by Jacqueline Lim
I am a cradle Catholic. But growing up, and even in my adult years, my faith remained lukewarm until I joined an OYP community. Weekly community sessions helped me to stay grounded in my faith, but I still struggled outside of this time. I’d find myself susceptible to overthinking and seeking control and perfection in various aspects of my life. When faced with major life obstacles, I would let myself fall into a cycle of helplessness and self-pity.
Upon reflection, I can see that this stemmed from the environment at home. Being the youngest child out of three, I grew up having my actions, thoughts, and words criticised or made insignificant by my siblings. Words such as “useless” and “spoilt” were used on me. I became defensive and my own protector because of this. This then affected my relationship with others, both at home and at work.
As much as possible, I depended on myself. I didn’t like to trouble others – God included, only letting Him into certain areas of my life or when I felt it was necessary. I convinced myself that my problems and struggles were things that I could handle by myself – after all, I was strong and independent, and not useless or spoilt. This muscle of self-reliance grew and it became second nature to take everything into my own hands – my plans, worries and struggles. Over time, these burdens wore me out – I was tired from trying.
I was ready to jump into my next job in December last year. Instead, I took the leap of faith to sign up for School of Witness (SOW). It was a first step in releasing that control I had held onto so tightly.
Still, I entered the school with an agenda in mind – to spend time with God, and with His direction, decide on what my next job should look like. By the first week, I had written out a checklist of items that I wanted to accomplish by the end of the 8 weeks. But God had more in store for me.
During one session, we were asked to talk to our inner child – basically an individual’s childlike aspect. I was thoroughly amazed by the experience, as the exercise revealed a familiar character that I had forgotten. My inner child is free and inquisitive. She is comfortable in her own skin. Growing up, I had shelved her somewhere, pursuing traits and qualities that were deemed more accepted and worthy.
From that moment, I began the exciting journey of rediscovering who I am. During Holy Hour one night, I received an image of a heart resting in hands. It was my heart, held precious in His hands. God told me that He knows me through and through. I am His beloved child, and my identity comes from Him. And that is simply what God wants of me in this season – to be His child. He knows what is best for me; and he is, after all, both my Creator and Father. I can entrust my life and my wounded heart to him.
I am also being called to re-learn what it means to be His disciple. I am learning what it means to depend on Him, to ask him what’s next, to anticipate His response, to surrender my control, and to let Him be involved in every detail of my life, not just those I determine and decide. I am now able to believe that He desires so much more for me, and that He cares for every detail regarding my life, big or small. In my conversations with Him, I no longer hesitate to share and address what is in my heart.
He has given me a new heart that is capable of a love that is to be given and received so freely. I am learning to build authentic relationships with people. I am also becoming comfortable with asking and relying on others for help. Most of all, I accept and receive the desires that God holds for me, the desire for me to live out His plans and prosper.
Just as a flower is nurtured by boundless rain and sunlight, and is dependent on these for growth, I too am alive simply because of the grace that God so freely supplies. I too am dependent on Him as I live my life. I am blooming and renewed each day because of my Father.
Therefore, I invite you brothers and sisters today to review your identity – do you know who you are and whose you are? Will you let go and allow yourself to be loved and nurtured by your Father in heaven as His child?