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Restored by Community - Gavan

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

At the start of poly, I felt that I could not fit in anywhere or find friends. This loneliness was overwhelming and eventually I fell into depression. I did not want to show others that I was struggling with it, so I hid behind a front instead. I was deeply insecure, and became paranoid about how my friends viewed me. Their opinions of me affected me a lot.

In secondary school, I once overheard some friends of mine talking behind my back. I was super angry about it. There was also another time where my closest friend stopped hanging out with me and decided to be friends with a guy I hated instead. When that happened, I felt that all my other friends would eventually leave me too and I feared I would be all alone.

When I was in Year 1 of Poly, I was invited to church by my life group member, Turin. I got to know her through my attachment which was part of my course in nursing. I came for service for the first time and it happened to be Pastor Lavanya’s sermon about depression and how Jesus is our hope.

I felt that it was a coincidence that I was going through the same thing at that point of time but looking back, I realized that nothing is a coincidence and that it was God’s plan that I had come that day. During the altar call, Pastor asked if anyone wanted to know more about this hope. I then decided to receive Christ as I wanted to live a life free from depression and I was curious to know more about Christianity. Lighters 3 also took care of me. They were welcoming and real to me, genuinely wanting to be friends with me and that made me feel loved. Because of what I had experienced in church, I decided to stay. When my secondary school friends found out that I had become a Christian, they mocked me and made sarcastic comments. Condemning and suicidal thoughts flooded my mind. I also led a double life. Outside of church, I continued using vulgarities, drinking and venting my anger on those around me. While in church, I would pretend. It was tiring to live a double life. I was afraid of how others would think of me if they were to know what I was going through and how broken I was. Things got worse as I started harming myself in school by punching the wall or ground till both of my hands bled.

All these things were were just building up as I concealed how I felt in fear that my life group members would leave me just like how my friends did if they knew this side of me. However, the more I tried to conceal my struggles, the worse I struggled and it came to a point where I just couldn’t keep up with the hiding anymore. I continued to spiral downwards until one day where my real state was finally exposed.

During July this year, I went to support my life group member who had a performance. I remember being very hungry after the performance but the rest of my life group had already eaten so I rejected their offers to eat with me. I texted some who stayed near me, asking them out for dinner. However, they did not reply but I knew that they were online through their social media accounts. My life group members tried to reach out to me but I was so numb by past hurts that I just pushed them away.

I also ran away from God. I didn’t want to hear anything from God or from the people around me and found temporary comfort in Chinese songs as I could relate to the lyrics. They filled up the void in me for a short while but I always felt empty soon after.

However, as I kept growing in Christ and with the help of my community, I started to be real with people as I learned more about His goodness. I remember speaking to my discipler, Owen, about my struggles and he encouraged me, reminding me that I am not alone and there are people around me that I can count on in this journey. I learned that it’s okay to not be okay and I started a journey of being honest about the things that I go through.

I also remembered what Becky had preached during the series - Word before world. Through that sermon, I learned biblical ways of dealing with conflicts such as how I needed to speak to others personally in order to resolve those conflicts.

It was then that I texted Turin, who had previously confronted me out of concern for me when I was suicidal. I wanted to restore that friendship as I realised that our relationship is important to God After talking to her, I felt peace in my heart. During the conversation, Turin asked me how long would I continue pushing God and people away. I thought about it and made a choice to face my battles with God.

I have learned that God is so good that He places people around me who are willing to stand with me. They constantly speak truth into my life and encourage me. Through them, I have experienced His love and learned that when I am weak, He is my strength!

In recent times, when negative thoughts come, I immediately go to God and chose to declare His truths over the enemy’s lies. I’m God’s masterpiece - my mistakes do not define who I am and God sees the hurts and my feelings even when no one else does.

During the recent IL sermon series - iLife, the Holy Spirit kept on showing me that I needed to forgive my best friend that had left me earlier this year and whom I was no longer talking to. The Holy Spirit convicted me to forgive her as God first forgave me for my sins and because of that, I could forgive her as well.

Throughout this journey, even though I still face these thoughts every now and then, God has taught me how to stand up again and again. Each time I fall, He reminds me of His promises and tells me to keep my faith even when things don’t seem okay. This is what keeps me going and pushes me to not give up. Each day, I make a choice to deal with the problem, fight my battles with God's strength and go back to Him each time I fall.

I would like to share this verse from the Bible that have encouraged me a lot through this season. ​“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” - Hebrews 13:5b. I would like to encourage all of you that God is a good God and He will never leave you. You can trust Him because He is faithful.

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