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Thursday, March 16, 2017

oh my soul

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lay-aside-the-weight-of-discouragement
one of those amazing articles from desiring god.org
"I will never forget the moment when I knew God had answered “no” to something I really wanted.

He seemed to whisper this answer into my heart to help me realize I had spent too much time holding onto something I was not meant to have. After months of presenting my request, he gently told me to let it go.

At first, I didn’t realize his plans were better than my own. Moments of heartache and (seemingly) empty hands, left me wondering why he would take away this opportunity I desired so much. I wrongfully believed that if he wouldn’t give me what I wanted, he must not have understood how important it was to me. It seemed like he was needlessly withholding, not giving abundantly like I thought he should.

When we are forced to let go of something we really long for — whether it’s taken away, or it seems it will never be given — The weight of disappointment is crushing. It can be overwhelming and take time to process.

“God knows better than we do, and his ‘no’ is always merciful, even when it hurts.” 
It’s not wrong to experience disappointment when life does not unfold the way we hope. If we do not give ourselves permission to grieve, we inadvertently believe that God is more concerned with us immediately feeling better, rather than working through the hurt to bring real transformation to our heart. We lose sight of the invitation he has given us to place our struggles at his feet.

He is not afraid of the pain we feel. His sovereignty is not dependent on our emotions. He will not try to invalidate our hurt with quick and temporary fixes. We are free to express a sense of lack and sorrow in the moment. He lets us feel the void so that he might satisfy us with himself. He wants to draw near.

Finding His Love in Our Lament

The panic I felt over being led in a different direction gave a clear picture of the state of my heart. I was more concerned with not getting what I wanted than seeing where God wanted me.

Disappointment often reveals what captures our affections. Even though the disappointment is not always wrong, it does give us a gauge that shows us where we have invested our hope. Lamenting through our discontentment forces us to carry those desires back to God — even if just to question why he hasn’t given these things to us. It sheds light on the idols we have created in our lives. 

The purpose of lament is not merely to vent our distress (which leaves us in despair), but to bring our attention back to God’s promises and the hope we have in Christ. He promises that he hears us when we call (Matthew 7:7). He promises to be near to us (Psalm 34:18). He promises to be faithful (Deuteronomy 31:6). He promises that this hurt will end (Revelation 21:4). He promises that when we seek him, he will transform our hearts to desire more of him (Psalm 37:4). He will not leave us in the misery of our disappointment, because he has not finished the work he started in us (Philippians 1:6). He will assure us of his love as we invite him into the struggle we feel.

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

Redirection forces something out of our hands we had hoped to keep. Through that, we begin to realize God’s plan for our life does not equate to the easy or comfortable road; but he is working all things together, even this disappointed, for our good (Romans 8:28).

God always has our ultimate good in mind, which means he will pry the idols from our hands. He does this not because he is cruel or depriving us. He knows better than we do, and his “no” is always merciful, even when it hurts. He is for us, fighting against what will keep us from him (Romans 8:31). He knows our hearts can only be truly satisfied with himself (John 4:14). He will not tolerate being second in our lives, because he wants us to have something so much better than what the world can offer.

When God takes something away, he creates space in our lives to fill us with more of him and his blessings. That is the greatest gift of all. It may not feel like it in the moments where we are forced to reconcile disappointment, but he wants to help us understand it is true. He wants us to experience for ourselves — to taste and see, and know that he is good (Psalm 34:8).

Disappointment may be part of living in this world, as we struggle to let go of our earthly desires and open our hearts to receive the good things God wants to give us. But if we are in Christ, our struggle with disappointment is only temporary. The promises of God, and the joy we experience as we realize them, are eternal."

Discouragement often feels circumstantially determined, something we can’t help feeling because powerful forces beyond our control are causing it. That’s why our response to discouragement is often passive — we sit, weighed down with a heavy spiritual listlessness looking at the world through the grey, bleak lenses of fear.

Yes, discouragement is a species of fear. It is a loss of courage. We don’t always recognize discouragement as fear because it can feel like hopelessness with a side of cynicism. We might even call it depression because we have an accumulation of fears that are intermingled and seem somewhat undefined. And, of course, if we’re discouraged, we feel depressed. We feel like giving up.

And when we feel like giving up, we are vulnerable to a whole range of temptations. When we give in to those temptations, our sin just confirms our discouragement, and we easily slip into a cycle in which fear drives us into hiding, hiding opens us to sins of selfishness and self-indulgence, and caving in increases our sense of helplessness and self-pity. So we sit, weighed down by fear and condemnation, feeling stuck.

But God doesn’t want us feeling stuck. Jesus didn’t endure crucifixion so we would live defeated. He has purchased our forgiveness of sins, our freedom from the weight of fear, and our power to overcome the world, our flesh, and the devil. Discouragement is not as powerful as it feels. We can defeat it if we confront it.

Another famous example was the discouragement Saul and his army felt over Goliath’s challenges and taunts (1 Samuel 17). Fear immobilized all the warriors until a teenage shepherd named David arrived with faith in a huge God. He stood up to the giant, and dropped Goliath face down with one stone (1 Samuel 17:49). Then suddenly full of courage, Israel decimated the Philistines.

While we are not facing fortified Canaanite cities, or giants with javelins, or councils with crosses, we face a number of things in life that tempt us to lose courage.

One morning recently, discouragement settled over me like a thick, grey fog. I didn’t even recognize what it was at first. I just felt fear creeping over me that all my hope in God would end up disappointed. My courage started draining out of me, and suddenly I didn’t have energy to read my Bible or pray or do anything spiritually meaningful.

Then I caught myself and said, “Why am I fearing that God won’t be faithful?” Then I recalled numerous times when God had been wonderfully faithful to me, as well as numerous times I had felt needlessly discouraged — just like this time.

I began to talk back to my fears and to the devil: “No! I’m not falling for this again!” I prayed for God’s help. Then I took up my Bible and in my scheduled readings read this wonderful text:

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:12–14)
Faith-fueled courage poured in and revived me. The grey, depressing outlook changed into a color-filled world of hope in God. And my spirit, which just minutes before had cowered in discouragement, was full of the bold energy of the Holy Spirit.

Satan loves to tempt us with discouragement because he knows we are easily intimidated by what is or looks dangerous and overwhelming. He casts God as the bad guy for bringing us to this hopeless place, and then encourages us to feel justified in feeling discouraged. The way out of this demonic deception is to confront the discouragement head on. How do we do this?

First, we ask, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” (Psalm 42:5). Press for an answer.
Second, we preach to our souls to “hope in God” (Psalm 42:5). Don’t listen to discouraging self-talk; preach courage-building promises.
Third, we lift our drooping hands and strengthen our weak knees (Hebrews 12:12). Pick up our Bibles and get on our praying knees and pursue the strength that God supplies (1 Peter 4:11).
Fourth, we make straight paths for our feet (Hebrews 12:13). Get out of the mental or physical place that is making us stumble in discouragement.
Fifth, we strive for holiness (Hebrews 12:14). We are made holy through faith in the justifying work of Christ, and we walk in holiness through the obedience of faith (Romans 1:5). Walking by faith in Christ is not easy. It is a striving (Hebrews 4:11); it is a fight (1 Timothy 6:12). It’s meant to be hard. God has all sorts of sanctifying good for us in all the fighting he requires of us.

When we’re discouraged, remember the Canaanites, remember Goliath, remember the council, and remember your own stories — when God showed up to deliver you from discouragement. What discourages us is not as powerful as it feels in the moment. We overcome our fear by confronting our discouragement and exercising faith in God’s promises. Those are precious moments in which we will see the power of God.

~

4.5 mths into ed in the busy hospital, i think im getting the hang of it. increased expectations were stressful, but on the bright side i think people realized i wasnt up to the increased expectations, so now it's back to normal baseline. i think. HAHA.

8 mths ago after leaving paeds and realizing that i had spent three years being more concerned with what i wanted than what God wanted for me, i somehow came to em. it was not really about giving up something i had wanted per se, more like God showing me a whole different field that was endlessly exciting and better than anything i could ever have planned for myself.

of course, everything has its ups and downs, as is thoroughly dissected and chronicled in this blog as well as my whatsapps with d and a. i find it really interesting that as a child, i didnt feel very close to the people of the same age in sunday sch with me, but now that i've finally grown up and two of my closest confidantes just happen to be from the same church too haha but they are more than just church friends, our friendships literally permeate every part of life (with a huge helping of medicine as well. hahah.) it kind of just happened and was literally not planned, but it somehow does feel like God was watching out for us all along and gave us good friends to walk this journey of life with cos He knew the paths wouldnt be easy.

i guess what i'm trying to say is that after years of clinging on to something, not only did i finally let go, i also let go to the concept of clinging on to things. of making something my idol. it really isnt abt what residency you get, it's about what you do with what you DO get. i dont deny that i would be beyond thrilled if i ever got emresidency, of course i would be cos i love it and it would help SO much with msf later in my life. (a subject we have all discussed over and over again hehe). i am not say perfectly 100% the best mo ever HAHA. but i am willing to work on my flaws and take all feedback and improve myself! and everyday i learn something new. maybe one day i might finally be a good doctor, the eternal fight. ok well the eternal fight is to be a good person, but since i am already a doctor, to be a good person i must be good at my job too esp since it literally deals with life and death. sometimes, there are stresses and discouragments. this lent seems to have a lot of those. but guess what, my help comes from God. so anything that doesnt come from Him, i know that he will give us the strength and courage to fight through those, and win :)

"Oh My Soul"

Oh, my soul
Oh, how you worry
Oh, how you're weary, from fearing you lost control
This was the one thing, you didn't see coming
And no one would blame you, though
If you cried in private
If you tried to hide it away, so no one knows
No one will see, if you stop believing
Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down

'Cause you're not alone

I won't try to promise that someday it all works out
'Cause this is the valley
And there will be dancing
There will be beauty where beauty was ash and stone
This much I know

I'm not strong enough, I can't take anymore
(You can lay it down, you can lay it down)
And my shipwrecked faith will never get me to shore
Can He find me here
Can He keep me from going under
Oh, my soul
You're not alone
~

i believe that one day, my shipwrecked faith will make it to shore
when and how, that's what i dont know. 
somehow, somewhere, someday

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