Monday, February 1, 2010

My boss chatted with me as a friend just now. She asked me, concernedly, "Yeu Ann, do you have any direction in life, actually?"

I was very surprised when she asked that. So I asked her, "Oh... how come you're asking me?"

"Well, because I was talking with this colleague... she says that you're nice but seem quite naive... as in all ideals but we're worried that you'll be too idealistic... and get disappointed. After all people do need a stable background to ground their ideals in."

Told her that frankly, I don't look like the kind who's very direction-driven, but I have a strong sense of internal direction, and ideals. My boss said that she can tell that - in fact when she first met me, she could tell that I have a set of very strong ideals. But worried that I might be too idealistic and get myself all disappointed.

I assured her that yes, I do have a very clear idea of where I'm going, and I know where I'm supposed to go. Sort like the Pilgrim's Progress, where you see the Golden City at the top of a hill, and you know WHERE you're supposed to go.

It's just that from where I am right now, my direction is limited. I can only see at most 1 or 2 years ahead. And the land in between where I am now and the vision of where I want to be is terra incognita, and as I quipped, "Here be dragons."

And shared with her a bit of the practical milestones that I've in mind.

My boss looked more assured after that, 'cos she relates to me as a friend here. (She's very nice, the nicest boss that you've probably met in a few hundred years. :))

Sharon asked me yesterday - in fact quite a number of people have been asking me what happened to the scriptwriter plan that I had, when I quit my previous career path.

I told them, it's because I'm committed to this internship thing for one year and have given my word that I'll do it for one year. And besides I am learning very practical and useful things there on the job.

But on a larger scale, I find it hard to answer these questions - and I know that people care and are concerned, because I seem to be missing my set goals. (And frankly, the world admires people who are very goal-driven, and direction-oriented. Haha... so I don't fall into their categories and mind-sets.)

But, yes, I told Sharon that this is a roundabout aspect of the journey of faith. When I set out to leave my previous career path, in response to what I know was God's clear calling for me, I knew I was emulating the example of Abraham, who by faith, obeyed God and left his homeland, even though he did not know where he was going.

In any case, I have been discussing with my shepherd in the backstage. Believe you me, I was asking him for advice regarding direction and so on, at the beginning of the year... so I hope that will assure you that what you see on the outside is not what I actually am on the inside. Never mistake slowness for aimlessness. The two are not always the same.

Personally, I think all this admiration of people who seem to have a very clear idea of what they want to do in life and have even set out five years plans, goals, milestones and so on, is very prone to totally missing the point.

Mark Batterson, a pastor of a church in Washington, tweeted today: "is your vision your agenda 4 God? Or is your vision His agenda 4 you?"

I have no interest in this nonsense about self-actualization and goal-setting and all that. It is anti-thetical to the whole fundamental of Christian discipleship: "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself daily, take up his cross and follow Me." I am NOT saying that planning is not good. No, on the contrary, it is written in Isaiah, "But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands."

It's not about what WE want in life. Or shall I say more accurately, what we THINK we want in life. God knows our needs and true desires far better than us.

We have to know WHAT God wants us to be and do and WHERE He wants you and me to go. As for the HOW part, that is where our part comes in. And I think a lot of people in church are TOTALLY missing the point - and therefore, missing out on God's best for their lives.

One of the missionaries in Indonesia said that it is NOT we plan, then we have faith in God. NO! It is we have faith in God, THEREFORE we plan. Get the message?

Following Christ means we have to learn to lay aside our plans and follow Him. What else is the meaning of this Scripture?

Mark 1:16-20
" 16As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 18At once they left their nets and followed him.

19When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him."

So this is something that I hope my readers will start thinking about: don't just have directions for your life... have GOD'S direction for your life. Or you're going to the wrong show - doesn't matter how many friends or popcorn you have with you, or how long the show is - it's still the wrong show. And it's not even funny.

So it's not easy to be an Abraham. I guess I may be speaking in defence of myself, but I also speak in the hope and prayer that you will also know God's destiny and purpose for your life. I didn't know what was the specific life calling that God had in mind for me back in 2005, but after seeking God for a year, He gave me a specific vision and confirmed it so clearly - not once, not twice, but so many times. I know that the road ahead is not only difficult... it will not be well-lit too (and that's being optimistic).

Practical plans wise, that's why I'm really thankful for the brothers and sisters He has placed around me. And to encourage me. And also that I can follow in the footsteps of my shepherd - he's also surrendering to God and also wintering in the trenches too. And also he's helping me think through the practical implementations of HOW to get there.

Not easy huh? Sometimes we're not sure how we're going to fulfill the Great Commission in our lifetimes, but the Lord did promise very clearly that He has commissioned us, and SURELY he is ALWAYS with us, to the VERY END of the AGE.


1 comment:

Lois said...

I liked this..I can understand what u mean about Abraham leaving and not being very sure where exactly God is bringing him to.
One thing I feel is tough for me, is to release that sense of being in control to God. Since I'm a very high "J", haha!
Working in my current job has taught me a lot abt waiting..
And this whole idea of its not about where you go, its abt who u become.
The idea that our calling first and foremost is to worship & love God. And daily in the people we meet and the things we do, we are fulfilling His call! :)