fear

  • Behind the Scenes
  • Bold & Courageous – AG 2019

    By Alarice

    Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
    Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
    for the
    Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
    – Joshua 1:9

    I am not sure if many people would naturally describe themselves as a bold and courageous person – I feel facing fear is part of the human condition. There’s a reason why the Lord commanded Joshua and Caleb to not fear when they were tasked to take possession of the Promised Land; it’s so easy to fall into fear when we see ‘giants’ with our natural eyes. Did you know that when you fear, you actually have faith, but you’re putting your faith in the wrong thing? Having fear about your circumstance reflects that you have more confidence in a circumstance to rule over your life than your heavenly Father’s ability to take care of you!

    Being bold and courageous starts from a position of quiet trust and steadfast faith. The fruit of obedience doesn’t start from a place of striving but actually starts from a place of surrender. You are surrendering your life and your future to a good good God who is more than capable of leading you and taking care of you – it is this truth that gives you steadfastness to continually follow Jesus all the days of your life. As the Awaken Generation team have prayed and sought the Lord, we have felt the Lord impressing on our hearts that 2019 would be a year of boldness and courage. If we want to go deeper in the Lord, if we truly want to know Him, it’s less about simply having knowledge of Him, but actually applying what He says in His Word, and living that out in the face of fear and pressure.  

    In the Awaken Generation community, we always emphasise the theme of sons and daughters and securing our identity as children of God. This is a significant and holy truth, yet I feel a further maturing coming where there’s a pull on us to delve deeper into our identity now as lovers of God – and to take our place as the bride of Christ, holy and pure, willing to lay down our lives because of our great love for the Bridegroom King. In a sense, the depth to which we grow in this maturity is up to us – the invitation from the Lord is there, but how much are we willing to trust and surrender?

    The late theologian Eugene Peterson wrote a book called ‘A long obedience in the same direction’’; I love this title as it beautifully describes the journey of our Christian pilgrimage, that it is a daily choice of obedience and an unwavering faith that eventually leads to accomplishing things for the Kingdom that we thought we’d never be able to do. As you consecrate yourself and seek the Lord leading up the new year, I’d like to leave you with an old story I heard once.

    There was once a mouse and elephant who crossed a rickety old bridge together. After they had crossed, the mouse turns to the elephant and said, ‘We sure shook that bridge, didn’t we?’

    May 2019 be filled with faith and wonder as you witness a great and magnificent God who can do exceedingly more than what you could dream of or imagine.

  • Behind the Scenes
  • Breaking Out of the ‘Pai-seh’ Culture

    By Sabrina Ng

    We’ve all been there before, that dreaded ‘Who wants to lead the prayer?’, and in almost telepathic unison, pairs of shifty eyes start darting downwards and bodies start sliding down in their chairs towards the floor.

    I may exaggerate but I’m sure we all know it to be true in one way or another. And if you’re wondering what I’m trying to get at with that illustration; in our local Singaporean lexicon, we call it ‘pai-seh’.

    In proper English, to feel pai-seh is to experience feelings of shyness and/or embarrassment. It is perfectly normal to encounter situations where we can’t help feeling that way − but to be pai-seh regarding our faith and calling, this stems from something much deeper.

     

    The Fear of Man

    What exactly is this pai-seh that is so rampant in our society, and what does the Bible say about it? Essentially, the ‘spirit’ of pai-seh is the fear of man. Pai-seh is not biblical, and will hinder us from fulfilling our destinies.

    ‘For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?
    Or am I trying to please man?
    If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.’
    – Galatians 1:10

    In church, many shy away when asked to lead a prayer, a song in worship, or take up a leadership role, thinking that they’re not good enough, that they would be judged by the level of their skill; this is pai-seh at play.

    When we allow this fear to take precedence in our lives, we succumb to thoughts of intimidation, insecurity, inferiority, and inadequacy. And if we let negative thoughts and fears consume us, we hinder ourselves from fulfilling all that God has called us to be, and robbing ourselves of the blessings we could otherwise have.

    Who are we trying to please? As Christians, we need to be more concerned about God’s business than other people’s opinions (including our own!) Remember, we are created in God’s image for His glory and to glorify Him. And being created in His image, we have been predestined as sons and daughters, called according to His purpose – there is no excuse to say that we are not worthy.

    ‘Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.
    Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves,
    but our competence comes from God.’
    – 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

    Through Jesus Christ, we have already been given the confidence to walk in the calling that God has for each one of us. So what if we don’t have the best singing voice or are only able to pray five sentences? It has never been about being the best; God looks at the heart – at our sincerity and authenticity. Practice will make perfect, but ultimately, God is more concerned with our progress than our perfection.

     

    A PK’s Journey

    No one is exempt from the spirit of pai-seh and I’ve come a long way in my own journey of overcoming it. In my teens, I became acutely aware of the weight of expectation placed on me as a PK (pastor’s kid). Though I liked singing, I shied away from the spotlight, preferring to fade into the background (literally hidden behind a pillar) as a keyboardist on the worship team.

    As the years went by, the need for worship leaders in my church arose and I reluctantly agreed to step in to fill the gap. The initial period was challenging and I frequently questioned my own abilities. I was much happier just serving Him behind the piano; there were many people more spiritually mature, more musically talented than me who could probably do a better job, why would God make my life so difficult? Why would He set me up (the pastor’s daughter, no less!) to fail in front of so many people?

    Yet, in spite of my self-doubt and regret, there were occasions when I experienced glimmers of joy while leading worship, and they shone like diamonds in the darkness. God was impressing upon me the call He placed on my life, assuring me of the gifts He has given me to fulfil it. Slowly but surely, I began to walk in confidence and into the fullness of all that God had prepared for me.

    Throughout my journey, and even today, I am still learning that I needn’t be shy about what God has gifted me with and placed in my heart to do, because there is no competition in the Kingdom. God has given each of us gifts, not to bury and hide away, but to edify the body of Christ. We may not be the best, but let us be the best that we can be in our pursuit of God! He has something in store for each one of us in our journey of faith, so let us press forth, no need to pai-seh!