Friday, August 18, 2017

Water Drops and Comfort Zones

I recently had to make a decision whether I was going to keep my current job, or take the opportunity in front of me and enter a new different field of work and ministry. And during that week, I had a sleepover at a friend’s apartment. It was super fun and a much-needed break because I have been a little stressed out about the big decision I had to make. 

I mean, hello? I’m a perfectionist. Slightly OCD (that stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, in case you don’t know). Order. Structure. Plans. Routine. Significant elements that make up my sanity.  But they all might change. Not in a bad way, but in such a significant way that I lost my ability to breathe just thinking about it. Yes, the most difficult decision I ever had to make in my life (so far). It was obvious I needed a really good break from it all.

So: Five girls, a tiny living room, just enough drinks and desserts, a little too much food, and way too many stories to tell. You get it, it was fun all around. But while everyone chatted their way through the night, one observation came to mind: 

There was a little bit of water dripping off 
from the edge of the sink. 

Normally, I would grab a tissue and wipe it off right away. But I don’t know why, that night I decided to sit back and do nothing. Maybe I was just too tired to even think about it. Maybe the sofa I was sitting on was too comfortable that I didn’t feel like getting up at all. In the end, I just shrugged and let it be.

Strangely enough, after I went home the next day, this observation remained vivid in my mind. I couldn’t shake the fact that I did nothing about the water drops. The scene kept replaying in my head the whole day until I realized this “brilliant” (Ha! Not so. Perhaps even so cliche!) conclusion about about comfort zones, changes, and life: 

I think, sometimes, we need to be ok with allowing 
the water drip, and not do anything about it. 

I think sometimes we need to go against what is comfortable. I think sometimes we need to be ok with things not going the way we plan and trust that God will make it work, even better than how we thought was possible. I think for some of us (like ME), it takes more courage to let the water drip than to get up and clean it. 

Because what if that one step, towards the uncomfortable, unknown, uncharted places, is the very decision that will carry you, into all the things God has called you to be? 

There’s a story about a queen in the Bible named Esther who was faced with a choice: risk her life to possibly save her people or do nothing and let all her people be killed. It was life and death. And as Esther took the time to think her decision through, her uncle (Mordecai) said one of the most profound and powerful statement you could ever find the Bible: 

"Perhaps you were born for such a time as this." 
(Esther 4:14) 

As for her: Esther took the risk. She went to the King to plead for her people and end up saving her people's lives. She was truly made Queen for such a time to save her people. 

The story of Esther is a lot more complicated and exciting than what I just shared to you in that one paragraph (take notes: Queen Esther is AMAZING!!!). But as I look at our own life, the choices and opportunities we have in our hands, Queen Esther, and water dripping off the edge of the sink, I am once again reminded that:

Everything we could be will remain 
a “perhaps” and “if-s” 
unless we step out and become one. 


You would never know and neither would I; until we can look outside our comfort zones, the free-falls and head-first-dives; with all the courage we can find and say: “YES”. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Sundays, U-Turns, and Sunset Skies

It was a normal, good Sunday. 

A good day at church, ministry was smooth. Had a good lunch, hung out with people, watched a great movie (OK, great is rather an understatement. It was one of the best movies I have ever seen in my entire life. EVER!). So, then it was time to get into one of my favorite parts of the weekend: a chill 5:30pm-kind-of Sunday drive home across the city. This time from the west side of the city to the east.

It was about a 50-minute drive home and it was 20 minutes in when 


I looked into my rearview mirror and my heart skipped a beat

I saw a glimpse of the sunset sky and it was beautiful. 

I could see it. It was red and orange and pink, with traces of white and grey and blurred flaming yellow lines. I don't think words can do justice. My phone's camera certainly couldn't. 

Man, how I wished I was heading to the west and not the east! I really wanted to see it in full view but my destination was on the opposite direction. Or maybe not?

Without a second thought I did something I have never done before just for the view of a sky: 

I steered right and took a u-turn. 

That's right. I decided to drive west, just to see the sunset sky in full view. The view lasted for less than 30 seconds before I took another u-turn to get back on track to the east side of the city, where home is. 

It was so worth it. 

It sounds ridiculous, I know. Impulsive and rather unnecessary. I mean, it's not like I wouldn't catch other pretty sunset skies, right? (Well, you never know; but you know what I mean!) But it was so worth it. Because in the midst of my ordinary good Sunday I got to bask in God's wonder in full view for 30 seconds. 

Full. View. 

At first, all I saw was a glimpse and it already got my heart racing a bit faster than it should have been. So, I didn't stop. I wanted more. I took a u-turn just to get a full view of the sunset sky, even though the distance from the u-turn to end it was no more than 100 metres away. 

I took a short detour to get God in full view.

And you know what, it was worth all the time in the world. It changed the rest of my drive home into a praise party. It changed my heart for the rest of the night. It sure encouraged me when I woke up the next day to face my hectic Monday. 

What if all it takes for us 
to be refreshed, 
to be encouraged, 
to fall back into love with God, 
is to take a short, 
impulsive, 
seemingly unnecessary detour 
in the middle of our ordinary day, 
to see God in full view?

I'm not even talking about a full 1.5-hour chapel session, a 5-chapter bible reading, a full podcast watch on Youtube. I'm talking about 1-minute-prayers in the toilet cubicle. The 1-chorus solo karaokes in the carpark. The 2-minute silent stares at the sky at the balcony. The 1-verse read-alouds in the bedroom. I'm talking about the quiet walks to work and back. The watching kids be amused by leaves moving on the ground blown by the wind. 

For me, it was the sunset sky. I took a short detour to get God in full view and what I got was so much more than what I thought I needed. The destination didn't change, I still needed to head home. West wasn't my destination, but my short detour to bask in God didn't mess up any of that. It was the opposite. I felt joy and peace and love and everything mixed in between. It was the best feeling ever. What small wonders can do to the soul! 

Small, insignificant detours and pauses in the day, where we be still for once, and face God in full-view.

Maybe that's all it would take for you and me to get back up from whatever it is that's been weighing us down. Maybe that's what it takes for us to have the strength to keep going towards our destination. 
Whatever and wherever God is calling us to do and to go to.