It’s been more than a month since I last wrote here. Work has escalated and the evenings that I used to keep free (for a balanced life), have been consumed by work. It is no excuse though, for neglecting time with God. Without keeping God as centre of my life, I have let myself fall and I’ve been drowning in unhappiness eversince.
I was even driven to a point where I seriously considered going to live in Australia for a year. I did all the research, calculating how much I would need, where would I go and what would I do. Through the planning, I realised how little I could bring with me. I made a list of 30 things I would bring. If I could only bring one book, what would it be? The answer was clear – the bible. If I could explore towns without a limit to how long I could stay there, what would I do? I would visit churches, like a walking pilgrimage, and sit in each church for as long as I wanted. I would volunteer in churches and communities that needed help. I would choose a scenic spot every morning to start the day with prayer, praise and worship, reading and silent reflection. Answers were starting to be clearer than ever. Would I be able to survive on a week’s worth of clothing? Sure, I could. Nowadays I wear mostly the same clothes anyway. I thought about recording acoustic praise and worship with a reading every day in different locations and upload them online so people can join in wherever they are. I thought about approaching people (laity and religious) to write their stories of courage.
It was as if I finally gave my soul a chance to speak!
From the beginning of the year, my plan (keyword: my) was to explore Europe for 3 months from October to December. Then I realised – I needed more time to save up so that my expenditure will not touch the savings I have now, what kind of sister isn’t around on her brothers’ 21st birthday, and that I’d be away during LISS months. Still, I was adamant to make the Europe trip happen.
Should I go?
I received an answer at a retreat in April.
Stay. I will show you where you are to go.
I wasn’t prepared for that answer. Stay, and wait? I was impatient and restless, already making plans on which cities I would visit. But this prompting was too strong to ignore so I let go of that plan.
In June, an Australian work and holiday visa was announced for Singaporeans aged 18-30. I turn 30 next year so it is the last opportunity to qualify for this visa. So that sparked off the research into how feasible it was to live and work there, and what documents were required.
On 1 September, I was ready to apply. I went online in the morning to register for an appointment. The earliest available slot was 12 September. I tried clicking on it but it didn’t select the date. So I closed the window and tried again later that afternoon. This time, there was a notice saying that there are no slots available. I emailed the visa office immediately, asking when the next batch of slots will be open. They replied, October.
And so here I am, waiting.
It is hard to walk without seeing where I am headed. As a planner, I like to know the goal and work out how to get there. But I am being taught to be patient, to trust in God’s plan for me (not my plan for myself) and about faithfulness in tough times.
I am reminded of Acts 16:6 where Paul and his companions were kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the Word in Asia. Now is not the right time yet. Eventually, they do go to Asia Minor as mentioned in Acts 19:10. But before going there, they have to go to Troas and to Philippi on the way to Macaedonia. They didn’t intend to go to Philippi, but it was there that Lydia and her household converted after listening to Paul, it was there that Paul, through the power of God, commanded a spirit out of a slave girl, it was there that Paul and his companions were beaten, thrown into prison where Paul and Silas sang praise and worship to God while the prisoners listened, where the jailer and his household was converted, where they were released from prison – an encouragement to fellow believers.
No task is a detour, when given from God.
I am asked to reflect if I am willing to let God lead the way instead of trying to carve my own way. I am asked to reflect on the authenticity of the reason/s why I want to go abroad. I am asked to be patient until the right time happens in God’s time (not mine).