Gratitude and the Victorious Christian

cross-2303388_1280It is inconceivable that a Christian who lives every day in a worshipful and grateful attitude will not also live a life of victory. Jesus died on the cross to give His beloved eternal life and here-and-now peace, and that alone warrants the highest gratitude from the believer. And gratitude IS worship. And worship leads to victory.

But what does victory look like? It can be surprisingly unassuming – like a pair of lips curved in a gentle smile under scorching heat, or brows that do not furrow in the face of a traffic jam, or a tone of voice that does not rise in retaliation of an insult.

Victory does not always have to take on the giant-slaying, raising-the-dead or feeding-five-thousand-with-five-fishes kind of magnitude, though it is completely possible for a Christian who walks in intimacy with Christ to perform miracles of such proportions – in His name, of course. Victory does not mean being completely absent of challenges and hardship, because God promised to mold – not molly coddle us.

Victory is a strong unrelenting heart – like a ground that remains fertile despite the drought. Victory is a pair of eyes with supernatural vision – like a telescope that sees into the vast distance, beyond the chaos of the present time and catches glimpses of hope that make them twinkle like the stars God has made.

Put simply, the Christian victory is peace and joy independent of circumstances, attained by having a God-sized perspective that makes present human preoccupations minuscule in comparison.

The Christian who truly worships Jesus and wants Him above anything else IS victorious – because at the end of the race of life, the object, Person of their worship, Jesus Himself – is waiting for them at the finish line…with open arms and nail-pierced hands.

Waiting for My Bright Orange Mazda

When I was in primary school, my mom drove a bright orange Mazda hatchback. Everyday, after school had ended, my brother and I would hang around in the canteen waiting for her to come and take us home.

My brother, with his uniform shirt untucked and maybe one shoelace undone, would be up and about playing with friends or just doing, exploring something. Me, the more introverted one, would tend to sit on one of the long wooden benches, facing the school’s main gate so that I could take note of every car that came through. And because my mom was a high school teacher, we often ended up being the only ones left waiting in the canteen, because her school ended later than ours.

I remember sighing, even if only on the inside, when yet another car had come into the school compound but it was still not the one I had been waiting for: mom’s bright orange Mazda. But of course, she always turned up, without fail. Or on some other days, it would be dad who would be taking us home, depending on their work schedules.

I sure did a lot of waiting as a child – waiting for my parents to fetch me home from music lessons (dad was usually late!), tuition classes, the library, school activities. Waiting for meals to be ready. Waiting for grandpa and grandma to arrive.

But little did it cross my mind that time, that even as I grew up, waiting was one thing that I would not be exempt from.

 I still wait for many things and many dreams now. In many instances, I even make conscious decisions to wait. 

It is not always fun to wait – but at least I have learnt to be like my smart little brother in his messy uniform – and take waiting seasons as opportunities to explore, have fun and do nice things that do not require waiting.

Till my bright orange Mazda arrives.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/waiting/

 

I Don’t Know Them, Yet I Trust Them

I want to bury myself amongst the musty and motionless occupants of my wooden shelves. Dust them off and watch them come to life again, finally able to fulfill their calling of transporting me into another world and another’s consciousness. I will give each of them the attention they deserve, getting acquainted with them from their facade, their first few words to me, maybe what others have said about them, and the brief attempts on their backs to summarize and lure me into all that they are. 

I will pick the one that gets me wondering the most and tuck it safely amongst all my essentials, so that I can feel its weight and sense its company as I head out yet again to yet another unknown place.

I will leaf through its pages as the plane bides its time, let it rest open on my chest as I fall asleep under the sun lulled by the sound of waves – and then curl up with it again as night begins to fall and I have retreated into my paid cocoon, the warm lighting promising yet another illuminating and illuminated night. Me in a strange place, getting transported into yet another strange place – by the sheer force of another person’s words and imagination.

I don’t know them, but I am trusting them to take me to unknown places from where I will be able to find my way back. 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/trust/

Careful…at the Expense of Creative

I just came back from a 2-day creative writing workshop. The piece I wrote during the final exercise came out flat, unimaginative and forgettable. 

I’d never seen myself as a creative writer to begin with, but now I suspect that years being in the corporate world, where the things I write have to be carefully thought through and conform to what is deemed professional, diplomatic and acceptable within the kind of image and messages that the company wants to portray – have dulled my creativity as a writer even more. 

I have forgotten how to show and not tell. How to be sensorial and lead my readers to see,hear, touch, taste and smell the story that I want to tell. Until this afternoon I was not aware that a story has to begin with a conflict, followed by the process dealing with the conflict, and end with the resolution of the conflict. 

I don’t even remember what the stories I want to tell are – having conditioned myself to focus on writing things to influence perceptions in specific ways. I have random ideas in my head – things I want to write mingling with the things I do not want but have to write, and they are screaming to find their places in the story where they belong. 

So I have carved out the time and space for me to just read all the books I want to read; and to pen down the thoughts floating in my consciousness. To explore and play with words, phrases, sentences that will add dimension to my writings. 

I want to reconnect with my creative voice, and discover myself all over again as a writer. 
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/careful/

Breakthrough: Ten Things I Will Enjoy when I Conquer Procrastination

As part of my little personal campaign to break the habit of procrastination, I would like to imagine a life without procrastination.

When the breakthrough in this endeavor arrives, what will success look like? What are the things I will enjoy?

  1. Constant peace of mind – from the absence of unfinished tasks whose deadlines are looming close
  2. Increased focus – when I can afford to devote more time to work on things that are begun early and well before the target completion date, which leads to…
  3. More creative ideas for the projects I work on
  4. More enjoyment of the tasks at hand – simply because every moment can be fully experienced instead of rushed through with one hundred other things on my mind
  5. A relaxed, unhurried pace of life – no more scurrying around trying to get things done in record time…which leads to…
  6. A better figure and healthier body – being on tops of things would mean I have enough time and energy to work out three times a week, instead of just once or twice
  7. Better relationship with my loved ones with more time to spend with them
  8. Better decision making – with more time to weigh the pros and cons to make sure I make the best possible choices
  9. Freedom from guilt – the nagging feeling that I may not be giving my best to whatever I am working on because time is running short; and finally, last but not least…
  10. Freedom from regret – knowing that I have been a good steward of my time here on Earth.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/breakthrough/

Procrastination

Procrastination refuses to let me go.

He tempts me, distracts me with sights, sounds, thoughts, taste. 

He detracts and not add value to me, why do I still keep him around?

Because like poufy fluffy cotton candy, he feels good at the moment. Gooey sweetness melting in my mouth, and for that time it’s just me and the sweet nothingness. 

Then minutes pass and the last morsels begin to sicken me. The sweetness departs leaving behind nothing but inertia. I gather my mass and chalk up some momentum, and all is well till the next passing candy cloud comes.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/value/

When Passion Isn’t Practical

Reblogging this post to respond to today’s prompt, “Passionate” 

People, Places, and Perspectives.

It’s great to have passion. Fiery ideas that change the world often start burning in someone’s belly. Passion turns hard work into fun and challenges into adrenaline-fueled adventures. When you have passion it suddenly becomes easy to do the right thing and to fight. Character becomes effortless.

But what do you do when the thing that makes you tick and the thing that gives you your paycheck are no longer one and the same?

It takes uncomfortable effort and difficulty to force fit a square peg into a round hole and then keep it there. But when the right fit is still elusive life as it is goes on, so that has to be done.

You’re square. Your heart does not beat for the round hole. Your angular match has yet to be found.

This is when you summon your character in order to deliver in the midst of…

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Being Woman, This Day and Age: An Optimistic View

Note: This is a post I originally wrote on International Women’s Day 2016 in March, updated and modified for submission as part of my application to an upcoming writing workshop. 

It’s International Women’s Day. Here’s to all the amazing and inspiring women in my life. And of course, to the wonderful men who have supported and enabled the success and liberation of women over the years. I am privileged to have them in my family and circle of friends. From my dad and brother, to the male bosses who hold doors and dates who share ideas and appreciate my intelligence while offering to carry heavy grocery bags for me, and close platonic male friends who are almost like brothers to me.

As a woman in this day and age and this part of the world, I have much to be thankful for. We have so much liberty. The liberty to run after our dreams. To succeed, and to define our own success. To vote and to speak up. To command a boardroom while going ga-ga over the latest kitchen gadgets and recipes. To run marathons, climb mountains, drive fast cars, paint our nails and lips bright red.

To own properties and stride our stuff on red carpets. To have polite men serve us coffee in VIP lounges. To be different from men and still be regarded with equal respect.

To wield influence in our own spheres, and still acknowledge the leadership and strengths of the worthy men in our lives, knowing that it will only bring out the best in them.

Oh what an exciting time to be a woman! As long as we support one another and are not held back by our own fears, or the words and judgement of the less progressive, both men and women.

I write all this as a woman who have led a reasonably comfortable middle-class life, in a reasonably privileged and peaceful part of a developing South East Asian country, where gender inequalities exist as tolerable undercurrents rather than blatant injustice. And perhaps, most of all, I write all this as a hopeless optimist who can’t help but see the glass as half full. Or maybe I am just too stubborn and carefree to be bothered by ridiculous policing attempts, or perhaps I have been sheltered from them.

Whatever the reasons may be for my optimism and upbeat attitude with regards to my place as a woman, complacency is certainly not one of them.

I now want to explore the other side of the coin – take a closer peek at the lives of people who may not have been as sheltered or privileged, and to walk in their shoes to find out what it really feels like to be discriminated against purely based on their gender.

To find out for myself – what the oft-mentioned systematic oppression of Malaysian women is all about, and finally, hopefully, to have empowering and uplifting conversations about what every individual woman can do to change her own life for the better.

 

 

How to Walk in Love

People, Places, and Perspectives.

During my quiet time today I asked the Lord how to walk in love. Especially when it gets hard. “I need You to enlarge my heart,”I told Him.

And then He said to me, “Any believer who desires to love the way Jesus does needs to first get their own restoration and healing…a wounded heart cannot expand and let others in. A broken arm cannot embrace.”

And that was why Jesus was wounded on the cross…so that we may be healed.

Isaiah 53:5

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

(Holy Bible, New International Version)

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