A happy new year and happy new decade to you! Onwards to the first post for 2020! I’ll talk about my 2019 highlights and what’s coming up in 2020.
My 2019 theme: Training
Side note: I like having a theme for the year. It keeps me focused on one key leverage which pulls every other thing together. Kinda like having a strategy and then aligning the tactical plans with it.
Training—to stretch beyond my comfort zone in the area of:
Training for my bicycle touring
- I didn’t make it to workout five times a week. But I packed in enough workout to train for my uphill cycle and long-distance endurance.
Hone my writing skill
Learn new things in the fundraising world
- I’ve improved writing skills such as structuring content.
- As for the latter, I left the role and the organisation. It wasn’t the right fit.
- I’ve completed 365 days of Bible reading plan. But to be honest, some of those days were a “get-it-ticked -off” my to-do list and weren’t at all, life-changing.
- Prayer is still an area of struggle for me. To pray by God’s will; not my wants. But, I’ll press on to grow in this area.
Having people over at our home
- This one is easy to have vanity metrics measurement. From zero to anything is a huge percentage increase, yes? The question is: How hospitable was my heart when things were inconvenient and unpleasant?
I’m thankful I’ve met some of the above goals. But the biggest takeaway in 2019 was realising the condition of my heart in following Christ.
Do I revere (fear) God?
Was it good intentions I’m after or was I after God?
If I were to summarise my 2019 in one sentence, it’d be this:
From brewing to breakthrough
My 2019 was 11 months of wandering, lostness and unrest culminating to the one last month of breakthrough.
Here’s something weird. In the last quarter of 2019, I went travelling for about two months. That made me more restless! And I had this sense of something is amiss.
When I came home from my travels in December, I have a yearning to wanna stay put and grow some root. That yearning felt symbolic of my spiritual life.
I’ve been wandering and I’ve been distracted. And I was parched with thirst for God.
I wasn’t searching for solutions to the many overstaying concerns in my heart. Not through mere human wisdom anyway. What I was looking for is Him. I know when He is my Master, answers would come from Him.
I want His wisdom. I want to adore Him! I’ve lost my direction without God being my guide.
He must have seen my desperation! In His grace, He led me from my year of wandering—back to Him.
He drew me close.
It seems on hindsight that 2019 was a year of preparation for me, for something bigger than myself. But I don’t know what.
To me, my new year started on December 1st 2019 (also the first day of Advent) and not January 1st 2020.
Advent 2019 marked my return to the Lord in repentance. And reverence.
Since December 2019, dots connected in my personal life issues, my relationship with God, and my work. It’s mind-blowing!
It’s in December too that I pondered then confirmed my theme for 2020.
2020 theme: Quiet
“Quiet” is long overdue since 2017.
Perhaps “quiet” needed the brewing journey through trials, for me to reach this stage of desperation for nothing but—God.
The yearning for “quiet” first started in 2017 because of a massive trial I was going through. First, family relationship breakdown, then, health issues with loved ones, then, work crisis.
My soul was trying to tell me things I need to hear, God was trying to get my attention, but I wasn’t stilled to listen.
Yet, I had this ongoing feeling of wanting quietness within me, of wanting to be with God, alone. Of wanting to sort out this enormous mess: externally, but more so, internally.
“What’s causing these cankerous sores, dang it?!” Should be the question I’m asking and answers to seek for.
But—I went on with life. Oblivious to the sore need (pun intended) of going to God…and going to the root of the wounds.
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear (Or rather, the teacher has always been present, it’s the student who needs to wake up)
Fast forward from 2017 to the start of 2020, zhoosh!
From God’s mysterious ways of drawing me back to Him to now — another set of painful trial—I’m ready to listen. (Finally, oh ye of dull hearing.)
“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis
This time—I’m ready and willing to be quiet.
Never before in my ten years (a decade!) of Christian life have I ever look forward, in excitement, to my next day of Bible reading. To sit quietly with Him, meditating on His words, delighting in new perspectives from old, familiar verses.
To be willing to allow God to tutor me, my heart, my sinful, self-centred nature. To know with deep conviction and desire in my heart: He-is-LORD.
How wonderful when students meet their Teacher.
What quiet might look like in my life:
It’s more of solitude than isolation.
Though I need the space to be alone, I would be cautious of becoming detached to others.
It’s considering what to say “yes or no” to.
One, two many gatherings? Classes? Programmes? Workshops? Ministries?
It’s giving priority to the matters of the heart; not matters.
Go on, read that again.
It’s breathing better with the concept of God’s time and God’s wisdom.
And not pressing for answers on my own terms and time.
Quiet is—making room, in whatever ways necessary, for God to dwell in my heart and mind.
As idyllic and easy as that might sound, I know—”quiet” won’t come without a struggle. It won’t come without intentionality.
I’ll continue with the 2019’s theme of “training” to build on 2020’s theme of “quiet”. Training to be quiet internally—in the midst of external chaos and adversities.
So that in the depths of my soul, I can listen to what God is saying. And follow Him—in obedience. So, help me, God.