A New Season

If ever there is a time that I am allowed to blog all about myself, it has to be today.

38Some women are rather shy about revealing their age after a certain number, but I can proudly declared that I am on the far end of the wrong side of thirty. And that’s just about the ONLY thing I am on the wrong side of, at this point :P

In my tradition of expounding on Hebrew Gemetria on birthdays, on the post that I did earlier this year on the numbers 7 and 17. I will be explaining the meaning of the number 38 draw the parallels to the new season that I am entering in with my birthday this year.

What season? Since I am living in a country that only experiences about the same season all year around; the heat and rain. The seasons that I am referring to is from this verse in Ecclesiastes 3:1.

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The word season is translated to mow-ad-dawh, which means appointment or a decided time. And when translated to Greek, it is pronouced as kah-hee-ros, which means the proper time or ar-too-oh, which means to prepare or mature. Time and seasons are used in two different ways in the bible, but they are similar in the way that both involve birth of something; either physical or spiritual, with the due time that is determined by God.

I have always been very in tune with what God is saying to me with my life. Simply because I spend time seeking Him daily, through reading the Word of God, praying and being still in His presence. With this, I am able to prophetically discern the time and season that I am in, moving in line with what His will for me. I don’t claim to be a prophet, but I believe any child of God who spends time daily seeking God will be able to prophetically discern God’s plans and His will for their lives.

So what new season am I now birthed into, entering into the thirty-eighth year of my life?

This new season is very much related to the meaning of the number 38 (lamed-chat) in Hebrew. The letters lamed means authority and chet (inner chamber, including the heart). 38 is the number of work, or labor. It is focused on the idea of one’s calling, or life’s work and purpose, which is the true authority that each one of us will possess in our hearts.

In John 5:5, we read of the man who has been sick for 38 years until Jesus healed him. Jesus said to him in verse 8, “Arise, take up your pallet, and walk.” In verse 10, it was seen that the Jews criticized Jesus for healing people on the Sabbath, considering that to be ‘work’. What Jesus really done was ‘rest-work’, where a person ceases from his own works to do the works of God (Hebrew 4:10, Isaiah 58:13).

In the New Testament, the 38th time that Jesus is mentioned in the 4 Gospels is; Mark 9:23, Mark 9:25, Luke 8:40 and John 4:34. In each of these passages, Jesus was doing His work, healing and casting out demons, work that He has been called to do in His ministry on earth.

In the same way, children of God who are pursuing the truth in the bible, living in obedience and according to the word of God, have the power of the Holy Spirit in them. Powered fully by the Holy Spirit, where work for God becomes ‘rest-work’.

Entering into this new year of turning 38, I have been given tremendous clarity on my spiritual walk moving ahead. I am still running Right Klick Communications, if you are wondering, not that I am going to be a missionary or work for a church full time :P I believe that I can still live out my spiritual calling, while juggling my responsibilities, to earn a living or fulfilling other roles that we have in our lives.

One of God’s greatest presence in my life have been during times of worship and in prayer when I am alone seeking Him, and these are the times I am able to experience the moments of intimacy of friendship with God. It has been in my heart for sometime to focus on prayer, so it is most fitting to start this little group.

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Contrary to the misconceptions of prayer, prayer is far from dull. It is a key discipline in a Christian’s spiritual walk where spiritual work and vision is accomplished. Most of the discontentment and worry that most Christians suffer is the result of disobedience to God’s word. Prayer is entering into a relationship with God so that we can determine His will in the matter and call His will into existence upon the earth. We pray because we want to be obedient to, united with and empowered by God.

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Today on September 17 2014, I started a prayer group together with a dear friend. Incidentally, we arranged for a first meeting today without realizing that it was my birthday today, so this is just another one of God-incidences for my life.

We are available to pray for anyone who has a prayer need, so feel free to drop me a PM in Facebook or an email. You don’t need to be a Christian, you just have to share your need for prayer, and we will gladly pray for you. 

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Also, we welcome any Christian friends who wish to join us as part of a dynamic, Holy-spirit-led (we believe in the giftings of the Holy Spirit and are prepared to be bowled over by miracles and healings!) Intercessory Prayer group. And are able to look beyond the boundaries of the church walls and be available on Wednesday mornings to pray for others. Our prayer meetings will be weekly on Wednesdays from 10am – 12.00pm in various locations of Thomson/Bishan/Toa Payoh/Upper Bukit Timah.  

 

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Learning to Simplify Life

It’s been 4 months since K and I have been spending most of our weekends without dh. Do we miss not having dh around spending more family time together? For sure, but K and I are managing really well.

So what helped us?

Life can easily get cluttered living in fast-paced Singapore. Most of us tend to want buy more or just do more. Doing more makes us feel productive and ‘its always nice to own more.’ It gets even more challenging when friends seem to have the best lives, have nice things, are able to do plenty of exciting activities with the family, acquire good things for their children and are always planning for their next family vacation round the corner.

Surrounded by many friends who seemed to be living their best lives now, I wondered, is that all life is? It is all about what we have and what we seem to be striving for?

I took a step back to evaluate where we are now as a family and what we want out of life. And I decided that I wanted to live a simple, uncluttered life. This helped tremendously to manage the adjustments and to put things into perspective.

 

3 Steps that I took to simplify life: 

1. Get Rid of the Physical Clutter 

Screen Shot 2014 09 02 at 12 33 07 PMIt starts with clearing physical clutter of possessions. I have sold my home a while back and had to downsize my possessions to fit into a much smaller space. I gave/threw away more than 3/4 of what I possessed. Furnishings, clothing, books, toys, stuff. The things that I am left with now can be kept in 4 closets and some boxes in a storeroom.

I am now tempted to further downsize things in my storeroom. So I try not to visit this storeroom too often, as I will likely end up purging what I see and haven’t used for the past 1 year.

Only buy what you need. This also relates to your debt and finances too, don’t live beyond your means.

 

2. Spend Quiet time at Home

As a blogger, to get invites to experiences for my child is commonplace. It has been 1.5 years, and I have stopped accepting invitations to bring K along for a free ride, free meal or experience in exchange for a writeup on my blog. Besides wanting full control over what I share on this blog, I do not wish to be obligated to write.

Also I  prefer not to over-indulge K, who might start to develop expectations for things. Besides I want to avoid being burdened with the obligation of having to plan for some interesting activity every other weekend.

So exciting outings and activities are kept for the school holiday, and I prefer to plan and pay for my own way, thank you very much :P.

We spend the weekends relaxing and doing the things we enjoy at home, watching DVDs together or playing board games. K gets to scoot, while we run our errands around the neighborhood. Or he plays his video games for a couple of hours, while I catch up on my reading or listen to Christian sermons online while crafting.

Simplelife

Once a month, we catch a movie together, or eat out in a nice place together, when hb comes back for the weekend.

Holidays are not on our top of our list, as I detest traveling. Travelling disrupts my routines, especially when it comes to my quiet time with God and puts me in a state of complacency spiritually, and I prefer to avoid that.

Having the discipline to set aside time to do this daily, means that it makes no difference when I don’t attend a physical church.

The last time K and I visited Manila for 2 weeks, I had to spend a few days getting used to doing my devotional time in the bathroom for 2 hours. So that’s why going on vacations do not appeal to me at all.

 

3. Don’t Schedule too many things

I made a deliberate effort to shift the focus from activity and accumulation, to just simply spending time together. It meant that I had to schedule less activities daily, have less extra classes to go to weekly. Already having to go for Chinese Enrichment, Judo and Art Class weekly keeps us rather busy on some days.

When I have less things planned mean that we will have less chances of wasting time commuting from place to place, also less probability of having to lose my cool when the boy takes his slow and leisure pace to get ready to leave the house.

 

Simplifying my life comes from my desire to live life from an uncluttered heart and it stems from my hope to align my life to what God wants for me.

It calls for a radical change in lifestyle from what most of us are used to, it is more than just eliminating things from your life that you don’t need, but it also a mindset change to re-direct my time and money into ways that will enrich my life and hopefully, the lives of others around me.

Interesting, when one don’t crave for possessions or experiences, I seem to be blessed with many things and I am never in need. It is like experiencing this verse coming to life, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. – Matthew 6:33′

The concept of ‘Selling all my possessions, give to the poor and follow Christ (Matthew 19:21)’ is still difficult to follow, since I have a child who is fully dependent on me and I still have bills to pay.

Maybe. one day, when K grows up and becomes independent, that will be a possibility. So no plans for a comfortable retirement for me :P

Goodlives

‘A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is a life of greed;

it requires more and more.

The life of the spirit required less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet.’ – Anne Dillard

 

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Avoiding the Social Media Trap

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A couple of weeks ago, I did an Instagram giveaway for one of my handmades.

So I just went through the motion of asking people to share my post on Instagram, so as to qualify for an entry in the giveaway. Coupled with the requirement of being a follower of my Instagram feeds. One of the Instagram accounts that I am connected to recently did a giveaway, so I blindly followed suit thinking it will be nice to have more followers.

Right after the giveaway winners were drawn, items mailed out to the winners. Then it dawned on me.

Why will I need more followers?

I have never planned to monetize this blog, so having more followers on my social media channels or readers to this blog don’t make a difference. In fact, from last year, I have ceased taking on product or service reviews and I have been turning down invitations for any launch or event.

So why have I stopped doing reviews or to cover activities that benefit my child or the family?

I am embarking on an effort to simplify my family life. You can say that I am depriving my child of being exposed to ‘new and fun experiences’, but I am leading the way for him to learn that joy and contentment doesn’t just come from external stimulation or experiences, but true contentment and joy comes from Who we are spending time with, and NOT What we are seeking it from.

The other reason is, I do not wish to participate in any form of activity that measures this blog or the ‘performance’ of my social media channels.

As a blogger, I think it’s all too easy to fall into this social media trap, where most look to our blogging metrics to define our self-worth in terms of what we think we have accomplished in the blogging world; though our blogging reach, social media followers, or from awards.

The recent reported spat between 2 popular lifestyle bloggers was a good example. So what does it mean to be a ‘top blogger’? If we look beyond the nice-to-haves; being paid to blog or not having to fork out money for some things. Popularity from the blog, or any form of success that we see from our pursuits, do tend to feed the ego.

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I think this quote by Henri Nouwen puts it very aptly, how our ego can be our greatest enemy;

When we start being too impressed by the results of our work, we slowly come to the erroneous conviction that life is one large scoreboard where someone is listing the points to measure our worth. And before we are fully aware of it, we have sold our soul to the many grade-givers. That means we are not only in the world, but also of the world. Then we become what the world makes us. We are intelligent because someone gives us a high grade. We are helpful because someone says thanks. We are likable because someone likes us. And we are important because someone considers us indispensable. In short, we are worthwhile because we have successes. And the more we allow our accomplishments — the results of our actions — to become the criteria of our self-esteem, the more we are going to walk on our mental and spiritual toes, never sure if we will be able to live up to the expectations which we created by our last successes. In many people’s lives, there is a nearly diabolic chain in which their anxieties grow according to their successes. This dark power has driven many of the greatest artists into self-destruction. – Henri Nouwen

 

I realized that as we age, we have less and less opportunities to experience the feeling of success from what we do, and social media can often give the instant gratification and re-create the feeling of success. It’s the same kind of feeling that we get from positive evaluation of good results, thank you-s from others, or having a popular blog. This immediate feedback of LIKES, Shares and hits on the blog and social media posts, not only gives a value to what we do online, but eventually who we are.

So what does it mean after saying these things?

I think metrics are good indicators of how we are performing on a certain task, in this case, blogging or interaction on social media. However, these metrics or the popularity of your blog or following can’t be the focus of your self-worth or success.

Our self-worth, is shaped by the mundane things that we do, the daily decisions that we make as a mom, wife, daughter, sister and a friend. Getting approval from others from what we write on a blog or through social media, isn’t going to provide us with a sudden revelation of self-discovery.

Self-worth is formed through the slow prodding journey that we take towards being a person of value.

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As for what this means for my blogging journey?

I will continue write about what I am able to see beyond what’s right in front of me, finding meaning and faith to this thing called life.

I will still do giveaways on this blog, on Facebook or Instagram. But the focus will be through sharing  ideas, joy and hope with others, or simply just giving away what I have hand-made or things that I like.

So even if it is just 5 or 50 people reading this blog, I am encouraged to keep on writing in this space.

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