Combat

Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.

– Psalm 119:36-37

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The Seashells Sermon (excerpt)

“Three weeks ago, we got word at our church that Ruby Eliason and Laura Edwards had both been killed in Cameroon. Ruby was over eighty. Single all her life, she poured it out for one great thing: to make Jesus Christ known among the unreached, the poor, and the sick. Laura was a widow, a medical doctor, pushing eighty years old, and serving at Ruby’s side in Cameroon.

The brakes give way, over the cliff they go, and they’re gone — killed instantly.

And I asked my people: was that a tragedy? Two lives, driven by one great vision, spent in unheralded service to the perishing poor for the glory of Jesus Christ — two decades after almost all their American counterparts have retired to throw their lives away on trifles in Florida or New Mexico. No. That is not a tragedy. That is a glory.

I tell you what a tragedy is. I’ll read to you from Reader’s Digest what a tragedy is. “Bob and Penny . . . took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their thirty foot trawler, playing softball and collecting shells.”

That’s a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. And I get forty minutes to plead with you: don’t buy it. With all my heart I plead with you: don’t buy that dream. The American Dream: a nice house, a nice car, a nice job, a nice family, a nice retirement, collecting shells as the last chapter before you stand before the Creator of the universe to give an account of what you did: “Here it is Lord — my shell collection! And I’ve got a nice swing, and look at my boat!”

Don’t waste your life; don’t waste it.”

– John Piper

The Stale Introvert

I know what you’re thinking. “Ugh, not one of those ‘boohoo I’m an introvert, nobody understands me sobs sobs’ kinda post.”

Believe me, I’m sick and tired of it too, eventhough I probably am one. God knows how many other people are sick and tired of me mentioning it as well. Yes, I’m talking about you. #youknowwhoyouare #idontblameyou

“So why on earth are you writing a blogpost about it?” Oh, we’ll get there, if you haven’t stopped reading by now.

You see, I was one of those who will read as many articles about ’27 problems only introverts will understand’ or ‘Signs you’re an INFJ’, and go on to shove the article in the face of a few close people in my life to ‘help them understand me better’. A while later I did one of those tests again and it says I’m an ISTP. Like any sane person, I continued to re-do the quiz in an INFJ mentality as many times as possible to get the outcome I wanted and hang on to the feeble hope that I hadn’t lose my ‘identity’.

But to be honest, I don’t always like being an introvert. I admired people who are able to strike up conversations with strangers effortlessly. I wished, on many occassions, that I would be able to feed on people’s energy and not get tired or obsess over a mere failed conversation. Then again, people will tell you that’s not what being an extrovert is either. There’s also the hipster ‘ambivert’ – equal in proportion of intraversion and extraversion – basically neither here nor there, which, to be fair, is all of us.

Some of my friends will even tell you that I’m clearly an extrovert. I like to laugh it off and let them think that way, because it’s a compliment to me. But my family and close friends will say otherwise. These days I’m even doubting my love language. It used to be both ‘quality time’ and ‘physical touch’, but now (as much as I hate to admit), ‘words of affirmation’ is starting to affect me a lot. But that’s for another blogpost.

My point is, the important thing isn’t who you are, but who God is, and how having that knowledge of Him reflects in your life, regardless of who you are at any given point in time. Because people change all the time. God doesn’t.

So don’t be so hung up on whatever the world tells you you are. Don’t even be hung up on who you think you are. Strive for self-forgetfulness. Strive to be what He wants you to be. Be loving, be joyful, be peaceful, be patient, be kind, be all that is good, be faithful, be gentle, and be self-controlled (Galatians 5:22).