tired but not burnt out… yet.

It has come up a few times this year.

Probably for the past month I’ve felt it more than ever before.

That sense of being weary and journey-worn.

I’m sure more than once I’ve mentally responded to the usual, “How are you?”, with “I’m tired.”

It’s been a big year.  More so than anticipated.

I think I underestimated how draining full-time work can be on the body, mind and soul.  I’ve only just realised that I’ve been trying to play Superwoman for most of this year and it hasn’t been a healthy outcome.  I’ve been stressed, I’ve felt like a failure when I can’t execute tasks as well as I thought I should be… so close to burning out…

BUT not yet.  And let’s hope never.

It’s time to change strategies.  Actually, it’s time to change the mind, or more importantly renew the mind.

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single and brilliant!

Recently, a friend was praying for me and she said something like, “I find it so hard to believe that she is still single!”

I’m sure she meant nothing more than for it to be an expression of exasperation in the prayer, but the line did stay with me.

So I asked God, “So really, why is it I am still single?”

And then the reply that came back was: “There are still things that I need to work in you, out of you and through you.”

The verse that came to mind was:

 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

I know that there is a purpose for this singleness season… here are just a few things I’ve discovered lately:

So, what is it that He has got to work in me?

I think that one of the things he has been working in me is to develop a greater sense of what each of us is meant to do on this earth.. that is, to display God’s glory in all that we do.  It’s no longer about what I want, but what does He want out of my life?  What does He call me to do?  I feel a growing desire to die to self daily in order that Christ may live and display His love and grace in my life.

What has He got to work out of me?

By the grace of God, I’ve come to understand myself a lot better this year and recognise that I have many flaws lol.  I still have a lot of the ‘fear of man’ in me which often leaves me paralysed in situations where I know I should speak up against blasphemy or injustice.  He still needs to help me overcome feelings of being rejected by society because of the fact that we have a family member who has autism.  So much growth and lessons to be learnt effectively apart from another individual.

What has He got to work through me?

One of the revelations I had the other day is that, “You know what? As a single person, I’m a highly valuable asset to the Church!” I really liked this article because it highlights a sad oversight in most churches and that is in the area of encouraging those of us that are still single.  And I don’t mean encouraging them to go out there and find themselves a good Christian guy/girl to marry!  But rather that: you are not at a disadvantage at being single – that this is actually such a valuable opportunity for you to be completely and utterly devoted to Christ alone!  That you don’t have to wait until you are married or partnered up to reach your potential as a person or a follower of Christ!

I remember a conversation I had with a friend recently about how to set boundaries when it came to interacting with someone of the opposite sex.  I lamented that it would be so much easier if I was already in a relationship because then it’s like a safe guide or something. But my friend told me that it doesn’t necessarily make things easier.  You’d still have to battle through the same temptations and keep yourself accountable.  I believe her words were something along the lines of: “Just because both parties are in a committed relationship doesn’t mean that you are free from impure thoughts or actions!” That is true.

I think this is a life message of sorts: You can be single and brilliant!  It’s a message I think that needs to be heard and lived out… more to be said on the topic but these are just some of the reasons why I believe God has me single right now – and I’m going to embrace this season for all it’s worth!

– Ames

P.S. This is not a put down of marriage – I still want to get married one day! – this is just a start to regaining an appreciation for the season of singleness!

quietly thankful

I’m quietly thankful (quiet because the house is).

I’m quietly thankful for a job where I enjoy the work, the people, the culture and the fact that I can still have a life outside of my job.

I’m quietly thankful for my stage of life, namely my singleness (who would have thought!).

I’m quietly thankful for supportive godly parents.

I’m quietly thankful for income that can assist with household expenses.

I’m quietly thankful for key people who have popped up in my life recently.

I’m quietly thankful for opportunities to serve God in all facets of my life.

I’m quietly thankful for time to sit down and write what I’m quietly thankful about :).

Sincerely,

Ames

time and rest

I miss writing.

My dilemma is that I don’t know where to start.

So many trains of thought are running through my head – each unique and beautiful but each requiring time to develop and articular.  Time is what I feel like I’m lacking.

Even today as I was trying to rest and recuperate, I had to try to block out the continuous thoughts of things I should be doing now that I had a day off work.  I wrote out a list of the things that would be good to do today – I even contemplated baking, something I haven’t really made time to do since starting work.

My mum reminded me that ‘rest’, is in and of itself a ‘task’.  Can’t function fully without it.  Especially needed when your body is weak from a sudden chill in the air.

So rest I did.  And rest I shall take now.

– Ames –

life investments

Over the last week or so, I’ve been slowly making my way through the book, ‘The Invested Life,” by Joel C. Rosenberg and Dr. T.E. Koshy.  The subtitle to the book is, ‘making disciples of all nations one person at a time’.

The book is based around two simple questions:

  • Who is investing in me?
  • Whom am I investing in?

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about this book are the personal testimonies that pepper the chapters of how the lives of men and women have been transformed because of those who took the time to invest in them and disciple them.

In Chapter 2, the authors highlight three characteristics of a disciple that really come in the form of the people they have around them.  Dr Howard Hendricks of Dallas Theological Seminary puts it like this:

  • a “Paul” – an older and wiser believer to invest in your spiritual growth;
  • a “Barnabas” – a friend who encourages you, teaches you and keeps you accountable; and
  • a “Timothy” – a younger believer in whose life you can invest.

– mentioned on pg 29, The Invested Life

Lately, I’ve come to better understanding of the role I’ve been given to mentor the “Timothys” under my care.  I know that my life is not my own – in the sense that whether I like it or not, these guys and girls watch how I live and potentially will follow the example I set in how I approach ministry, my work, relationships, my prayer life… it’s an incredible responsibility but at the same time, such a privilege to be a positive influence in the next generation of leaders.  It’s how we leave a legacy that outlasts our earthly lives – we can do a good job of it or just float through life accumulating things and investing in things that have no eternal value.

I’m also so thankful for the “Barnabases” that God has sent my way in the last year or two.  After I moved into my current church home, I thought I would need to join a life group at a slightly bigger church to get the support and encourage I needed to continue serving faithfully at the place that God has placed me.  But, God had other plans :).  Soon after, people I’d met over the years but had not really formed strong or sustained friendships with, started to come out of the ‘woodwork’.  He has pinpointed some individuals who have spoken faith and truth into my life and continues to bring people in to encourage me in my walk with Him.  I’ve recognised that I’m not the kind of person that needs that constant daily contact to keep me on track but every once in a while, a good D&M over coffee/food with a sister in Christ is enough to carry me over for a few more months before I need my ‘hit’ of inspiration so to speak :P.  God is good.

I guess right now I’m still praying for God to highlight the “Pauls” in my life.  I definitely count my parents as my “Pauls” who have invested copious time and effort into my spiritual growth but I know that it’s important to have someone outside of the family context to speak into my life as well.  There is someone I have in mind but I think more prayer is needed before I approach them.  Afterall, life investments shouldn’t be taken lightly…

So, who is investing in you?  And whom are you investing in?

Therefore 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

– Ames –

the greatest gift

This year’s Christmas was a bit different from Christmases in the past.

At our previous church, the Christmas church service would always be on Christmas eve and then we’d stay at church until midnight and wish each other ‘Merry Christmas’ before going home.  Christmas Day would usually be spent with family on mum’s side, feasting and exchanging gifts.

This year, the exect decision was to go on a ‘retreat’ of sorts with members of our church family.  It probably wasn’t as practical as it was first thought out (not everyone was staying full-time) but God used it for His glory anyway (Isn’t it good that we serve a God who can make something good out of our own bungles?).  It was much more low-key; no decorations at the campsite at all but plenty of time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

Though I received fewer gifts this year, I felt very blessed to have been given the greatest gift of all – the reason for the season – Jesus.

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

– Philippians 3:8-9 (NIV)

– Ames –

some travel reflections

Hello…

hello…

hello…

Is anybody out there??

Apologies for simply abandoning this blog the moment my last law exam EVER was over.  All I can say is that getting my affairs in order and packing was more time-consuming than I thought and since coming back, it’s been ‘pedal to the metal’ (hope I’ve used the expression right!) with Christmas preparations and what nots.

Though a mere 11 days, my overseas trip was both life-changing and life-affirming.  I’m still working through the lessons I’ve learnt along the way but here are a few reflections to begin with:

1. I’m a lot more independent and street-smart than I get credit for.

I know many people who already did the whole backpacking through Europe multiple times since finishing high school but this was the first time that I’ve ever travelled alone.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I would fare but I guess you never know until you try, right?  I realised along the way, that my parents have taught me pretty well and I’m actually quite comfortable getting around a foreign place once I get a hang of the transport system :).

2. Church = Family.

When I met new believers for the first time, usually they will say that when they first enter a church, they feel a sense of God’s love for them and it feels like they’ve come home.  For perhaps the first time in my life, I experienced that for myself as I attended churches or life groups miles away from my own home church.  Each time I joined a new group of believers, conversation just flowed so effortlessly and I felt at ease almost instantly.  I was starting to miss home a bit after leaving Singapore and arriving in HK, but the moment I walked into a church service on Sunday morning, I felt the overwhelming presence and love of God just wash over me and I felt like I had come home… There’s really nothing like being part of the family of God :).

3. I really love my heritage.

During my trip, I found a new sense of appreciation for the inventiveness of the Asian race.  From little things like the ‘S’ shape hooks that were used anywhere and everywhere to hang things in your household to how incredibly efficient their transport systems were  – as an aside, I have a newfound understanding of why people complain so much about Melb’s transport system: when I was waiting 30 mins for a delayed train at Richmond station last Weds, I thought, “This would never happen in Singapore!”

However, the drive to be more efficient and productive also has it’s drawbacks.  People are working longer hours and often on the weekends.  Relationships suffer as a result – a friend told me that the divorce rate in HK is apparently double that of Australia: somewhat odd I would have thought for an Asian/Western country comparison.  When I heard that, I silently thanked God that I live and will be beginning work next year in a nation known for being ‘laid back’ and in a firm that values and advocates for ‘work-life’ balance.

As I was lining up to board my flight back to Australia though, I encountered a bunch of young men who were very rowdy and rude, sniggering and making jokes about a mother and her baby who were also in line.  I could tell from strong accents that they were also from the country I called home.  The swell of pride that I had of being Australian that I had before, slowly deflated and I was left with the revelation that no matter what culture you grow up in, there will be the good and the bad.  Hopefully, having an Asian upbringing in a Western environment means that I can take the good from both cultures and live a purpose-driven life with but knowing when to take it easy, living with honour, respect and integrity.

I think that’s enough for now hehe

More to come, I’m sure ;).

– Ames –