By Timothy Cutter, NUS Catholic Students Society
Hi guys, I’m Timothy, a NUS year 3 medical student and today I’ll be sharing on my leadership journey and what I’ve learnt and gained through my year of service!
Before stepping up, I was very content with where I was in my faith life and had already set my sights on being a CGL for the upcoming year. I reasoned with myself that being a CGL would be an ideal step, not too small and not too big, just nice. So when I was approached by my previous coordinators to discern serving as the coordinator for the upcoming year, I was confused and shocked. I was comfortable with my decision to be a CGL and immediately thought of others who were better candidates than me, more senior and more mature in their faith life. I felt inadequate. I took it to SOCL2020 to pray and discern this call to serve and eventually, I said yes. I trusted my coordinators who thought I could step up and I trusted the Lord who was inviting me through them. I began my term of service feeling nervous but also very excited.
The journey has not always been easy and at the beginning of year, I was really struggling and felt very stretched with time management. I was new to serving and leading so there was quite a bit to learn. On top of that, I also had to adapt to a new timetable and curriculum as I moved from studying on campus into the clinicals in the hospital. I struggled to find time to prepare for CG, have 1 on 1s, CSS meetings, study the syllabus, spend time with my friends and family and still have time for personal prayer with the Lord. There were some points in time I felt overwhelmed and spent, like I had nothing left to give. That’s when I realised that I was relying on my own finite strength, my own limited battery. Over time, I learned to lean on the Lord in his infinite strength and with his limitless battery. I realised that my personal prayer time was the 1 thing I really could not compromise and needed to have if I wanted to lean on the Lord and draw from his infinite well. After that change and re-ordering in my life, everything became much more manageable and rather than just doing things in a checklist manner, I was able to really be a cheerful giver in my service.
God provided for me by changing my attitude from one on self-reliance to God-reliance and really gave me a joyful inner disposition. Previously, life was a grim and gruelling grind, a joyless jog up a never-ending hill in cold, snow and rain. But now however hard it might be, I can hit the hill with a smile, because I know there is nothing better than having Jesus be our pace-setting partner at our side, meeting us stride for stride. During this journey, journeying 1 to 1 has also grown me as a pastoral leader. Through having coffees 1 on 1 and being able to have deeper, more personal conversations, it has taught me to always see them not as a project but a person. At the heart of CG and community is really a call to love them – to be Intentional in your relationship with them and just want the best for them.
Med CSS – where Tim served as a coordinator!
As I approach the end of my term of service, I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve, all the friends I’ve gained who have supported me through the tough times and laughed with me in the good times and for the deepening of my relationship with the Lord. I’ve grown from being a simple son of God content with sitting and receiving to a happy worker in his vineyard, happy that I’m able to let any little bit of God’s love overflow from my cup into another’s. I can’t really put it into words, but there’s just something more intimate about being able to reflect God’s love to another. Serving has expanded my vision of God by: showing me how faithful God can be and how much he can accomplish with even the little that we give him. Serving has also expanded my heart for people by teaching me to love even when it might seem difficult. That it doesn’t matter how many replies you might receive, or how many events they come for, that just as God so greatly loves them, we are called to love them the same.
1 truth I want to claim is that “we were not made to be comfortable but great”. We might instinctively shy away from struggling and being stretched, but sometimes they can be necessary for growth – just as a caterpillar has to struggle out of its cocoon to emerge as a butterfly, or how a balloon has to be stretched before it can be filled with air.
Will you take up this invitation to serve the Lord, grow in intimacy with the Lord and let the Lord stretch you? Don’t limit yourself because God has so much more to offer you and wants so much more for you than you can even imagine. God did not create us to be comfortable but to be great.