Life lesson #onemillioneighthundredfive

Bali, July 2015

There are mornings that are just too hard to digest. Mornings when I just feel like crawling back to my bed and just falling asleep one more time. To temporarily get rid of the pain inside my heart. One more time. It’s addictive, to fall asleep and to feel nothing. It never solved the real problem though. Still I think, I would take it whenever I’m given the chance.

I’m sitting on the beach and wondering about my life, my job, my family, my friends, everything. One absolute thing about growing up, things are not perfect and often not as you want them to be.

The part that makes me wanting to be a five year old girl again from this growing up thingy is the fact that as an adult I have to constantly make decisions. Decisions that are often against my heart or at the very least decisions that I haven’t got enough time to think about it thoroughly but I have to make one anyway. Because then comes consequences, the soulmate of decisions.

The thing is, you cannot wait forever to make a decision. You can take your time, but I’ve learned there’s a limit for that as well. Conclusion on making decision: be wise enough to take your time, but be brave enough to make one. Because sometimes you know what’s right already, you just feel like you cannot deal with the consequences. No lies, sometimes doing the right thing gives you heartache, especially when it’s against your will.

That’s the bad part: decision sometimes comes in a package together with pain. But no worries, good part: there’s always something to learn and you’ll know better.

I came to realize that life needs the waves to keep me awake.

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How to Preach To Yourself Under Pressure

First thing, remind yourself that there is no victory if there is no battle. This will mean that there will be a lot of things in life that will crush you, but you have to see every single breakdown as a chance to grow, to become greater. I’ve met a lot of people with great souls and the more time I spend with them the more stories I hear about their struggles in the past. And what they all have in common is: they flew high, fell so hard but they bounced even higher after the fall. They went through it, they didn’t run from it.  They took valuable lesson out of it and carry on.

I was in Sydney a couple of weeks ago and I went to Hillsong Church together with my family, the guest pastor was Steven Furtick, founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church based in Charlotte, NC. He was preaching about “How to Preach to Yourself Under Pressure” and I think it was a great message for all of us as we all most of the time are under pressure.

 

NB: this post is written based on my notes that I took during the sermon so I’m quoting Pastor Furtick here and there.

Pastor Steven Furtick told us that there are three things we need to say to ourselves, which are:

1. “I’ve been here before, this isn’t my first time”

You might thought that you are over some of hard things in your life and you really thank God that it’s over. And then comes this “Oh no, not again”-moment (ONNAM). Yes, same hard situations you once had in the past, you thought you mastered it but it’s repeating again. Well, He knows best, if you’re having the ONNAM that means you’re not done yet. I’m not saying that it won’t happen to you again if you have mastered it, I’m saying that you’ll say I’ve been here before, this isn’t my first time instead. And the best part is that you went through it before and today still it’s the same God in me and for me. What’s keeping you from conquering the situation? NOTHING. Carry on!

 

2. “I’m not that important”

As bizzare as it may sound, once in awhile that sentence and thought can calm us down in the midst of pressure. The truth is worrying doesn’t take you anywhere, the sun will still rise in the morning and it will set in the afternoon. It has nothing to do with how you feel, what you do or else. You are not the centre of the world. So when you need to do something that you don’t like, tell yourself that you are not that important: you don’t have to do it, but you get to do it. That should make a lot of difference, because when you get to do it that means you are given a chance to execute it. It is not like as if you have to do it otherwise the world will crumble or anything. This is a great sentence by Pastor Furtick as a reminder: It’s not the load, but how you carry it that breaks you down“. Remember, you are not that important *wink*.

 

3. “I’m better under pressure.”

I’m hesitating to say this sentence out loud, because I feel like I’m attracting pressures to come to me. But, it’s absolutely true! You can’t win anything if you don’t have something to overcome. Look at my favourite apostle, Paul. I always think that I might have gone cray! if I was him. It amazes me how he can write tons of beautiful letters while he was in prison. He didn’t have the pity party while he was locked up, instead he wrote many amazing letters that help us today, thousand years after. I will say this: a great soul, a great person, does not build in a night. Pressure produces power and perseverance. Most of the time it will show the strength that you thought you never had. So remember this every time you are under pressure: it’s a chance, given to you, to grow, to become greater than before. Take it.

 

 

Stay awesome!

-Sara

FORGIVENESS

There is always this tricky feeling inside of me whenever I think and talk about this particular subject. It’s very complicated yet very important thing that determines our relationship with God.

…and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;

Our lord Jesus Christ teaches us that forgiveness work two-ways between ourselves and others, and between ourselves and our Father. We will never have a clear relationship with God when we still have unforgiveness in our heart.

Do not suit yourself in a pity party where you kept saying:

“I’m so hurted.”

“The pain is unbearable that I cannot give forgiveness.”

How many times have you been hurting people without you even realized it? The sentence is just a gentle soft reminder for the fact that we are all sinner. None of us are in the position to judge others. However, don’t set your mind on your mistakes in the past, it won’t take you anywhere.

Who am I not to forgive for I have sinned and God forgave me anyway?

Let’s embrace our lives. It has the right amount of pleasure and pain. Choose to learn in every step of the way. Don’t hold grudge towards others, hatred eats your soul. You’re going down while the people you hate are living their lives just still.

Choose to be happy. Surround ourselves with family and friends who are full of joy.

Let us forgive and have a great 2014!

Keep the Faith

It’s been months since I posted the last piece of my blog. The easiest excuse, as you maybe already thought, I was busy. The particular word popped up in my head while I was browsing and re-reading my own old postings the other day. The truth is, I was actually busy and I’ve been everywhere, business trips and things. But then I think, is that excuse acceptable?

Let me break it down briefly: when I was reading my old postings, I was and am amazed of the words I stated there and could not believe that I was actually the person who wrote that. Don’t worry, I really did. But am not  going to brag about it, because it’s not something I should take credit from. As far as I can remember, I wrote those postings during my personal struggle, my difficult times. Odd but I realize that the most intimate moments I had with God were when I was troubled. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I really want to keep it at its best even when everything is at ease in my life. Judging from what I just explained, I came to a conclusion that I’m not as overwhelmed with His grace as I was back then. Oh yes He showered me with His grace just alright but I was the one who has not been received what He was trying to give me at prime level. Super briefly: God’s wisdom that I always shared through my blog only possible when I truly engage with Him. Less entries equals bad connection.

For the Lord gives skillful and godly Wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

It is very easy to turn away from God or mildly speaking to not really paying attention and really listen to His voice while we are living in this world. Me and my friends talked about “What is the strongest factor that can distance us from God” during our bible study awhile ago and the answers were vary, from guys to too much work. But friends, let’s make it broad, how many of you checked your cell phone first time in the morning when you woke up instead of thanked God for a well rest you had? Or refused to leave the couch to pray or read the bible because your favorite TV show was on at that moment? The fact is, all this earthly things could be your god. Your cell phone, your boyfriend/girlfriend, your successful business, your TV, and even your dog or your emotion. God gave us all those things to color our life, not to have control over. We can enjoy it as long as we know our priority, God. Know the limit. Self control is one of the fruit of the spirit, yet as I have said in the past is the hardest thing to do.

We can justify our thoughts and ideas by breaking the limits once in the while, but then once becomes often and often becomes habit. The last thing you know, you already walked away from Him so far that you are lost. The major thing to do during this situation is to maintain our mind and put His words as righteousness-measurement by default. We are human and we are limited with lots of things as very often we are so firm on doing wrong things. Well, here’s what the bible says about that:

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12

Let me share my answer during the bible study I had with my friends earlier: “Believe it or not, at the moment my life is very much at ease. Work is fine, financial is fine, my family is doing great..seems like everything is under control. But yet I don’t feel close to God as I did before. I never thought I would say this, but I think when nothing happen can distance us from God”. That’s the truth.

So then what should we do about this? Well, I committed to never stop trying, to fight myself really hard if I have to. Whatever happens, I’m still going to thank God first time in the morning and ask Him to give me peace and joy to go throughout the day. Most of all, I ask Him with all my heart to give me faith so strong that it can move a mountain.

As I type and looking up for reference in the bible, God led me to this particular verse James 1:2-18. Read on, it’s really good.

It’s amazing how He works on people who truly asked and believe, isn’t?

Keep the faith!

Changes change people

Many times in my life sadness said hello, but the worst was always over a goodbye. It was during my time of contemplating things when I suddenly felt the urge to google the origin of the word ‘goodbye’. Why does it have to have the word ‘good’ when it actually brought sadness. What so good about sadness? What’s the good in ‘goodbye’?

So I managed to find the origin of ‘goodbye’ and surprisingly it was actually the short version of ‘God be with ye’. From time to time the phrase got influenced from ‘good day’ and ‘good evening’ and it’s finally transitioned to ‘goodbye’. Knowing its origin then I thought, it shouldn’t be that bad after all, the ‘goodbye’.

I dug deeper and tried to find the reason why people can be so sad when they say ‘goodbye’. Goodbye could mean loneliness and separation, but I came to an answer of why the sadness and separation in goodbye are excruciating for most people. Am I wrong to answer it like this: because goodbye always means changes, and changes change people. When we lose someone close and important to us, everything is changing. Our routines are different. Our views of lives are different. And aren’t we all agree that changes have never been easy and doing things that we already know is always more comfortable? Indeed. But will we ever grow when we reject changes? I’ll let you answer the last question quietly in your heart.

I have learned that it is fine to be sad and to cry, God created emotion anyway. But to stay in that situation and host a pity party is definitely (I believe and am sure) not a part of God’s plan for you. God can use everything and everybody in this world to make you grow and I believe that is what He is trying to do when He lets goodbye greet you once in a while. It is actually a moment He created to give you a chance to grow, to embrace your greater blessings in a new way, new thing, new knowledge.

I’ve experienced so many farewell that really broke my heart, some even caused me pain that seemed unbearable. I was so hard-headed, hard-hearted and angry that everything didn’t happen as I planned it. Grief often blinded us from seeing a bigger plan God has made for us. We choose to stay helpless and hopeless and even worse sometimes we also enjoyed the pity look other people gave us during that situation.

Know this: keep on moving don’t stay still and be happy being miserable. We are too overwhelmed with grace to be miserable. God didn’t let you born in this world to be miserable. Miserable is not available in our dictionary when we are too busy being joyful while embracing God’s grace.

Changes are necessary so that we grow wiser and stronger. Changes happened, are happening and will always happen in the future. But my soul will be still. My heart will rejoice. And that is all because I know God equipped me enough to be so. And majorly because of this verse:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrew 13:8 (ESV)

The world may change. But my Lord Jesus: He will love me and take care of me forever, and I’ll be just great.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend, friends!

Kneel with Humility

Many days I’m complaining about how there are too many people who are so full of self-pride on this very earth. They are irritating, self-centered, opportunist, not humble, so lack of sincerity, you name it. People who always think that the world rotates with them as the center. If so, how many centers we have then?

C. S. Lewis mentioned once:

“One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting everyone else to give it up…”

Often we follow our emotions to do what we think is right, while actually the Holy-Spirit inside of us, the spirit of righteousness, doesn’t say so. We imagine certain pleasures we could get if we do what we want and think that somebody else would do the obligations God asks. Who are we fooling?

“Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.” James 4:9 (NLT)

It is TRUE that God promised us a life full of joy in a place where sorrow would not exist anymore. Here on earth? If He says so, yes. But His promise is valid eternally. It might not here, on the earth we live in, but we must armor ourselves with faith that the eternal life is for us to keep on going. That promise is the aim and to where we should set our eyes on.

We might shed a lot of tears while we are here, but let it be. Let our tears water the seeds that we planted, and on His timing we will harvest it with joy and laughter. As it is written.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor.” James 4:10 (NLT)

Faith is something we ask and receive by the grace of God. But faith does not stand alone, for faith and action work together.

To be humble is part of our action from the faith in Christ. Let us start to put aside our pride and start serving others. We’re not putting others first in our lives, but we put God on the top priority. I know it’s scary to find ourselves in a situation where we say: “Oh God, what did I put myself into?”

But…

My brothers and sisters in Christ always remind me to go anyway.

Because…

In terms of faith, we do it, even if we have to do it afraid, do it anyway.

So…

Let everything we do put a smile on His face. Isn’t that feels amazing?

My Head and My Heart

Often confusion appears when we are facing choices in our lives. Choices are easy when both options are no-harm. But problems will definitely greet us when one of the choices is painful and hurtful, yet is the right one.

Question: How do I know which one is the right one?

Albert Einstein once said “if your heads tells you one thing and your heart tells you another, before you do anything, decide first whether you have ‘a better head’ or ‘a better heart’”.

But then I have an idea… Why has only better one of those if I could have both?

God, the Master and our Creator must know us best than anybody. He knows what kinds of sin we could do. So, He equipped us just more than enough to be like He wants us to be.

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” Eph 1:13 (ESV)

When we believe in Him, He seals us with the Holy Spirit. Spirit of truth, spirit of righteousness, and spirit of kindness. When we invite Jesus to our lives and ask Him to stay there forever, the Holy Spirit will be inside of us.

“God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.” 1 Thes 4:7 (NLT)

The Holy Spirit that we received by the grace of God will guide us to live holy. It enables us to recognize the right choice we should take for all options exist. The choice we make through questioning and look for the answer in His words.

So, instead of choosing only to use one of them…

I have made covenant with my heart and my head that I will use them in a right terms and conditions I acknowledged with the strength of the Holy Spirit.

Head will need to step in when heart starts holding on to something wrongly hurtful.

While…

Heart will need to step in when head keeps telling justifications that add hatred.

The main purpose of their existence is to please God. No other reasons.

Heart and head will have to have a great teamwork and communication to help us becoming the person God has always wanted us to be.