Be True To You

The painful year that is 2017 was also He one that birthed many reflections, and today’s post will also be one based on 2017.

I probably mentioned this before but one red light in 2017 was how I started to become less me and more of what others wanted of me. I’m loud, shameless and unabashed about anything. In 2017, those qualities changed, or even if they shined through, it’s always through a filter of political correctness or dignity. One might argue that is wisdom, but I say that wisdom’s focus is doing the right thing at the right time, not necessarily the non-me thing all the time in a bid to be accepted by my friend(s).

My sense of identity is definitely correlated with my sense of intimacy, and whoever I’m intimate with I become like them. That’s why in 2016 I started to enjoy more K-drama. That’s why in 2017 I started to become a bit more uncomfortable talking about Jesus, whereas under normal circumstances I wouldn’t care about any drama, much less Korean ones, and when any opportunity arises I would talk about His saving grace. In 2018, my identity has been thankfully renewed in Christ, and thus I’m really living out who God wants me to me, and I’m thankful for the many victories so far this year.

What happened in 2017 is but a microcosm of the rest of society. We become what we deeply value and cherish, and thus need to be careful to let God have the honor and nothing or no one else. If we were to change who we are for someone else, we wouldn’t be true to ourselves. Love, romantic or otherwise, chooses to care for who you are, be it he good, bad and ugly. If your intimacy is in God, you become who He wants you to be as your new identity. The difference is that in the former, you change your identity in order to satisfy someone else’s, whereas in there latter, you embrace your identity in Him. The real you is found in Him anyway.

One thing certain in 2018 is that I’m never changing who I am for anyone, except the One who saw me in my mess and loves me anyway. May you also pursue the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, and embrace His vision for you as your true self.

—Joel Kindiak, 21 Mar 18, 0720H

Advertisements

Honesty

In my “Worth the Wait” post, the main reason I confessed was to be honest with my (then) crush, and that I’d rather have no friendship than a dishonest one.

I believe this applies to any close friendship I have. Friends come in different types and purposes: the hi-bye friends to make school and work a little less lonely, the visionary friends that encourage one another to plan ahead, the church friends who endure services together in the facade of spiritual devotion and the close friends who are honest with one another.

And friends can overlap from different classes or even switch. A once-close friend may now be a hi-bye acquaintance or that church kid I never knew might end up the best of my friends.

In my case, a once-close friend has shown me that we are unable to sustain honest conversations, and thus my best conclusion is to let go of the friendship. Some people are meant to stay in your life, others no, but it’s all good because God always orchestrates every event for our benefit. I’ve decided that this friendship will only work when we both decide to be authentic with each other and be just a little more invested in each other’s lives. With intimacy with God, I’m willing to let go so that we can be even more fervent in pursuing Christ, since our friendship does not allow for that development, thus leading to intentional hiding of information with each other.

But the beauty of friends is that whether they are hi-bye, mere acquaintances, or even the closest of pals, all have been ordained by God in His perfect timing and placement to edify us and point us to Him, and bless us to be a blessing to them. Friends are a rich gift of God, and no matter whether we have a ton of close ones or frankly none, we can give thanks because God chose to be our friend: most importantly, the friend who can never fail.

I remember in 2013 when I shared intimacy with God but never knew it was called that, He was my best friend. And thus, even though I didn’t consider my class a class of friends (heck, I had none there), I was happy. Every day. I enjoyed every friendless day, because I had the friend of all friends. He loves me personally and wants me to be happy in Him, and with Him I have no need for anyone else.

Thus, while I was sad in uncovering the dirty truth of a dishonest friendship, I faced the reality of that friendship and entrusted it to God, letting Him restore what was once undefiled but became dishonest-slash-ruined. I will let God be God and continue to fellowship with Him, enjoying His sweet presence every day, and let Him work this friendship out for His good purposes. This friendship will be on hold until we are able to be real and authentic with each other once again, so that our friendship will be edifying.

Honesty is key in friendships, and the best part is we can be honest with God. He knows everything about us and loves us anyway. And there’s nothing we need to hide from Him. This reflects the blessed friendships that I do have since years ago, friends whom I catch up with to have an epically blessed time, being real and authentic every time, genuinely glad for one another’s victories and supporting one another in our struggles.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’d rather a distant and honest friendship than a close and dishonest one. I’d like close friendships where we have little to no need of hiding anything from each other. And without honesty, let’s at best be hi-bye to make school life a bit more enjoyable. 😛

With closeness comes honesty, and frankly there doesn’t seem to be a viable alternative.

*On a wildly unrelated note, greetings to those from Japan, US and U.K. who view this blog. Hope my rants have been of some blessing to you! 🙂

—Joel Kindiak, 17/3/18, 1949H

The Lord is My Shepherd

I shall not lack.

How many of us say this and yet fail to truly believe it? I’m definitely part of the number of such people in 2017. “The Lord will provide. He will keep His promises. He will restore. He will lead and guide,” were my words throughout the year, yet throughout the year was equally intense the doubt that He was really that good to fulfill these, especially in a limited time scale.

Today, I can confidently say these words, to the praise of the glory of His grace.

I’m convicted, that because of intimacy with God, I genuinely lack nothing. And if I genuinely lack nothing, then the reality is that no one else really matters, at least not in the business of making me full. They matter in God’s eyes as His beloved creation, but if their value is solely to make me happy, then they have no value. This means that no matter whether I grow close to some people or drift away from others, I shall not lack. My God is my shepherd. This means that if I grow close, it’s good, and if I grow distant, it’s good too! My God places the right people at the right time in my life for the right blessing, and traumatic 2017 may be, it was a huge part in fertilizing the spiritual ground in 2018.

I have always believed that God is good and He wants the best for me, even though I didn’t feel it in 2017. Sharing intimacy with God however has unlocked my spiritual senses to grip the full meaning of that statement. Now, I really believe that I lack nothing.

If you are doubtful, hang on. God isn’t done with you yet. He still desires to bring you to the stage of intimacy with Him. It may take time, but trust God to bring you there, so you can really face life with confidence that Your God loves you and cares for you intimately, which allows you to tackle life’s challenges with fresh assurance of victory.

And I hope I can say with gusto as well these words: “The Lord is your Shepherd, you lack nothing”.

—Joel Kindiak, 19 Mar 18, 0852H

A Key Detraction from Success

Last Sunday I was on my iPad downloading some classic board games which I have not played in a long time. I downloaded Risk and Scrabble and played them when I could. It really brought me back to my younger days, when, apart from comfort from my computer, I was being miserable everywhere I went.

As I played more of these games as nostalgia, a few things came to mind. Firstly, the idea of an alliance during wartime. When playing Risk, an opponent wanted to forge an alliance with me. I accepted and played, not noticing until it was too late that he was trying to play me. This reminds me of how God rebuked Israel for allying with foreign countries in exchange for faithfulness to Adonai Echad (the Lord is One) and moral integrity. They saw the potential benefit of allying with their neighboring nations more valuable than trusting in God for the victory. And the warnings in the prophets (which I’m currently reading through) seemed to become more real now.

That was more trivial knowledge, but it does link with my next realization at how distracting games can be. Scrabble forces you to think of the right words at the right places to score, while playing Risk online requires your attention throughout the game, seeing what your opponents move and trying to infer from those moves their motives. In short, all the other attention that could be used to master that math concept or meditate on God’s Word is lost, in favor of the games occurring in the heat of the moment.

To say that games are of the devil is simplistic. To say that the devil uses games a lot to distract God’s people is realistic. So many young people are distracted particularly by video games and mindless entertainment from activities that give more lasting value. By succumbing to the distraction of our video games, we rob ourselves of potentially more productive time spent elsewhere.

The solution remains at this: all things in moderation. Yet, I can’t help but wonder, can we honestly say that we play games in moderation, providing sufficient and appropriate balance in our management of time? It’s similar with alcohol. Should you take it? If you know your limits. Do most people know? I doubt it. Similarly, the reality reflects an unfocused millennial generation that gravitates to fleeting pleasures instead of making short-term sacrifices for long-term returns.

I gave up television when I was in Sec 1 and video games when I was in Sec 3 (partially; I was still obsessed with Super Mario), and that has allowed me to priorities my studies, and channel my strength to being consistent in my studies. By God’s grace, this strategy has worked for 4 years and by God’s grace my consistency continue to be the key to academic success. Yet, consistency was achievable once I lost the desire for distraction. This allowed me to train in focus, something that we will need to train every day. In J2 I gave up games completely (except for brief moments of leisure, like days when I’ve finished my homework and revision before the day ends), and even then I can live without them. In short, the loss of video games contributed to long-term rewards which I do not regret one bit.

I believe that video games in this day and age is very easily used to detract us from more important things. If we know our priorities and are able to balance, I’ve no opposition. However, most of us aren’t, and thus I suggest—drop the gaming PC or that gaming app and know it’s worth it in the long run.

—Joel Kindiak, 6 Mar 18, 2000H

Glorified in Everything

The Lord very clearly reminded me at the end of 2017 that The Year of His Glory does not automatically eliminate undesirable things from happening to me. Entering March 2018, though the first two months were on a definitely much better note than 2017, I do face problems. Yet, these problems cause me to turn to the Lord and now away from Him.

For privacy reasons I cannot fully disclose what these problems refer to, but I will do my best to elaborate on them as much as possible. Firstly, these problems are emotional. I’ve had several panic attacks, though these have been getting less frequent as the days go by. Secondly, these problems really test my trust in God to see me through, to see His promises fully fulfilled in my life. To believe that He remains faithful in apparently trying situations, just as He has been faithful in 2017 and every other year for that matter.

The Year of His Glory, if anything, emphasises the weightiness of God no matter what. By implication, that means that the greater the problem I face, the greater God’s glory should be in that problem than the problem itself. In other words, God is to be maximally glorified in my life, more glorious than my highest highs and my lowest lows. Problems, if anything, all the more can be used to glorify God even more than in bliss.

The Lord has led me to focus on four different areas in the Year of His Glory, and these definitely have helped take my mind off my problems. Yet, once in a while, I do sadly entertain them, and even lose sight of the destiny God has for me in 2018 and for the rest of my life. I beseech your prayers for emotional strength and protection from the Lord, to press on in choosing to glorify Him no matter what happens or how I feel. May God’s will be done in my life, and may He be maximally glorified in my life.

Grace and peace to you who read this!

–Joel Kindiak, 4 Mar 2018, 1743H

Still Learning…

It is clear that I’m not as happy-go-lucky as my contemporaries. But I guess you could tell that by the nature of my blog posts, this one included.

As (possibly) mentioned before, I’m someone who cannot maintain shallow conversations for long. I need the conversation to be deep, whether it be religious or not or intellectual or not. Deep in the sense of providing more insight than just the details of what happened, i.e. the why to the what. I find it interesting that many of my peers aren’t similar in this respect, and that’s not a bad thing necessarily. That however does imply some form of communication barrier which I have yet to bridge.

One of my prayers is to be able to connect with people who prefer shallow conversations, which does make sense, since in the future when I get married, I can’t possibly be having deep conversations with my spouse 24/7. It’s all about balance, and part of my learning now is to find that balance.

Holy Spirit, help! Teach me to love everyone, be it deep or shallow.

—Joel Kindiak, 24 Feb 18, 2007H

Victory Over Shame

2018 is the Year of His Glory. It implies breakthrough by His power.

I’ve seen breakthrough in my emotional attachment. That has been replaced by intimacy with Jesus. I no longer feel salty or FOMO when my then-close friend hangs out with others, whereas in 2017 I left my clique because of that.

However, the whole friendship saga last year did leave me scarred not in the way I look at them, but at myself. I struggle with the thought that I’m a failure of a friend who was not wise enough to sustain his close friendships with genuinely lovely people.

I believe 2018 will be the year I break through that false mentality. It’s a lie from the devil, but just like many lies he tell, he facades it with apparent truth. I do feel responsible for driving my friendships awry, even though in most conflicts both parties are to blame, and there probably were some things the other party should and shouldn’t have done too. Yet, I feel the irrational need to bear the full burden.

Having consulted a few friends, I have come to the conclusion that in sum, I blame myself for screwing over my one chance at enjoying an exclusive post-JC group of friends. In my impatience and angst and lack of grace, I scared off the people I loved so dearly, and the result is that I lost my exclusive group of friends whom I could call my own. For this I blame myself, for not doing a better job at being a better friend to them, and for being impulsive in my decisions instead of suffering patiently for a worthwhile outcome. The crux is that it could have been averted, and I didn’t choose to avert it but to choose the easier path in the short-run.

Things could change. Perhaps this distance is what we need to recover and God will use time to eventually restore what I’ve destroyed, perhaps even better than previously imagined. Three action items to complete, not immediately of course, that will be measured of my complete healing:

  1. Accept that the friendship has been destroyed.
  2. Have the attitude of improving myself to avoid the same mistakes.
  3. Trust God to be faithful to His Word and restore, if not bring better friendships with different people to come my way.

Also, it seems remarkable that 2018 so far appears to be the reversal of 2017 in many ways, but I’ll detail that in a different post.

To God be all the glory.

—Joel Kindiak, 23 Feb 18, 0709H