Reflections on how I learn to live life with faith.
A few days ago, I have posted the first part of my reflection on how 2014 was for me. I have entitled this blog series: HOPE (as I have summed my 2014 as a year full of Hope). For this second part of the series, I am posting a continuation of my reflection. The year 2014 for me is a year full of Hope, a feeling of trust.
2. Hope – a feeling of trust. In searching for a quote regarding the word ‘trust’, Goodreads came up with 1, 332 search results with quotes tagged with the word ‘trust’. On the second part of my blog series, 2014 for me was a year of hope because, by the goodness of God, I was able to discern real friends.
“Friendship – my definition – is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don’t have trust, the friendship will crumble.” – Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
To be honest, before I started my Christian faith, I was the type of person who is contented with who my friends are. I like meeting new people, particularly those who have just migrated to Australia because when I was a newly arrived migrant I have experienced the hardship of adjusting, fitting in, and being alone. I can relate so much with them that, extending the gift of friendship is my way of letting them know that, ‘hey, welcome to your new home. Let me show you around to Melbourne, the best city to live in!’. At the same time, I try to keep my friends to a minimum, because I’m not really into great crowds, big parties, or having a great mass of people who can and will immediately provide me with 50 or 100 likes on my every Facebook posts.
As I grow old, the quantity of the people I meet do increase but I keep the quality of the friends I have to a minimum. Yes, exclusive (people do tell me that). It’s just that, when I was recuperating from a broken relationship, I realised that you really know who your true friends are when they are right there with you, mourning with you, supporting with you, get crazy with you (
to the point of shouting with you on the top of an 88-story building; or throw balloons with you at the peak of a mountain in the middle of a typhoon), and praying with you. Not the kind of friends who does not want to get themselves involved with your own dramas, and are the ones who sits on the fence and has always made you question how true and reliable of a friend are they. You want the ones who are legit and genuine, and not only those who are there during the fun times and the bored times.
“He who rides the middle of the road gets hit from both ends.” ― Loni Bergqvist
“Indecision is the enemy of progress. Not saying yes to one possibility is saying no to them all.” – Michael Haggstrom
I think one of the best ways to test if you have been a genuine friend to someone, is to see whether you have friends who have stayed with you for more than two years and are still very close like siblings, with or without distance… and you know, they are the ones you can approach when the going gets tough, and when you just want to chill when you’re bored.
Last year, I had to pray and let go of the old people I used to be around with. I’ve kept some, but I’ve let go of the ties I used to have with probably more than half of whom I used to share my faith with. It’s one of the risky things that I had to do last year, but to be honest, it is also one of those things I did that lightened up my baggage. I’ve learned to carefully choose the people I will hangout with, associate myself with, open the doors to my house for my parents to socialise with, share my life with, spend my time with, and most importantly, trust. I’m probably uptight to make such a move, but I have to protect my heart (Proverbs 4:23). I have opened the doors to our house to so many people in the past years, which are in our house during the fun times (no work, bored, parties, etc.), but most of them have washed their hands clean when I was being maliciously attacked. They did not only end up hurting me, but my family who have been more gracious enough to entertain and open the doors of our house.
I’m not getting any younger to play around with people’s feelings, and I’m really at this point in my life where I’m beginning to understand that choosing the friends you want to keep with you on your journey to adulthood is important. I don’t claim to have a lot of friends, but I know the ones I’ve kept are worth keeping. I can’t continue to be a jack of all trades but a master of none aka, a friend to everyone but loyal to none (Proverbs 18:24). As trust is such an important word, I’ve broken ties with some people, but at the same time I’ve left everything else to God – His will, His plans, and His time (Proverbs 12:26). Jesus knew a lot of people, He had many disciples and 12 apostles, but He knew which ones to trust – Peter, John & James.
One of the highlights of my 2014 in terms of trust and friendship is the issues that had surrounded my friendship with the ladies. Only a journey through hardship can real friendship pass the test of its strength. We’ve stuck together. Whatever was thrown at us, even malicious rumours, we knew what was the truth and we never doubted our friendship and loyalty to each other (Proverbs 17:17). Exclusive, they might say — but we left it to God because He sees everything (everything we said and everything we did), and kept our conscience clean. Last year, we were separated especially when someone else took over the cell group, my ability to disciple the ladies had been disabled, and when I started to attend a new church… but our friendship was beyond those limits and boundaries – we’re still as one as before. We’ve been hurt and broken last year, but by God’s grace and counsel, we’ve stopped caring to what other people say (they are not true anyway), and enjoyed the company of each other (even travelled overseas with! Woop woop!). Because of the rumours we’ve faced last year, we are more cautious of others, yet more honest with each other, and hopeful to our faith (Proverbs 27:5-6).
So, I have let go of some people last year. However, last year also marked the blossoming of new friendships that I am blessed to say and claim that I will definitely keep for a lifetime. Let me start off with the two great young pastors who are utterly amazing. The first pastor I have met, I definitely trust his counsel. Pastor#1 has such passion and compassion into evangelism that definitely inspired me to see the works of Pastors in the Philippines and how much support they do need – in finances, and in prayers. Pastor#2 is one energetic pastor! I’ve never seen a pastor so hyped up in preaching the Word of God (he always jumps for joy in his preachings!) and such a great encourager that he unites the church together through the bond of prayer.
I believe that behind a great pastor is a great wife. These pastors love their wives so much, witnessing how thankful they are to God, and grateful they are to both be in submission to God’s will. One of the pastor’s wife shared to me her story of how she came out of a ten year (i think, or longer) relationship, and after that found the one (very similar to my experience – Oh, how amazing as I switch my hopeful mode on, to pray for the one!). She advised me that, perhaps he’s just around the corner but I do not give much attention to that person (I’ve heard that so many times!). She did advise me, not to be afraid, draw strength from God. Pastor#2’s wife is someone who has a voice of an angel. Seriously, you feel like you’re watching a disney princess singing in person. This pastor’s wife is a pray pal of mine, we keep praying for each other and she always prays for me and God’s future husband for me. Nawww.
Speaking of Pastors and pastor’s wives…. I’ve also become close with a pastor’s son. This one is definitely a keeper! I’ve learned so much about being a humble servant with this man than any other person that I have met.
I have been around people who claims to be servants and often times, I see more of their good works being advertised on their Facebook, their dedication to their good works being compared to others who has less of an ability to do so, and on their teachings than exalting the name of Jesus (Remember, Jesus is the way, the truth and the life! – John 14:6). From him I have learned to be genuinely concerned for others — putting your own needs aside to make sure that the person you are serving have their needs and their wants met. He’s like your personal Baymax. What I have learned from him, I’ve applied to the people that I have met here in Melbourne – particularly new friends. It is such an honour to have been trusted with his struggles, so I know what areas on his life, I could pray for. It’s also not hard to trust him with my own concerns in life, which he was grateful enough to pray for. I have also learned to appreciate nature (not that I haven’t already, lol). And most important of all, to treasure and love my relationship with my family — particularly of my parents. It is really not that hard to love their family, and I have learned to apply that same bond with my family as well. It’s impossible to adore someone who serves so well with others, but would not have such great ties and loving relationship with their own siblings nor parents. Family will always be (and must be) your first ministry.
In ending, I have always heard this saying that man will fail you, but God will not. I am admitting my fault in that, I have failed some people in 2014. By cutting ties, I have indeed failed to provide my trust to some people. However, I believe that God will work in us and through us. Eventually 2015 will provide a better hope and enlightenment in terms of trust in relationships – for me, and for others. I am not perfect, and I have this hope that by submitting my trust issues in the care of God… He frees me of this unneeded luggage, and that His power and His time will provide me with answers (far better than what I can comprehend at this point in time). But I praise God nonetheless for the friends — old and new.
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9:10