Where do I start? I hadn’t plan to write any reflections or even think about resolutions. In fact I didn’t feel like it at all. I was wondering why. Like many things, as the year came to a close, I didn’t feel like doing them. There was, and probably still is, a sense of lethargy. Since last week sermon encourages me/us to be open about our shame and worries, so here it is…
As the closing credits of Crazy Rich Asian rolled yesterday at 11:30pm, as I willed myself to bed to get ready for a the first day of work, an immediate sharp pain entered my head. It persisted through the night as I tossed and turned, waking in semi prayer and semi meditative state. I knew exactly what it was. It was the splash of anxiety, a dash of depression and a mix in of lethargy all rolled into one very physically manifested migraine. The new year, marked by my need to start work tomorrow, has forced my lazy, sinful, worried brain into motion. I had no where to escape anymore. I pictured myself as a tiny little man, standing in front of huge skyscrapers or elephants, wondering how am I ever going to take on 2019. There’s been demons rearing its head all throughout the past 2 months that I’ve been ignoring and running away from. Now the rubber’s hit the road and I don’t feel like I can/should run anymore.
2018 had been a generally good year. A year that started off with much healing and relief. I “graduated” from my sessions with my psychologist. I no longer need to see him unless I feel I have to. I felt that I could handle my depressive episodes reasonably well. I started to take on more responsibilities again. I started to push myself again in ministry and in work. I saw much transformation in the lives of fellow brothers and sisters I walked with. My prayer and meditation life improved. I graduated with a Graduate Diploma in Theology. I achieved quite a lot at work by the end of November and going into December. On the whole, by any world’s standards, I had a good year.
What’s been slowly growing towards the end of the year though, was an awareness of how not-genuine I am. I started noticing more distinctly and clearly how my center, my core, is still so self-centered and so so selfish. I started to wonder “Can a leopard really change his spots?” By the Holy Spirit, can true transformation really happen for me? Am I still just a “Christian groupie” as I like to call those who do Christian things and hang with Christian people, but not really truly love Jesus at all. I noticed that I don’t yearn for His word as much as I should. I noticed that I don’t really care for people much lately. Was I catching up with people simply out of habit? I noticed as I did my Christian Counselling course, that I can practice the framework, but not truly empathise. It’s scary how good I am at appearing empathetic! I especially noticed the huge difference between how I was last Summer with the kids compared to this summer as we went on a holiday. My unwillingness to be there with and for them. My passion for Jesus, should directly mirror my passion for people (family included), and this passion seems to be close to non-existent! I know I can not lose the Spirit. I know in my head that I’m perhaps going through a “dry spell”. But the guilt, the worry, the pain.. it all somehow just came rushing out into my head and to my body as the credits rolled in Crazy Rich Asian. Moments before I need to turn in and “face the world” of 2019.
Over the past three months many many times I’ve been close to fleeing. Giving up. Running away. Its on the spectrum of on the one end quitting ministry duties and even work. The other end of the spectrum – ending life itself or simply running away from it all. The pendulum that bounces from being OK and running sometimes come hard and fast but goes just as quickly. This is why articles of people killing themselves scare me and keep reminding me that I should write blogs like these more often.
So what is 2019 going to look like? I honestly don’t know. Functionally, it’s a year of big things for me. A new ministry. Facilitating changes to church. New business/work related ventures. New involvement in the Christian Counselling space. Am I ready for them? Probably not at all.
All I can cling to right now, cognitively, is the promise that Jesus, having done it all at the Cross, will carry me through. That by the Spirit, somehow, I will pull through. If God can use pagan kings, a donkey and great sinners for his purposes, I am sure he can use me in some capacity for his purposes. In his great sovereignty and will, I am not capable to screw up his plans. I can only trust that whatever I do, or don’t do well, I would do it for his glory… eventually.
So onward I march. Eating an elephant one bite at a time. And praying that God will do the digestion for me. I know I will never be perfect. However, staring at my own sins is oftentimes debilitating for me. But I will press on… praying this prayer for 2019. If you’re inclined to pray for me, pray the below as I do as well. Thanks.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9, ESV