Hi my name is Natalie or more commonly known as nat or natty. I’m Y1 going to Y2 in NUS and I’m studying medicine.
I was facing a period of spiritual dryness before SOCL. Ever since I entered uni, I was filled with so much thirst to seek validation. Med school was a crazy competitive place and in a pool of intelligent and all rounded individuals, I felt lacking. The person who seemingly looked confident, happy, bubbly on the surface slowly lost her confidence as the months passed. Failure was something that I could never accept since young, regardless of academics, leadership, sports or dance, I always wanted to excel in whatever I do or more accurately I wanted to be better than others. Hence, I will put in all the time and effort to ensure that failure never happens, and I have to say I was blessed, because whatever I strived for, I somehow managed to achieve it. But for the first time in my life, I became complacent, and as expected I failed my 2 of my major exams. I still vividly remember that what made me so distraught was not fact that I failed but the shame I felt, the fear of having to face my friends and family crippled me, the image of being “perfect” will be ruined. At the same time, I was so angry at myself for feeling that way.
When my seniors encouraged me to join SOCL, the thought of a 10 day retreat was daunting. Imagining leaving the comfort of my bed and toilet made me slightly apprehensive at first, hence when I found out that it was going to be held online I rejoiced a little but at the same time I was afraid that I would be distracted by my surroundings and will not be able to receive the “ideal” retreat experience.
This SOCL has made me truly reflect on myself and root of all my hurts and sins. I found out that it all originates from insecurity. I was afraid of judgement, I fear being unloved and undesirable, I fear being inadequate. Thus, when I receive praises, I was always so delighted but why didn’t I seek for affirmations like “Wow nat you are a really good catholic”? Why did I feel that being called a gcg (aka good christian girl) was so embarrassing? On Day 4, when we had the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, those who were praying over me told me “Natalie I don’t want you to hide in the shadows of others anymore, I want you be brave be confident to come to the forefront, to be in the spotlight.” Trusting in God wholeheartedly and completely entrusting my entire life to Him was and is still something I struggle with a lot. Why must I? I am so afraid to completely surrender because what if, just what if, it is all gone? What will I be left with? I realised that these fears stem from pride, thinking that I know better than God. But I now believe that our God is one who never fails us. A line from a praise and worship song we sung during the camp was so apt: “If you trust you do not need to understand”. Jesus has reminded me these past 10 days that nothing in this secular world will ever satisfy me.
I knew that this was God’s call for me to stop having a mediocre, easy, relaxed, laid-back faith. He wanted me to be convicted to seek the only man that can provide me the perfect love — Jesus Christ. The recurring theme of taking up a challenge and stop taking a step back whenever I take 2 steps forward is Jesus’ answer to my prayer coming into SOCL. I have asked him to give me a purpose and lead me back to him and He did. I am still uncertain of what the future holds and I will continue to be uncertain but one thing I know for sure is that if I choose to exercise my faith which is to choose God, everything else will fall perfectly in place. My Lord and my saviour has done so much for me and no matter how many times I run away to seek happiness and love, nothing beats the love of my Father. And so, my brothers and sisters, will you run back into our Father’s arm? Will you seek Jesus, know him and love him with all your strength?