“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” ― Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control
I’ve not very been very vocal about my faith or my spirituality. Maybe because in this very secular world I didn’t want to tread on people’s toes or sensitivities. I know that we are all allowed to say what we feel, what we think and our faith is one of the most important testaments we can make. However, that being said, I think I’ve allowed myself to be more PC than I thought I would ever be. Because of that, allowed myself to not talk about how my faith gets me through each day. I’m reminded of Psalty the Singing Songbook from the Kids’ Praise series of music albums I used to listen to when I was little. I can still hear Psalty saying “God wouldn’t want you to hide your light under a bushel!” And that’s exactly what I allowed myself to do.
I am truly a church kid. I grew up getting up early on a Sunday morning, getting dressed in my Sunday best and going to church and Sunday school. I sang in the children’s choir and Christmas was always busy with children’s choir rehearsals. My summers were spent attending daily vacation church school, attending summer church camps and other church-based activities. It didn’t stop there. As I got older, i graduated to joining the chancel choir, acting as bible study leader, children’s choir conductor and summer camp cell group leader. If I were still in the Philippines, I would probably still be in church most weekends, happily involved in the various things church-related. Most of my oldest and most enduring friendships are with people I grew up with, in church. I am quite thankful that I grew up in church because I know that this has founded my faith and it is my faith that carries me through the dark days.
It is because I grew up in church that I learned to take solace in prayer and meditation. I find that the quiet times that I spend alone with my thoughts, tears, prayers and meditations ground me and steady me. It allows me to surrender everything to the higher power taking care of us. It is also because of that faith that the word surrender doesn’t feature negatively in my vocabulary. Surrender is sometimes the bravest thing to do.
Quite recently, I started listening to Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Conversations podcast. She had a conversation with Rev Ed Bacon about spirituality. It was such an ecumenical discussion about faith that it gave me a lightbulb moment. I had to look back on conversations about faith that I had with the friends I have here. I found that I had discussions about faith and prayer with friends who were Christian, Muslim, and others who didn’t necessarily ascribe to a particular religious doctrine. Spirituality and faith is universal. So talking about it is universal. It is funny that it’s taken me so long to realise this!
And today, as with all the most difficult days, my mantra is “In His perfect time, according to His perfect will.”