the small vessel..

~”A small vessel in the hand of the Magnificent Potter”~

That’s what I usually put up in the description section on my social network/blog site. The reason behind it?

Ever since I opened my heart to Jesus back in 2005, I’ve had this impression that starting from that moment, my life will function like a bowl, or a vessel, to receive and hold whatever blessings and revelations He’s kindly giving me, and to pour them back out when the time has come, i.e. when the bowl/vessel is brimming to its full capacity.

I think I did draw some pictures of those vessels, but pretty sure the drawings would be an epic fail because I’m just HOPELESS at drawing. They were there merely to serve the purpose, to remind me of what I receive, and to keep everything on track. And then this particular vessel came into my mind, on this one, cold Melbourne night when I was chatting with Daddy.

It’s made of clay, it’s brownish red. At first the vessel looks pretty normal. It’s fat on the bottom part before it goes slightly larger before going slimmer all the way to its neck, as it expands for a bit into a shape of an opening.

Okay, I said, that’s a pretty normal vessel, Lord.

Then He zoomed in on the neck of the vessel, as it appeared to grow narrower and narrower that it was almost impossible to draw water from the opening afterwards, because the neck was simply too thin for anything inside the vessel to come out easily.

Now that’s one faulty vessel, I responded. You’d either have to be a super patient person to draw water from that pot or you have to make a hole (a bigger one, of course) or maybe smash it so you’ll get to the liquid inside quickly.

Now here’s what He shared to me,
My life is just like that small, fat vessel. Empty in the beginning, God as the Potter slowly fills my life with His goodness and love and joy while slowly shaping the clay into the ‘body’ of the vessel.


This post was last edited on August 20, 2010, at 4.50pm. I would have been back home in Surabaya,  counting down the days when I would get to see Andrew again in a month time.

And I can still remember why I couldn’t finish this piece. It was the fear of the reality of my purpose. Let me try to continue.

As God continues to fill me up with His goodness and kindness, it starts to reach to the brim. And that is when God will start to ask me to give. At first it is doable to draw the water out of the vessel, though the hole is a bit narrow. But the time will come when I will be required to give more, and I will give out of my brokenness. The vessel will be broken, and shattered to allow more water to pour out.

That is such an apt description of how I live my life. I am so worried about a lot of things I will think of myself first. I will make sure I will be okay first, before I will open my heart to give to others. This is how God teaches me to be compassionate. I honestly dread that word, it requires humility and sacrifice, and I am not big on those two. Breaking the vessel, and thus breaking my heart and my will to serve others is going to be God’s way to train me as His daughter. I know full well that I will suffer, and I pray that I will form a new habit, a holy one, so His purpose will shine through me.

 

do not fear.

You have two choices

The way I see it, you have only two choices:

  1. You can spend your days dreaming of a better life.
  2. Or you can do the messy work of taking your dream to the world.

You can sit around, playing the what-if game, or you can start saying, “Let’s.”

Right now, your dream is perfect. Safe and comfortable, it’s untouched by your dirty, human hands. Stuffed in a box on a shelf, it’s tucked away — far from the world it’s supposed to change.

Here’s the truth: you’re squandering your passion. For sake of personal comfort and fear of messing up your calling, you’re robbing the world of a gift — your dream.

Is it worth the cost?

 taken from  ‘How to Stop Dreaming & Start Living‘ by Jeff Goins.

I fear a lot of things. Petrified by things tangible and intangible. Frightened by unpredictable existence. I fear height, sometimes darkness, death, and failing.

Fear cripples you. It has crippled me for some times. It slaps a big ‘no’ to ‘maybe’, however silly ‘maybe’ might sound. It labels ‘impossible’ to dreams, however improbable they are. It squeezes out the good juice out of the fruit and leave it to die, rotten, left out.

My fear hinders me towards my freedom. The freedom to do things that I know I am supposed to do, things I am called to do, to bear. I fear that once I dip my feet into the trial, it will be messy, it may not work, I might have to work really really hard for it happen, and there’s no going back. The dream may not be so perfect anymore.

Gently, God asked me, “but who gave you those dreams in the first place? Who gave that desire to pour your heart and soul into words and lines, and melodies?”. It sure wasn’t me, Father. Surely it was all from You. But these ‘what if?’ questions.

What if I failed?
What if I don’t do it as I am supposed to?
What if it’s not perfect?
What if people laugh at me and think that I’m stupid and weird?

God, the Creator of night and day, the sky and the mountains and the seas, wrapped a tiny, perfect seed of dream and placed it in my heart, into my imperfect life. His dreams, His desire, His plans. All that I need to do is to believe, and take the step. He, who could actually do all that He has put in my heart so easily, chose to trust me in all my weaknesses to do them. For Him. For His friends, His children. Not for my gain, not for my benefit, but so that His plans are delivered. These tiny bulb of dreams of His, placed in the hearts of His children, what would happen to them when they are fed with faith and trust?

Fear robs you off your freedom, off your joy, your destiny, His plan. The fear of the possibility of you failing, or the fear of you succeeding thus the demand to work harder to keep you there. Just as faith is believing the unseen, fear is also believing the unseen, the false.


this post was last edited on April 15, 2012. I wish I would’ve finished this piece, I would love to know what was on my mind that made me poured my heart out like this. I am still a little weary sometimes, and maybe I have been letting the daily mundane buoyed me to exercise my duty. And how I wish I would take courage and continue to write and sing.

Not all is lost. I still have breath within me, I can still do this. This little flicker of dream and purpose is still here in my heart, I can feel it. I only have to remember to feed it with faith and trust. Lord help my unbelief.

recalling His promise.

Winter Camp. There’s always something powerful about it. I’m going to miss it this year, since hubby and I decided that we are going to focus on our works this time. My last one was three years ago, Living Water, and I can still feel the thrill, the excitement of preparing, attending, experiencing God’s superpower throughout the three-day retreat.

Though I’m not joining the Camp this year, but I am so privileged to experience, though just a snippet, the chill and the calmness of the location. This time, I’ve got the chance to watch my husband preparing the sound system for the Camp, one thing that he’s never missed doing for 11 years straight. This is the first Camp that he’s going to miss, but he doesn’t have the heart to let the team ‘walk in the dark’, working on their own without any seniors. That’s why we’re here today 🙂

Oh, we’re in Rutherford Park, Daylesford, by the way. This special place took me back to five years ago when Pastor Mark McClendon and Diane Manusama delivered strong messages about the image of God as our Father and us as His children. Entering the hall brought a smile to my lips and a twist in my heart. This was the place where God decided to ‘drag’ me into one of my lowest pit, one of the toughest moments in my life. He taught me to let go, and to completely trust Him.

There are things in life that we never know whether we are going to be ready to let them go when the time comes. Things that we think we can’t live without, will be meaningless without, things that are so infused in our lives that an idea of them taken away from us will cost us our lives. Winter Camp 2007, Undivided Heart, was the time when I struggled, played tug o’ war with God (as if I was that strong), battled between my plans and His will. He kindly, but firmly, asked me to let go of my then-longterm-boyfriend of 6 years, a request that not only scared me but questioned His love for me. He continued offering His ‘proposal’, something that He’d been working on for weeks prior to the Camp. And I continued to run away, try to outwit Him with promises that even then I knew was not going to work. He knew what’s best for me, and I should’ve listened to Him.

Well, clearly I have. Ultimately. But those three days have never left me; His unfailing love, His promise that He would give the best for me, and He Himself. To come back to this place, watching His ‘Promise’ wrinkling his forehead, working with his team on the plugs and speakers and wires. Man, I should’ve listened to Him MUCH sooner. How deeply thankful I am for what He has done, steering my life into His perfect plans. Isn’t it funny that the one God promised me was standing at the back of the room, probably staring at my back all along? So close, yet so far haha.

This is the moment when I look back, and declare that none of what happened was from me. It was all Him; His perfect plan, how He has shaped me, and how perfect everything is right now. I’ve had this quote by Joel Osteen posted last year when I was preparing my wedding, and I’d like to recall that.

God’s plan for your life is so much bigger than your own. You’ll look back and say, “That was God. I never could have done that on my own”.

Nice one, yea?

I’m currently in the middle of a search, something that is going to affect my family’s life. Looking back to what He has done, I am glad I stayed close to Him. I really don’t want to play tug o’ war with Him anymore; He is way too strong, and way too wise for me to play around with. To trust Him will probably involve doing things that aren’t making any sense at times, but I guess the best and safest way is always to listen and obey Him. He is our Father, after all, the One who knows what’s best for us, the One whose promises never fails.

These past five years have been awesome. I’ve seen so many of His promises have been fulfilled. I really believe that when the time comes for His promises to be fulfilled, nothing can stop Him.

It’s 7.05pm now, about 7 degrees Celcius, and it’s pitch black outside. My fingers are frozen, and I’m still waiting for the guys to finish testing the drum kit before we can go to Daylesford Town Centre for some hearty dinner! My tummy has been growling, though. This weather is testing my appetite.

Wishing for another life-changing Camp for all camp-goers! WinterCamp 2012, Victorious Life, be blessed!

habit.

Two days ago, I quoted in my previous post about how repetitive actions that we call habits affecting our lives, sometimes in a great way. I had that quote posted because it resonated quite strongly to me, since I know first-handedly how important it is to incorporate some GOOD habits in our daily lives.

Saturday is a choir day, or a music practice day for me. We usually start around 9am, or 10.30am and finish around 1pm. Today, however, I have to stay back because A has got some preparations to do leading to Winter Camp this year, which will commence in 4 days. So, while he’s busy with a soldering iron in one hand and some wires on the other, I need to get myself busy, too. Or else I’ll fall asleep, and there’s no place except the pews for me to sleep on my back.

So I browsed around my favorite blog sites, and I found these posts about habit. They are really good, since one is about writing everyday, and the other one is about waking up early. Exactly what I need.

I have never been a morning person. One of the things that I find quite frustrating is waking up early in the morning. It makes me feel groggy. I don’t know if it’s got to do with me being born at 7pm at night so I am more awake at night and enjoy staying up till late at night, but man, do I struggle. Back in uni days, my semesters were filled with all-nighters of working on the never-ending essays and researches, because I found that I could concentrate much better when the sun was out and my surroundings were quite. No trams clanking along La Trobe street, no building workers drilling their brains out on the new site next door, and no shops opened that late for me to make excuses and roam around city instead. Night time has always been the best, even for writing. Until now.

Maybe I’m getting older. Too old to stay up till four in the morning, a power ‘nap’, and continue the day as usual. I grow exhausted. Maybe that also explains my blotched skin and wrecked mood.

I remember a couple of years ago when I was still working in Surabaya on this below-the-line marketing project, where our main target was school kids around East Java, mostly elementary and secondary schools. We were to promote a new line of lollies through games and small competitions involving the school kids, and the best time to interact with them was in the morning. Schools in Indo normally starts at 7.40am, so we had to be there at least at 7am. I had to wake up around 4.30-5am every day to give enough time for me to get ready, drive to the office, do some stock check, drive to the location, and some preps. I did that for a whole month, everyday. But once the project finished, so did my early rising.

I guess the key is discipline. I cringe when I hear or see that word, because discipline requires a lot of work and demands commitment. But that’s where habit comes in handy, I guess. This dude named Jack Cheng explained in his post 30 Minutes a Day that basically you can learn a new habit by doing it for 30 minutes every day. He referenced his opinion from a research by a professor named Paul Pimsleur, using a Graduated Interval Recall to teach his students to learn a new foreign language.

graphic of spaced vs massed presentation
It’s huge, I know. And I wonder why it doesn’t have a zoom-in/zoom-out icon. Oops.

Anyway, he claimed that the more often you dedicate yourself on this new skill, though for a small amount of time, the more your brain will capture whatever that you’re trying to learn. That is, compared to if you cram everything in two days. That’s why we never remember what we learned in uni (at least for me), unless we put them into practice in some ways, over and over again. Cheng mentioned in his post that, “There are moments when, caught up in the mental resistance that keeps us from getting started, we forget just how enjoyable the act of doing really is.” Like, taking a shower, for instance. It has become a habit, and we actually enjoy it, right? Right? But imagine if taking a shower was never part of our day in the first place, would you think that you would be voluntarily jump into the shower straight-away, even when you know you have to?

Before we were married, Andrew and I used to call each other at night before we went to bed. I had this air purifier machine that belonged to my brother but I took the liberty to slide it to my bedroom for my usage since he’d been back to Indo by that time. Some nights I would forget to turn it on, not realizing that I was missing the beeping and whirling sound during the night. Andrew would remind me every now and then, and there were times when I actually remembered to do it myself. He believed that it took 21 days for one to infuse a new habit, and it was proven.

So, now, I guess I’m interested in trying on this new 30Minute-a-Day challenge. And it indeed will become a challenge, since I am aware that I have taken quite a few ‘challenges’ and plans since March this year, and they have practically been put into a halt. Due to my laziness, or burning out, whatever you want to call it.

Nothing too ambitious this time, hopefully. First one is to write every day. Not impossible, but it is a challenge, since I will (and I really will, believe me) find some excuses that ‘I can’t write today, I need to do this that blablabla”. It’s not how much I write, but how often I write. Maybe I’ll try Jerry Seinfeld’s method,

… pick up one of those wall calendars that had the entire year on a single page. To Seinfeld, becoming a better comedian meant writing every day, so each day Jerry worked on his writing, he would put a big red X in the box for that day. Pretty soon, there’d be a chain of  of red Xs and not breaking the chain became its own motivation.

The second one is waking up early. I will try this method: sleep ONLY when I feel sleepy, and wake up at the same time EVERY morning. Let’s see if I can feel the pain of waking up at 7am when I only drifted to sleep at 2am, just like last night.

This post has reached more than 1,000 words, proving that I actually enjoy the act of doing, don’t I? I just need to remember the joy, or the pain, and the sense of accomplishment once a new post is published.

Until then, we’ll see, huh? :p

I can’t feel my fingers or my toes, and I’m starting to get really hungry, now. Better fetch Andrew soon.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

domain. my domain.

So.

Hubby decided to buy me a domain. A website domain, that is. He was in the process of setting up our business website earlier this month and he kindly set up another one just for my blog. So that my blog site will look more.. professional?

Now, I’m going to sound like an ungrateful girl, which I am not. It’s just that..

I love my old, snuggly, ragged blog site 🙁

but now that he has paid the annual fee, I have to export all my posts and start writing from the new ‘home’. Exporting is easy, I’ve done that part already. But now I need to find a new header image, choose my font and the colors (for links and all that), and I realize how rusty my CSS and HTML skills are right now! And I don’t know if I can actually do it this time.  Nyeh.

And this headache I’ve been having for the past week is not helping at all. Hubby suggested I should wear a beanie when I go out, but I refused since it’s going to ruin my hair! ah, vain.

So I’m hunting for a new header image now. Let’s see if I can find a better one.

dry.

Sticking to my blog theme, if this was a real bowl with one serve of rice inside, considering the cold weather, you’d get a dry, slightly moldy chunk of waste.

What a waste.

I’m not ready for a long post today. Any normal bloggers would want to boast their holiday trips with photos and stories attached to them. I’d love to do the same, but I’m just not ready yet. Not when there are so many things in the back of my mind that demand more attention.

I’ve been away for 3 weeks to attend my best friend and maid of honour’s wedding in Jakarta, and continued my trip to Thailand for 6 nights with my parents. Though without my brother, who refused to come along because he’s got his own wedding to prepare, a family trip is always treasured. My dad is not a traveller, he’d dig his heels so deep in the ground whenever we plan to go somewhere outside his regular visiting countries. Luckily, Thailand falls under his regular category. I’ve been there once when I was 14, and hubby never visited Thailand yet, so we decided that while Dad’s got time to spend with us, we’d take it.

And now, back to reality, to the struggle of everyday life.

This is where I found a bit funny. I’m assuming that to most writers, writing excites them. True writers can’t NOT writing, they just have to write. I love writing, too. But now I started to feel that writing, or blogging, frightens me. Why? Because blogging demands me to be honest. With myself, first of all. Because I can’t write stuff that are not from my life experience.  And sometimes it is so damn hard to be honest with yourself, because there are times when you don’t want to think about all those things, when you don’t want to accept it. And once you write them down, they become real. And you’ll have nowhere to run.

That’s why sometimes writing depressed me. Because I can see how dry I am, how empty I’ve been, how resourceless I am. The fear and doubt of going through everyday is bordering to unbearable at times.

You called me to write, Daddy, and I still believe in Your plan. But I just can’t figure out how I would inspire others through my writings if I am hanging dry myself. I can’t stand not writing, but whenever I sit on The Chair and start writing, I can’t think of anything else but lamenting on my life. And I know that’s not right. But where should I go? What should I do? What shall I do when one thing that I love doing scares the life out of me now?