Jesus heals teacher’s longing for acceptance
S loved arts and sports but felt forced into other academic subjects in school. To escape, he began to indulge in dark magic cards, shows and movies that were disguised as entertainment. These set him on a self-destructive spiritual path. Jesus showed S that His unconditional love and healed his anxious heart. Praise God!
Growing up, I led a mostly good Christian lifestyle.
Both my parents were actively involved in church and I grew up with church friends. However, as more and more of my friends started to get baptised, I had this lingering feeling that I “wasn’t ready yet.” I felt that I was missing that big event or “a-ha” moment in which God would reveal Himself to me in some miraculous way.
I also felt I wasn’t good enough as a Christian.
This probably brings me back to how I felt about myself growing up. My parents came from humble working-class families and wanted to build a better future for us. I was always told that studying is more important than playing or pursuing my interests and that I needed to get good grades to get into a good school to have a good life. My parents would often compare me with my older sister or family friends around my age. They would also question some of my choices.
I wanted to show them that I was just as smart, if not smarter, than those I was compared to.
To please my parents, I would grudgingly agree to piano lessons, Chinese school, or other academic extracurricular programs – over the arts, sports or leisure courses that I was more passionate about. To a certain extent, it felt quite controlling, that my parents wanted me to fit inside a certain bubble of expectations of what to achieve and what not to do. On many occasions, I felt robbed or not allowed to experience some things that my peers got to do.
Little did I know that this put quite a lot of pressure on me. I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough compared to other people or that I would let others down, so I would hesitate to commit to or procrastinate on things.
This pattern of procrastination snowballed and eventually affected my academic results in university where I was placed on probation.
Not wanting to disappoint others, I took some bad academic advice – once again going against what I felt I really wanted to do. Halfway through the course, I fell back into procrastination and failed some courses. After a university board hearing, I was expelled from school.
I had a really tough time dealing with it, even until recently.
I felt like I was a failure. How did this happen? I failed my parents and failed myself. I let my family down. I wasted this opportunity that God gave me at this school and in this program. I let my friends down. I felt embarrassed that I was being kicked out of school. I felt like I hit rock bottom at the time – that things couldnʼt get worse. It was probably one of the lowest, disappointing and embarrassing points in my life.
Fast forward a few years, I had finally gotten baptised but I still had an on-and-off relationship with God. I knew there had to be more.
I knew there was some blockage clouding me or ties holding me back that I couldn’t shake by myself.
I needed to surrender myself to God and delve into my past through a renewal prayer to find out what things were preventing me from having a genuine relationship with God. I found out that a lot of events that I thought were “normal”, nothing out of the ordinary, or even past events that I suppressed actually had a big impact on me and my ability to hear and have a genuine relationship with God.
First, I had to let go of grudges or unforgiveness that had unknowingly become rooted in me.
I got to think back to people and events that I had to forgive.
- My parents – for the seemingly unfair expectations they had of me, and not allowing me the opportunities to explore my interests.
- My ex-girlfriend – for giving up on our relationship so easily and abruptly, and at such an inopportune time.
- My fiancee’s parents – for what I perceived as their unreasonable treatment and expectations of me; and even myself – for constantly believing that I don’t measure up, not reaching my potential, not good enough.
I also realized that I had a lot of suppressed and pent up anger.
That anger would come out over trivial things. I would have bursts of anger over walking etiquette on sidewalks, seating etiquette of people not moving over on public transportation, and road rage when I encountered bad drivers.
By far the most significant and eye-opening thing that I found out was that my spiritual gift of craftsmanship had been corrupted.
Growing up, when I was denied an outlet for my creative side, such as arts and sports, I turned to do things during my spare time that are considered dark arts, to fill my creative void and as a form of escape. I started delving into Magic: The Gathering, a card game which glorifies magic, summoning demons, monsters, spirits or unnatural beings, and being in the spiritual realm or plain where I could be in control of these beings. I was attracted to the game because it gave me an outlet and perception that I was in control of all these beings, at a time when I felt like I was not in control of what I wanted to do. Not only that, I was drawn and appreciated the creativity and artwork of the cards in the game.
I noticed a pattern of things that I was drawn to.
These were things that had an overly creative, artistic and imaginative side, such as movies and shows with vampires, werewolves, demons, magic, mythology, etc. and fantasy books including Harry Potter and The Hobbit/Lord of The Rings.
Studying, researching or reading about other religions, traditions, and ancient mythology also had me mesmerized. I dabbled with going to a few hypnotist shows, where I would watch people voluntarily give up control of their minds and bodies to other people’s suggestions and commands, and took part and celebrated pagan holidays like Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. I was also hugely into video games as well, many of which were quite violent. Similar to Magic, I often enjoyed and got lost in these creative worlds as an escape of my own, to get away from a reality where I felt I couldn’t express my creativity.
The topic of being compared and not being good enough also came up.
I was asked to go back into that traumatic scene where I was at my university suspension hearing. Although traumatic and disappointing, I pictured looking at that scene again, but zoomed out to the bigger picture and not just focus on myself and my failure.
I saw that even through all the hardship, failure and embarrassment, God was actually there with me.
His glowing figure was standing right beside me, His arms around my shoulders, comforting me and assuring me that He was there with me every step of the way. No matter how bad things seemed at that moment, He was with me, and He knew me and He accepted me for who I am. That together, we would get through this seemingly difficult time and flourish once again.
When God showed me that picture in my mind for the first time, I honestly could not speak and was overcome with emotions of happiness and acceptance. God was there with me and I didn’t even know it. It was the first time ever that I had an image of God. Ever since then, whenever this image comes to mind during worship songs, at church, or reading scripture, I would still be overcome with emotion and be reminded that God is with me and that He loves me for who I am, and who He created me to be.
The renewal prayer also addressed my unbelief.
I always didn’t believe that I was not good enough or had not done enough to deserve Godʼs love. In my mind, I knew it was not true but in my heart, I couldn’t help feeling that way. I hadnʼt had a major transformation in my life after accepting Christ and I thought I couldnʼt hear God speak to me. Renewal prayer proved this to be untrue.
Coming out of the renewal prayer, I felt an air of lightness like a heavy burden or toll was lifted off my shoulders.
I still have a lot to work on to completely rid myself of procrastination. Many other hidden idols, curses and spiritual ties that were revealed during that renewal prayer, and yet more may be revealed, but I believe that it was a big step in the right direction for me to have a better, direct, and genuine relationship with God.
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