I’ve been feeling like I’ve put a cap on my faith, a roof to what’s possible and reasonable to expect in my life. I’m drawn to this particular issue because I’ve been seeing this Faith theme pop up everywhere, from an article I’ve stumbled across, a random sermon online, to a book I’ve been reading called Synchronicity: The Promise of Coincidence.

I’m determined to flip this thing around. The more outrageous my prayers and hopes, the greater the power of God I can see revealed. Because He is capable of more than our wildest expectations, if we only ask. However, as I’m writing this, I feel it is careful to ask with the right sort of attitude. With honesty, trust, and humility. A profound understanding that we need His guidance and a deep gratitude for His care and love. He answers not because we deserve it- not because we go to church, not because we clean our trays at McDonald’s so that no one else has to- but because He is good.

‘Truly I tell you that if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and has no doubt in his heart but believes that it will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours’.
– Mark 11:24

Our God is a God of miracles, an unseen supernatural being with whom we can communicate and witness the work of in the material world. I remember believing as a child that the world was full of magic; I flipped through my books on mermaid and fairy sightings, immersing myself in a world where they could be found in countryside cottages, in the hollows of trees or by secluded rock pools. It was my favourite thing to do, fostering a sense of excitement for these enchanting creatures. I loved the Harry Potter books, where there is no limit to the wonders of life, an epic reality where dreaming is synonymous with creation. I wish to redirect that childish, misguided faith and bring openness and expectation to God.

Synchronicity speaks of God’s many thoughts about us, His plans and provisions. It is the idea of perfect coincidences which are in fact, not coincidences at all. I learnt a neat little fact: there is no word or concept of ‘coincidence’ in Hebrew. Only the word ‘mikreh’, which means ‘a happening of God’. Every moment is significant. When good things happen, give thanks, for they come straight from His hands. Sometimes, little ‘signs’ appear just to remind me that He is present and watching. And it has proven helpful in deterring me from sinning a couple of times. Sometimes a web page doesn’t load, the phone rings or a door is knocked on, so I get a chance to rethink what I’m doing. Every time, it is for my good.
When bad things happen, they prepare us for more of Him. They are opportunities! Last week, I strained my right leg doing exercise. Pulled a muscle. And I remembered what this yoga instructor said to me earlier that week: “if you ever tear a muscle or hurt your leg, once you recover, you’ll be more flexible than you were before”. This experience serves as an analogy for what my friend said the other day when I confided in him about my struggle with lust. It was so special: think how He must love you to let you have these desires, this challenge, so that you may experience Him and know Him better. So that I will learn to rely on the One who brings victory. I will trust in His unfailing love.

Here’s a snippet from an awesome article I read today:

The true disciple is an expectant person, always taking it for granted that there is something about to break through from the master, something about to burst through the ordinary and uncover a new light on the landscape.

And I think that living in expectancy—living in awareness, your eyes sufficiently open and your mind sufficiently both slack and attentive to see that when it happens— has a great deal to do with discipleship, indeed with discipleship as the gospels present it to us. Interesting (isn’t it?) that in the gospels the disciples don’t just listen, they’re expected to look as well. They’re people who are picking up clues all the way through.

Rowan Williams

I have started to pray: give me a big faith, God. A hope against all hope. I want to be excited for each new day, because I get to experience more of You.

Passing time

We want freedom, control. But we were born into the world without choice and we will die the same way. I experience spasmodic sadness or emptiness, when suddenly all colour drains from the world. I wrote in a feverish prayer:

You are my reason when everything I do seems fruitless- to pass time. I am passing time.

God needs to be my reason because I am stuck in life… I didn’t choose to be here but somehow I was put here. Do I have to force myself to enjoy life because I have no other choice? Like, sorry, you’re here, live with it? That’s how people live and somehow get by, day to day.

How do people love life so passionately? Are the good times worth living for? I guess all shitty moments are opportunities for me to come back to God. Every time I’ve felt this way, when I didn’t think I’d get out of the rut, I’ve pulled through- or God has helped me. I’m still here aren’t I? But in those darkened moments, no good times exist. Or they do but they’re muted, like I was never ecstatic. They were good, I suppose, but not that good. It just doesn’t seem worth it. Yes John Green, pain demands to be felt; it is an overhanging shadow.

I know I am blessed, that I am lucky, privileged. I also know I am ungrateful, so I’ve thought many times: why is my soul the one in this body and in this life when so many others can appreciate it more than I can? Or maybe I should suck it up and just try to be thankful? I view it almost as a chore, feeling trapped and poised for a temper tantrum. I know how terrible that sounds! I would offer myself to any starving child so that he/she can have what I have. Please, be me, because sometimes I don’t want to be.

We want to gain control over our emotions, our petty thoughts; we want to be happy. But are people content through comparing their current situation with the many underprivileged? As long as someone else has it worse, you’re convinced that you’re happy? I find that paradoxically, the most contented people I know or read about are the ones who have given themselves away totally and completely. They seem at peace with the world and themselves- like they’ve tapped into something most people are blind to. They feel more free and love more deeply than myself and even a lot of Christians I know. Why? Because my God is not as true? Or their ways, their gods are just as true? Why am I lacking and why are they fulfilled? Maybe because they are also connected more deeply to what they believe in than I am. They devote themselves entirely, whilst I give my God a passing glance on most days. How can I expect the same effects or to uncover my reason without full commitment?

Perhaps that is the problem. Perhaps I know what will cure me, and so I always yearn for God when I feel like this. It makes sense to me and I will always come back to the same answer: God.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
– Revelation 1:8

He is in control. He is why I am here, even if the only reason is to love Him.

My reason

I always forget that the most important part of who I am should not be a part of me but all of me. I am a believer of God and a follower of Christ and I must remember that my identity rests in Him.
My purpose is to perfect His will. That is what gets me through when I am bored and tired of living (I guess I’m impatient and prone to resignation), questioning what sort of significance I even have in the universe. There is a point to this.
And don’t I ever forget it.

Long and short fingers

Sometimes you get dealt the wrong hand (I’m being punny again). That is, you feel unlucky. A little crimp in time and space directed a destabalising force in your direction, and you (of all people) had to live through the worst case scenario. You scrunched up your nose, closed your eyes and muttered under your breath “not me not me not me”, and yet your name was called. You. Of all people! You massaged your temples and sighed “not today”, but the very thing you wanted to avoid happened to find its way to you that very day, ironically at the right place, at the right time. And there you are, left dumb-founded and incredulous over how chance seems biased and devoted to ruining your life in the most tragic, dramatic way possible (unlucky people tend to be overdramatic). 

I felt extremely unlucky this week but I won’t let that shake my faith. I didn’t do well, I wasn’t as prepared as I should’ve been, and there’s nothing I can do to change that. Yes, I feel disappointed but I did what I could and the only thing left to do now is to move on. Why cause myself more distress by ruminating about the past and dragging it into the future? 

As my grandmother ‘s cute saying goes: there are both long and short fingers. It sounds less weird in Cantonese, but essentially, it illustrates how we can’t be good at everything and that we will fall short of something sooner or later.

Sobe says not to worry. Everyone has their turn with luck (or lackthereof).

2:10 am

Writing a post at 2:10 am on a school night is not the wisest decision and drinking rich coffee three hours ago was also not the best choice.
Here I am typing steadily as the aircon breathes, the fan slowly waves, and the clock ticks incessantly.

Today, for the first time in my life, I went busking on the streets (illegal in Hong Kong. We have a bad ass over hurrr). Not many shoppers and late night passersby heard me and I am extremely thankful for that, as my nerves caused me to lose some control over my voice. For some reason, my body was shaking. I was reacting physically to being in a performance-type situation, indicating how long it has been since I’ve sung in front of an audience alone. Being as critical as I am about my performances, the short, casual, and pretty much impromptu session helped me feel much less disappointed in myself. I loved the experience and have realized it’s always been on the bucketlist in my mind. Going to add and cross that one off!

I also spent the last few hours with her, watching her drink beer whilst I munched on a chocolate bar, curled up on a couch on the far side of the lounge. We confessed secrets and shared worries and doubts in our hearts. We talked about boys and God and faith and alcohol and sin and uncertainty. We talked about hope and motivation and planned for the future. The thing about meeting people in church is that it seems easier and more comfortable to share personal experiences without the fear of judgement. With essentially the same values and core principles in general, the support system feels genuine. I have not known her for that long but time itself is irrelevant; sometimes short-lived experiences leave lasting impressions. She’s leaving tomorrow and I’m going to miss her.

Sobe needs to sleep.

To remember.