Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

I got an email today about an opportunity to work in Boston in undersea exploration. How rad is that!? I have no background in undersea stuff but I am almost finished with a Computer Science degree and have a very strong love of exploration.

In high school I worked at a life insurance company. Today I am working as a junior developer in the agricultural industry. Tomorrow I could be writing algorithms for undersea exploration. And in 10 years, who knows? I could be spearheading the creation of a completely new industry! Oh the possibilities make me so happy  :)

“You’re just really smart” you’d be tempted to say, like I’m some anomaly. My family can quickly debunk that theory. I am very human.  What I am is persistent and curious. And a little bit of a control freak. (I like say I’m a recovering control freak but as I am working on trying to control my controlling tendencies, it’s hard to tell if it’s getting better or if getting worse.)

Computer Science was a good choice though.

Even for the girl who still does math on her fingers. The girl who, if it can be broken or forgotten, will break it and forget it. The girl who starts talking to herself if she’s left alone too long alone. The girl who completely fails at video games and sleeps through every sports game. The girl who loves reading history books and still pretends she’s Robin Hood sometimes.

I didn’t fit in. And I still don’t fit in.

It’s been 3 years in the Computer Science program and the guys still look at me like I’m an alien (to be fair, I don’t exactly try to remedy this). But, this doesn’t mean that I don’t belong. It means that the space I can occupy, and will occupy well, hasn’t been discovered or made yet. Who knows, maybe I’ll get to shape it!

As long as I can remember, I’ve been an oddball. The girl who’s way too serious about God. The girl who gets way too excited when she starts talking about the Bible. The girl who thinks too much and asks too many questions. The girl more interested in books than boys.  The girl who prefers to own one pair of shoes since it’d be less likely that she’d lose them. And then still loses them anyway.

I haven’t stopped being all these things. But things have changed these past few years.

I have stopped apologizing. For not being a white boy who went to a rich high school and likes to program instead of sleep. For not loving programming more than reading a book or talking to a person. For not quickly grasping the abstracts of mathematics.  For not being able to clearly understand my Chinese teacher’s thick accent and for being slightly scared of him. For struggling hard to articulate certain content. For feeling alone amidst of all the testosterone and being really excited to finally have a female teacher.

I’ve stopped making excuses. I’ve stopped telling myself that it’s okay to barely pass because I’m special. That it’s not okay to just ask for an answer instead of struggling through learning how to think. I’ve stopped pitying myself for the long and hard assignments and have stopped daydreaming of the English papers I could be cranking out in my sleep. I’ve recognized my intellectual laziness and propensity to leave things half done. I’ve stopped nurturing my tendency towards mediocrity and irresponsibility.

And oh, things I’ve learned. I’ve become even more incorrigible towards the impossible – I simply have to try to figure it out. I’ve become more trusting and dependent on existing good systems that have proven to be effective. I’ve learned not to hide my weaknesses but to walk in honesty. I’ve learned about the reality of consequences. I’ve learned how to ask for help, how to deal with frustration, and how not to give up. Mostly I’ve learned that I am not as great as I thought I was and that growth begins when rooted in humility and truth.

 So who knows where I’ll go or what I’ll do. I’m not really concerned because I know God’s got me. I might stay, I might go. I might live long, I might die early. I might lead, I might follow. I may be alone, I may have companions. Most likely life will be a mix of those – of leading and following, of staying and going, of loneliness and companionship, and of living and dying. And yet – this all too shall pass.

Yet one thing I do know. This life shall soon be past and only what’s done for Christ will last. Wherever I go, whatever I do – may it all be for Christ.

Transforming the Season of Waiting into a Season of Training

What can I do to prepare for marriage?
What can I do to prepare for parenthood?
What can I do to prepare to enter the workforce?
What can I do to prepare for the mission field?

      1. Walk in relationship with God.
        Know Him. Love Him. Pursue Him. Think about Him. Spend time with Him. Put Him first in all you do – first in your family, first in your work, first in your hobbies, first in your ministry.  Give Him have the preeminence in every area of your life and vigilantly guard your heart against idols (1 John 5:21).
      1. Know and love Truth.
        Make Scripture the North star in your sky by which all is oriented. Make seeking  out wisdom and understanding a priority in your life.  Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding (Proverbs 4:7). How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver (Proverbs 16:16)! Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life (Proverbs 4:13).

        Suggestions: Read  through the Bible at least once a year. Study Jewish culture to understand the Old Testament. As you read, ask “How is Jesus revealed in this passage?” Read biographies of faithful missionaries. Take the free online discipleship class from Francis Chan’s Eternity Bible College(highly recommend it!). Take a semester at a bible school, go through a discipleship training, or just take a week to get away and spent time with God. Pray. Invest into your spiritual growth. Splurge on the sacred, skimp on the secular, and starve the satanic.
      1. Die to self.
        Serve in your church, home, school etc. in whatever capacity they need. Stop being picky about the work you’re willing to do and just help where it is needed.  Learn that serving and ministry is not about you.
        Learn diligence and excellence in all you do, even if you’re not that “type.” Learn to be effectual and God honoring in your solutions. Lay down your life for those around you. Give them the right to your time & strength – be that in service or prayer. Go to the lowest places – seek out the outcast, the rejected, the odd and love & serve them.
      1. Forgive others and forget their offences as God has forgiven you and forgotten your sin.
        Ask God to reveal what you cannot see and repent and renounce any anger, bitterness, or frustration in your life.He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
        Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
        For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
        So great is His loving kindness toward those who fear Him.
        As far as the east is from the west,
        So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
        Just as a father has compassion on his children,
        So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
        For He Himself knows our frame;
        He is mindful that we are but dust (Psalm 103).
      1. Learn to pull in harness.
        Ministry, marriage, missions, careers – all of these will be within a team or a partnership. You need to learn how to work with people and how to support each other. Learn how to pull your weight and how to add value to any team you may be placed in.
      1. Submit to God’s will & timing.
        Learn to wait upon God as you obediently walk in His revealed will.  Learn to see and praise Him for His work around  you. “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:18-19).

        Learn to rejoice in His will being accomplished in your life as you submit to Him. Learn to be still and to move on His command.The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people (Exodus 13:20-21).

        Throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out;  but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up.  For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel (Exodus 40: 34-38)
      1. Become physically, mentally, and emotionally strong.
        Ministry, work, marriage, family – all of these require strength and stamina in all areas. Take responsibility for yourself and train up your strength to the extent possible. She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong (Proverbs 31: 17).
      1. Become resilient and flexible.
        Learn to receive and recover quickly from the unexpected. Learn to fight fair and learn how to give and take.  Do not murmur or complain but cultivate a joyful acceptance in each situation. Be like a buoy at sea or a cheerio in milk – unsinkable by hardships. This happens by training the mind to think upon Christ, His finished work on the Cross, and God’s goodness and sovereignty in these moments. The victory is God’s and we are called to always live in light of that reality. Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer (Romans 12:12)

        Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting..(James 1:2-6).
      1. Walk in relationship with people.
        Do life together. Repent before each other often. Honor others with your words and actions. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t say it in their presence, don’t say it to others when they’re gone.Bear each other’s burdens. Encourage more than criticizing. Learn to give constructive criticism. Enjoy people’s quirks. Be vulnerable to allow people to see and know you and be honest in what God is walking you through. Learn to ask for help and let people help you.”..with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” -Ephesians 4:2-3
      1. Have a teachable spirit.
        Especially towards those you’re prone to dismiss like your parents. Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid (Proverbs 12:1).Have an approachable spirit.
        Don’t be the aggressive defensive brutal tyrant (with words or actions) or the overly sensitive easily offended ball of emotions. Both put the emphasis on justifying yourself. See #3 again.  Learn to accept, discern and apply criticism well. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you (Proverbs 9:8). 

        Learn to follow well. Learn to lead well. And learn when to do what.
      1.  Develop integrity.
        Study the integrity of Daniel , Joseph, & Jesus for examples.  Do not compromise. You will either exhibit of habit of compromise or a habit of excellence. Be someone that can be trusted in any situation with any crowd at any time. (Hint – you need Jesus for this.) This especially important for folks wanting to get married – trust is critical for all relationships and marriage especially. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. – Luke 16:10

In all of this – abide in Christ. It is His grace that enables you and equips for what He has called you to. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:15).

His life flowing through you is the only way you can do this. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Mathew 6:33).

“God knew that even though Adam and Eve were perfect people living in perfect relationship with him, they could not figure out life on their own. They were created to be dependent. God had to explain who they were and what they were to do with their lives. They did not need this help because they were sinners. They needed help because they were Human.”
– Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands