Tag Archives: thought catalog

Changing the world one word at a time.

I’ve been trying to write a new post for a while but I keep falling into the same cycle – “I’m going to write something today!” then I open my laptop, create a new draft, stare at the blank page for couple of minutes, surf the net for inspiration, stumble upon a cat video, forget what I was doing. When I realise time has been lost, I’d think “Man! Maybe I’ve lost that vision to be a writer. Maybe I’m not meant to write.”

Humans are capable of turning the simplest thing into full season of Emmy-winning drama. We like to be in control and feel like we’re making a difference with what we do.  I love writing but it’s not enough to put words into paper, I need to make the words come to life and crawl into your deepest, darkest heart, plant a seed and grow into an age-old tree and bear fruits to your next generations. I put so much burden into every word no wonder I ended up not typing anything.

I know people who are very intentional with the things they do and I admire them for it. But if you’re like me, a little scattered and easily distracted (basically an ENFP), don’t beat yourself up if you can’t think of a life changing action to take or story to tell. Start small and build up from there. Our approach to life shouldn’t be that complicated. While we strive to do our best we need to know that no one expects us to be perfect right away except our pride/ insecurities/ competitiveness/ Asian parents, maybe.

As you can see, I’m starting to write even when I don’t have the sentences in my head. But I know every post published will not be in vain because while it might not change the World, at least it brings clarity to myself and that’s good enough.

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X,
Mel.

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Are you open for Jesus Monday to Sunday?

You’ve heard about Sunday Christians. You see them on Sundays. They don’t get too involved with the church and if you bump into them on a weekday, they behave like a different person. You’ve also seen Devout Christians – people who follow God wholeheartedly and the familiar faces who show up at almost every church events.

Then there are Christians like me who are a little harder to distinguish. I attend service and small group, serve in church, read bible, and do whatever I can to inch closer to God. Yet when my leader texted if I’m coming to the church’s monthly Prayer Meeting on that very day, I hesitated. I’ve always thought Prayer Meetings are for the holiest members of the congregation because the people who attend are usually the devout and it falls on a Wednesday night. The latter might not sound like a solid reason but you see, I’ve planned God’s activities to be on Sunday and Friday – the days I attend church and small group.

So I started having a mental debate whether I should come to the meeting. The argument centred on the questions if I don’t go to church tonight, how will I spend my evening? Will it be more useful or meaningful? I’d spend time with my family at home which is a strong case because I don’t spend enough time at home, and I would be reading this book called Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science. Then I began to see the irony. I was about to choose to stay home and read about the evidence for God when I could be in church experiencing the evidence for God. I decided if I can get off work on time, I will make my way to church. And yes, God made it happen.

SURRENDER MY DAYS

Standing in the church hall that night made me feel out of place. I was not used to worshiping God in church among the “stronger” Christians on a Wednesday night. Sure I listen to sermon at home on weekdays but it’s not the same to seek God on your own time and comfort versus rearranging your schedule to be at His altar. I clapped and lifted up my hands during praise and worship like I usually do on weekends but deep down I was wondering if the awkwardness of being in God’s presence that night will go away. Finally I did what I need to do. I prayed and invited Jesus to be Lord over my life Monday to Sunday.

LIVE ON GOD’S TERMS

I wake up to pray and listen to sermon every morning, read a Christian book on my way to work, and read the bible at night. On the surface it seems like I have my spiritual life figured out. I even prayed for God to enter every room of my life but I didn’t realize I only hand Him the keys on Sundays and Fridays.

Is God a guest or is He the owner of your life? When we choose to live for God it means He holds the keys and has access to every room in your life. Matthew 16:24 says “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”  It doesn’t say to follow Him on a specific day because following Jesus is a 24/7 commitment. Jesus is not a counsellor or therapist whom you schedule your time with. He is the leader of our lives and He has the privilege to rearrange our schedule. We live under His terms and not the other way around.

OPEN WHEN HE KNOCKS

If I had said ‘no’ when my leader asked me to come to the meeting I wouldn’t be writing this. It wasn’t the first time my leader asked me to a church event, few of which I declined but there’s one thing I learn – I can keep saying ‘no’ to man, but I can’t say ‘no’ to Holy Spirit forever. Every time you say ‘no’ to God, you’re distancing yourself from Him and disobedience will eventually dull your spiritual senses. Unless you’re ready to live without God, don’t let yourself slips into a place where you’re no longer bothered by Holy Spirit’s prompting. The fact that you’ve read my writing to this point, I hope means that you have the desire to live out the life that God calls us to have and so let your heart be open to Him 24/7.

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Put up this sign for God. Photo Credit: Pinterest, Etsy.com

X,

Mel.

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Filed under Culture, Life Series, Spiritual Journey

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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I Do As I Say?

I was watching a video regarding the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People when I came to a realisation that there’s a huge discrepancy between the things I say and the things I do. Clearly I have been violating Habit 3: Put First Things First.

Whenever someone asks me what do I want to do with my life, I replied with no hesitation;“I want to write” . And how much time do I spend writing? Feel free to judge me by how infrequent this blog gets updated.

Why is it so hard to align what you say with what you do? I think it’s because it take less effort to say something than to do it. Basically, talk is cheap. It’s a prevalent issue because how often do you come across someone who over-promise and under-deliver? Same reason why there’s such a high divorce rate. Your vow means nothing if you have the habit of talking cheap.

How do we overcome this bad habit? (I’m asking many questions today because I’m trying to figure this out as I type). We need to get into a new habit of putting first things first. The first step is to determine your goal, and then make a to-do list starting with what needs to be prioritised. From there start clearing the list from top to bottom.

Again, it sounds much easier typing it than putting it into action. But I believe words that escape our mouths carry weight, we just don’t know it yet. There’s higher chance of me updating this blog after saying I want to be a writer than if I have kept silence. Words make you accountable.

So, yes. You’ve heard me say I’m going to blog more often. Trust it will happen.

X,
Mel.

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2/365

I ended 2016 and began 2017 in the house of God. At first I had apprehension it’s gonna be quite draggy with hours of praying and listening to sermons, but it turns out to be exactly the contrary. I mean yes, we spent time praying and listening the message and direction for the church in this new year but God’s presence was so palpable and spirits were high. Every worship is a resounding declaration of how God has been so real to the 4,000 strong congregation that packed the room. I had no idea celebrating New Year in church could be so refreshing.

The pastor shared his vision for the church in 2017, titled “Decade of Expansion”. He encouraged us to break out of the limitations we have physically or mentally and expand the horizon for our vision. This is especially important since we’re facing what the economists are predicting to be a slow year ahead. We need to discern the fact from God’s truth. Bad economy is a fact but the truth is God is still our provider and in control.

As for my personal direction for the year, the word I have is Responsibility.
I know it doesn’t sound sexy. In fact it sounds like impending hard work. But as I prayed over the word and seek God’s direction, I know this is the year that I need to rise up to the opportunities and be responsible for my own growth be it spiritually, career wise, etc. Events in 2017 are pre ordinate, but how I respond to them will determine the outcome of 2017 for myself. With that in mind, I want to be deliberate in being responsible and doing things as an example for others instead of finding the easiest way like there’s no one following.

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While it’s easy to say how I want to do this and that because it’s still the holiday season, tomorrow my conviction will be put to test as the first work day of the year commences. I’m stepping into the new era of my life in faith for good days ahead (or at least God’s days) and not dwelling on former things.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”
Psalm 90:12

X,
Mel.

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2016 Reflection: Removal of Crutches

We are told to rely on God in all the things we do, yet sometimes we received so much blessings that they become the crutches we lean on. For example, a good career, financial stability, friends and companions may unconsciously become our crutches and substitutes for God. Self-sufficiency disposes people to reject God simply because they don’t see the need to have God in their lives.

I did not realised I first stepped into 2016 with my own crutches. I had a great job where my superior acknowledged my ability and career prospect was looking up as I had just accepted a job offer with 30% increment and better benefit. I was in a long-term relationship that might turn into a lifetime commitment. I had good friends returning from overseas. I hadn’t fall sick and believed my immune system is a ferocious bouncer that can kick any diseases.

But of course 2016, affectionately known as The Worst Year Ever by the netizens, did not let me, along with the rest of the Earth population, have it easy.
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First, I was struck by the diagnosis that I had a 17cm cyst in my ovary and I need to undergo my first major surgery. Although it’s benign, having tumor as big as a 19-week fetus was a slap to my health. I had thought I could live to a 100 years old swimmingly but clearly life is unpredictable and it is foolish to think nothing would happen even with my lack of discipline in lifestyle.

Second, I started my new job which certainly is not the land of milk and honey. I had to unlearn what I knew and refine on whatever unshaped skills from my previous experiences.

Third, broken romance.

Fourth, a good friend left the city to return to her homeland. My best friend who used to travel here frequently found a new job and she had no reason to come here as often as she used to anymore.

Fifth, I will be moving to a new location next year and that means I will be changing cell group. I have just gotten used to the members and I’ll definitely miss having this leader whom I look up to. But I know that to grow in Christ is to grow upward towards the direction He planned for me, and not just imitating or piggybacking the faith of others.

The list can go longer with my grandma passing away which marks the end of grandparents generation in my life, celebrity deaths, volatile political climate, etc. As I reflect on how 2016 has been, I see how my crutches are being removed one by one and I am “forced” to rely completely on God. I would like to say I do so willingly, but if He hadn’t removed those crutches I would not have realized that I needed Him to be my constant source of strength and to not let anything take His place.

Having the crutches removed is a painful experience. I fell, I cried and I learnt to pick myself up with Jesus’ help. He is my strength and the more I know Him the more confident I am of His faithfulness and that I can run with Him directing my path. I need not worry of what may happen.

2016 has been a lot of downs and more downs. But I’m here to say I’m grateful for each experience and I have never been more excited to step into a new year with God’s promises and Him right beside me. Cheers to 2017.

X,
Mel.

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Failed to open page

This error message is pretty much an allegory for me;screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-11-47-34-pm

I’ve been trying my best very hard to open a new page of my life but it just keeps failing. There’s nothing wrong with the landing page, but somehow I keep getting disconnected while trying to load the pages. It’s as if I’ve disconnected from the source or my sense of purpose and can’t move forward. Then again, maybe I’m being too dramatic.

How long does it take for an average person to move on completely from a relationship that does not work out? Accordingly to Carrie Bradshaw “It takes half the total time you went out with someone to get over them”. Based on past history, I took twice the amount of time and that’s not gonna work this time.

I guess I’m gonna get myself a better router and try to stay connected this time. Whatever that means/ it takes.

x,
Mel.

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