Empty-handed, but Alive in Your Hands

As I barrel headfirst into the weeks ahead of examinations and more examinations, my emotional state has gone from being quite anxious and upset to more of a numb one. It feels like I’m doing things for the sake of doing them, for maintaining my sanity, and not considering the purpose of my actions anymore. Going home early from school everyday has made me appreciate solitude, where I do not have to verbalise my thoughts or engage in a conversation, but rather, can be left to simply contemplate alone.

Happy moments are imbued with a sense of fleetingness, because the many deadlines and tasks coming up are always at the back of my mind. It is very hard to feel true joy when you see everyone around you in the same mindless struggle, when everyone is undoubtedly suffering, but nobody makes the effort to actively support their friend.

Just today, after going through a series of lessons in which I was reminded of all the content that should be, but wasn’t internalised yet, the questions I didn’t know how to solve, the looming deadlines that clashed and many seemingly bad decisions I had made, I was really overwhelmed and on the brink of giving up, just as I had been, too many times this year. Don’t ask what giving up means because I honestly have no clue and no courage to think about it. What a coincidence too that this is (kinda) what I had just research on for my Literature project on The Glass Menagerie – the closer you approach realism, the deeper the desire for escapism. But escape in Lit is always so ambiguous, where did Tom go? Where did the ones who left Omelas go? Quoting Amanda, “Life is tough … it calls for Spartan endurance.”

Spartan endurance indeed!

I struggle to comprehend how some people seem to manage everything so much better than others, but I’ve also learnt that everyone struggles, regardless of whether we see it or not. What then is the secret to dealing with these struggles? I’ve chanced upon some very thought provoking posts these past two weeks, and I’ve gleaned that:

1. You need to accept not being okay. You don’t have to be okay all the time because that’s going to be so draining and just impossible to sustain. Tom says, “I will rise, but I will not shine.” I think I haven’t been shining for a while now, but this too shall pass. Maybe it will come in September, or October, or November (definitely by November)… but BETTER TIMES WILL COME.

2. It’s so hard to put a definition to “enough”, but being enough shouldn’t be a goal (not for me at least). If I were to aim to be enough, I would never get there, because your standards will keep going higher and higher, and unrealistic goals are just recipes for trouble. Simply being who you are, is perfectly fine, and good enough (for lack of a better word). Find the beautiful post below that showed me this.

3. External validation is inconsistent and a poor basis for your self esteem so you better learn to love yourself. In church this week I learnt about the inseparable love of Christ for us. (Not that I didn’t already know it, just in the darkest times it’s sometimes hard to remember and focus on the truths.) I realised the two greatest commandments are 1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. 2. Love your neighbour as yourself. After googling a bit more, most websites I came across said you are expected to love yourself, and at the time, this made little sense to me, because when you’re alone in a valley, self love is the last thing you would have. I haven’t made full sense of this yet, but I think the fact that I continue to push on (however feebly…) every day and not let myself drop everything and run is in itself a form of self-love. It’s a form of respect for myself, and a form of respect to God at the same time. He died for us on the cross to take away the power of sin over our lives, and if a King loved me enough to die for me, I had better live my life as purposefully and as meaningfully as I can, and take care of this temple (your body) as a very real form of respect.

Where my own words fail, I let music take over:

Here now
All I know is I know that You are
Here now
Still my heart
Let Your voice be all I hear now
Spirit breathe
Like the wind come have Your way
Cause I know You’re in this place

Faith makes a fool
Of what makes sense
But grace found my heart
Where logic ends

~ Here Now (Madness)

It’s so so easy to tune in to the world, and for the prince of this world to mess with your thoughts. Hence “still my heart, let Your voice be all I hear now”. (Such beautiful writing!!!)

Another beautiful song and a beautiful dance to go with it:

Lastly: https://frizzyhairedmusings.wordpress.com/2016/08/14/in-memory-of-tiffany/

When you fight the right battles, God fights for you. You don’t even have to do anything (how amazing is that?) and you already know that you have won the victory. When you suffer, God sees your tears and your hurt, but find comfort in the fact that you can run to your Father empty handed, and he will always cover you with His love, and nothing can hurt you when you are in His embrace. Love always protects, always hopes, always trusts, always perseveres. Ask and you shall receive, seek Him, and you will not fall. Proverbs 3 has been a brilliant source of strength for me (thanks Mom) because it’s full of promises and encouragements. I just need to cling on to the cross and the truths and nothing can cause me to stumble!

Press on everyone (including myself, time to get back to Chinese) – God has got your back. Promise.

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