Tag Archives: life

Word of the Year: Sacrifice

My Word of The Year 2017 was Responsibility and as if that wasn’t dreary enough, this year’s Word is Sacrifice.

Last weekend I was scheduled to serve as usher in church. I had the day planned out in the morning, then I watched Netflix longer than what I planned for, grew tired from lying on bed whole morning and decided to take a nap 10 minutes* before getting ready to go out. I snoozed till I either get up rightaway or missed my reporting time. I chose the latter, continued sleeping and woke up too late to report for duty but, to alleviate my guilt, made it to church. That day, one of the sermon’s key message was “The price you pay for worship will correspond with your breakthrough”

Ouch.

I have been coming to God asking “why am I not having the same level of intensity that I had for you?”. The problem is I come to Him whenever it’s convenient; the leftover of my time, when I’m waiting in line and had nothing to do, or when I’m bored. It cost me nothing to spend time with Him.

In 1 Chronicles 21:18-30 King David wanted to purchase a site to build an altar to the Lord. Araunah, the owner of the site, offered him for free yet King David replied:

“No I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

King David (1 Chronicles 21:24)

Jesus died for us. He showed us the ultimate sacrifice out of His love. He doesn’t demand anything in return but His act of love caused my heart to stir and bring transformation to millions. That’s what a sacrifice can do.

What Sacrifice Isn’t

A sacrifice has to be sincere. It cannot come with strings attached. If you sacrifice something with the mindset of gaining something else, then that’s a bargain not a sacrifice. Lent is starting soon and we’ll hear many people giving up something till Easter. It is an admirable practice but I hope those sacrifices are not mere tradition or a “by the way” (e.g. I’ve been meaning to lose weight hence giving up sugar).

We sacrifice to set our heart right before God. When you love someone, don’t you want to spend time or buy gifts or write letter for that person even if you have to inconvenient yourself to drive to where he/she is, set aside time to shop, research on nice restaurants, etc? (P.S Valentine’s Day is coming – this is a hint how to treat your girl/boyfriend)

This year I want to learn to be a good lover of God; to give Him 1. My time – which could mean less time on Netflix, 2. My finances – not getting another pair of sneakers and giving to Mission Trip instead, 3. My attention – abiding in Him and listening. Stop treating Him as my Psychiatrist, 4. Myself.

This year may (you and) I learn to truly live a life of sacrifice unto the Lord.

X,
Mel

*There’s no such thing as a 10 minute nap.

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2018 New Year’s Resolution

Finally done drafting my resolution! I take New Year’s Resolution seriously because I’m one of those unmotivated and easily distracted person so if I don’t have a list of goals, there’s high chance I might go wayward and meander through the year. Last year I am pleased that I did well against my resolution for the first time since I started making resolution list. So let’s kick start 2018 with a new set of goals! I’ve categoried them in no particular order.

1. God

I’m re-cultivating the habit of morning prayer as a symbol and reminder to start everything with God.

2. Health

Last year I wanted to be healthy and I’ve done so by going for crossfit and signing up gym membership (also actually use it). This year I wanna be healthier and fit by exercising 2x a week (I just wanna make the most out of my membership fee) and watching my diet. Reduce sugar and rice. Hopefully lose 2kg in the process.

3. Finance

The aim is to be financially prudent or to quote my company’s expenses policy – “X is committed to ensuring that all expenditure incurred is prudent, reasonable and reflects sound judgement and decision making.” Do I need a cat butt tissue dispenser? No.

4. Relationship

Make time to develop relationships. Be aware of who and how I’m spending my time. Accept that I am not be able to keep up with everyone because if I do I will burnout and lose track of people who matter.

5. Self-care

On top of making time for others, I’m setting aside me-time. This includes pampering myself (manicure, creambath, go to salon) and doing the necessities like an overdue visit to the dentist and my doctors!

6. Writing

Starting with 1 post per week to gain back the momentum. The post need not be extraordinary or meaningful as long as they are published.

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7. Career

I am grateful for the new job and now it’s time to take it up a notch – be aggressive and proactive. Do the obvious. E.g. Don’t understand? Ask! Need to cut the meeting and excuse myself? Speak up! Need to chat? Call!

8. Community

Continuing from last year’s resolution on being more involved with Toastmaster and Cell group, this year I want to be more present. To be part of a community means I don’t just receive from the group but also contribute my knowledge, experience, skills and time.

Alrighty. 2018, we’re ready for you!

Cheers,

Mel.

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The Conversation

Conversation is a window to the World different from mine. It changes my perspectives and there’s always something to learn from the different characters we meet. The past few weeks I am privileged to be able to have conversations with friends whom I haven’t met for a while, new acquaintances I come to admire, and people of higher position than I am who opened up themselves.

One of them is my couple-friends who are moving out of the country next month. They have 2 beautiful kids and they shared how they might someday adopt a child because they, especially the wife, just can’t see a child suffers and not do anything about it. After she became a mother she sees every child as her own. I’ve heard mothers said that before but I could sense how heart breaking it is for her to even talk about deprived children. I know adoption is common now but I come from a typical Chinese family where adoption is taboo and the only reason one would adopt is because they are unable to bear biological child. It’s heart-warming to see a couple with such openness and genuineness about adoption.

Another interesting conversation I had was with a couple who owns a sound studio I met through work. The husband had to concentrate on the actual work so I didn’t get to talk much with him but while waiting for him to complete the task, his convivial wife kept me fascinated with stories of what they do. I know zilch about audio and as I listened to the wife sharing the process of composing and orchestrating a song for advertisement, it’s like walking into a Narnia wardrobe. It’s my first time being exposed to the audio world, and I began to understand why there are so many audiophiles around. Also, I’ve never met anyone who loves watching movies as much as this lady-boss. Even I, a self-proclaimed film buff, will gladly pass my crown.

And last week, I was at the right place where I met someone senior who shared briefly about how he arrived at his current position, and the choices he made along the way. It makes me see under the layer of titles, people are quite the same. Yes, some people are pretty much born-leaders (I met them too) but even born-leaders went through a period a grilling and reshaping. I’m just very humbled to hear about their vulnerabilities.

There are more conversations I have been blessed to have, and the more I speak to people the more I realised the importance of a conversation. You gain knowledge, understanding and relationship at the cost of nothing (or the price of coffee). When I was in New Zealand, people – strangers just like to greet one another and talk. I was always very fascinated with that. It’s a shame we don’t have that culture here but no matter where we are I’m sure conversations can happen. When it does be sure to listen.

X,

Mel.

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Based on true story.

People watching is one of my hobbies. I love observing people live, how they tell their stories, and when they speak I’d analyze their thought process. I’m constantly fascinated by how each person has their own traits and are wired differently.

While I think this is a generally good hobby because it keeps your mind open to new cultures and ideas, I’m beginning to see a downside for myself. People watching is like going to the movie. I come to this Earth watching a film played out by everyone around me while I sit back and observe. Some days I feel emotionally attached to the movie but most days I’m detached because I’m not part of the story.

I can’t quite put my finger on when exactly I started drifting away from life, but somewhere along the way I got used to being a watcher and analyzer, and keeping all in. But we’re all called to be the salt and light.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

– Matthew 5:13-16

Life is not a cinema. It is the movie. You’re not an audience, you’re the character. There’s a story you need to tell, action you need to take. Sitting and taking all in is not the way to go. We need to give back because life begins when your purpose gets bigger than yourself.

At least that’s what I think.

X,
Mel.

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Destruction at Your Fingertips

This morning I left house with 67% phone battery. I estimated that I would be out for about 7 hours and if I keep my phone usage to minimum it would last till I’m back. It did last, but not without pain. I was fine not using my phone most of the time because I was occupied with Sunday church service, lunch with friends, and meeting few people after that. But I started to panic when I had to make my way back home with 5% of battery left.

I live in the suburb and it takes about an hour to get home from anywhere. I’ve picked up the habit of keeping myself entertained by reading ebook, scrolling through social media, browsing the news with my phone throughout my train ride. Basically I have to feed my mind with something.

The thought of having no phone for the 1-hour ride home made me uneasy, so I scrambled to look for a magazine that should keep me occupied for the ride. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the magazine I wanted to get and I didn’t want to waste money buying other magazine that I wasn’t interested in so I thought Alright, I’m gonna brace through the ride with no entertainment. How hard can it be?

The moment I stepped into the train I was bored. I stood awkwardly in the middle of the crowd not knowing what to do or where to look. Then I realized that I have a serious addiction to outside noises. I was so accustomed to being fed and entertained with what the world offers that I haven’t spent the time to just be with myself and my inner thoughts. I started thinking deeper and that 1 hour journey of self-reflection became the best part of my day.

Constantly having to be entertained is a serious addiction. We live in the World that tries to get our attention 24/7 and it’s easy to fall into its trap. I think that’s how people started become lethargic.

Image from: psychologytoday.com

Image from: psychologytoday.com

My conclusion after today’s train ride is that it’s time for me to pick up a new habit; to shut down outside noises during my train ride so that I can hear my inner thoughts. Hopefully, that will help me reset my brain appetite. Tomorrow is Monday which means I’ll be taking the train ride to work again (boo!). I’ll start off the week with the brain detox. Pretty sure it’s not gonna be easy but it has to start before I fall deeper into the addiction.

Wish me luck.

x,
Mel.

Well, at least I'm not like them. Image from: Christian Post.

A common sight. Image from: Christian Post.

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Pre-30s Crisis

To all early to mid 20s; if you think quarter life crisis is a pain, wait till you get here.

Ok, maybe pre-30s crisis doesn’t poke you every single time or question everything you do, but that’s the problem – it reeks of apathy and submission. When you’re in your early 20s, just setting foot in adulthood, you have plenty of dreams and your fear might be whether or not you’re making the right choices or on the right track to where you want to be. When you’re in your pre-30s you’ve invested a good amount of years in the choices you made. If it’s the right one and you’re where you wanted to be then good on you but if you’re like me… doing okay, climbing the career ladder, yet feeling like I’ve lost a spark in me, then welcome to pre-30s. Things hasn’t turn out exactly how I wanted. Then again, I remember not having a clear thought on where I wanted to go when I was starting out which is probably the reason I’m still in this square.

I’ve just listened to a sermon by a random pastor* I found on Youtube about pursuing your calling and not your potential. It’s the first time I’m hearing such thing but one thing really spoke to me, “You have more things you can do than things you should do. If Satan can’t make you sin, he will make you busy. Not doing bad thing but neglecting first thing”. Have you ever feel like you’re doing so much, perhaps growing in where you’re planted but it’s still gives you the pointless feeling? I think that’s what’s happening to me. I’m doing all that I can do but not what I should do. What is it that I should do? Hmm.

Anyhow, although I titled this Pre-30s Crisis. I’m abolishing the mindset of life being one crisis after another. Quarter life crisis, Pre-30s crisis, and then post 30s and pre-menopausal crisis?? This ends right here. Sure life has its challenges but we are free to take actions and move on. With that in mind, I’m off to devise an escape plan from this crisis.

*The random pastor turns out to be Ps. Mark Driscoll. I read up that he is a pretty big and controversial pastor. If you’d like to listen to the sermon, you can click here.

Cheers,

Mel.

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Why do Christians like to invite people to church?

“Does Christian have a quota for the number of people they bring to church each week?” someone asked me today, and when I asked the reason for the question he said “because I have a friend who is a recent convert and she keeps asking me and my friends to church that it annoys us.”

To answer the question; No, we don’t have a quota. At least my church doesn’t and thankfully I’ve not heard of any church imposing such rule. But this certainly isn’t the first time I’m getting such a question.

In Christianity, there are two things of importance; The great commission and great commandments.*

The great commission is to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19). The commission mandates us to share the gospel so more people will come to know Christ. 

But we also have another 2 great commandments; first to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is exactly like it: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39).

These 2 commandments are the reasons why we’re sharing the Word to you. 

If you know me personally, I think it’s easy to tell that I’m a christian because I pray before meal, I go to church, attend care group, etc. But apart from the rituals, you hardly find me taking the initiative to introduce Jesus to a non-Christian and why? Because I’m shy, and/or don’t feel the need to share, let someone else do the job, and most of the time I don’t care about them enough to want to share the word. Yep.

When you have something good, you will want to share it. If you know of a good bargain, you’d inform your friends (unless you’re one of those people – the non-sharer). This is why Facebook share button is such a hit because people like to share. Knowing Jesus is a good thing and the natural thing for me to do is to share it with people I love. Unfortunately I don’t love a lot of people… So… if I’m sharing about Jesus to you chances are I like you very much. I might drop subtle hints about Christianity instead of outright evangelizing, that also means I care.

As cheesy as it sounds, Christianity is a lot about love. If you know of a Christian who is very judgmental and unloving that is because he/she hasn’t completely understood the 2 commandments. I don’t blame them, it’s not easy to love God wholeheartedly and to love your neighbour as yourself. The latter is tricky because you need to first love yourself in order to love others. If a Christian judges you, I’m sorry… I do hope to tell you not all christians are like that but then you might have heard someone told you that too.

In any case, yes we can be a bit annoying when it comes to evangelising and relentlessly inviting you to church. But that’s because we care. As a dormant Christian, I thank Christians who tirelessly share the gospel despite rejections. I too hope one day to love others enough to step out of the comfort zone.

With love,

Mel.

Disclaimer: When I say “we” I was referring to me, myself and I. It might not be a representation of you. If you are a Christian and feel misrepresented, my apology for the confusion and rest assured I meant no harm. 

This explains my affection for cats.

This explains my affection for cats.

*there are 2 commandments so technically there are 3 things of importance.

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