by Jimson Heng, 25 years old
Just before I started SOW, a friend asked me, “What’s the favourite part of yourself?”, and I couldn’t answer, because I didn’t really like any part of myself. When I was in primary school, I tested into the Gifted Education Program (GEP). I was subjected to parental and teacher pressure to get good grades. Instead of excelling however, I imploded under the pressure and regularly got last in class. I was also bullied frequently. Subsequently, I failed out of the GEP and went to a neighbourhood secondary school, while my classmates went to top schools.
All these experiences built up many negative scripts in me. “You have failed. You are not enough. You are useless. You are not loved. You are not good.” Instead of clinging on to Jesus and His promises, I was clung to these negative scripts. Instead of defining myself by who I am, and by the one who loves me, I defined myself by what I’m not and the lies that people tell me. Because of these negative scripts, I began to see God as a demanding authority who shouts commands from afar and I have to listen to every order. Thus, I didn’t want to journey to find out more of God. I was comfortable in my comfort zone and started to backslide in my faith. However, I finally decided to come for the School of Witness because I knew I didn’t have willpower to revitalize my faith on my own.
During SOW one night, as I was prayed for, I felt my heart grow increasingly unsettled. The prayer team gave me an image of my heart locked in a puzzle box and told me it was time to let God solve the puzzle. I raged at God. “Haven’t I done enough? Haven’t I been a good and faithful servant? What more does He want?” I felt like God ripped my heart out of my chest. I was unsettled and frustrated as I struggled to surrender and open my heart to Jesus. I spent the next two hours in the adoration room ranting and crying. The next day, even though I still felt terrible, I claimed in worship that my chains are broken. True enough, God began restoring me that night, and I realised that God was exchanging my hardened bitter heart that struggled to love myself, for a new heart that beats with His.
A brother later shared with me that “I am enough”. In that moment I realized that God was truly working and changing my inner thoughts from “I am not enough” to “I am enough”. God was working at helping me open my clenched fist and let go of the negative scripts I was holding on to, to instead cling tightly onto the love he lavishes on me. He was no longer my boss calling me to do the next thing from afar, but the Father who walks besides me, lavishing me with love and freedom and restoration.
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I found it in myself to be able to forgive my parents for the expectations they put on me. I learnt to let go of my negative scripts, and am working with God to restore my identity as a beloved child of God. Now, I am more free and joyful. I am better able to love myself and to see myself with God’s eyes.
If someone were to ask me now what is the favourite part of myself, I would say that it is all of me. Instead of being just awkward and hesitant to do things out of my comfort zone, I know that when I walk into the unknown, God is there with me, and He helps me to be able to do all things through Him. His work of restoration is not complete in me yet, but I can freely trust that God is restoring me in glorious grace and building a fortress of faith in me. Today, I invite us all to realise the depths of the Father’s simple lavish love for us and that He desires to set you free and restore you and build you, only if you let him.
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