We’re all messengers of our individual stories. To this, you might say: Nah, I’m not eloquent enough to share my story; or: my life story is not engaging enough to be retold. I guess the routinary nature of most of our days gives off the impression that every day nothing exciting happens is a day not worth mentioning. Hence, we wait for weekends, summers, holidays and festive seasons. We wait for the turn of the decade, for our graduation night, for our first pay-check. Man, what a tedious way to live. And yet, we do it so willingly. When I find myself waiting for something big and exciting to happen, it robs away the meaning of my present. And when the big and exciting thing really does happen, I don’t taste the same joy and anticipation as I thought I would’ve. Darn. Think of how many final exams I’ve gone through, assuming I would feel more content and satisfied on the other side, and then don’t. Maybe I need more things to look forward to… But, wait a minute, I do have them! I look forward to my overseas trips, a good meal, a sound catch-up, my favourite YouTubers’ uploads, a comfy bed at night…
So why don’t I feel satiated? Why does my time feel unredeemed and spent? I think most times our actions are just symptomatic of deeper issues. When I felt like I had to constantly be planning, carving and aligning our time to make it worthwhile, I mistakenly underestimated who was actually in control. And yes, on the surface level, it could be the university and its timetabling minions, or my parents pushing me to use my time in a certain way, or my friends and their schedules. But, I think an overarching being would be God. (For God to be God, He would have to be overarching, right?) And hence, a realignment of my life mantra was needed.
My God doesn’t only have control over my Sunday morning church times, or the times I close my eyes to pray. He doesn’t only belong in my good days when I feel like I’m loved by Him and everyone else. I think to be God, He has to be allowed access to all the dank days, when I’m struggling to keep my eyes open during my law lectures, when I throw a tantrum (in my head, of coz), or when I give the people around me the cold shoulder. The thing is, the journey of life is not easy. And He knows that. As long as I’m overtly concerned with time and image management, there’s no space for Him. As long as I retain a set idea of what it means to live out a meaningful and deliberate life, He cannot work.
Surrender to God is sometimes painted as a pious, monastery-like lifestyle. For the longest time, I thought this was so too. But no, God has ordained things for us to do. It is actually the most active and meaningful life we can fork out. Most times, it’s not in the way we think, but then again, who are we to know what’s best?
What makes service to God so different from anything else? One thing I think is the difference between Kingdom values and earthly values. God is interested in us before the charity we do; us before the time we spend in free labour. He is more keen in finding out the intention of our hearts then our outward display. This is proven again and again in the Bible through the life and ministry of Jesus- when He chastised the religious, rebuked the proud, and taught His people to pray behind closed doors.
It really is an upside-down worldview.
I am worth more than the service I do. I am loved more than the reputation I build up. My God has given me a new story to tell. Through the impartation of wisdom, He’s teaching me what it means to live a life full and fuelled by grace; how to see value in everything I do, and everyone I meet; how to build His kingdom and how to define meaning in a world that has lost its.
All my time is redeemed for His glory, not because I am a 10/10 time-management person, or because the things I put my hands to are particularly enjoyable, but because the God I serve is the source of my limitless joy; He is the definition of my meaning, and the one who turns my ashes, silly mistakes, and fickleness into beauty. He’s with me when I’m both eager and reluctant; when I’m sub-par and excellent. Hence, neither my attitude nor my performance defines me. It’s a liberty, and the greatest redemption of all.