I want a new phone. No, I want the new iPhone. The iPhone 11. And I also want a new iPad and a new Macbook Pro.
I actually have an iPhone 8 already. And an iPad. And also a Macbook Air. But why do I want the new ones?
People are wired to want new things. We're not content with what we already have. We must have new ones. The better ones. Because we need more than what we have now.
We tend to look for things we don't have. If only I could get a better phone, then maybe I can be more productive in my work. If only I have a better laptop... If only I have a better job... If only I could speak better... If only I could write better...
What if all you need is what you have now? What if instead of looking for things you don't have, you begin to value what you have and start to maximize them?
The boy who had five loaves of bread and two pieces of fish had enough food to feed the five thousand.
What you have is enough. Stop trying to acquire more things. Start giving away what you have and you will see them multiply a hundredfold.
I told a bedtime story to my four-year-old son the other day. It was about a boy named Pedro who wanted to become a builder someday. He studied diligently in school so he could learn how to read well. He would then read books about how to build so that he could become an excellent builder when he grows up.
The next day, my son came home from school and he was so eager to share with me what they did in school. He even shared with me details about the exercise they did about the words "is" and "are". This was uncommon for him to do. He doesn't usually share with me details about school when I ask him about it. But because of the story about Pedro, he became more excited to study in school and share with me what he learned.
Stories are powerful. More than just giving principles or instructions, stories inspire and motivate us. The story that I shared with my son inspired him to become a good learner. I could have just instructed him to study well in school and give him incentives in doing so. Or I could even punish him if he doesn't do well in school. But one simple story made all the difference in him.
Every time I travel to Singapore, my way of speaking automatically adapts to Singlish, the Singaporean way of speaking English, in a matter of days or even hours. I am amazed and surprised when I automatically say "la" at the end of my sentences, the way a typical Singaporean does. This is the power of immersion. Our brain automatically soaks up the culture that we're immersed in, influencing and changing us.
When Jesus said his last words, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit", I think he was not just talking about baptizing people like John the Baptist did. I believe he's also saying that it's important for us to baptize or immerse people in the name and identity of the Father, in the name and ways of the Son, and in the name and culture of the Holy Spirit.
We are transformed when we are immersed in the identity and ways of God. If you were given a chance to stay in heaven with the Heavenly Father for a few days, wouldn't that change the way you speak? What about if Jesus were to hang out with you every single day for a month, wouldn't that change how you behave? What if you get to have the Holy Spirit as your best friend, wouldn't that change your schedule and your priorities?
Just think about all those possibilities. They can be your reality. Start immersing yourself in the reality of who God is today.
Like an artist painting his masterpiece on a canvas, you are painting your life’s work on the blank canvas of time. But unlike the painter, you cannot make erasures or somehow edit your work. Every act you do is permanently imprinted like indelible ink.
This thought is scary, to realize that we only have one chance to make our best work. How do we undo our mistakes and failures?
We will always make mistakes in life and fail in so many ways. The good thing is that God has already made a way for us to deal with our failings.
For every fault we do (or had done, or will ever do), God is painting over it with the indelible ink of His love. His love is more powerful than our failures. And His love never fails.
The greatest act of love God did for us is to give up His own son and let him die on the cross so that all our errors could be undone once and for all. His very blood covers all our sins---our wrongdoings.
So don't be afraid to make mistakes in life. Go ahead. Seize the day. Take that paintbrush and paint something. It's so much better than just standing there frozen because of fear.
Take every opportunity to paint the best painting you can ever make. Don't be afraid to fail because Jesus has got you covered.
Remember this. You are painting your masterpiece with an indelible ink of God's love.
We are all stewards of our own personal stories. They are arrows in our quiver. In them lies the potential to inspire others and change cultures.
Each experience we have contributes to the story of our lives. But it's up to us to fashion them into meaningful stories. A bad experience doesn't have to ruin your story. You have the power to attach the right meaning to it.
David (who killed Goliath) was not free from failures in his life. He made some terrible choices but this didn't stop him from making his story great.
You have a great story to tell. It is great because it has the imprint of God etched in the very fabric of your story. When you recognize His fingerprint, you will never see your story the same way again.
Your story is part of the greatest story this world will ever hear. It's the story of God and how much he loves his children. It is still being written as of this moment by billions of co-writers all around the world, including you.
So go and write your story. Share it to others. If not, just share it with yourself. And you will be inspired by it. You will grow because of it. The more you share it, the more you grow and the more you inspire yourself and others because of it.