Trigger warning: This article contains mention of self-harming and suicide.
“Poly life is gonna be so much better, Weixin.” That was what my secondary school counsellor told me.
Growing up as a preacher’s kid, I was very influenced by the values taught in my family and was forced to mature faster than my peers.
With this upbringing, I found it hard for me to make friends because I behaved according to the values and maturity I had.
It was hard to mingle with my classmates because I just could not relate to what they were talking about.
Feeling loneliness and a lack of love from the people around me, it led me to my first mental health episode in Primary 3 when I attempted self-harm for the first time in class.
Sadly, I grew to find pleasure in inflicting harm on myself to “remind” myself of the pain that I was going through.
Things went further downhill when I entered secondary school.
I still struggled with making friends and was extra sensitive to whatever they said about me.
I felt insecure about myself most of the time and continued to inflict harm on myself in even worse ways.
I pretended that everything was fine when I went to church on the weekends, only to go back to my depressive state during the weekdays.
It reached a point where I was forced to be admitted into the Institute of Mental Health’s A&E department.
I was not myself, and even going for cognitive behavioural therapy and weekly counselling sessions didn’t help.
Thank God, things took a change in Secondary 3.
I was put in a new class with new friends and I could get along with them. I was feeling better.
But when the pandemic came and I was taking my O-Levels, it felt like I was back to square one with the isolation.
Anxiety attacks overwhelmed me to the point I had to be on medicine to cope. I felt trapped, and wondered if I was ever going to be free.
I asked God: “Lord, did I do something wrong? I did my quiet time, I go to church, I talk to You everyday — what did I do wrong?”
I lamented and cried to God: “I don’t want to live like this anymore. Lord, make my life better. Please.”
I told the Lord that I wanted real friendships. I wanted real love.
As I was preparing for polytechnic, a thought came to mind about finding an external Christian community apart from my friends in church.
In my experience of the church that I was in, I honestly found it hard to find community because many there had known each other since young and there were cliques that I found hard to break into.
So I went on Instagram to see the different Christian organisations that would be available to me in school and I also talked to church friends about their experiences in their polytechnics.
Eventually, I settled on joining Cru which my brother had already joined, thinking that I would find my own community.
Even as I made that decision, I also had my eye on Poly Revival. I looked through their page very briefly and thought that it was a cool movement, but I just kept that thought at the back of my head.
Fast forward to the first week in school, which was when I was supposed to meet the people from Cru.
As I was on the way to the get-together, my insecurities started surfacing. What would the others think of me? Am I going to fit in? Maybe it’s not too late to go back home.
But before I realised it, I had reached the location of Cru’s meet-up. My anxiety was at its peak; I was having heart palpitations and shaky hands.
But as I joined in, I immediately started to feel this sense of warmth. The people there were so genuine in their interactions with me and open to who I am.
Peace overflowed in my heart, and I knew then that I could stay on in this Cru community.
Coincidentally, during the get-together, I also got to meet a very nice lady who happens to be one of the Prayer Space Leaders of Poly Revival.
She introduced me to Poly Revival was all about, explaining that there are different Prayer Spaces in each polytechnic (which are essentially small groups that form one big community called Poly Revival).
Then she invited me to go for The Ark — which is Poly Revival’s Prayer Space at Ngee Ann Polytechnic — and I agreed.
I was anxious on the Zoom call at The Ark. As such, I kept my video turned off and muted my microphone.
On the call, seeing everyone so deep in worship made me feel small. Honestly, I felt I was “nowhere” compared to them.
I concluded that I should give Poly Revival a miss and just focus on Cru which I had just joined.
Nevertheless, as I gradually got more involved in Cru, I started to feel more loved than ever before.
I found that I could bond with the community and shared the same love they have for Christ!
I even joined a digital mission trip Cru organised, and came alongside other students from other campuses.
I was actually excited to meet new friends and be able to talk to them about Christ!
Wow, where was that socially anxious girl a few months back? Now she is excited to meet new people? God must have done something in her life!
On the mission trip with Cru, I really felt Christ’s love in the group. That was why and how the members could be so vulnerable even though we only just met.
In our time together, I also got to know that a few of them were in Poly Revival as well, even the overseer himself!
We all bonded over our love for God and our desire to see God doing His work in the polytechnics, and I was invited back to my polytechnic’s Prayer Space.
Surprisingly, that Prayer Space Leader whom I met at the get-together also contacted me at that point of time. The timing made me ask God, this isn’t coincidental right?
Anyway, we met and had a pleasant conversation over a meal. She invited me back to Poly Revival, saying: “Take your time dear, we’ll always be here for you.”
It was the first time someone had said something like that to me. Even though I was not yet in the community, they were already treating this stranger like family.
This was a new feeling for me — Poly Revival is really something else.
So, I started to join in on a few Poly Revival prayer sessions and “chill calls”.
I got to know their stories, their passion and zeal for God — and also their brokenness.
The brokenness part was what stood out to me and began to make me think.
Why would God use broken people like us to do His will, to do great things for Him? I had brokenness. I had my past of dealing with mental health issues. All my insecurities of how I looked and acted — and yet God is willing to use me?
I thought back to my first impression of the Poly Revival community. I thought they were so cool. Talented in worship leading. Speaking truths.
Meanwhile I was just broken and shattered by my past. How could I ever be like them?
But I came to see that their “coolness” was really just them being unashamed of their brokenness.
They are not afraid to admit the mistakes they made or the pasts they have. They do not let their histories stop them from experiencing God’s goodness and grace.
But I did. I was restricting myself from the love that God wants to bless me with; I felt like I did not deserve any love because of my past.
However, through the new spiritual communities that God had placed me in, I started to feel God’s love.
I had tried to wrestle my way out of receiving love but I ultimately failed because God’s love is just unescapable.
When I joined Cru, the love that was showered on me was already beyond my imagination. Joining Poly Revival, it was like I was drowned deep in His love.
Through it all, experiencing God’s love for me set me on fire for Him.
“Go and bring back my people to Me,” was the command that God gave me as I prayed through what He wanted me to do.
To me, this command is aligned with what Poly Revival is: a community where sons and daughters of God return to Him.
No more wandering in the world, no more striving, no more seeking for other kinds of love because all we need is God’s love.
As we repent and turn back to our Father, we continue in the posture of intimacy with Him and position ourselves to fulfil the Great Commission we are called to.
I’m still imperfect, still broken as I am. But the Lord, being merciful and gracious, has healed me through the spiritual community He has brought me into.
These are people who are so hungry for God both in Spirit and in truth, I’ve never seen so many youths being so fired up over theology and their desire to see God move in their lives.
I’m more than convinced that I can go through life with these bunch of broken but willing people for God, who will surely use their lives for His purpose and glory.
No matter how broken I am Lord, use me. I’m ready for whatever You want to do.
Through Poly Revival, God has opened up my eyes to the perspective that He has longed for me to see: whatever titles I hold cannot be compared to the one identity God has called me to — a child of God.
Hanging out with my newfound family, being in tune with the Spirit by constantly seeking Him in what He wants me to do — even receiving spiritual gifts I never thought I could get — my life has been transformed.
The anxiety attacks have since stopped. I’m no longer on medication and I am living without worrying that an anxiety attack will come up at any point of time.
Most importantly, I can stop worrying that I’m not loved because I am loved — more than I will ever know.
Now my focus is to live out the life that God has called me to, to bring back His sons and daughters into His kingdom and for all of us to be united as One until Christ comes again.
Poly life is gonna be so much better, Weixin.
Now, seeing how things have turned out, I believe and receive this with my whole heart.
Because of the agape love that God has so graciously showered upon me through the communities He has placed me in, I am beyond thankful.
There may not yet be a happy ending fully, but God has the grace to deliver a broken person like me.
Though I am still insecure at times, God reminds me all the time that I am beautiful in His eyes.
I am passionate for God and He tells me that He will satisfy all my hunger and thirst.
No matter how broken I am Lord, use me. I’m ready for whatever You want to do!
If you’re a Christian in Poly: Block out the 10th and 11th of your October Holidays because Revival 24:4 is happening!
Day 1 of the Revival 24:4 Conference will be a Revival Night where we come together to be refreshed in God’s presence and experience the power of God! Day 2 will see an Empowerment and Equipping Session where we will learn practical discipleship and evangelism in Poly!
We named it Revival 24:4 after Psalm 24:4 which reads: “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.”
Revival looks like a generation of believers having clean hands and a pure heart with complete devotion to Jesus! So book those dates, come join us and don’t miss this opportunity to be part of God’s movement for a Poly Revival!