One of my goals this summer holiday was to write a blog post / life update – not just for all the people out there that care about what’s happening to me – but as a form of thanksgiving to God.
Today I felt the urge to write after I read the featured article on Desiring God.com. Definitely a nice reminder – a recommended reading: “When God Messes With Your Life Plan” (click to read here)
Life plans and I have always had an awkward relationship.
I enjoy running. Mostly on my elliptical. But on some days when I’m feeling adventurous, I like to run out on the tarmac alongside many of Ma Wan’s running community (and at night, there are MANY). Only, whenever I choose to do so I am reminded of how incredibly awkward it is to see the same familiar faces “waving” at me as they pass by. I always have this “yes-no-maybe” reaction to whether I should wave back or not. Weird. Awkward.
I’ve never had a “life plan” per se. Not for lack of wanting. By nature, I am a fixated person. I tend to focus on details, one thing at a time (which means: multi-tasking is NOT my forte). The longest “life plan” I have is for the next couple of months. Why? Because.
When I was 13, my youth pastor told us to pray for God to show us his plan for our lives. We closed our eyes and began to pray. I prayed in earnest that day. There was nothing I wanted more – nothing that appealed to my personality more – than to KNOW what God wanted for my life. So I prayed and I cried and I cried and I prayed.
After that meeting, everyone was talking about visions they had seen – and years after the fact, some of those people DID actually see those visions come to pass. But on that day, I was surprisingly quiet. Because. God showed me nothing.
Not to say that God never shows me anything. God does speak to me.
When I was 16, I was desperate for God to “speak” to me. I even went so far as to go to a prophetic conference. That day, I stayed at the back – I closed my eyes and waited if there would be a word for me. And it came…
At that moment, the “words” didn’t matter so much (note: I still have it on cassette tape – if only, I could find a cassette player on which to play it HAHAHA). It didn’t matter because God had answered my prayer for affirmation — he touched me.
Some of you remember a little over five years ago, when I decided for my 25th birthday to change from being called “Agatha” (my first name) to “Xaris” my second name. What you may not know is that this came about because of a dream I got. In it, God impressed on me that I should go by “Xaris”. I had to learn to live by grace, to know what it means to truly be good (Agatha). So yeah, that wasn’t my idea. He incepted me (LOL).
A little over a year ago, I found myself on a weird pilgrimage to Israel.
I came, because I could – I had the means, I had the availability. But mostly because I was in need. I was turning 30 and I had no idea what to do with my life. I went to Israel hoping that God would speak to me. A sycamore tree attempt, if you will.
So anyways, there were only two things I knew I wanted to do there. One, I was going to get baptized at Jordan River and two, I was going to pray at the Wailing Wall/Western Wall.
When we got to the Wall, I prayed. I told God, “I’m turning thirty this year. I have finished most of the things I wanted for myself in the past decade. I finished and paid for my education. I have a job that I love and enjoy. I am active and serving at church. Now what? I’m ready for what’s next. Even Jesus began his ministry at 30, please tell me that something new is coming in my life as well. You have to do something. Please…”
And just as when I was 13, I cried as I prayed in desperation – and God said nothing.
A pigeon did end up pooping on me though. The Jews around me told me that this was a sign of good luck. That God had answered my prayer. I was… unimpressed.
Today is Day 8 of my Annual Cleanse and today I realised:
God did answer my prayer.
Shortly after coming back from Israel, I signed up for my first theology course – studying under my own father as a professor. There, I affirmed that I was my father’s daughter in more ways than one. I took to theological study like fish. After that, I signed up for and passed the Exhorter’s exam. Now, people call me P.X. – short for Pastor Xaris (because the title “Pastor” still makes me cringe). I’ve begun to regularly preach at the pulpit of my Church – something that I still struggle with every time. What can a woman say to a church of 98% women? Surprisingly a lot. But that’s another blogpost for another day. And OH, my parents are finally moving on from Hong Kong which means that by the end of 2016, I will live all by myself for the first time in my entire life.
If that isn’t complete life change, I don’t know what is.
God answers prayer. It’s not a question of if but when.
Sometimes the answer is definite – he speaks, he shows, he reveals. Other times, it is subtle – he beckons, he whispers, he touches. But most of the time, at least for me, he is silent. But even then, he is working.
Because we know God will always answer, all the more we must respond in faith and hope.
Faith looks to God not only for affirmation that what we’re doing is right but looks to him in supplication for every single aspect of life. And no, it isn’t coincidence that supplication shares a root-word with “supply”. We put our faith in him because he is our supply, our source.
Hope. Isn’t that why people have “life plans?” People make plans because they hope their plans will get them where they want. They hope that by building up the resolve to accomplish something, it will happen – maybe? hopefully?
But a Christian hopes because he/she is built on the assurance of God’s sovereignty. We put our hope in his plan, his providence and his power. We may not see it, we may not understand the hows, whys or whens, but we grow to learn that nothing stands in his way.
Perhaps, life plans are overrated. Especially, if those life plans are built on yourself. But In Christ, we have the Ultimate Life-Coach who not only has a plan, but the power to make all those plans work. That’s what it means to live in Christ everyday.
Thank you for reading this far in. If you have, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. This year is only the beginning. And while I am scared, I am also excited to see what’s next. This is what I prayed for AND MORE. God has answered in a way that is beyond what I could ever imagine for myself.
I pray with all sincerity that God does the same for you.
Let us continue to expect great things from God and continue to attempt great things as well – for the glory of His name.