The New York Times is going to feature your blog on its home page, and you’ve been asked to publish a new post — it’ll be the first thing tens of thousands of new readers see. Write it.
When I was young, I used to dislike not having an interesting faith story and life testimony to share with other people. I am a PK (Pastor’s Kid) anyway — nothing really spectacular about being born into a Christian family. I even think sometimes that if I had been born into a family of a different faith, I wouldn’t really know if I’d still be a Christian. The sad thing about this was that my familiarity and very up-close encounter of the Christian community caused me to take it for granted — without me knowing.
I don’t really have a lot of specific memories from when I was young, probably because I started school very early. But I do remember never really feeling like I belonged to any group of friends. Most of my buds were 2-3 years older than me, due to my abrupt and unwanted leap to maturity (I was in Grade 1 at 5 y/o). I was an active kid — always out and about — so I was thin, but I was definitely NOT among the pretty ones. Despite that, I wasn’t really an insecure kid – that was until I got fat in Grade 5/6. Puberty probably kicked in too early (my mind must be interesting to explore a la Inside Out) and I was mad with the world. Just plain ANGRY. I did not feel loved at all. I felt like I was never enough. The only person I really felt secure with was with my dad…who bittersweet-ly passed away when I was in first year high school.
High school life, oh, high school life. My anger never really faded. I think it even got aggravated. I had more emotions. I was having my heart broken, I was comparing myself to these perfect girls in school, I was confused with my friendships, I was expecting too highly from myself. It was a recipe for disaster. I still attended church and joined youth fellowships & served every now and then. I’m sure that there were moments when I truly felt and experienced Christ, but it wasn’t really full-blown. I would go back to my normal life on weekdays — boy-crazy, foul-mouthed, and backstabbing.
Spiritually speaking, I think college was the lowest of my lows. With the freedom that came with being a little bit more independent, I lived a life almost void of God. I was a Christian by name, but I went to church 30 minutes before the service ended — as it was just an obligation and I didn’t want people to look for the PK. I did not have any ministry; if I did serve, it was with arrogance as I thought that I was far better than everyone else. God is still gracious for giving me blockmates who weren’t really into partying, drugs, and what have you. I did taste my first intake of alcohol though, due to the desire to fit in. By this time, I wasn’t that angry anymore but I’ve grown to become apathetic, which was worse.
After college, Jesus came knocking into my life in the simplest of circumstances. Two moments that I think were crucial to my walk happened some time in 2010-2011:
- I found God when I was heartbroken. During a time when I was hurt and lonely, by divine intervention, there was a discipleship program that got offered in our church. I joined, and I was immersed into a fun process of knowing God. The words were familiar but it wasn’t until this time that I really experienced Christ. For me, knowing that I am saved was a process. I say that I accepted Christ when I was a kid — and yes I probably did mean it at that time, but my life was fully committed to Him during this season. And it did not end there. It continues day to day. It’s a choice that I make to realize my status in God each time I wake up.
- I stumbled into discipleship. It’s a long story but when I was still brazen and on fire, I formed a care group in the office and even shared 1:1 sessions with my officemates to read The Purpose-Driven Life. Looking back, I am amazed with how God made me very bold — I remember not really caring or even thinking about being rejected by my friends. I just wanted to share Jesus. And it was at that time that things about my faith became more serious and more personal — instead of being far off and distant. I got a taste of what God truly wanted me to do.
As you have seen, my story doesn’t really have a major 180-degree turning point moment, yet I know that each step of the way that led me to where I am right now in my walk with God has been ordained by Him beautifully. This is a story that I won’t be ashamed to tell ’cause I know that this life plan was specifically chosen for me by God even when I was still in my mother’s womb. All of these are a part of his grander purpose and grander mission for my life.
If you’re gonna ask me to sum up how I really came to encounter Christ, I will always lead you to this song:
I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?
So what do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
So what do I know? What do I know of Holy?
I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees
All the praises and glory be to the Lord our God for His saving grace. Thank you, Lord, for wrestling with this sinner’s heart!