There IS a Time For Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens – Ecclesiastes 3:1

It’s started to feel like spring here in the UK, although the weather is still with its moody temperature but the cherry trees are blooming nevertheless, always the sign of the weather is getting warmer. The days are getting longer too, which make everyday travelling is much bearable especially in the evening (not so dark when I finish work). During the gloomy winter months, I kept telling myself that this season doesn’t last forever, that soon it will be spring when I can kiss my thermals goodbye for at least 9 months and it’ll be soon time to get those pumps and canvas shoes out. 

It is also the season when all sorts of colours suddenly spring up! I love colours! Spring is like a time when the earth wakes up from a long sleep with a big, lovely smiles, in form of many flowers. You’ll notice in the spring, almost wherever you turn, you’ll see colourful front gardens or even on the sides of a public path. Yellow and purple and pink are the dominant colours in the spring. They brighten things up.

The Bible is right, there is a time for everything. Ecclesiaste 3:1 makes more sense since I lived in a four season country. And I perceive things better, that if nature events have timing, so does events in my life. 

Few weeks into my lent period I finally had the courage to make the decision I have been putting off since September. I am taking a break from Uni studying. I raised up my white flag and admitted it that this is time for a break. As someone who is dutiful and always strive to follow the ‘ideal’ plan I’ve made, this break was definitely unplanned. I feel defeated by circumstances. Of course this wasn’t the first time I had to step back but human’s tendency is to forget to learn their lessons. I forgot that my plans are not necessarily God’s plans. I forgot that my timing is not necessarily God’s timing too and at one point I’d break down if I carried on being stubborn.

Earlier this year I gave up teacher training, despite of the high hope and the encouragement from the tutor. It turned out to be for a good reason that God wanted me to give it up. It wasn’t my time yet. Jonathan needed me during the unsettling time of starting school. In fact my family needed me to be the rock while there is a big change in our life. I protested God to begin with, for daring to stop me from what I’ve planned for my future, but later on I was reminded that God already has a future for me and I must trust him. 

I don’t know for now what good will come out of this decision but the Bible says that God works out everything for the good of those who trust in him. He always does what he says and I know this from past experience. He is a faithful God and he keeps his promises. I want to trust him, it’s hard at times when you think you know what is best for yourself but I want to learn to trust him nevertheless.

View of a Cherry tree blooming on a road we pass everyday for school run

Close up of Cherry Tree bloom

Elizabeyt couldn’t help picking up a Camelia off the ground (it fell off its shrub first)

The season that is just perfect for jeans and canvas shoes, two of my favourite clothing items

Daffodils

Crocus

Tempted Already!

If you read my blog yesterday I think I spoke too soon about how easy it was to shut myself off the social media. Within 24 hours I had the first temptation, which in a way is a good sign. I mean I must be doing something right if there’s temptation.

I received text this morning of good news, my students who sat their iGCSE Maths exam in January achieved A and A*. I’m over the moon for them. I know how hard they’ve worked. And guess what came to my mind first thing, I want the world to know how pleased I am! Facebook, this news must make it to Facebook. I want the world to know that somehow I have contributed to these successes. I had this thought that I don’t get to boast very often so this would be a good opportunity.

It was the scene of weighing between the angel and the devil. A small part of me yearning that recognitions, that acknowledgements, that “very good, well-done”comments, those likes and loves on Facebook. I toyed with the idea to open up Facebook just for this once. I was surprised with myself, how desperate I was for the world to know. 

I got to the point of installing Facebook Group app. It’s an app only for the groups you joined on Facebook so you can see group activity and you can still like or comment on posts. One of my student’s parent said she was going to post on our local Enfield Facebook group about her son’s result and to mention me in her post. I thought to myself, at least I was not going to install the actual Facebook app but I can still see what is said about me.

So I installed the app but then immediately uninstalled it. I put the phone away and went to another room to get my self together. There was this pride in me that need to be dealt with. Pride is the beginning of man’s fall. The love and obsession over of one self is often the source of all sorts of miseries. I know that and must not let it takes over my senses.

The whole point of this lent is to center my mind, my act, my prayers to God. If you are not a believer I can understand if you are laughing but here is the core of my Christian belief. There is one living God, and thousands of years ago he came to earth to become a human being, to suffer a punishment that I should have suffered instead for my sins. He died on the cross to redeem my soul. My flesh will still rot away in my grave but my soul is saved. You need to believe in Jesus to be saved though. I, as the redeemed, technically don’t have anything to boast about. Anything I do in this world, I do them for God. I consider life is Christ and death is gain, to borrow apostles Paul’s words. All glory and praises are his. 

So, my students got a good grade, I praise the Lord. I thank God for all his helps. For the wisdom and strength and patience he gave me through his Spirit. I couldn’t do it with my own strength. 

And now I’ve been faced with temptation, I will be on guard in prayers to look out, there are plenty more coming my way

My 40-Days-Off Social Media Begins

Lent is a period of fasting (40 days) before Easter. It starts on 1st March and this year it will end on 13th April (Holy Thursday, the day before the Good Friday). In the nutshell, lent is a period when Christian gives up certain things as form of fasting. The idea is to follow Jesus’ example who fasted 40 days before he started his ministry on earth. It’s a period where Christian kind of getting themselves focusing their mind more on God; to pray, act and give, preparing themselves for Easter.

Lent is normally related to giving up certain foods. Some people give up chocolate or sweets or meat. A friend of mine gives up alcohols for the lent. I decided this year I’m giving up on social media (Facebook, Path, Instagram and alike media). I gave up meat for last year and I surprisingly didn’t miss it that much after lent. I’m more into plant based food nowdays or if I want meat then I eat fish. I still eat meat though, occasionally. So this year I want to know if it would work the same with detaching myself from social media. I want to see if after Easter I’d get used to spending less time on them. 

I never thought it was actually dead easy to shut down myself from social media. Last night I uninstalled all social media apps from my device and I set my router to block their website (so I won’t be tempted to log in via browser or when I’m on my laptop). If you read this blog as a result of clicking a link from one of my social media account, it’s WordPress posted it on my behalf.

I had been considering to give up Facebook for lent for quite sometimes. I got the kick on the back side when I read an interesting article awhile ago about a guy who take time off work to go on a project he set for himself. He’d go out everyday and make new friend, proper eye contact and proper chat. He’d post a photo of him and his new friend on Instagram everyday. The reason he does it because he wanted a change in the head-down society (everywhere you go you’d see people with their head down on their phone and I think it’s really sad). The article made me think deeper about people and relationship and how social media plays part in shaping them.

I sort of started to see social media as a platform for non-authentic life and filtered people. The social media become a safe platform to be someone else. I’m sure social media has plunged many people into depression. Imagine if day in and day out looking at the endless stream of news of other people’s life that always seemed perfect, one would start comparing with what is lacking from their life (consciously or unconsciously).

Then there’s a lot of shares of articles and news (and the sharer sometimes didn’t even realise the news they shared are hoax). Many articles and news I read really disturbs me, the world has really turned upside down. People who shout ‘racist’ or similar words to others don’t realise they have become a bully themselves. They think by pointing finger and shouting something-ist to somebody makes them the righteous one.

So I’m off the social media and I’m sure I won’t be desperate without it. Facebook especially. When it started in 2007 I thought it was brilliant, it’d help me to stay connected and updated with old friends and family which it still does but recently it become less about connecting people. 

I’m off to start a journey of living a proper life, connecting with people in real way. It would be a challenge for me as an introvert to come out from my shell more often but I’d try anyway. It’d be my way to give; by giving away my comforts.