At this month’s #ThirstYouthNight, we explored the topic of personal calling.
At the Chapel of the Resurrection, we held an extended panel discussion on the pressures of pursuing conventional success and struggles faced while following God’s calling.
Sharing from their lives and experiences, the panel was formed by three individuals who took unconventional paths to follow God’s unique calling for their lives:
- SAMUEL TAN (25), 3:16 Church, FaithX
- DENNIS TAN (45), Bread Of Life (Singapore), Senior Youth Worker with Bethesda Care Services
- TONG PEH MUAY (54), Bethesda Bedok-Tampines Church, Cru Singapore
They received questions from the floor, and addressed common questions faced by the youths grappling with God’s calling in their lives. Here are some standout insights from the night!
What are your biggest struggles in following God’s calling?
PEH MUAY: I would summarise my struggles in an acronym P.A.S.T.:
- Pride: I was concerned about how other people would think of me if I entered full-time ministry after getting a degree in engineering.
- Ability: Being an introvert, I worried that I would struggle to connect and work with people in ministry.
- Surrender: I felt like I had worked very hard to earn my degree and I deserved to use it in pursuing my career.
- Trust: I was in a relationship when I received my calling from God and I struggled to entrust the relationship to God.
As I wrestled with God in all these struggles, something that God spoke to me was, “I have the best for you. Don’t you believe that?”
In my journey towards surrender and obedience, I was also encouraged by a quote by missionary C.T. Studd:
“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”
Now, looking back after 30 years in ministry, I am thankful to say that God has never shortchanged me even as I obey Him.
DENNIS: My struggle came more in the form of struggling with my personal faith.
I struggled to understand why God would allow so many hardships in my life if He really loves me.
Yet, one night, I encountered God as I brought these doubts before Him in prayer.
God showed me that even while I was going through these hardships, He has always been taking care of me by sending different groups of Christians to support me. I was never forsaken by Him.
The Word of God became alive to me after my encounter with Him. And I know that I can trust in His Word that He is faithful to me.
How do you discern the voice of God when it comes to your calling?
DENNIS: Be open and discuss with your church leaders, parents and spouse.
Sometimes they can be godly counsels that God has sent to guide you.
PEH MUAY: You need to anchor your faith and your thoughts in the Word of God.
And that is a product of consistently walking with God in your daily life.
While godly counsel is good, we shouldn’t rely on them more than our personal relationship with God.
Sometimes God’s plan for us is unconventional despite the good advice that people can give us.
Let His Word be the lamp for your feet, and light on your path (Psalm 119:105).
What if you feel pressured by your parents to pursue conventional success instead of following God’s calling?
SAMUEL: I believe that prayer is the most powerful thing you can do. You can pray for God to soften and change your parents’ hearts.
As we choose to follow God’s calling, we are also walking with Him in obedience. And there is a Christlike transformation that comes from within.
Over time, your parents will come to see the work that God has done in you.
However, if you still face strong opposition from your parents, you should note that while God has called us to honour our parents, it is all the more important to honour God’s calling for our lives.
PEH MUAY: I have seen God’s faithfulness as He works in my relationship with my mum.
My mum was extremely angry when I first decided to enter full-time ministry. She felt that I had wasted my degree. She would even scold me every time I came home after training.
However, as God began to work in her life, I started to see how my relationship with her is also being restored. She is now much more receptive towards my ministry and my faith.
So, even as you choose to follow God’s calling despite your parents’ opposition, trust that God can restore your relationship with them.
Are there sacrifices in following God’s calling?
PEH MUAY: Definitely. The sacrifices are real.
In my journey, I had to surrender my relationship to God in order to enter full-time ministry. That came with a lot of pain and loneliness.
Yet as I yielded to God, God provided in the end. About half-a-year after the break, God also called my partner into ministry and he is now my husband.
SAMUEL: Sometimes, we find it hard to surrender because we want a sense of control.
We feel like we worked hard to earn our grades; we want to plan and choose our careers.
And we don’t dare to give our sacrifices to God because we are afraid that He won’t give back.
But if we study the full character of God from the Bible, we know that that’s not who He is.
He is a Good Father who longs to give good gifts to His children.
Knowing that, would we go all the way and not hold back when God gives us an assignment?
DENNIS: For me, answering God’s call was more of a last bet than a sacrifice. I felt like I had nothing to lose.
I had no purpose in life. I didn’t even have the luxury of dreaming about what I wanted to do in the future.
It’s okay if you don’t have a dream. God can redeem your life as you follow His calling for you.
What is one word of encouragement you would give to the youth?
SAMUEL: C.T. Studd wrote: “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Think about how you want to live this life for God.
PEH MUAY: Take time to seek God through His Word. When we understand what Christ has done for us, our sacrifices simply pale in comparison.
DENNIS: You can never out-give God. And God will never shortchange you.
When you lay down a sacrifice on the altar, God will always give you something better.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Our next event in June will focus on MENTAL HEALTH. You’ll want to be there – and bring a friend! Click here to sign up!
- Do you know what is God’s calling for your life?
- How can you know?
- Practically speaking, what does that mean for your life?
- Who in your life can offer godly counsel as you follow God’s calling? Reach out to them and involve them in your walk.