Don't Worry, You're Next
by Amy Ching
Did you ever wake up one day thinking of the great things you can do for God, only to arrive at work or school, something bad happened and you thought maybe you are not so good after all?
Have you heard of testimonies, or see God bless the people around you, and you felt insignificant and overlooked?
Well I have. So many times I woke up feeling good and had great dreams, but upon arriving at work, everything that could go wrong went wrong. I doubted my ability to even perform a single task, let alone carry out a big dream. I heard of the wonderful testimonies in church, particularly which someone had their dreams fulfilled by God and they were praising Him in church, while I stood among the crowd thinking, “When is my turn?”
I remembered back in my previous church, a few of my peers were chosen to do an internship. This internship course was to equip them to be lifegroup leaders, to be an influence among their peers. Often, they would leave me to go home alone after church because they needed to attend the course. I asked God, “I attend church. I read my Bible daily too. I think I can influence people as well. But why weren’t I chosen? Am I not qualified enough?” I felt really left out, so finally I told God, I want to be a great leader for you, let me be one.
More often than not, we expect God to fulfil our dreams almost instantaneously. If nothing happens, we either give up dreaming, or we doubt that God has plans to prosper us.
Let’s do a rewind of my life story to show how God equipped me so He can fulfill my heart’s desire. It had been twelve years since I waited for that dream to come to pass. Two years ago, my Young Adults pastor approached me to look after two lifegroups with approximately 15 to 20 girls aged between 18 and 25, to sow into their lives and help them find freedom in Jesus. It was a dream come true from twelve years ago to be in a leadership position.
Now what happened in those ten years? There were lots of internal transformation and pruning seasons. The journey was not smooth sailing, but definitely rewarding.
One of the first changes was for me to get comfortable interacting with girls. I grew up in an environment where majority of my cousins were males. I was more comfortable with guys compared to girls. I only had a few close girlfriends, but many good guy friends. With that, it makes me a bit awkward with “girly” girls. I had to learn to be comfortable with them talking about different kinds of girl issues. I learnt how to hang out or hold conversations with girls who were not my very close friends already. At that time, I only had four close girlfriends. That was as far as I got. As I did not get much exposure into a girl’s inner heart, God sent these girls around me so I can learn. Yes, I know I sound manly.
Secondly, I needed to learn how to control my tongue. I am a rather blunt person and I do not see the reason in sugarcoating my words if I think someone needs to hear the truth. I once made a very insensitive comment and offended one of my girlfriends and a few other girls had to have a serious conversation with me about being tactful of other people’s emotions because not everyone could take blunt comments like me.
Death and life live in the power of the tongue. Those who love it will eat of its fruits.
In fact, I had to go through a few of these tough conversations to learn the hard way that girls’ hearts and emotions had to be handled with tender loving care. I learnt how to be more encouraging, and not to tear people down with my words.
With God’s grace, I grew to love hanging out with girls. I started to understand what my girlfriends were actually saying when they confided in me. I learnt how to be encouraging towards them. I knew that not everyone likes to hear uncensored truth, so I tried my best to provide suggestions and opinions without making them feel condemned.
When I led the group of girls, I experienced joy in seeing them find Christ. From girls who doubted their identities, to girls who now devote their time to serve in church. I enjoyed seeing the company of girls encourage and cheer one another on during difficult times, rejoice and praise God during happy times. I enjoyed investing in the girls and seeing them draw closer to God every single day. Even when they faced hardships, I thanked God I could be with them. When they needed advice, I praised God for His wisdom that I can speak into their lives and encourage them. I realised why I had to go through the internal transformation and pruning seasons for a few years - it was God equipping me so He could use me as a vessel to reach out to His precious daughters.
How does all these link to God fulfilling my heart’s desire?
I believe when God wants to fulfil His dream for you, there is a gap from where we are to where the dream would take us. Before a dream can be fulfilled, we need to be equipped mentally and spiritually to take on that dream. To give you a very simple example, if your dream is to be a competitive swimmer at the Olympics, you don’t just wake up the next day and out-win Michael Phelps in a 200-m medley without any form of training. Between where you are now and winning in the Olympics, there will be lots of training, hardships and tears, coaching, and possibly classes to improve your mental state so you don’t just give up after the first failure. There would also be various swimming tests and competitions to train you up for the big day.
When you feel that you are far away from having your dream fulfilled, when you feel like the season you are in is not drawing you closer to your God-given dream, ask God to show what He wants you to learn in that season.
'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'
You might not know why you are in the season you are in now, but you know you can trust Him and do the next thing He has asked you. You might not understand what His plans are, but you can be sure it is to give you a future and a hope.
Sometimes you have your own plans or even roadmaps to to show you what your next step should be in order to be a step closer to your dream. But often, the next step you plan to take is not what God wants to take you.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
God might not immediately reveal to you why He has brought you a certain way, you might not know what He is thinking, but one thing you can be certain is what He says in Psalm 119:105 that He is the lamp unto your feet and light onto your path. You can never get lost when you follow The Light.
When you try to go your way, sometimes you get frustrated or harbour the thoughts of giving up. You don’t feel the inner peace but you attempt to push your way anyway so you can be just one inch closer. In fact, sometimes you try to help God. But Matthew 11:29:
Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
I understand, and I know there are times you want to give up. While I was waiting for my dream to be fulfilled, I got frustrated and upset with God for being so slow. I tried to go my own ways thinking I know better than God. I compared myself with others, and became insecure and afraid. I was worried that God has overlooked me again. I thought if I manipulate my way, God will see it and shorten the process. In fact, sometimes I just wanted to just give up and lead a mediocre life. But I know I should trust God in His way and lean not on my own understanding.
Today, I have more dreams that I like to see God fulfil. I might, or probably will have to go through more pruning seasons and internal transformation so I can be closer to seeing them fulfilled. I am still a blunt person and think I shouldn’t sugarcoat all my words, but I believe I am more encouraging than before. I might not have it altogether, but I know I have a God who knows exactly what He is doing.
If you feel like giving up on your dreams today because you feel like God is not doing something, trust me, something is happening behind the scenes. God is working in you, working through you, and working with you. You just have to follow His path, trust His ways, wait patiently, most importantly, believe in His sovereignty. Don’t worry, if I can have my dreams fulfilled, you’re next.
about the author
My name is Amy. I enjoy fellowship with people and love to see people’s lives changed because of Jesus. My passion is to influence people with my life story and my dream is to preach on stage one day. If we ever have a conversation, let me know if my words have not spoken into your life. Besides that, I love watching dramas and I can binge watch the entire day without doing anything else. Oops!
I love bubble tea, especially matcha flavoured ones, best if salted cream is added on top of the drink! Nom ~ I love kids so don’t be surprised I have so many photos with my friends’ babies! If you want to know more about me, check out my instagram account @chingamy. I don’t take beautiful photos all the time because I don’t know how to, but I post about my revelations and I hope they can inspire you!