through and didn’t quite agree with, but I guess now I know that this is the impression that my personality type gives off.

Also saw this portion on complementing personality types. Joked with another friend maybe this is why we are friends. And then the next thought came – maybe this is why this other person and I are no longer friends. Well, not that I know this friend’s personality type though I would rule out ‘I’, which so happens to be the trait that these complementing personality types all have.

Definitely thinking too much though. Like why should a report dictate what kind of people I should mix with right? But well, 20 more days to my 2017 first quarter goal.

DISC

Differences

Witnessed an interesting conversation between two friends on Friday.

A: Are you a tip-eater (referring to the tip of chicken wings)?
B: No
A: Such a waste! We cannot be friends (in a joking tone).
B: Shouldn’t that mean we should be friends all the more? So that I can just give you all the tips. Just give me all the flesh hahaha

Perspectives on differences between friends.

Differences

Price of ‘Fairness’

Lately, a few things happened which kept bringing this word to mind. ‘Fairness’ had always remained just an idea in my head until recently. All along, I’ve made theological statements like ‘God is just, but He is not fair’, and I put forth that claim so confidently as though I knew it to be a truth. It’s only when those events took place that this notion of fairness I had long held was challenged. At the end of the day, a question posed to myself is this, is fairness that desirable?

The first proper consideration I gave to this idea was just a few weeks back, when my sister demanded a tablet from my dad. She did it over a group chat so I could read that. At that point in time, I thought it wasn’t necessary since she has a laptop and there was already a tablet lying idle at home, with other reasons accompanying those. Initially I thought my dad wouldn’t entertain that suggestion, since we are talking about $500 here – that’s a pretty big sum for something not-quite-needed for a family like mine. But he did. So I tried to ask questions like, do you really need it, isn’t there one at home, etc. Before long, my dad started joking about how I was jealous that my sister was getting a tablet, to which my sister replied that my dad gave me some money for my driving test. Well, “to be fair”, it seemed justifiable to him that he should just go ahead with it, out of love for his daughters.

That sparked off much thoughts on this idea of fairness. My first response to that “fairness talk” was huh, since when was this about an equation? I didn’t care whether there’s something in it for me as well, but what I was really concerned about was whether that purchase was beneficial at all in the first place. In fact, I felt that that decision would have negative repercussions.

At that moment, it just occurred to me that if God is fair in the manner of ‘if this kid gets gift ABC because it would be beneficial for his growth, then everyone else should get ABC even though they don’t need say, B’. Simply possessing “extras” is one thing, but the questions is whether those “extras” would do me more harm than good. To concretise this, I’ll use myself as an example. I’ve always wondered why is it that other people can play the piano so much easier than I can – in other words, why do they have musical talent and I don’t? If God is fair, then He should give me these. Well I guess 1, perhaps they need it more than I do in their life, for whatever purposes God has for their lives. 2, if I had this (and other random gifts) which God had deemed that I do not need, it doesn’t just not serve a purpose. I would think that there is a high chance that I will have a harder time managing my pride and I will just be showing off my skills for my own sake. That, wouldn’t be something a wise and good God would do. I mean, those are just two possibilities of why they have that talent and I don’t. There could be more – more consequences for having things I don’t need.

There was actually more than this (^) that I had wanted to write. Sadly, I didn’t have the time to properly write those thoughts down, and they slipped away day by day.

Last night though, something happened which made me lay awake with thoughts going through my mind for the next half an hour or so. What happened was approximately a year ago, my sis and I bought a gift for someone whom we love and thought this gift would be beneficial, helpful, and to some extents empowering (skills wise). We bought the gadget for her because many people were using it, and thought it would be good to let her have one too. Last night we discovered that there was a misuse of the gift, such that we felt that that misuse could possibly place her in danger. We were shocked and didn’t know how to deal with that, other than to just leave it for the moment. My sis went into her bedroom, and I could hear her sobbing in the dark. The issue was… pretty serious.

Thoughts on fairness came back to me again. So what if many people have the gadget? If giving the gift to her so that she stands on equal grounds means danger, I would rather not have given that gift. Because I love this person and wouldn’t want to see her meeting with harm. We often link loving and giving together. In this case, I felt we had given with an imperfect love that didn’t take into account possibilities such as this. We gave something to this person who didn’t know how to steward that well, and ended up causing harm to that person instead.

God, though, gave with perfect love and knowledge. Perhaps it seems unfair that He would give something to someone but not to another, yet instead chose to give something else to this other person. If God loves us all the same, why doesn’t He give us all the same gifts? I would suppose these struggles that I was taken through are some of the reasons. He gave what He knows to be good for us because He loves us. Loving us equally does not mean giving us the same things; loving us equally means giving His best for the sake of each and every of our best. 

The next time I were to make statements on whether God is fair, I would think twice about it. If fairness means an equation like how we’ve often seen it to be, then fine, God isn’t fair, and rightly so. But so be it – the price of our kind of ‘fairness’ would be too costly. If I have a choice, then I’ll redefine what I mean by fairness, to be that He loves us all and gave us the best according to His knowledge.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Price of ‘Fairness’

Driving Lessons

Before these thoughts slip away from my mind, I shall write them here. Been getting random inspirations during my driving lessons.

It all started a few lessons ago, when I noticed that my instructor no longer place his right foot on standby near the foot brake that is located at the left passenger seat. The purpose of the foot brake is to stop the car from moving when the things that I do (or fail to do)  pose danger to myself or other road users. It started off with slamming on the foot brake on my behalf, and slowly it became more of telling me to apply brakes and sometimes affirming me by saying “yes, that’s right, that’s how you can use your brakes”. I guess this is a sign that he trusts that I have a better idea of what to do now as I learn to maneuver this vehicle.

That’s just like growing up, isn’t it? When we were kids, parents impose this and that restriction on us because they wanted to protect us. But as we grow older and along the way show that we can be trusted in the things we do, bit by bit they stop looking so much at those “foot brakes”. Instead of slamming on them, our parents become our advisors. They begin to trust that we know how to assess the situation and speak to us about them. This progression takes place when our character shows sensibility and trustworthiness.

Driving also requires one to look several metres ahead. There may be ongoing road works resulting in road blocks, or there may be reckless drivers, or careless pedestrians, or something else that requires you to be swerved off your original course. Man, I hate having those things in my way because their occurrences cause me to panic a little on the inside whenever I have to try and react to them in time. Changes need to be made in terms of my vehicle’s speed, and sometimes even to the point of stopping. Or, sometimes I’ll have to find an opportunity to change lanes – I wouldn’t say changing lane is scary, but it does take a lot of effort to check this mirror, that mirror and my blind spot and make my move in the shortest time possible.

One thing this reminds me of is to always look further ahead, so that I have sufficient time to react and make the necessary changes in my life. The idea of planning ahead. The idea of being aware of what’s going on ahead. The idea of being watchful. Because, what if it’s not just a little panic that takes place on the inside when we encounter something we have not anticipated, but that a lack of foresight results in some “road accidents” along the way?

And yes, I lack such foresight. In the recent lessons, my instructor has been talking to me about looking ahead, and telling me that driving is not just about changing up gears, stepping on my accelerator and driving as fast as possible. Remember the foot brake he has on his side of the car? He also has a mirror that allows him to watch for vehicles on my behalf. I started driving with just having to learn how to control that vehicle well and make it move while he takes care of the rest. I mean, that was what he kept telling me initially; he told me to not worry because he will watch for vehicles on my behalf, so that I could concentrate on my task at hand. However, as I “grow” and he places his foot away from the foot brake now, he is also teaching me to be watchful for my own safety and others’ safety as well. He keeps reminding me that I have to be a safe driver above all else. When we’re young, our parents would take care of this and that for us, but as we grow we got to learn to take care of these other things as well. Another lesson I can extract from this is that life is not just about rushing forward, recklessly and without consideration. It requires one to plan ahead and be on the watch out. Sometimes we will need to slow down and there may also be times when stopping is necessary.

Looking further ahead and being aware of my surrounding is something that I have to learn now. I’m currently still not quite good at that, even though I do tell myself to watch. I guess part of the difficulty comes in the form of not being familiar with the amount of reaction time I need. There were times I reacted too early and he would go “What are you doing? He’s still so far away!”, and at other times he would be like “Why didn’t you stop? You couldn’t have gone ahead when this happens!” I’m like, woah. bad judgment, WX. I’ll try to explain by going I thought, I thought, I thought. But well, I thought wrong.

Being bad at this means that I’d better be trusting my instructor when he asks me to do something. I’d better be changing my lane when he says so. I’d better be slowing down when he says so. I’d better stop when he says so. All these, even if I don’t know what’s going on and I don’t understand why I should. Because he knows better.

There were times he said, “Just do it first, I’ll explain this to you later.” And he always did the moment I passed through whatever obstacle that was in my way. He would take the opportunity to teach me how to respond to circumstances like those, and why it was important that I did what I just did a.k.a. what he told me to do.

This sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? This instructor-cum-advisor seems like Someone in my life – God. He definitely sees further in my life than I do, He certainly knows better. Even when I think that I know well enough, the truth is I don’t. Then I’d better be listening and obeying because not only He sees further and knows better than I do, surely He loves me and wants the best for me. So even at times when I don’t understand, I’d better obey. Many of them did – Abraham, Moses, those guys marching around the wall of Jericho, Naman, etc. Look at what happened as they obeyed!

There had been times like that in my life. Some of those times were easier to obey than others. And in some of those “other times”, there were tears and desperation. There were times that God allowed me to understand what was happening and what He was doing in my life. I’ve seen so much wisdom and experienced awe in times like that.

But, there were also times He didn’t explain. He’s definitely not anything less than my driving instructor by not explaining everything to me. Put it another way – He’s way better than my driving instructor! I can trust that the “explanation” He withholds is good for me to not know in this season or even, till the day I meet Him face to face. I can never see as far ahead as He does in my life, and even now, I may not know entirely about myself like He does. But the truth that He knows everything from the past to the future, being the Alpha and Omega, who loves me, I can trust Him. Does it mean it will always be easy to trust and obey from now on? Perhaps not, but this is a reminder.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Driving Lessons

Them on stage

When I sat amongst the congregation, I’ve always had questions about who those people on stage were. Service used to be in the evening, and I used to wonder about how these people were feeling as they danced about and sang with so much expressions in the way they worshipped in the previous service and then ours. I used to wonder who they are off-stage too.

I guess the most I had managed to gather was through a conversation with Nicholas that we had years ago. He was one of the few friends I had who served on stage as a musician. I asked him about issues on pride and his views towards these issues, because I wondered if this is an issue that people on stage struggle with. Another reason was also that I had a few reservations about joining the stage ministry, and pride was something I was afraid of. It helped when he shared that the ministry would keep each other in check, amongst other things that he mentioned.

Had another opportunity to find out more this morning. Bumped into one of the vocalists at the coffee shop when I wanted to grab a quick bite. And since the studio we booked for our practice wasn’t open yet, I sat down to have a chat with her for the first time. Found out a little about who she is, where she is from, etc. Not long later, we got onto the topic of her involvement in the ministry. Like I mentioned, I used to wonder about how these people who serve in multiple services on a single day feel, and whether the energy they displayed were actually genuine. I paraphrased the question and asked it in a more tactful manner. And wow was impressed with the answer that came. She shared that they do feel tired. They would come in in the morning for practice, and serve during service time. And when they have their breaks at the backstage, a lot of times they would be so tired that they will just K.O. there. When the next service begins, they would give their best once again. The reason why they could still exhibit that much energy on stage despite that tiredness is because they simply enjoyed worshipping God.

Well, I just joined this ministry not long ago. I would say I’m still figuring my way out here. Other than knowing how things work, as in skills and technicalities and things like that, I am still in the midst of getting to know people each time I serve. From time to time, I’ll observe how people relate to one another in here. Doing these by being intentional in joining them for meals when anyone asks. Trying to observe through group conversations too.

Nigel, the keyboardist I served with today, wrote something on the group chat which made me feel humbled. He wrote a relatively long message to thank different individuals, with heartfelt sincerity. And he also wrote, “… thanks for being understanding and working with my incompetencies!” I mean, I did think that he knows his instrument well, and yet this was what he said. I think there’s a lot of humility in this text. Felt encouraged reading that!

There is so much that I can learn from these individuals. I’m glad to be given this avenue to see things from their perspective as they share, and to learn from their spirit with which they serve. I hope I will be intentional in learning these, rather than just keeping these as good stories and good testimonies in my head.

Them on stage

Faithful Student

A Christian who happens to be a student, rather than a student who happens to be a Christian. 

Ever since the first time I heard this saying, I’ve always thought that it’s true and cool. There’s quite a few statements with this literary technique employed, and I quite like them.

I just saw it on Facebook again. Suddenly as I gave a second thought to this statement, I asked myself, “Do I really just happen to be a student?” I have no doubts about the fact that I am a Christian; it is not an accident, it is not anything less than my committed decision, and it is definitely God having called me to Himself. But hmm, “happens to a student” – suddenly this doesn’t seem quite true anymore.

At least to me, I don’t think it just so happens that I’m given the privilege to study all these 19 years of my life. Being placed where I am and having every way made for me to be able to study despite circumstances I’m in (and my lack of interest in studying too), I do think there is a purpose to this. What I’m trying to say is I don’t just happen to be a student, I am also being intentionally placed here to be a student.

Of course, identity-wise I am first a Christian then a student. However, it still doesn’t mean that the fact that I am a student happened by chance. In terms of being faithful to our calling, by giving the best we can afford to, I don’t think this purpose of me being a student should be left out of the picture.

To make that easier to understand, I guess I’ll say that there’s a bundle of things that we are to be faithful to – time, finances, talents, gifts, service unto God and His people, calling, whatever we are given. These are the things that we have to take care of, with the knowledge of ourselves being a Christian and hence the reason for stewarding these well. That is to say, if we place these things above our salvation and our relationship with God – the very thing that makes us a Christian – the idea of stewardship will lack a firm foundation. This happens often enough and I guess many times without us realising, and especially so when it comes to serving. Serving seems right and good and we should go all the way – but when the balance is tipped and our relationship with God becomes something that we overlook, we begin to feel burnt out, we begin to seek other things like others’ approval in our stewardship. It has now come to this point of not seeing the point of stewardship as pleasing to the One who loves us so much, and so we try to find a point of doing these ourselves. And maybe we manage to find another reason, but over time this probably would fail to satisfy us again (imagine with me, the pursuit of riches or the pursuit of being the top just for the sake of our enjoyment). On the other hand, if we first set right our priorities of our identity of being a Christian, then it gives us a good reason to steward these things well. Point being, if we remain in acknowledgement of our identity in Christ and let nothing overtake that, that gives us a good reason to be faithful in what we are given, and this should include our studies. Our studies should never overtake God in our lives, but yet it does not mean to say that it should not be given a priority as one of the things we are called to be faithful to.

That being said, as much as I think I give my best in being a student, I admit that I have this weakness of not stewarding my time well when it comes to my academics. I mean, I give my best to attend all my lessons – not because my lecturer takes attendance but I do it as a form of worship unto God. I mug, I do my assignments, I even plan all 4 years of my modules at the beginning which most people think is unnecessary to do. But I guess there’s this interest issue that I have when it comes to studying. More often I’ll do many things other than studying or working on my assignments until I have to. And this is where my room of improvement lies I guess, like to make good use of the time I have by starting on them earlier so that I have ample time to finish what I am supposed to. I tried, I did, but guess what, I ended up spending weeks looking on the internet for the best sources and only started on writing the assignment 1 or 2 days before the deadline. Others tell me that I am the kind that works well under pressure – I like that idea cos that would allow me to think it’s fair to start late, but then again I’m not sure if it’s just an excuse for myself. I would like to know if there are any ways of overcoming this weakness.

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

(Colossians 3:23-24)

Faithful Student

Say

On sentry duty for the hour, so I shall take some time to write. Thought 1 hour would be a little unbearable, especially at this hour (2ish to 3ish), but thank God for letting me have some important things to pass my time with before this.

Anyway, yesterday morning before I left for work, I was just randomly thinking about a (also rather random) conversation I had with an acquaintance the night before. She started the conversation off with “What are you doing now?” and before I realised it, she had me engaged in the conversation. Well, kind of. For some reason or another, I was kept talking as she asked questions about wildlife conservation related issues and listened to whatever little that I could think of at that moment.

I actually didn’t realise what she did there until I looked back at that conversation. So she had me begin on a topic that I was supposedly interested in (I mean, that’s probably what she concluded), since I told her that’s what I’m currently working on in my research. And then she kept me going on and on with it by inviting me to change her thoughts on the issues raised. I had no time to feel uncomfortable in that whole conversation because it seemed like there was something urgent to talk about in that seemingly short amount of time we had. That was how she made me feel. And I really mean that’s how she made me feel – usually even when I talk about similar issues, I tend to talk about it in a distant manner because I know people in general aren’t interested in the topic. Up till the point that she was about to leave, she pushed that further by saying “This is your last ditch to convince me” and “Alright, you must share with me articles on Facebook k!”.

Looking back at that, I think that’s quite… impressive. No wonder she’s a communicator; she’s so good at this! I thought about how I felt when that happened, and it felt like I was back to being a kid that found an adult who would listen, and I just kept going on and on and on with what’s on my mind. Even if they are nonsensical haha like you know, how kids just go on and on sometimes. And yet at that same time, there’s this tiny bit of fear that what I was saying may be uninteresting for this adult. But if I were still that small kid like I was, I think I might keep being on the lookout for this adult and hover around her to get an opportunity to talk to her from that day on hahaha! But alright, stay cool WX!

But anyway, what she did was really quite an art. Not saying that I feel manipulated now, but I really think how she did it so naturally without people realising that was cool! To be honest, I’m not sure if she’s really THAT interested – though I guess she is somewhat interested – but yeah, the way she had me engaged in that conversation unknowingly was quite *thumbs up* Good skill to have in engaging an acquaintance in a conversation, and I mean a fruitful one.

Say