Marriage?

Marriage

This was just one of the many pithy quotes by Pastor Benjamin during GenRev service last week. I was pondering it for quite a while because, well, now’s the time to consider marriage as the next step in my relationship. It’s not been easy for me to consider long-term commitments in love. I don’t believe in “The One”, but rather, in multiple “ones,” one of whom could possibly become my life partner. With this possibility comes doubt – how do you know the one you’re with now will be the one to weather the storms of life with you? These sorts of questions make me reluctant to agree to settle down even though my relationship is going well at the moment.

I was glad to hear the married couples at GenRev telling us that on their wedding day they weren’t fully sure they had made the right choice. But is there really a right choice? Barring the obvious red flags, I’m assuming that your (and my) potential life partner is a decent person. But that doesn’t guarantee anything. Two decent people can get together, have kids, and still have a nasty break up. Marriage is a risk, like all other things in life.

I must sound like I feel very negatively about marriage, but I really think that it’s a beautiful thing. It’s beautiful because it’s a union of love (I hope) that transcends the love between two people. Marriage reflects God’s love for humankind, with Jesus as the bridegroom and the church as the bride. Our human marriages are part of that larger love story. But like all human things, the love within marriage is also subject to our imperfections. If I were to place my faith in my partner, I would be setting myself up for a huge disappointment, and so would he. Only one person will never fail us, and He’s Jesus Christ, the third party every relationship needs. One verse that constantly resonates with me is

He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together. (Colossians 1:17)

By this I know that He holds us together in the palm of His hand, and He will sustain my future marriage with His eternal love. When I don’t feel loving, His love will fill me and overflow to bless my partner. When I feel tired, He will beckon me to come and rest under His wings. When we have an argument, He will show us the most loving and honest way to resolve it. I’m only just beginning to understand the amazing ways in which He works in my life, especially in my relationship with my partner. My past relationships have been very different and much less satisfying because I didn’t invite Him in. But I’ve entrusted this one to Him, and He is showing me how much better it is when we both let Him carry us through the highs and lows of love. There are a lot more things to learn and explore on this journey, but hey dear I know you’re reading this, and I’m glad we’re in this together. May we keep seeking God together in our lives both together and apart, and may we keep enjoying His love for us!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. . . . And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-13)

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Worthy

Worthy

Recently I decided to serve in church and joined my church’s social media team. Our primary responsibility is to come up with inspirational visuals and text for announcements/as reminders of God’s love for us. Two days ago while on the bus home, I was praying for inspiration to create a visual. At one particular moment I suddenly decided to look out the window and saw “You are worth so much to him” on a billboard. God definitely has a sense of humour and, more than that, so much love for us!

I immediately thought of this verse: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46). We are the pearl of great price, redeemed by the blood of Jesus. So much to be joyful about when we know how much we’re worth to Him!

You can buy Worthy on Society6 printed on diferent products (mugs/shirts/phone skins etc). I also made this visual into iPhone 4 (left) and iPhone 5 (right) wallpapers, so feel free to download them and be reminded of His love! Shalom.

The Whys and Hows of Happiness

Strasbourg, France Tunnel

Somewhere in a tunnel in the small town of Strasbourg, France, someone had taken it into his head to ask a question to all who passed through.

Are you happy?

It’s a question that seems deceptively easy to answer and yet for many, the answer is anything but simple. I’ve tried to answer it for months. I wrote this draft last year, in October, and I’m revisiting it now because I feel compelled to complete this post and resolve my thoughts on the matter.

Happiness tends to be a confusing thing mainly because of two reasons:

  1. Human beings may confuse happiness with euphoria (e.g. the high you get when you win a prize, competition or when you ride the rollercoaster)
  2. Human beings are not good at predicting what would make them happy in the long run

Not everyone will fall prey to no. 1, but it seems that no one is exempt from no. 2. People who predict how happy or unhappy they will feel about a debilitating life incident often end up feeling happier than they had predicted once the incident had occurred. People who win the lottery are happy for approximately two weeks before their level of happiness goes back down to a happiness “baseline” that depends on genetic, environmental and personality factors. When I was younger, I remember thinking that my achievements and failures would make a huge difference on my overall happiness. Yet when such major events occurred, I was affected for only a few days to a week. So much for that.

So far we’ve been talking about levels of happiness and the state of being happy – but what exactly is happiness? That’s the complicated part. Some people think it’s an object to be strived for, like a prize at the end of a well-fought race. Other people think it’s an undefinable, fleeting moment that comes unasked and leaves a void in its place. Do happy people experience happiness because they are happy? Or are they happy because they experience happiness? Not so easy to answer.

Continue reading “The Whys and Hows of Happiness”