7 Jul 2016

How to keep on keeping on (part 1: be a bother)

I had thought it was an Asian thing. Then I lived for nearly a year in the US of A, and  I realized it's not just us Asians who hate to bother people. We may avoid it because of 'face'; but scratch beneath that and I suppose it reeks of weakness to ask for help; and who wants to be weak?

so many days, a slow trudge and so vulnerable...

Two years ago, I wrote this important piece about not being overwhelmed ; and as I re-read it, the power behind the simplicity of its message is easily missed:  
"This is the power I have: to gather up all that's a-tossed within my bosom and hand them over to the Prince of Peace."
But God has more for us.

The journey from here to heaven isn't just a God-and-I thing.

I am thinking a lot about community these days. Maybe it's because the children are growing and I have more freedom to get out. Maybe it's because this is my personal Jubilee year; that is nearly fifty years of taking up space on planet earth and more than forty for following Christ (in different shades and degrees over the years of course). 

I am thinking: how do we keep on keeping on without becoming numb, jaded, cynical, and maybe even lost + why does community matter?

So here is the first part of the answer I gathered.

Are you ready?

Part 1: be a bother.

You read that right. I did not say, be a brother (or sister), with the orientation to give out. But be a 'bother' with a need to take in, be helped, raised up.

I will tell you this, it's much harder for a pastor. But other than the title and the graces and gifts; I am another desperate human, full of failings and weaknesses just like every other Christ follower and human. I need help.

Practical help
Prayer help
Soul help

I want to be able to ask: can you please take the children for a day? And I am thankful to have one or two I can say that to once in a long while. When we were at Riverlife church, we were part of a cell group made up of young families. We knew how hard it was to bring home the bacon and raise children. I seriously thought of moving closer as most of them lived in Pasir Ris -- so that we can give some solid practical help to each other.

When my missionary friend travels, I ask if it's alright to call and chat with her mother, perhaps check in to see if she is doing alright.

There really is no reason for any Christian brother or sister to feel all alone. {I still do sometimes; so let's all work at this!}.

If you don’t yet know the power of prayer, try this: send out a WhatsApp as soon as you have a need. This is what I do for prayer help. I need prayer when we are in the thick of ministry and I am so grateful for my small WhatsApp group that prays promptly and solidly each time. I also WhatsApp a group of lady friends when PMS strikes or I am in the emotional doldrums. This kind of rapid, prayer shout-outs are so effective.

The moment the responses start coming in, my heart is bolstered and my faith strengthened.

Soul help is found in those who have journeyed further along. I get that from books and individuals. We need regular soul help from friends who 'get us' [to a greater degree than acquaintances], who share our passion, are willing to bear with us talking about our confusion or pain.  It is also essential to get soul help from a Spiritual Director or someone similar*. This is because the person doesn't really know you and it gives you the freedom to just talk about stuff. Good directors don't even need to know all the story - the Spirit helps the talking and the listening; and important bits that lead to truth and freedom will bubble to the surface.

I have found that when you are setting out to obey God, he sends this kind of help -- because if he doesn't, it's hard to find them! For example, as I look back at my life; writing has always been a big part of who I am. Yet I almost never took the route. It was a girlfriend who bothered to write to me one day and ask, "why don't you write more?".

After that, doors opened. Then a total stranger, an editor in the US asked me for an article and even paid me for it. These kinds of things are very important - they embolden you to take the next step! When I returned to Singapore, a publisher was keen to see if I have any work; helped me get to a writing workshop where I met three beautiful women who raved about my writing and have since become dear friends.

Go get yourself some help. Bother someone. You may bring out a gift or strength in them! Of course, people can say 'no' -- but more likely, you will be surprised to find how good God is to you really.

"...admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone." 
~ 1 Thessalonians 5v14

"Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble...so that the limb which is lame not be out out of joint but rather be healed" 
~ Hebrews 12v12

 *I offer Soul Help through Soul Conversations. Drop me an email at jennihuan@churchlife-resources.org to make an appointment. 

Related posts:
Doubts: the good, bad, and ugly
Seeking Faith
Faith & December
the gifts of faith, hope and love


  1. I love that God invites us to be a bother to him and pester him with persistent prayers! Thanks for sharing, Jenni.

    1. O Stephanie, how true. God astounds me with His patience.


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