Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Dear Mr. Holy Spirit, Why Aren't You Ministering To Me?

I had the best week serving at Soul Survivor, for Open Doors Youth. It was my first Soul Survivor experience, so I made the most of everything - the sunshine, serving at the ToolShed, tent times, Big Top meetings, seminars, late night worship, name it!

Every meeting was followed by a time of prayer, where the Holy Spirit was moving among people in ways I don't generally see; He would release Himself through shouts, bursts of joy, physical movements - it was wonderful to see but the problem was, I felt nothing!
When people were having dreams and visions, I had nothing. When everyone around me seemed to be feeling something, I was merely still. I grew so frustrated that I eventually cried out, "God, have you forgotten me? Why have you left me out!" At that moment, Beth Croft belted out the words, 'You have not forgotten me' - call it coincidence, but to me it's got heaven written all over it! Suddenly I was so overwhelmed by the presence of God that the waterworks began and I had to sit down.

I don't know about you, but I often box the Holy Spirit up. I look for Him in the powerful wind, the earthquake and the fire, when He prefers to show up in a gentle whisper.

The Holy Spirit is free to manifest Himself in any way He pleases - be it tongues, visions, dreams, prophecies, healing or just an overflow of tears and joy. We are in a relationship with Him - He knows our deepest, darkest secrets and still loves us, above all He knows exactly how to speak to us. His ministry to us is personal. God didn't go around distributing coal-tongue therapies, neither did He give out an open invite for His transfiguration (I'm sure the other disciples would've loved to see that glorious sight too!). This is not a case of holier than thou, but of personalised manifestation. Salvation is not affirmed by the gifts (1 Corinthians 12:8-10) we display, but by the fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) in our lives - both of which are facilitated by the Holy Spirit!

My attitude at the start of the week, was much like Peter's in the last chapter of John's Gospel, when he seems far more interested in John's death than his own. Jesus responded with, "What's it to you?" - I believe that's exactly how He would have responded to me! From day one, He was ministering to me, draining away insecurities, hurt and grudges, replacing them with His love, and opening my eyes to see a little more of Him. I was so caught up in comparing the way He moved in others that I missed everything He was doing in me.
Friend, if you resonate with me on this, let us resolve to quit confining, comparing and complaining, instead, let us praise God for His work in others, and tune every cell in our body to however He chooses to minister to us.
Let us let God, be God.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A Piece in the Puzzle

I realised something was wrong when I chopped my fringe off and started welling up at the site of a rather messy, and 'boy-ish' looking thing staring back at me...

I like my long curls, but they're too much work and at the moment, I'm just not about that life so I prefer this pixie freedom. However, not everyone is a fan! I'm not surprised, I mean I've sported short hair for a few years and of course I've had the 'Is this your son?' moments (what still baffles me, is the fact that I wore a skirt when this was asked!).
Once I hit that big old 20, my immunity to the suffocation of cultural expectations eased. I am Asian, and Asian girls are 'expected' to dress a certain way...long hair, jewels...you know what I mean! I love the occasional bling but my staple is a baggy top and a pair of jeans. The occasional frown never really bothered me, in fact, I've always found the stares at Asian gatherings rather amusing! This time around however, the comments became more frequent and I even had a little 5 year old ask me if I was 'becoming a boy' - that was a first, and for some reason it shocked me so much that insecurity finally kicked in.

I became more conscious about hair, my not-so-slender physique, and just about everything - but it was so subtle that I didn't recognise what was going on until I stood in front of the mirror with some hair I had chopped in an attempt to make me look 'girly' - ironically the chop was so horrendous that I now look more like a boy!

I let people's opinion of me distort mine. I was letting them change the way I dotted my i's and crossed my t's. I was too focused on winning their approval that I forgot about what the most important person in the universe thought of me.

God knit me together, from the bases in my DNA to my passions and dreams, He put it all together before the beginning of time. He thinks I'm wonderful and that's all that matters. My preferences, likes and dislikes have nothing to do with being a woman, my sexuality or even my relationship with God (I can't tell you how many people struggle to place my short hair alongside my love for God); I need but one approval - as long as it honours Him, why care about what anyone else thought?

I am not defined by any of this, neither are you. Our identity is in Christ.
The quicker we believe this, the more effective we'll be in pursuing our God-given mission.

I view this universe as one grand puzzle. Changing a piece disrupts the picture; trying to press it in up-side down delays the outcome but missing a piece altogether, leaves it incomplete. Like a piece of a puzzle that's shaped to fit into a specific space, God fashioned each of us with our little quirks to occupy a niche that no one else can. Let us be that piece God made us to be and see His grand plan unravel.