By Tracy Chen, SMU
Before knowing Christ, I was a perfectionist who kept striving for worldly achievements and titles. This made me a broken and hurt individual who always had a void to fill, and was never truly happy. However, as I slowly learnt about who God is, how merciful and forgiving he is, how ready he is to embrace me, and when I eventually knew him personally, my life has truly changed. I began to embrace myself for who I am, to claim how worthy and loved I am, and to bring love to everyone I meet in life. Will you let Jesus do the same for you?
Before living life as a faithful catholic, I never imagined how free and joyous I could be in the hectic and idealistic world we live in. Jesus transformed my life and constantly makes it fuller through how he paves the way for me, always making the best plans and always sending his trusted angels around me to protect me, literally and metaphorically. Joining communities such as FIDES (SMU’S Catholic Community) also helped me to know him more deeply and maintain a closer relationship with him. This is as communities constantly bridge my way to God and give me comfort each time I am troubled.
Ever since a young age, I have always struggled with meeting high and often unrealistic self-expectations, resulting in a sense of unworthiness and the constant need to prove myself to others. This ambitious self of mine could go as far as feeling sulky merely over watching idols or generally anyone looking better and doing better on social media, constantly deliberating over the fact of how certain people can be so successful from a young age. I found myself always chasing for achievements, awards, and fulfilment through materialistic gains. Of course, there were times when this aided me in gaining that happiness I always wanted. However, this happiness I felt from these achievements was always so short-lived, so fleeting that they were never enough, and I needed to fill that void in my heart award after award, title after title. I was never joyful.
Being a Catholic taught me how happiness and joy are different, and this difference mattered a lot to me, as ‘happily ever after’ does not exist in life. Life is full of ups and downs, and struggles are a given in all of our life journeys; if we only lived to be happy, then wouldn’t the downs in our life be pointless? I’m sure all our answers are no. These moments help us to become stronger, to learn from our mistakes, to find ways to solve our future problems more easily and to realize how beautiful and how much we should treasure the happy moments of our lives. How then did I find strength to brave through some of the toughest storms in my life and yet remain joyous? The answer is Jesus.
SMU Catholic Society – Fides
Being a disciple of God taught me so many things that I cannot and will not try to summarize, but here is one: You can be joyful whenever. Joy is not an emotion, but a state of mind that revolves around being close to Jesus and being pleased by that. It entails tranquillity, the peace in knowing that life may not always be the way I want it to be, but what happens happens for the best reason and is all part of God’s majestic plan for me. After realizing that, I never tried to seek perfection, for the unrealistic expectations from the society and of myself. I never had to feel like I was unworthy of being loved, unworthy of being cared for, or that I was incapable and only seen for my titles. I never had to label myself as my identity was a child of God, and nothing I do will ever make it any less or any more, because that is the best I can and want to be. Jesus makes my life whole. Together with the help of community, where Jesus constantly fixes my gaze towards him, he has revealed my hidden wounds and healed me gradually by letting me experience his unconditional mercy and love.
As a receiver of genuine and consistent concern and love, I cannot be clearer of the fact that a community of sisters and brothers will always be there for me, just like Jesus, and that I am a treasured child of God who is sufficient and loved. As the struggles in life continue to surface, I find myself becoming stronger, since I learnt that security is not about having no fears, but knowing that Jesus is with me and is ready to help me overcome whatever I may face.
Brothers and sisters, will you give Jesus and yourself a chance by taking this leap of faith to grow together in love towards a fuller life in Christ?