Just for You

Last Saturday, I had half the mind of letting my body have the say the next morning, and maybe drop a uh-oh text to say, “I overslept.” I reached home close to midnight and by the time I washed up it was very late anyway. 

I woke up half an hour later than I would have intended to, however. There’s no way I could convince God with this excuse. So I got myself out of bed and gave myself 15 minutes to get myself out of the house. Surprisingly, I reached well on time – 10 minutes before service started – despite having left the house late.

Community is not enticing. I have no motivation to turn up. But just one. One reason. For God’s sake.

Well, amidst all these struggles, one good thing that came out of it was that I can say, I turned up for You, God. With more certainty than when the struggles weren’t real.

Just for You

On Cue

Sharing with the LG about how the sermon applies to our lives. Before sharing, I was thinking about what to share, and I remembered the conversation I had with God. So I started my mental preparation – do not crumble, tell the story matter-of-factly. 

It was my turn:

I was just telling God, “You don’t like that hor. I tried whatever I could.” It felt like God pangseh-ed me each time He called me to do something, and then the outcome remained the same. So I asked Him, “Where were You all these while?” And He replied, “In your tears, in your struggles.”

And my tear was quite on cue. It came down when I said “tears”. Totally not cool with that. Within me I was just feeling shucks why did I, please don’t mind me at all, because I’m really done with that. Hoping that my LGmates don’t come and counsel me on that because I’m past it alright; don’t even remind me.

Perhaps it’s just how God is so real that it touched me. I woke up this morning like nothing had happened, other than feeling a tinge of regret for tearing while telling the story.

On Cue

Responsibility

Attended a workshop on StrengthsFinder on Friday in an attempt to understand more about it. So this guy shared about how the Responsibility talent theme plays out in his life:

There’s only 1 promise that I have rescinded, which means withdraw. What happened was that both my friend and I got drunk. At that point in time, he had just gone through a break-up, and he asked me, “You’ll always be here for me right?” And I said, “Yes”. Some years ago, he went overseas and never came back. We lost touch eventually, but I know that if he ever calls, I will want to be there for him. I guess now it’s unlikely that he will call since we haven’t even spoken for so long, and I thought it’s time to let go of this promise.” – Daniel

I thought that sounded familiar, and for a moment I realised I’m not alone in this. I also began to understand why a good friend once asked, “Why is it that you are so good to your friends?” – sounds nice here but that friend meant it as a criticism actually. What he shared definitely helped me to understand a bit more about this part of myself.

I hate breaking promises, so I don’t make them easily. Even things like ‘I will always be here for you’ don’t come out of my mouth easily. Because, like him, if we make a promise, we want to keep it. Our words to another mean a lot to us.

I once had a mentor whom I had disappointed when I rebeled at the age of 16. Since then, we stopped speaking. Still, every special occasions like her birthday (which happens to be in just another 3 minutes time), Chinese New Year or Christmas, I would drop a text to wish her well. This went on for 5 years, and she’s someone who holds much importance in my heart. It was only until the Defining Chapters camp when God revealed through Yvonne that I had been carrying the blame of the incident and it’s time for forgive myself that I had moved on from it.

Just a few nights ago though, I looked back and was surprised. It’s been 9 years since the incident. And what surprised me more is that she’s almost 40 now; I knew her when she was 26. She’s always lived a private life. I wonder, how she’s been, how does she look like now?

And random sudden thought: I just realised I have quite a “fatal” combination of talent themes. Relator combined with Responsibility. This sounds like a painful combination haha build deep relationships in which I hold on to what I say but then when conflicts happen and issues don’t ever get resolved, wah ouch. Needa learn to manage these better.

Responsibility

Entitlement

A workplace where cooperation is not seen as necessary but as a favour. Requiring begging and placating from one to another. Where gifts are sometimes regarded more as buying favours rather than out of love. Such is an unhealthy work environment.

Was also offered 10 cups of coffee in exchange of a favour. I declined. I will exchange for your friendship with those 10 cups of coffee.

Entitlement

Still

Not only have I been having dreams, but I met someone who bore a striking resemblance just two days ago. A part of me was struggling to stay still, and to keep that appearance of sanity as we stood around in that group. What’s great was that I was done with that struggling like within the hour, partly because I realised that person resembled the friend I once knew – but, hmm it’s somehow different now.

Had HopeSem last night and they used passages on relationships within a church as examples for interpretation, which meant they followed up with the explanation of what the Bible is actually saying about the relationships we build in church. Han Hui also talked about not causing anyone to have doubts on God’s faithfulness in the class. I then had a mini bicker with God.

Me: You don’t like that (i.e. poke at me), I tried all that I could k. 你摸良心讲, haven’t I tried all I could? And where were You all these while?

And I felt like the answer I got back was this: In your loneliness, in the quietness, in your sorrows.

Okay, God 1 – 0 WX

The session last night really spoke even though it was meant to be a class rather than a time of ministry. A lot of examples used was relevant to the situation. It seems like whatever is going on now contradicts what the Bible teaches – so what is going on now? My thoughts: Either one of us is stubbornly refusing God or I’ve not learnt what I’m supposed to learn yet.

To walk away, regardless, is a worldly way of handling issues. I tried sticking by, clarifying, etc. to the point that I was probably thought to be annoying – and annoyingly persistent. So next best thing to do, zao.

But I really tried k, God. 不要这样子。

But anyway, the extent of stillness I have within me despite what happened and what was discussed last night is quite… mm, I’m thankful. I’m seeing how much progress we’ve made. Thanks God, for walking with me.

Still

Covenant

In a culture where promises are easily broken or even forgotten, what would a covenant look like?

________________________________________

On a side note, I’ve been hearing the word “covenanted” attached to different relationship-related words ever since I came here. Covenanted friendship, covenanted life group.

I’ve been here for almost 7 years but I still don’t understand how those terms came about. Prior to coming here, I understood a covenant as one that is made between a man and God. So what does it mean in those contexts of friendships and life group?

I always understood a covenant as something more than a promise. A covenant is like if you break it, you die, and if you don’t die, it is only because of the mercy of God. Because you are in a covenant with the Almighty God who keeps covenant. Though, ideally, promises should not be broken as well. Well it’s true that as humans we fail, but this does not give us the licence to take our covenants lightly either.

If a covenant is meant to be kept, how should I interpret relationships that almost vanish once we are done with a particular life group, or broken friendships in church? Do I take this as the fallibility of humans – though a teacher I’m acquainted with would argue that if it was possible for Jesus Christ to resist temptation, we could too – or do I take this as there’s so such terms?

I have no idea how long I spent laying wide awake on the bed last night considering this thing about covenant. I thought about putting on a ring again, this time round no longer just a symbol of sexual purity. I took it off a year and a half ago because it occurred to me that waiting for that ring to be exchanged on the wedding day has two flaws in it – 1, it is almost like telling God, “I keep my purity and one day You bring to me a good husband okay?”, which God had never signed such a deal with all of us and 2, the strive for purity should not just be restricted to a sexual one, but also in our thoughts, our motives, etc. 

This time round, perhaps, a reminder of who I am even as changes take place in my life (e.g. moving between jobs, meeting new people with different value systems, etc.). I hope to not be obssessed with the pursuit of wealth and influence, to the point where I hurt people or that I live to simply achieve more for my own well-being. The temptation, to be honest, is not absent from my life. I was shocked when I realised I kept counting how I could make more dollars and cents though that did not make sense to me. The capability to manipulate is something which I know well enough as well; it has been God that I keep myself accountable to concerning this part of me. The ring, if I do get it, shall be a symbol to remind me to keep my heart, my thoughts, my motives, pure and genuine. A reminder rather than a covenant because, I have no faith in myself haha.

I also thought about how if one day I have a chance to public speak again, promises would be something I would love to address. Emotionally charged after an inspiring sermon, we lift our hands at the invitation of the preacher to make a covenant with God. How many of us actually give a thought to the covenant in the next few days? “I will always be there for you” – a cliché I resist from saying because I simply can’t be always there for anyone – yes even a spouse – and neither can you. Only God can. Resist because sometimes, you really feel like writing that in a birthday card or send it in a text to comfort a friend, that sorta thing. (So I write about God’s faithfulness in that person’s life instead haha) So unromantic, I know, I know. But I would rather work towards trustworthiness, that when I say yes to you, you know that I mean yes and I try my best to keep to it.

It is not the fallibility of man that I’m against. It is the lack of weight that our promises/covenants carry. That, the intention of keeping it – whereby it is no doubt especially effortful at times – is often absent.

At the end of this, I’m still curious and would wish to know, how did the terms ‘covenanted friendship’ and ‘covenanted life group’ come about? Truth be told, I’m somewhat disillusioned at this point in my life. If not for God, I will be out of a church.

Covenant

Build Deep

Tipped the balance today.

Me: So, if you have a choice between passion and position, what would you choose? Imagine… *inserts company’s name*
SH: Position. How about you?
Me: Position. Because this means a greater chance to try out different things and learn, which I feel is important in this stage of life.
SH: Would you stay for long?
Me: To be honest… (content kept private) How about you? Why passion?

And that sparked off a 45 mins discussion on our opinions and observations thus far.

Asked the first question because if he had chosen passion in spite of limited growth potential, I would really make the recommendation for him to join the team in 2 years’ time when he graduates. It’s not just about his interests, but also his work attitude that is admirable. Well, each to his own. His answer though, lets me know that we can’t keep him even if I had asked.

That was a quite a fruitful time for a quality time person like myself. Though, now that I think of it, I’m hoping that he doesn’t betray this trust.

But then again, I’ve always hated formalities. So what if I’m your supervisor? Be professional when it comes to work yes, but outside of work, I’m cool to simply be a senior/friend. That’s fine. In fact, it’s rather saddening when I hear from my friends how they find that it’s necessary to always keep your guard/walls up in the workplace. 

I guess I do see their point. Not everyone’s safe to be around, especially in the corporate world. But… yeah, I always have this ‘But’. I think it’s possible leh *makes reference to WRS* And it makes work more enjoyable.

I might just get my trust betrayed one day. Even when that day comes, may the relator in my never give up, but still keeps believing in building deep connections.

(Disclaimer: I don’t do this indiscriminately, FYI.)

Build Deep