The Demons that Plague Us   Leave a comment

When I was younger, I had this tendency to think that my life is ordinary and boring. I like to keep myself amused by thinking up scenarios that would be dramatic for me. Sometimes, I envied the lives of those on the screen, full of adventure, drama and suspense. Up until about a year ago, my life became one spiraling downward roller coaster where personal demons started to emerge from my deepest darkest place. 

Sometimes, I think to myself that I could not handle it. Just when I get a bit better on my battles with personal demons, other demons pop up and I feel like I’ve been beaten to the ground again. But the truth is, I am different to where I was a year ago. As much as it may not look it, I have come further than I had imagined. More so though is what I have learnt. My personal demons have allowed me to see how much I need God, and how much I need to cling onto His grace. 

I do want to mention church camp though. As much as I may not want to relive the emotions, I believe it is important for me to talk about it. I had a breakdown at camp. I know now that it was a combination of my overthinking and my own fear of reality. I couldn’t pull myself out of thinking that that other person was angry at me so they didn’t want to talk to me for the whole camp. I actually cried a few times at camp. I even thought for a brief moment of how easy it is to just end my life and not having anyone notice. But God never let go of my hand. A friend of mine mentioned that what is important is that I didn’t go through with it. I don’t think I could have forgiven myself if I did do so. Because I knew I didn’t want anyone else to feel guilty. But the truth is, I was overthinking. I had become insensitive to the other person’s needs and I had been selfish in that respect. So I am sorry for that.

But as I struggle with same-sex attraction, I find out that someone close to me is battling a demon of their own, and the news hit me more than I had imagined. It is making me re-look at what is important and it had made me cling to the cross more, once again. I am still processing this information and I am taking everything one step at a time. I know that God has a plan, and that He will lead me to where I am suppose to be.

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Posted September 11, 2017 by shuoli85 in Uncategorized

How to be a FAT Christian   Leave a comment

Hopefully, my title intrigued you enough to take a second look. I want to first say that I am not talking about body weight. I am talking about F.A.T. as in being a Faithful, Available and Teachable Christian. I believe that these three qualities are essential to the life of a Christian, and they will help us grow in our faith of Christ and become better equiped for God’s work and God’s glory.

What does it mean to be a faithful fellower of Christ? On the surface, it seems like a pretty straight forward concept. Yet the word “faithful” includes such profound meaning of who God is. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith in a good way, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” If faith is believing in things that cannot be seen, then be faithful would be continuing to believe in the things that cannot be seen, even though obstacles and rejection by others. If we were to look up to God as the role model for faithfulness, we see His unwavering faith throughout the Bible. Psalms like 36, 89 and 119 speaks of His steadfast and enduring faithfulness. 

So you may ask, since God is all-powerful and all-knowing, what is God being faithful about? It is His promises to His people. He had kept all of His promises and curses to us. He is faithful in His word. So what does it mean for us to be faithful Christians. I think, in my opinion, it means to keep on trusting in God. Despite the afflictions that we face, we are called to keep our eyes fixed on Christ. Being faithful is to keep following God despite persecution and temptation.

What about being an “available” Christian? A lot of people, including me especially, have trouble with this one. One of the biggest problems that we complain about is not having the time. In other words, not being available. There is another aspect, that sometimes we are afraid. Perhaps we are afraid of rejection, of failure, of change. Perhaps we are afraid of committment.

The other side of this is the situation that we are so busy doing “ministry” that we don’t stop and think about what it means to be available and to let God lead the way. I sometimes feel that we had taken control from God’s reins and tried to do ministry without Him. I believe that doing ministry is not just about running programs and working background work, but it is about supporting and encouraging each other in Christ so we can grow together in faith. It is about being available for others in times of need, whether physical, financial, emotional or spiritual. It is about taking the time to laugh together, to cry together and to help lighten each other’s burden.

Hoe often do we say as Paul did in Romans 14, “Here am I! Send me.” God is not focussed on whether or not we have the ability to do ministry, but the availablity to step into ministry. When that happens, God gives us the capacity to partner with Him in his work.

Lastly, I believe that to be teachable is to be humble. Boastful people usually don’t like to be wrong so it is harder for them to learn new things. The Proverbs is full of wise sayings regarding having a teachable spirit. When we are taught from the beginning, our foundations of the gospel and of Christ will be solid throughout our lives. Having a teachable spirit helps us to see our sins, to be able to repent of them and to reposition ourselves to Christ. We are then able to carry our cross and follow Christ.

But humilty is a hard characteristic to come by. We don’t need to win every battle, every argument. Sometimes, we need to look at ourselves. We see the pride that we have, we have come so far away to turning our backs on God. We need to see God’s great love, mercy and grace for us to realise our smallness, hence our humilty.

I hope and pray that we will all continue to reach for that goal, to be a Faithful Available Teachable Christian.

Posted September 7, 2017 by shuoli85 in Uncategorized

God is Stronger   Leave a comment

So at 3am in the morning, when you can’t sleep, what do you do? That’s right. Write a poem/lyrics praising God. Had this idea suddenly and have always wanted to write something that reflects my journey, my struggle with same-sex attraction and how my faith has shaped who I am.

God is Stronger

There is so much desire, so much temptation

There is another that I feel I love more

I close my eyes in the dark of night

The only thing I think about is you
But when I look in the mirror

It is not me who I see

That girl that was there was reborn in His grace

And everything else doesn’t seem to matter anymore

For I found my love and hope in Christ who came to save
God is stronger than we can imagine

Through the storm He gives us refuge

God is stronger than this fallen world

Christ has conquered the grave

God is stronger than our sacrifice

The joy that’s coming is our hope

God is stronger, God is so much bigger

Follow Him til the end of days
The world tells me to go with my emotions

To take the purge and love another

It’s the same love, how beautiful it is

I drop to my knee in failure
But I remember the throne of God’s grace

I come to Him with empty hands

With God’s grace flowing in my soul

I turn away from this world
God is stronger, we should not fear

We can stand and raise our voices

God is stronger, the king of all kings

Only He matter the most

God is stronger, this world is falling

Stand in the light and stand for His light

God is stronger, God is so much bigger

We will sing His praises neverending

Posted September 2, 2017 by shuoli85 in Uncategorized

Safe Space   Leave a comment

I am very fascinated with the idea of safe space. It took me months to findly establish a safe space with my counsellor. How I came to trust her, that she makes me feel like I can tell her my deepest and darkest secrets. The thing is, she doesn’t just have conversations with me. It is her sympathy and her calmness that relaxes me, making me drop my shield down.

I have thought about others who I had thought to have made a safe space for. Yet, as time passes, I realised that creating that space is much more difficult than I had imagined. The building of relationship itself is very exhausting. The idea of becoming vulnerable, the possibility of getting hurt, is tiring. The pain of facing the music can be too much to bear. My desire to be heard and my fear of rejection are intertwined, and I am very conflicted at some of the relationships I had built up. The truth is, everything moves so fast that sometimes, we forget to breath and we don’t allow the time to feel and to process what we feel. I am sometimes so confused at where things are going that energy drains from me because I try to internalise my feelings at the same time that information is being fed to me.

I have been thinking recently about whether or not my relationships are in a safe space or not. I find myself really hard to trust others with the part of me that has been hidden away for such a long time. I don’t know if I know I can trust others with my vulnerability. The defensive mechanisms in me guard that part very well, and it doesn’t let most people in. 

Posted July 4, 2017 by shuoli85 in Uncategorized

To Hear or Be Heard   Leave a comment

I hide behind a pen, or more accurately a keyboard, with which I use to be heard, for my voice to be heard, for my story to be heard. It may seem like a cowardly act, and perhaps it is what I feel, or I am hiding something. Because I hide behind some sort of smokescreen, I have the chance and opportunity to lie and to hide my real self. Perhaps, that is true as well. I don’t know.

The other night at Bible study, someone mentioned how sometimes they feel lonely, how Christians don’t seem to have time to “doing life”. Sometimes, I get the feeling that we are so busy doing things, you know going about getting to know people, but we don’t stop and listen to what is being said. We are so busy trying to each other information that we drown out voices and we drown out words. All that’s left is just empty shells of relationships.

I often ask myself two questions. I still have not found the answers to them, and as much searching as I do, the less sure I am about my actions. The first question is, am I doing enough to accommdate others? I don’t think of it as a sacrifice because I want to spend time with friends, to be able to do life and to encourage each other in our Christian walks. The second question is, am I actively listening to others? I feel like we are being bombarded with so much information that we strain to shout our voices for others to hear. But amongst the noises, we fail to hear the voices of others.

I wonder what real relationship looks like. I guess I long for it. I often have such a high expectation of myself that I feel like I want to be important for someone else. That I am needed and that I am loved. I know that God loves me. I don’t need a lecture in that. But it doesn’t quench the physical and emotional desires of this life. We are not created to be lonely creatures, as much as I would rather. I canmnot ignore the need to relate to others, to be in community with others.

So where does that leave us? Once again, I have no answer. But I do hope and pray that I will be more willing to give a part of my soul and space to allow others into my life and to sympathise and empathise with others in both joy and sorrow.

Posted July 2, 2017 by shuoli85 in Uncategorized

Where Hope and Despair Meets   Leave a comment

I have been recently thinking about my faith and my depression, how the two interacts and relates. I haven’t found an exact answer yet, but I have come to a few realisations.

Perhaps the biggest one of all is how God carried me through the climb through depression. I am in no way full cured or recovered. However, looking back on the past, I have seen how far God had led me and how tightly He is holding onto my hand. Like a small child walking on the road of life, I fall often and a lot, but God, like a father, holds onto my hand. I still fall, but He always pull me up and never let go of my hand. It made me realise how much I need Him. How dependent I am on Him. Without Him, I honestly don’t know where I would have been now. Possibly six feet under the ground. He is the reason that I am still breathing and fighting.

We had this discussion at Bible study last night, I know I initated it, about the church doing more for those who suffer from mental health issues. I know that there is no one-method-for-all solution, but I had hoped to get the ball rolling and people thinking. There is an old Chinese saying that the frog at the bottom of the well has a limited view of how big the sky is. That reminded me of a comic I saw about what people may think about “fixing” mental issue. It involved a man at the bottom of a well in total darkness. He calls out for help, a friend comes and says that he will find help. The friend came back with a ladder and lowers it down into the well. The man says I can’t find the ladder, but the friend says from the top of the well “what are you talking about? The ladder is right there.” This is the thing. Sometimes, we think we know a solution, tells it to the “patient” and then leaves. How would have the man in the well know where the ladder is since he cannot see at all? If we don’t go down the well, extends out our hands and lead them up the ladder, they will just still be stuck at the bottom.

I believe the only advice I can give to people is just to be available and listen. If we can cry and laugh with them, that’s even better. Sometimes, that is only the best thing to do. Only then can we create a safe space for people to be vulnerable in. But also with regards to where hope and despair meet, I think the only answer I can think of is at the cross. Because Jesus died on the cross and used His blood to wash away our sins, we can then have hope that one day, in the future, when Christ returns, we will be in a place where there is no pain, no hurt, no pain, no tears, no darkness and no despair.

Posted June 29, 2017 by shuoli85 in Uncategorized

The Greater Scheme of Things   Leave a comment

It’s almost been a year since I’ve acknowledged my SSA. Over the course of the year, I have come to realise that I have gotten this somewhat wrong. 

I have made it all about my problem and how I struggle with same-sex attraction and how I have dealt with it. But recently, as I learn about the struggles of others around the world, I am beginning to wonder where I am focussing my energy on. Is it that important? To me, it is. But in the grand scheme of things, I sometimes wonder if this first-world problem of mine is small compared to what we need and what God’s will and design is.

I think about how we complain about rights that we have or don’t have. Our rights to marriage or love, our rights to die, our rights for more holidays or vacation, our rights for cheaper material goods, and etc. But those who are complaining about these, including me, often or sometimes, have a narrower view about what is “right”.

I think about the feminist movement in western society, but than remember those women who are forced to marry when they were not even teenagers. I think about women who are thrown acid upon when their husbands are angry. I think about women who had to be shone away from community because they have a “defect”. I am not saying that we don’t have problems here, because we do, but in the greater schemes of things, why do we complain more than we are grateful?

When I think about those who advocate for the right to die, I actually think about those people who wants to live but may not be able to because of war, disease and poverty. I remember the orphans who have nowhere to go because their parents are in jail or died, and the state had forgotten about them. I also think about the animals who wants to live but because our human greed, we mistreat them for our own gain.

I think about the workers in developing countries who are living off of less than $3 a day and in terrible and often dangerous conditions, who have no voice to speak up. I think about those greedy people, who in pursue of money, is willing to risk the lives of others for their own personal gain. 

It also dawns on me that we can talk about marriage equality and right to love, but yet there are more than 20.9 million adults and children who are trafficked into sexual slavery. How can we talk about freedom of love when so many people are in bondage of modern slavery?! 

On the surface, we are a bunch of hyppocrites who demands equal rights and human rights, but behind closed doors, we are the ones who keep supply coming by demand. Do we really understand what “right” is? People had said thst culture and tradition dictates some of these behaviours and that it is accepted. If our rights come from culture and tradition, how fluid is our human rights? Ultimately, our morality decays and order becomes chaos.

I don’t know the practical solution to these problems. But I do know that God has the say on what is right and what is wrong. We need God. As much as mankind can try to deny the existence of God, or the fact that we need Him, the fact is, without God, we have no hope to stopping these problems. They are all consequences of sin and the broken world. Only when we trust in God, the death and resurrection of Jesus, we learn that we can be different and we can change. As much as there are so many problems in this world, there is also so much good in this world. God’s grace has been amazing. When there are problems, there are people who are fighting against those problems. God’s soverignty can be seen through the work that is being done in this world.

Now, we soldier on, fight the good fight, and wait patiently for the day when God returns to take us to a place where there is no hurt, no tears, no pain and no despair.

Posted June 24, 2017 by shuoli85 in Uncategorized