it’s October!

In the blink of an eye, I’ve been a working adult for three full months and it’s the last quarter of the year. Even as the department enters full ‘peak’ mode, I’m really thankful for so many things — friendly and patient and kind colleagues, seniors and managers who work incredibly hard (correcting my mistakes and checking my work *cough*), work that is mostly enjoyable and stimulating, the coffee that the auntie at the office makes, having a nice noisy keyboard to type on (my favourite!), etc.

I’m also so glad for the Gettys’ ‘Before You I Kneel’ — two years ago when I was interning at IRAS and there were bad days with horrible callers, the song helped me think far more rightly about work and the privilege of being able to serve God and others in this area. Back then, it was the first verse of the song that I needed to hear the most —seeing work as something to rejoice in— and I’m thankful it’s stayed in my heart since. Now, it’s the second verse that I need to constantly remind myself of —

Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodness
To cover the work of my hands.
For patience and peace to shape all my labour,
Your grace for thorns in my path.
Flow within me like a living stream,
Wear away the stones of pride and greed
‘Til Your ways are dwelling deep in me
And a harvest of life is grown.
So much pride and greed left in me to be worn away, so much room for patience and peace to grow. If nothing else, I’m glad that God has given me this sphere that reveals so much about myself, and where I can, by grace, slowly learn sanctification.

This week also marks a month of being on the CCEF ‘Dynamics of Biblical Counselling’ course, and I can’t adequately describe how rich and helpful the course has been thus far. My eyes have been opened to so much, such as Powlison’s sharing of how he uses a Biblical framework to counsel his five-year-old daughter facing peer pressure, and then the same framework to counsel a paranoid schizophrenic, because all of us, whether five-year-olds or clinical cases are human, and as long as we are human, Scripture speaks to our common condition. The counsellor is always more like than he is unlike his counselee. This is not the blind empathy of modern ethics, but it means that counsellors can give comfort because God first comforted them (2 Cor 1: 4), in the same way the Israelite priests could minister to their people in gentleness, because they too were beset by weakness (Heb 5:2). The Biblical model of counselling is not fundamentally a psychological one, but a relational one.

I don’t know whether I will have the opportunity to fully put every thing I’m learning into practice. But just taking this course, listening to the lectures, reading the readings, doing the assignments, etc. have forced me to look deep into my heart, and well, things within aren’t pretty. At the same time, I’m always being pointed to Scripture, to the gospel, to what God has done and is doing for/in/through me, and by grace I can change in holiness. Weirdly, as work days are stretching (presently, 14 hours), I’m also glad that I took this course so that something else is on my mind and I don’t get sucked into the black hole that is workworkwork without thinking more deeply about my actions, thoughts, words and the functional idols they reveal.

In summary, much to be thankful for, and may the rest of the year be fruitful and joyful in Him Shall end off with pictures of recent baking attempts: salted caramel cupcakes, cinnamon sugar doughnuts, cream puffs (:
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