what an amazing week has flown by! it's been an intense, crazy week that's involved surviving every night on less than 4 hours of sleep (not that i'm advocating it!), running 24km in one day, a lot of soul-searching, a lot of praying, a lot of worship practice / jamming sessions, a lot of speaking into people's lives and challenging them to grow, and a lot of allowing people to speak into my life and challenge me to grow.
just thought i'd share two key takeaways (have developed this very good habit of jotting down key takeaways, which has been inculcated in us by my ever-amazing boss, lou) that i've learnt from this crazy, hectic, amazing week, for anyone who's going through similar learning curves:
there is a time for everything. there is a time to work hard, and a time to rest. a time for going all out, and a time for holding back. a time for speaking up, and a time to stay silent. i've been learning more and more to let go and accept it when things don't go as planned or when things don't work out the way i want them to. i'm learning that sometimes good things fall apart - so that better things can fall together.
i'm learning the importance of recognising seasons - of being centered and rooted enough to know what season i am in, and ignore the voices that tell me - i should slow down, or i should do more. i've run 3 runs in the past week (the pj half marathon - 21km, run for the nation - 15km, and nike training run - 9km), and had an amazing time running all of them, compared to all the other runs i've ever done before. i told myself that this time, i wouldn't run to overtake others - that i'd run at my own pace - at a pace i know i can run consistently. and i told myself i wanted to run not to merely cross the finish line, but i wanted to run so that i'd have enough energy to sprint past it. i wanted my finish to be stronger than my start - even if it meant letting others overtake me at first.
and i'm seeing how important that attitude is towards life as well - we need to know exactly where we are, and focus on getting our pace right - regardless of how everyone else around us is doing. we're meant to run our own race, to fight our own battles. the more we understand and accept the season that we are in, the more we are able to sense intuitively when we need to slow down to breathe, or speed up to push ourselves - the more we're able to just enjoy the journey and make it strong to the end.
this week i've had multiple people tell me that i inspire them. i've run and prayed with people who said - thank you for the motivation - we couldn't have done it without you. that blew me away, because i didn't do anything this week besides try to run my own race and stick to my own path. yeah, i offered small words of encouragement - 'you can do it!', 'good job!', and 'keep going!' - but anyone else could have said those things as well.
and i'm learning that sometimes the most encouraging thing you can do for someone else is just showing up. is just living your own life to the fullest and hoping that somewhere along the way, someone will catch it too. sometimes you don't need to be the most eloquent or the most accomplished. sometimes all it takes is a simple smile. sometimes all it takes is being present with someone else, in whatever they're going through, to give them that tiny boost - which makes all the difference. and i'm learning that it's a continuous cycle - when it hits me that i've made someone smile, or encouraged someone, it makes me smile, and it encourages me as much, if not more.
this entire week has felt like being away at camp, or traveling - just a non-stop flurry of activity, excitement, and being reinvigorated and re-inspired all over again by seeing things with new eyes. and it hit me that wow, i don't have to go away to experience this! i can be refreshed and re-energised just in doing the things i do day in and day out. and while i know that i need to slow down a little to just absorb and reflect on all of this - i'm ever so thankful for a great week that's gone by.
i was chatting last night with my former youth pastor and an amazing friend, rose, and she was sharing a heart-breaking experience she had last year which completely changed her life this year and led to her leaving the youth ministry to serve the underprivileged refugee kids in sentul with the harvest center / dignity for children foundation. she said, ever since then, i've told God - i don't want to ever recover from this feeling.
and that's exactly how i feel after this week - i don't ever want to recover from whatever it is i've caught that's made me realise that i want to live for so much more than myself. that i am where i am, surrounded by the people i am, with the gifts and passions i have - is not for myself, or my glory, or my satisfaction - but for a bigger reason. to make a difference in the lives of others.
i used to think i needed to work in an NGO or do missions in a third-world country to make a difference but this week has taught me that making a difference can happen absolutely anywhere. it starts with accepting and understanding the season you are in - and realising that you are where you are for a reason. and it starts with showing up.
You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:14-16
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. -Romans 8:28
image: Some rights reserved by George Larcher