Jesus shows lawyer true rest
P strived to work hard and climb the social ladder as a result of her family beliefs. Jesus showed her that she didn’t need to strive to be accepted by Him and filled her heart with His peace. Praise God!
I was born and raised in a traditional non-Christian family in Hong Kong.
I have been extremely blessed to have been abundantly provided for by my parents. Growing up, I did not have to worry about anything but to strive for the very best in everything I do and am responsible for. My parents came from very humble families and worked extremely hard to achieve the professional and social status they enjoy today.
Born to farmers, my father studied very hard, trying to climb up the social ladder. He would stay near the pig pen and study till late at night and not return home – which was nearby.
My parents share the strong belief that one has to work hard to change and control one’s destiny.
I have been taught to give my all in everything I do and work diligently and with integrity in order to climb the social ladder. My recollection of my childhood and teenage years comprises endeavouring to achieve top grades, to get into the best universities, and to land a prestigious professional career.
Life has been pretty much smooth-sailing for me. I have been diligent and worked hard and I have reaped accordingly. However, whenever setbacks happened, I had great difficulty accepting such circumstances and going through the recovery process that followed.
I still remember that my world fell apart when I was rejected by my dream college.
I held on to that failure for a long, long time. There was another time when a good friend of mine got accepted by a prestigious law firm whilst I was rejected. I was so jealous and indignant that it took me a long while to recover from that too. I also went through a few rather painful break-ups, causing me to wonder whether I was still worthy of love.
Even after I became a Christian, I used my own strength and effort to live a life so I would be perceived as a “good Christian”. My heart had not changed much.
Every time something did not happen the way I expected it to, I felt very helpless and at times, angry with God.
Once I did not have control of the circumstances, I started to doubt God’s goodness. I would say to myself, “If God’s plans were indeed good, why did these things happen?”
My heart was plagued with fear and I felt the need to take control of my life. I found it very counter-intuitive to surrender everything to God and refused to submit to Him. Looking back, I was fitting God into the plans that were born out of my small brain.
When I did a renewal prayer, it was over one month after a very painful breakup. To be honest, all I could think of at that time was the breakup since it was still fresh. My little brain went wild with trying to figure out why it happened the way it did and what was to come. I was obviously very depressed and emotionally down. I was hoping that the prayer would heal my pains arising from the breakup.
Again, I restricted what God was to do in the prayer session before I even stepped in.
As we started with worship, tears started to fall uncontrollably down my cheeks. For the four hours of prayer, I cried non-stop. I seldom cry during worship and prayers, so this was quite a shock to me.
We prayed for the Holy Spirit to reveal what was blocking me from hearing from God and why I was in a state of helplessness and hopelessness. I repented and confessed of Chinese occult practices, inner vows and generational sins in the family. I also chose to forgive and release people at my workplace who have wronged me and people in my life who have hurt me, cutting soul ties and declaring that spirits associated with them be submitted to Jesus Christ.
I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit very strongly for probably the first time in my life. In those four hours, the Holy Spirit revealed to me how my heart has turned stubborn and hard and how God wants to soften my heart, and for me to rest in His presence and to feel the warmth of His embrace.
Contrary to what I thought we would be primarily praying for, we went through my childhood and my relationships with my parents in a very in-depth manner.
In the run-up to the renewal prayer, I attended the course, Love the Lord. In one of the classes, I learnt that a strong desire is often attributable to a childhood experience before 12 years of age. It was an idea that bothered me when I first heard about it. “How am I supposed to pinpoint a specific event so many years ago, when my childhood and teenage years seemed a blur to me? If I cannot recall that event, does that mean that I will never be healed?”
I started praying (albeit not consistently) after that class, asking God to reveal that event to me. My prayer was finally answered at the renewal prayer session.
That event did not feel like a major event to my conscious self, but somehow it made its way to the renewal prayer form.
My prayer counsellors explored this incident with me a bit more in the prayer session. When I realised this is the incident, I was overjoyed with that realisation.
It happened when I was around eight years old. My sister, who is four years younger, was ill and dad had to bring her to the doctor. Dad asked me to accompany my sister but I did not want to and wanted to stay at home. When dad and my sister returned from the doctor’s visit, my sister was holding a brand new plastic toy giraffe. Dad said to me, “I did not get you a toy because you were disobedient and did not accompany your sister to the doctor’s.”
My prayer counsellors asked me to return to that memory and to feel how I actually felt.
Yes, I felt unworthy of dad’s love and that I had to keep up my good performance as a daughter in order to earn his love.
Subtly but surely, as an eight-year-old, I learnt that I had to strive for love and acceptance. This strong desire to be accepted and loved by others around me developed more and more.
It also gave rise to inner vows I made to myself since I was young. I would tell myself that I would make my parents proud of my achievements by being the best in everything I do. This spirit of performance led to a spirit of arrogance, both of which I repented during the prayer.
Then, I told my Heavenly Father that I was tired.
I was exhausted from relying on my own striving and I just wanted to rest in His warm embrace. I declared that I would surrender it all to God, trusting that God will carry me through my life.
We did eventually pray about the breakup, over the emotions I was going through and releasing forgiveness. My post-breakup desire to understand “why” was related to the spirit of performance (to gain love) that was in me – I felt that I screwed up on the relationship front again, that although I tried my best to protect and nurture the relationship, I could not sustain it so that I could continue to receive love.
I was looking for love in the wrong place when I should be looking to God, who is love Himself. Even though I did not have all the answers to my questions by the end of the session, it was comforting to know that God can redeem all relationships and all of my emotions (including the pain and frustration) ultimately for His glory and I will see His loving hands in all these seemingly tough times.
After the prayer session, I felt that a big burden was lifted off my chest and I could finally experience peace in my heart.
The night I went home after the renewal prayer, I wrote this in my diary, “I pray I will continue to surrender to God, to make every thought captive and to lift everything up to Him. I will trust in the Lord’s provision and not on my own striving and I will not worry. God knows my desires and He has a good, good plan for me.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
It is a daily exercise to choose to trust in Him and not myself. It remains my daily prayer. With God’s grace and unfailing mercies, I have the strength needed to get through both happy and tough times in life, one day at a time.
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