As my first post as an author on Putting on the New, I thought it would be good to share parts of my testimony, so you can get to know me a little better. Perhaps you will resonate with parts of my story.
I grew up in a Christian household with loving, but strict parents. For most of my childhood and adolescence, I was defined by the things I did. The grades I achieved (or didn’t). The piano I played. The songs I sung. The verses I memorized. The contests I won. It seemed like all that mattered was what I could do.
When I committed my life to Jesus as a sophomore in high school, I attributed the what-must-I-do-to-matter attitude to my relationship with him. I became intensely disciplined in doing my quiet times, and practicing the piano and singing to make it to the praise team. I read up on commentaries to know more about God. I color-coordinated my study notes, and wrote out my prayers. All of this in hopes of knowing who God is, so that I could be a better Christian.
Looking back, I know that my methodology wasn’t necessarily “wrong”. But throughout college and my young adult life, God was whispering to me, “Are you doing all this just to know me more? Or to have more of me?”
The first of these instances was at an Intervarsity retreat. The opening speaker told us to “slam the brakes” on our life, and truly retreat during this time. And what did I do? The exact opposite. I was too busy practicing in my head the setlist we were going to play at the next worship session. I was a “leader”, and I needed to prepare for our breakout session after the message.
Another time that I can recall was during my 15 months in Seoul, South Korea. I was attending a service at an English-speaking church in Seoul. After the message, during the response time, I approached the front to be prayed over the pastor. Before I realized what was happening, I was struck, and laid on the floor for about half an hour. I wanted to quickly get up and continue praying. But I felt a heaviness over me, and I physically couldn’t get up. I think God was being pretty clear that he just wanted to rest and enjoy His presence.
Since then, I have been learning how to balance my work and my rest. I seem to do my work very well and excellently. I like working and doing my best at everything I do. But God has been on a lifelong mission to teach me how to rest in Him. To still pursue my spiritual disciplines, but to also take the time to pause, and wait for Him to speak.
Wherever you are in your walk with the Lord, how are you spending time with Him to have more of Him? For some of you it might be through a creative expression like music, art, writing, or dance. Some may enjoy jogging or being outdoors to enjoy God’s creation. And some others of you might be like me and encounter God through your spiritual disciplines. Whatever your method is, make your end goal to have more of God. To be fuller with the Holy Spirit. To be in a relationship with Jesus.