I thought I would go to Awaken open minded, all ready and excited to receive Jesus. Instead, I was filled with tiredness from consecutive late nights of clearing school backlog, a mental block as I reached a big crossroad for my university education mixed with emotional hurts from both my parents and myself. I came to Awaken distracted, as I had to quickly make a decision between staying in Singapore or going to UK. I was also constantly worried about, not only the assignments and tests due the next week, but the mountain of work piled up due to the days I had missed school, which seemed impossible for me to catch up. On a spiritual level, I entered the camp feeling self-righteous, feeling more experienced and ‘knowledgable’ than others, as I had signed up for it on my own accord, compared to others who were forced to attend this camp. I also thought, ‘I experienced God before, this is going to be easy!’.
The first day was the most difficult barrier for me to overcome as I was distracted by my dilemma whether to go away or remain here. I metronomed between two options so frequently, that I was too frustrated and distracted to digest any content. Despite His Grace’s brilliant talks on God’s Love and the meaning and purpose in life, my dilemma shifted me away from the focus on this camp. During Praise and Worship, I felt like a hypocrite, as I did not mean anything I sang. But I shamelessly raised my hands to God, because I was helpless, angry and upset that I was stuck. When I thought that I had to make the decision on my own, it is by God’s grace that somehow through Father’s talks, God made me realise my selfishness but also my desire to love my family, which led me to make a very painful and (I feel) right decision to remain here.
The second day was about Sin. I felt detached from Father’s words on Sin as I did not feel I was a great sinner. I knew it was wrong of me to think this way, so I tried to force myself to ‘dig’ out the sins I had committed. However, I remained self-righteous without feeling the need to repent and reconcile with God. I was about to set my mind to think that I would not gain anything from Awaken. In other words, I felt I could give up. Once again, during Adoration, God surprised me by revealing to me and opening my eyes to the greatest sin of mine (which had been staring straight in my face all along). I suffer from the grave sin of Pride.
“God, I cannot feel your love because I do not trust you as I trust myself more than I trust you. I fear letting go and relying on you because I have been self-sufficient for the past 18 years of my life”
My pride had built a really high wall around me. It kept away people I love and it kept away God., causing me to think very inwardly. My whole life, I believed that I could be the most independent person. I thought that I did not need anyone to guide me in life. I believed I did not need God as I was achieving good grades, taking on leadership roles in school – generally it seemed like I was succeeding in life. My identity was grounded in what I had achieved, not who I am. On top of that, I suffered from superiority complex. I placed many others below me and for those I felt intimidated towards, I escaped by being indifferent.
As I prostrated before the Holy Eurachrist, the following image repeated in my mind during Adoration and I could not stop crying and feeling so shame of myself.
”Thank you God for revealing to me the area in my life where my pride has taken over me
My healing came unexpectedly. I rested in the spirit but I thought it would be the similar to previous experiences, so I didn’t think much of it. However, as I laid on the ground completely conscious, I begun to cry, weeping and wailing without reason. I begun to realise that I had reached the point where I had to choose whether my life was either led by God or by myself. I said Yes! to God but who would ever expect? The devil worked his ways, and filled my mind/intellect with doubt whatever this experience was God’s. It also filled me with fear of what will happen after Awaken. The voice said, “You will still return to your old ways, nothing changes”. Frustrated at its voice, I began wailing and shouting, “Go Away, I don’t want you, I want Jesus!”. It was a war between what my humanly mind had rationalized and my heart that was filled with God’s Love. I fought on, feeling disgusted at what I’ve become. But I desired God more than anything, to come into my life. In my frenzy of words, my speech eventually reduced to 4 words that are central to my Awaken experience, “Jesus, I need You”. The voice of the devil slowly vanished and stopped crying. And when I thought it was time for me to open my eyes to rejoin the session, a force pushed down against my eyelids and I saw nothingness. At this point of time, I felt extreme peace, as if a breath/spirit had been lifted from my physical body. This marked the end of my God encounter. I felt pure, healed and cleaned. On top of that, God gave me the Gift of Tongues. I am truly edified!
It has been one week since Awaken, and everyday feels like a struggle to integrate God into my life. I am faced with self-doubt, challenged and questioned by others about my faith and my camp experience. It is very easy to go back into the hole I had created. The walls have not been torn down, but God has given me hope. Now I know he is there, slowly but surely dismantling that wall brick by brick.
|The man of great faith. The example and my inspiration.
Thank you for everything!