17 April 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
Whether we like it or not, our lives are filled with troubles and challenges, from the day we are born to the day we die (John 16:33). When troubles happened, it is tempting to immediately find someone to blame; most of the times, other people and even God, but hardly ourselves.
However, once we accept and even expect troubles and challenges to happen in life, the question is not whether bad things will happen but more of how we would respond and not react to these pitfalls? Do we grow towards becoming more Christ-like or otherwise?
Teo Jin Mei, having been through her own unique troubles and challenges, found life lessons here and there, which became valuable to impart to her two children now. So, here then are the 7 LIFE HACKS she learned in life. Perhaps, we can learn from these principles as well, which might help us go through our problems in life.
Life Hack 1: Love your children for who they are—as your children
Growing up, Jin Mei’s father always wanted her to become a competitive swimmer, zooming her off from her school to the swimming pool for a two-hour intensive training. While her father would watch Olympic swimmers in the television to train Jin Mei on how to swim, she became tired after three years of training and wanted to quit. To her surprise, her father let go of his sportsman dream, which he hoped to live through Jin Mei; he did not force her to swim even after investing so much of his time. From this experience, Jin Mei knew that her father’s love was not based on her performance or achievements, but based on who she is, which is her daughter.
However, during her school days, Jin Mei found her passion in playing the piano, whereby she is gifted to play by ear without needing to read the notes. However, when grade seven came, a London-trained teacher found out that she could not read the notes, which disqualified her for the exam and shattered her mother’s dream of her getting a diploma in piano. Yet, despite her many years of playing the piano, both of her parents were not angry but they again accepted and affirmed Jin Mei, as first and foremost their daughter whose value is unchanging in their eyes.
Life Hack 2: Spend time to build foundation, be careful of the shortcuts
Besides knowing her parents’ love, Jin Mei also learned during her piano lessons days that a clear sense of purpose must exist in every situation, lest you should bring in evil. Had she seek the real purpose of learning piano, she would have disciplined her mind to learn the notes. But the evil she brought in was taking the shortcut, which is playing only by hearing. While she could pass all the grades earlier, her inability to read notes was revealed at the advanced level because she had not build a strong foundation of reading notes.
Likewise, we may professed that we know God by hearing the sermons but if we do not spend time reading the Bible ourselves and spending quiet time with God, our foundation will falter during times of crisis, because that is when the true strength of a foundation is tested (1 Cor 3:11-15).
11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Cor 3:11-15)
Life Hack 3: Listen to God’s Voice—If it is His, He will make a Way for you
Graduating from the university, Jin Mei started to work in a foreign bank. But after nine years of working, she began to feel burned out and disgruntled over her work. Her two-year-old son who was able to utter a few words, said one day to her, “Mummy, love me”. Jin Mei realized that her time spent in achieving the corporate sky stole the precious time away with her son, to which she decided to look for an easier job to spend more time with his son.
Landing in a freelance job in a small enterprise, Jin Mei thought she made the right decision but a disquiet spirit in her kept her wrestling with her thoughts one whether leaving her lucrative banking job is a mistake.
Hence, she prayed to God to help her leave the company if it was not His Will, but the company requested her to write a Standard of Procedure (SOP) for them, which typically takes six months to complete in a professional industry.
But Jin Mei knew that the enterprise was not the right place for her. Praying to God to help her write quickly, God downloaded in her mind to write a 200-page documentation of the SOP with legal and operational documentation within two weeks, to her boss’ surprise! After that, Jin Mei handed in her letter of resignation.
Sometimes, we make a decision too quickly before hearing clearly from the Lord, especially when we are feeling unsettled in our hearts. Even then, Jin Mei learned to listen to the Holy Spirit and relied on the God-given peace to get a clearer sense of orientation. And having followed, God opened a way for her to miraculously exit the company in only two weeks. Listen to God’s voice. If it is His Will, He will make a Way for you.
Life Hack 4: Learn to pray and rest in God, you need it
Jin Mei got out from her freelance job, with no other job to start with. Being a structured person, having no structure almost killed her. But her mother encouraged her to join the noon watch prayer in SIB KL, without expecting anything or having any prayer agenda.
Stepping into the meeting room, a prophetic lady met her while walking out of the door; she said to Jin Mei to keep her heart opened because when the Lord shut one door, He will open another.
Stepping into the room, Jin Mei saw a crowd of seasoned prayer warriors making intercession to the Lord. Her heart sank; while she thought she was spiritually fine—bringing her children to church, attending church herself, and serving in church—she felt a spiritual distance with God, almost like a pagan or a prodigal son in the spiritual atmosphere there.
The place was so filled with the presence of God so much so Jin Mei knew in her spirit to return to Him. Closing her eyes, she immediately saw a vision of a crystal-clear heart, reminding her of the crystal-clear pure gold pavement in the Bible (Rev 21:21). She was impressed in her heart that this prayer meeting is the place to purify her heart and make it right. However, her cynical mind kicked in, as she wondered how many songs can one sing and how long can one spend in praying.
Closing her eyes, Jin Mei sat there while struggling to wait for an answer from God about her job. While trying to keep focus, a lady came to ask if she could pray for Jin Mei. As she started praying and laying hands on her, Jin Mei started wailing from her spirit. She could feel a physical ball manifesting and rising from the pit of her stomach to her throat, before she released a loud wail. When she wailed out, she could feel the thing pop before she was slain under the heavy presence of God. During this time, the ladies would come and speak Bible verses into her life.
And while she was slain in the Spirit, she saw a five-year-old girl holding the hand of Jesus, walking on the plain field of grass. The child turned sideways to look at the Lord, which allowed Jin Mei to catch a glimpse of her.
To her shock, she saw herself at five-year-old. How could she witness herself at such a young age? Jin Mei continued watching and saw Jesus who was sitting on the rock said to the girl, “Go and play,” but the girl strangely replied, “I don’t know how to play.”
After coaxing, the little girl agreed and cautiously took a few steps forward before launching off to a full run into the field. The girl was clearly enjoying herself, occasionally looking back to Jesus for affirmation and security.
The vision impressed in Jin Mei’s heart that she didn’t know how to let go and play for all these years. She didn’t know how to enjoy and rest in God’s Will. But when she was slain, Jin Mei had the longest spiritual sleep ever, for an hour and a half, before God’s spirit allowed her to stand.
She learned truly, that those few hours spent praying are set apart to seek God and allow Him to move and will as He please. Sometimes, prayer appears to be a chore or an obligation in life. But what God wants is for us to seek Him, so that we can rest in our body, mind, and soul. As much as our body needs to rest and sleep, our soul needs resting as well and that can be done through praying and spending time with God (Matt 11:28-30).
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30)
Life Hack 5: God will only show up, when you take the first step of faith.
So, for the next two to three months, Jin Mei attended the prayer meeting from Tuesday to Thursday. Although she had no income, the Lord faithfully provided everything for her and there was not a day she lack anything. For example, when her husband wanted to invite his bosses for home-cooked dinner, her friends would call her to bless her with excess party food so that she did not need to cook to host the party.
In fact, ironically, Jin Mei learned contentment in her lack. Although she could easily achieve perseverance and vision for leadership all these while, she always find trusting that God will provide is difficult. Nevertheless, during those times, because God provided everything sufficiently for her, Jin Mei discovered that everything in her life comes from Him!
True freedom in life comes when you are bound by no desires except for the desire to be in the presence of God. And when you know everything comes from Him, there is really nothing to prove, nothing to lose, and everything to gain!
But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Tim 6:6)
For example, while she was saying quietly in her heart to change her living room curtains once she began to earn, her curtain salesperson called her later in the day to offer her free curtains. What is more amazing is that this person is not a believer in Christ, yet the Lord used him to bless Jin Mei. Because of her deep satisfaction in the Lord, Jin Mei found herself genuinely feeling happy for her ex-colleagues who were promoted and given bonus packages after she left her company.
Because of that three months in taking that first step of faith to quit her joib and rest in God, she learned that God could be trusted in providing and truly satisfying. In these three months as well, she learned to activate a different language of prayer. No longer she prays for her will or agenda to be done but His Will to be done. When we shift from a self-centered prayer to a God-centered prayer; that is when God will show up!
Life Hack 6: Claim your inheritance through the power of prayer!
Raising her family in a rented home, Jin Mei desired to have her own matrimonial home having noticed the increasing price of properties. Praying to God, she heard a silent voice of the Lord telling her that He would give her a house at the park. This promise, Jin Mei held close to her heart, saving and waiting to claim for that promise.
Finally, a season came in her life when someone reminded her why she was still renting a house and wasting money. She immediately started searching and called a real estate agent who told her that there is a house near the park. In her spirit, she immediately knows that God will provide her the house as He promised, although it had a phenomenally exorbitant price. But she visited the house and prayed to the Lord to indicate to her whether that house was prepared for her. Turning back, she saw the number ‘33’, which impressed on her the age where Christ was hung on the cross saying, “It is finished and done.”
Visiting the house with her husband, Jin Mei quickly wrote a check on what they could afford. Together with the real estate agent who is a believer in Christ, they prayed over the check while holding each side, albeit the agent’s skepticism. An hour later, the agent called and told Jin Mei that the owner agreed to sell to Jin Mei with her offered price, which is much lower than the market value!
Although Jin Mei waited for God to fulfill His Promise, she continued to work hard and save for the money to buy the house. Like Noah who continued to build the ark before the flood, we must be prepared for the opportunity when it comes. In other words, while waiting for God’s revealed moment, we need to work in our calendar days to prepare for God’s opened door. Because of that, Jin Mei faced no additional strife in cutting down food, life expenses, and accumulating debts.
However, though this was a testimony of God’s providence, Jin Mei stressed that her story is not the general application in how every believer in Christ should get a house. Every story is unique but this story tells us how we can all claim our inheritance in prayer! Did God not promise to provide our needs? (Matt 6:25-34)
Life Hack 7: How big your life is depends on how big is the God you believe in
Jin Mei also learned to always enquire from the Lord when waiting, like how King David always enquired from the Lord during his battles. We need to tell God what we want because He is so interested in our lives that He must be able to give our solution.
The biggest life hack, she shared is how the largeness of our life’s journey depends on the largeness of the God we believe in. We know that the God we serve is someone who sees the beginning and the end. This truth is very liberating because whatever moments we are in—whether good or bad—God already has the answers in the eye of the storm. And when He is in the center of the storm, the peace that surpasses all understanding will be in our heart as well. (Phil 4:6-7)
Entering the workforce recently, Jin Mei will never exchange her months of rest in God because she has now tasted Him if retirement is inevitable in the future. In tasting His Goodness, Jin Mei knew that God could meet every step of our need if we let Him.
So, here are the 7 valuable LIFE HACKS that Jin Mei learned over the years. Do you have any faith-life-hacks you would like to share as well?
References for pictures