“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” (Catherine of Siena)

Long day today haha, I had toddlers class this morning- a few more kids joined, number of helpers decreased because a few couldn’t make it. Elliot was crying (over what I still don’t know, think he was just overwhelmed) and there was no one to help him so I left the two toddlers I was in charge of for a few seconds, went across the room to scoop him up, and then brought him to where I was sitting so I could finish helping the two kids with their craft. I couldn’t recognize him when I took attendance in the morning because he had a haircut, now he no longer resembles Shaggy from Scooby Doo HAHA. Andrew was really cute today, he wore blue overalls and a yellow t-shirt inside so he looked like a minion. He did his usual ‘I’m-going-to-lie-down-on-the-mat-during-storytelling’ routine lol. Had to make sure that no kid stepped on him.

Then I went for sermon, went back to help prepare materials for the next class- it involves a lot of hole punching, cutting and tying of twine string, double-sided tape and brown yarn. It’s really a lot of work just to prepare two cups each (that resembles Mr Egghead) for 75 children. Then bible study class which just ended. I’m going to finish this post then start on client work, and then write the Phuket guide for the team leaders briefing next week!

For bible study class (a thirteen week long class), we did verses from Matthew 6, Mark 5, and sermon was on Hebrews 8.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

-Matthew 6: 25-31

Pastor L. led the sharing of Matthew 6, he shared about how he felt inadequate whenever he got into the lift and he pressed the button for level 3, whereas someone else would press the button for a much higher floor, like level 30. The thing about HDBs is that the worth of your flat goes up by 1-2k with every floor, and so he calculated the difference in worth of his flat and the other guy’s to be a cool 150k. Just because he got number 500+ for his BTO number. And he shared- we always worry about things. We worry about our grades in school, our promotions at work, how other people see us. We worry about being single for life, not being able to find a life-partner, our marriages going badly, not having enough money. We worry about not being able to upgrade to the next iPhone or not having a shiny enough car when CNY rolls around. We worry about our health. We wake up in the morning and worry about our never-ending to do list. All the things that we have not done, all the negative things that people probably say about us. It is an endless list of worries.

But if we were to look at what God has given us- the difference between being born in Batam and Singapore alone is immense- the public transport, healthcare system, security, cleanliness, politics, education. Do we, mostly as middle-class folks sitting in an air-conditioned room on Adam Road, really need to be so stressed out about our lives? As Christians, do we need to worry? If God cares for even the sparrows and the lilies, will he not care for us all? But the feelings of inadequacy, of quiet desperation, seem to always be there. He shared that Jack Ma said that when he was at his richest, he was more unhappy than when he was only earning 90 yuan a month.

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/chinas-richest-man-jack-ma-founder-of-alibaba-says-being-so-wealthy-is-a-great-pain

I know objectively that it is not money that I struggle with. Because I graduated with only a debt to my parents (who kindly cancelled it last week, so I am only paying for my food and board with $500 a month), I know that I don’t have to worry about survival. But I still worry about not having enough money to do the things I want to do- take a year off and travel around China, for example. Or spend half my time volunteering with kids and animals while working, because I will definitely not get promoted and I will not get selected for projects. No one wants to work with someone who is only in the office half the time, or even just five days a week. Everyone wants someone who can do work over the weekends.

I worry about my bosses all secretly thinking that I’m a lousy person, both in performance and potential, even though one of them told me last week that I will do really well in the current company, “whether or not you want it”. Because I told him that I don’t want to fight for promotions- it is silly, trying to prove your worth to a board of partners. It seems like a fight about how much we are worth as human beings. It is not about how collaborative we are, or how many opportunities we create together, it is about A benchmarked against B and it is not in A’s interest to help B with his work. Right now, I am worried that I won’t be able to meet my deadlines this week because I will be in Indonesia and I also am worried that I won’t be able to bus down from Changi BP fast enough before the wifi-router renting company closes at 7pm. I am literally worried about the quality of my wifi connection from Batam to Singapore. If I drop my laptop into the ocean I’ll laugh at myself, it will be so damn ironic. Or like, having lunch with someone I like and then getting transferred to Changi (and not being able to see him for a month) the moment I get back to my desk. Sigh.

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

-Mark 5: 35-4

M. mentioned something during bible study, which is that the disciples, while they saw many things that Christ did to drive out demons and to save other people, those miracles did not happen to them. And so, they doubted his ability to save them, or his willingness to save them. Both the power of Christ and what he is willing to do are questioned. I was thinking to myself- I don’t know if I have witnessed any great healings or even small healings happening to other people, everything so far can be explained by just human faith, kind of like a placebo effect. I trust that the Bible is true, and I also trust that God will not forsake me. But that trust is on a superficial level, even though it is heartfelt, because I have not experienced anything that makes me go “okay this is a miracle”. Personally, I don’t have the faith that Christ has. He had complete confidence that his God will not forsake him, whereas I feel left alone whenever my moods come and go. He might care for everyone else but not necessarily for me, y’know?

It is the same feeling I get when I see some girls who are tall and pretty and gracious and statuesque and I think, wow I look like an oddly-baked potato next to them. Is there really any value in what I am striving for? I am too spontaneous sometimes, not thinking through my words before I speak, and sometimes I am too reserved, not asking enough question. I can be awkward and also too serious, I am unsure of myself and I definitely eat too much dim sum and mantous every week. I am sometimes in my element- the feeling I get when I am writing, or creating client deliverables and it’s like “I am meant to do this”. Sadly the feeling doesn’t last for very long. I am not a corporate person, I don’t know how to be one. I am not sharp and opportunistic neither am I hungry for prestige and money anymore. I think I used to be, before the world slowed down.