“God created us uniquely ourselves, and holiness consists of discovering the true selves, the persons we are before God, accepting that person and becoming a saint in the process” – James Martin SJ
So much of my time is spent building up an illusion of how I want others to perceive me; to convince others (and myself) of my choices with “it’s okaaaaaaaaaaay…” and to remain on the right side of the crowd’s approval. I run far away from my desire to travel the world, to be a missionary for fear of being labelled radical, a millennial idealist or both. Instead of being patient with myself, and trying to discover the root behind these desires, I turn towards what is ‘normal’ and ‘good’ by society’s standards; to be a working professional in the corporate world and elevate my social status. This hide-and-seek with my true self is too damn exhausting, and has really gotten me nowhere.
The immaculately manicured portrait of my life is delightfully palatable for the world, for my family – so why does it drain so much life from me? It begins with a demanding and rigorous educational pedigree, crowned of course with a first class honours in the professional degree of law from an A-lister university. Add a series of branded employers, juicy work portfolio for the razzle dazzle. Top it off with a solid dose of social life, the dreamy work-life balance. A beautiful wife, a gorgeous house and the occasional vacations. With the exception of my marriage, I have always wondered whether building myself up in these areas are taking me away from true happiness. What do you do when all your life’s trainings and education points you in one direction, but your heart yearns for the polar opposite?
I find myself lacking the courage to strip away these facades which I have painstakingly constructed to keep my tattered self-esteem buoyant. I dream to share the gospel, the mission of families, the merciful truth about our bodies and our sexuality. This desire, this vision was planted deep within me by God, I know. I feel how it resonates with all my experiences, talents and passions. Yet I find it so much easier to run into my known comfort zones of procrastination (it’s not time yet) or practicalism (what about the mortgage?).
My wife has just updated me that my written testimonial about my struggles has moved the heart of my uncle. And my heart is moved and deeply encouraged, for having been used by God as His blind instrument. As I write this in my ASEAN office on a work trip, I know, deep down, that this is my mission field and this is my element. I can no longer doddle around in sloth, or waste any more of my resources constructing my false self. It is time to start tottering towards my vision, my authentic self. No need for comparison, or to keep up the pursuit for the material. It’s time to be me.