Growing up, I lived independently from God. Even though people threw Christian terms at me, as some say “Christianese”, like “trust God”, “have faith”, I had no idea what that actually meant because I did not have a real relationship with God.
Although I was doing all the things a ‘proper Christian’ was meant to do, I still felt empty and thought I was living a purposeless life in Christ. In fact, I felt that I found more purpose in school than in church. Eventually I stopped attending church.
In 2014, I started coming to Impact Life church. A few of my friends from my polytechnic were attending this church and I wanted to give it a go, in an attempt to seek God again. Although I was attending Impact Life Church regularly, I was still reluctant to fully commit and take ownership of my faith. What the world offered still seemed far more attractive than what Jesus could offer.
In 2018, it was my final year in university. It was a year filled with fear as we had to write a 10,000 word thesis. Writing 10,000 word thesis was very, very overwhelming to me.
Furthermore, I was told to attend night classes on Wednesdays for 6 months! This meant that I could not attend Life Group for half a year! Not being able to meet my community and confide in them made me feel very lonely, and even more anxious.
Additionally, I placing a great amount of pressure on myself to attain a First Class Honours. This constant stress crippled me. My mind would be overwhelmed with thoughts about my work.
I was mentally striving to reach a level of perfection that was unachievable, resulting in so much anxiety.. Battling with thoughts of inadequacy constantly was affecting my faith greatly.
I questioned if having God alone was truly enough, without me being in control of my life. I have heard all the time that “God alone can satisfy” - but this was just head knowledge to me. I just didn’t understand how releasing full control to God could bring me joy. I was not willing to let God take full control of my life.
Somehow that week, during Worship Experience at church, we sang the song “Christ is Enough”. The lyrics go like this: “Christ is enough for me, Christ is enough for me, Everything I need is in you. Everything I need.” As I sang those words, God touched my heart and I just broke down and confessed to Him that I just couldn’t understand those words I was singing.
At that moment, I asked Him to draw near to me and teach me how to trust Him fully. It was at that moment of complete surrender that my relationship with Him became genuine. He showed me that being honest and coming to Him as I am was exactly what I needed to do first, before anything else.
After that encounter with God during worship, there was a significant shift in how I approached my thesis. Instead of constantly striving to do better, I surrendered my paper to God. Every time I felt anxious, I would pray and an immense sense of peace will come over me. God would remind me that anxiety does not come from Him, that I had a choice to trust Him.
My discipler So Yeon also supported me during this period as I chose to walk with God. I thank God because it is hard to grow as a Christian alone! Eventually, I finished writing my paper. I did not feel it was perfect, but I submitted it anyway. No matter what the results may be, I felt assured because I knew I had journeyed with God through the process and that was perfect enough for me.
But God was so faithful. When I received my results, I was appalled. God had actually blessed me with a First Class Honours! This felt unreal as I remember how I barely completed my thesis chapters. But God was so faithful to come through for me in the most tangible way.
As I reflected, I realised how God shifted my focus from my hands to His hands, teaching me His ways through prayer. He changed my heart: Instead of asking Him for good grades, He guided me to ask Him how I could seek Him first and obey Him.
As I learnt to walk with God, I was beginning to see more of how He was moving in my life. I am in awe of how He orchestrates everything so perfectly.
I’m grateful that He taught me the difference between excellence and perfectionism. Perfectionism cripples, but a spirit of excellence liberates.
Having a spirit of Excellence means putting Him first in all I do in my life. Truly, that’s the best way to do life because I don’t have to strive independently towards unachievable ‘perfection’.
Christianity is definitely not a religion, but a rich relationship with our Heavenly Father. I know I’m just at the beginning of a wonderful journey with God and my community.
Whatever you’re going through, I hope my story encourages you to seek intimacy in your relationship with God. I know that the same God who has these wonderful plans for me has an amazing plan for you too!