Happy Ash Wednesday! I really do love Lent, and as the years go by, I gain more appreciation for Loyola (my secondary school, or high school for Americans). I miss stations of the cross. I miss the songs. I miss carrying the candle stands and standing for the one hour plus (I was an altar server) during the stations of the cross services. I miss preparing for the easter trim (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday). I miss celebrating easter at my former home church. Sigh. Life happens and at this stage, everything is so transient. In any case, I really do love lent and I pray that when I grow up, I’ll have a sound spiritual church where I can serve as much as I’d love to.
Anyhow, I’m very happy to say that I’ve grown a lot since last year’s December. And most of my growth has occurred during times of intense difficulty and pain. I definitely am going to write a post about rejoicing in difficulty because I’ve begun to see my problems as blessings and I’m becoming very grateful that God trusts me enough to pass me through the fire. I’m thankful that He knows that I’ll make it, hence He lets me be tested to build my endurance.
That said, I have a long list of testimonies. I had ample time to reflect over the winter break and I simply was in awe of the things that God has done and continues to do in my life. When I look back, I am short of words because He’s done exceedingly abundantly above all that I’ve asked and imagined.
I do still have huge dreams. I have a long list of desires for this new year, and I have a very good feeling about 2016. For my blog, for my personal life, and for my school work. I’m always working on one aspect of myself or the other and this year is no different. I’m trying to wake up at 7am everyday so that I can have one hour plus of personal devotional time with God. For the past two weeks, I wasn’t really sleeping early because I thought I could go to bed at 1am and still wake up at 7am everyday and be fine. Lies. I got burned out pretty quickly and this past week, I’ve been really horrible at maintaining my personal devotion time.
Now I’ve learned that you prepare for the day ahead the night before. My preparation for the morning starts right from what time I eat dinner. This matters because I cannot sleep with a stomach full of food so I have to eat early enough to at least digest some of the food. Then I have to get to my school work early enough. Granted, life sometimes happens and we have to shift our schedules around, but as much as I can, I should prepare adequately for a great morning.
I’ve never been a morning person so this is a pretty big deal for me. But I’m so determined to be an effective, efficient person that I know this must be a success story. I must testify about my spiritual life at the end of this year and nothing, not even sleep will stand in my way.
I probably should share what I’m giving up for lent- I’m giving up one thing and picking one thing up. I’m always very nervous about sharing my goals because it’s obviously more shameful to fail in public so I keep them to myself and even though I fail, I laugh it off and sulk privately. For lent this year, I want to minimize the time I spend on the internet and increase the number of blog posts I share. I want to quietly herald a generation of young professionals who love Jesus. I want this blog to be a movement for Jesus. Ultimately, I want to enter full time ministry so blogging is as selfish as can be. I blog because I want to improve MY own relationship with God and to prepare for my future sharing the gospel full time.
Finally, here are three things I’ve learnt since the beginning of this year. I hope you find this list helpful.
1. What you do after you sin is more important than the fact that you even sinned. This may sound a little counter-intuitive so please hear me out. Some time ago, I did something really silly but I did not even feel bad. To be very honest, that’s the worst place to be in, spiritually. It’s like your conscience is dead so you’re going through the motions of life, but you’ve built a tall wall around your heart that you’ve locked even God out. Sadly, this is where most of us are at, and we must fight to restore our broken relationships. Restitution for sins isn’t easy and even when God does forgive, we very often even fail to forgive ourselves and we languish in guilt. That’s the devil at work, friends. God forgives our sins and remembers them no more. So, when we fall short of God’s grace, it’s paramount that we make amends immediately. It doesn’t matter what you did, you always will be your father’s child. It’s in your DNA.
2. Big prayers require big faith. One time, I asked the Lord to take away everything in my life that I was idolizing above Him. I asked Him to prune me of everything that wasn’t supposed to be in my life, and because He’s a faithful God, He did just that, and He did it so swiftly that I was left in shock. I literally felt like He had been standing with a chainsaw waiting for me to ask Him to prune me, and once that prayer left my lips, He came in full force. Thankfully, God always gives us more than we can bear so that we learn to rely on Him and remember how fallible we are and how incredibly infallible He is. If you want God to use you for His glory, you MUST be ready for Him to do some good work on you and tear you apart so that He can build you up. God cares about our foundations so if it’s shaky, best believe that He will wreck you before He builds you up again.
3. Christianity is hard work. I say this a lot and I’m only just learning exactly what it means. I definitely still have an awfully long way to go, but so far, I know that an intimate relationship with God takes a lot of intentional and deliberate work, which is painful until it becomes second nature. Human relationships take an awful amount of energy, and the same goes for our spiritual relationship. The difference is that God is faithful and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Your friends may reward you for your friendship, but God’s gifts are good and perfect. They make rich and add no sorrow. When we ask God for things, we must be willing to pay the full price because with God, there are no shortcuts. We cannot love Him and love the world at the same time, so for His light to shine in us and through us, we must rid ourselves of the darkness that occupies our hearts.
That’s it for today friends. I’m doing a lot to behind the scenes work on my blog. I want to launch a new theme and a new domain but I’m still praying to God for guidance and wisdom.
Finally, the title of this post comes from a promise that God gave me sometime ago when I was praying about low blog views and statistics. He told me to tend the grass and the sheep will come. Increase comes not from the east and the west, but from the Lord alone.
Are you trusting God for increase? Hold on fast because your increase will not come from a human but from the Lord, who will perform His wonders in due time and the world will wonder at how exponentially you grew. They won’t know that you already won the battle on your knees and they simply were witnessing the physical manifestations of a spiritual battle that was decided long before.
I hope you’ve all been blessed by my blog post. Here is an extra special song. My favorite song at the moment.