Rest and Rejoice

Though tested positive for my antigen test on Day 6, I felt much better physically, and emotionally today. I am physically stronger to move about the house to clean, to sweep the fallen leaves on the porch, to delight watching the cats play from across the road, to water my plants and to end the day by preparing a simple dinner for myself.

The aroma in the kitchen smells different today: fresh and lovely. I was more present when I was washing the veggies, cutting them and cooking them in the pan. I was taking my time to enjoy the process of meal prepping and cooking.  

A week ago, these simple chores of taking care of the house, gardening and cooking were done in a rush and mindlessly. They were things that I needed to get over and done with because there always something else more important that needed my attention: some messages to reply, some assignments waiting to be completed, another email to respond to, cleaning the house before the visitors arrive, rushing to church for some activities and so on. But, when I am in home quarantine, activities become slower, time seems longer and tasks are manageable. I can slow down and enjoy the beauty in the simple things in life, and not rush from chores to chores.  

Apostle Paul writes, “4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”(Philippians 4:4-5)

Rejoice in the Lord is not something that we do when we feel like it. It should be our lifestyle as the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Joy comes from God. Joy is knowing that God sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins, the Holy Spirit is with us and we have eternal life with God. We can rejoice regardless of our present circumstances because we stand on the promise and assurance of who God is and what He is doing and will do in the life of His people.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (verse 6)

What are you worried about? Our list can go on and on. Apostle Paul urges us not to be anxious or worried about anything but to commit everything to God in prayers. We are invited by God to tell Him the things that are bothering us. In prayers, we are reminded of the sovereignty of God who cares and loves us. When we tell God our needs and requests, we are to give thanks to God, simply because He is good. He has been faithful, merciful and loving to us. In our desperation, He hears us and delivers us.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

Peace is a state of well-being. In the Old Testament, the word “Shalom” in Hebrew means: harmony, wholeness, completeness, health, tranquillity, safety, rest, peace with God, and these are permanent state. 

God’s peace guards our heart and mind. May He guard and protect our heart and mind from cumbersome worries and anxieties. Wait upon God. Rest in Him.

During this season of Lent, let us continue to:

(1) Pray

Deepen our relationship with God through prayers. We pray and also hear for His voice when we pray.

(2) Read God’s Word

God’s Word illuminates our path. It leads us to the path of righteousness, holiness and wisdom. Let us read His Word, meditate on it and apply it in our lives. St John of the Cross (1542-91), a Spanish Catholic priest, said that when we read God’s Word, the new life of Christ gets brighter and brighter in us.

(3) Obedience to God

Perhaps much of our anxieties in our relationships, our chores and daily activities are more manageable if we commit them into God’s will and time. We can find peace and rest in God if we are mindful that God is with us in our chores and in our relationships with others.

May the peace of the Lord be with you in whatever you do and in the people you meet.

Retreat came earlier this year…

My retreat came earlier this year than I had planned. I had planned one in August right around my birthday. The reason for this unplanned retreat: I was down with Covid.

I could not believe it when I was tested positive. I had all those symptoms: flu, chills, muscle ache, cough but the results from the antigen tests were negative. I was hopeful that I might just be having a common flu. I prayed hard that I would remain ‘negative’ for Covid tests.

How could I get Covid, right? I am relatively healthy: I take my supplements daily. I have always been super careful: double my masks, sanitize the cart at the supermarket before using, sanitize my hands every time I touched something (may be I was a little extreme) and once I return home, I immediate sanitise my handbag and my phone. How can someone so careful like me get Covid?

On the morning of Day 5 of my exposure to the virus, I did an antigen test upon waking up. It said, “positive”.

I stared at the result. I was shattered.

I was given a ‘Home Isolation Or Surveillance Order’ for one week.

Home Isolation. Away from people. I am used to being away from people for retreats but this time, while in home isolation, I was in isolation with angry thoughts, bitter thoughts, sad thoughts.

 On the first day, I spent much of my time being angry: I was angry at the person for giving the virus to me. My breaths were hot, like a fiery dragon’s. Nobody wants to be infected. Nobody in their right mind wants to pass the virus on to others, I understand. My friend is feeling guilty, I understand. But still, I was very angry. I have to announce to the church that I am a “Covid Positive”, a label I was trying to run away from ever since the start of Covid 2 years ago. And it has been miserable getting Covid. It was a terrible experience.    

On the second day, I spent most of my time sulking and getting angry at God. I complained to God. Why would You allow this happen? What about Sunday? Who would preach at the church on Sunday? What would the church leaders think of me? Would the people run away from me when I see them in church on Sunday?

On the third day, I re-watched some of my favourite movies and TV series (grateful for streaming services and good internet connection). I laughed and laughed at my favourite scenes. The movie therapy took away my sadness and anger for a while. I talked to some friends (via chat, I couldn’t talk due to the persistent sore throat and cough). One of them commented that I have “joined the Covid party” which I thought was hilarious.   

On the fourth day, I was ready for a therapy session with God. I stopped sulking and stopped throwing myself a pity party (but still angry at my friend!). Throughout these couples of days, family and friends remind me that God is with me. I may be angry and bitter but this does not change the fact that God loves me.

We are in the Season of Lent. Lent is to remember that Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and night to prepare Himself for the public ministry. I would love to have been there to hear His intimate conversations with His Father in Heaven. In these 40 days, Jesus was tempted by the devil three times but every time He was tempted, He leaned on God’s Word and power and He was victorious over these temptations.

May be God wanted me to experience Him in a new way in this season of Lent. May be I should lean upon God and rest in Him, no matter what the circumstances I am in.   

Looking back at the past couple of days, I am so grateful for family and friends who sent me words of encouragement. They check in on me daily to make sure that I am physically (and emotionally) healthy. There are friends who send me groceries, lunch and dinner, snacks, coconut juice, and a slice of yummy cheesecake. I am never hungry. I spent a lot of time at the dining table enjoying these little surprises. There are friends who go to the pharmacies for me to get the needed medication. I am never in need. My needs have been supplied.  

When I count my blessings, I have less to grumble about. No more complaints. No more worries. No more asking God why. After all, this is what Lent is all about: focusing on the love and sacrifice of Jesus. Not on our current misery. For now, I will nurse myself to good health and to be strong for ministry again, emotionally, physically and spiritually.  

Suggestions from Pope Francis on Fasting for Lent:

Fast from hurting words and say kind words.

Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.

Fast from anger and be filled with patience.

Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.

Fast from worries and trust in God.

Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.

Fast from pressures and be prayerful.

Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

The moment I stepped into the office this morning, I was overwhelmed by the mountain of  tasks I needed to tackle: reports to write, forms to fill in and submit, sermons to write, prayer points to prepare, preparation for Sunday worship, people to minister to, appointments to keep and those unexpected things that popped up which needed to be taken care of. This will be a packed week and I am only at the beginning of the week.

As I reflect on my ministry, whenever I was overwhelmed and overworked, I remember that I had experienced the goodness of God. God had been there to guide me through an extremely busy week. And I am certain that He will guide me through this one.

Here are three basic steps to take when we are tired and overwhelmed in life:

1.Spend Time in Worship and Prayer

Throughout the years, I realized that if I do not start the day with God in worship (reading the Bible and prayers), then I would not have time for God until bed time. I would be spinning from one task to another and do everything without joy and love. I would be easily frustrated too.

Spending time seeking the Lord in the morning and asking Him for wisdom in time management and to do my tasks effectively give me the peace that He is with me. Time with God quiets my mind too. It is true that God is our refuge. We can come to Him regardless of what condition we are in and we can rest in Him.

Jesus got up early in the morning to pray to His Father in Heaven.

2. Say “No”

When we are overwhelmed, one of the possible reasons is that we do not know how to say “no” to people or things especially if they take up more time than we can give. Someone once said that when we say “yes” to something, we are saying “no” to other things. When my friends asked for help, I was hesitant to say “no” although I had my own tasks to complete. As a result of saying “yes” to them, I had to say “no” to my own responsibilities. In the end, I had to sacrifice my sleep that night and burn midnight oil just so I could complete my own work on top of helping them. When we do not learn to say “no”, we will stretch ourselves too thin.

Being overwhelmed during most of our waking moments is not God’s plan for us. He wants us to enjoy Him, enjoy His creation and enjoy the people in our lives. If you look at your calendar, what appointments can you say “no” to? There will always be someone needing help or someone wanting to meet up. Everything can seem important. But let’s learn from Jesus. He did not spend all His time ministering and healing everyone who needed Him. Instead, He focused on what God had called Him to do. While it was still dark in the morning every day, Jesus would get up and would spend time in prayer. His time with God set the direction for His day and life. He only needed to respond to what God was calling Him to do. We don’t have to be everything for everyone. We only need to take a step back and see what are the things God has set for us to do.


After creating the universe in 6 days, God rested on the seventh day. Rest is a part of our natural make-up as created beings. God the Creator rested, so should we.

Taking care of ourselves

(I had written a post on self-care. Do take a look if you have not read it.) Take time to unplug. Take a break from our phones. Create time in your calendar to do something you enjoy: reading, watching a favourite TV show, playing with your pets, doing gardening, cooking, meeting a friend and so on. When we take care of ourselves, we will be more able to take care of the needs of our family as well as being more efficient in doing the tasks we need to do.

Our generation is busier and more stressed out compared to the previous generation. Don’t let our work overwhelmed us to the point of making us grumpy, tired and emotional. Take time to ask God for wisdom, plan our calendar wisely, say “no” when our plates are already full and remember to slot in pockets of time for us to relax and recharge. 

Taking Care of Ourselves

What is going on in the world can throw us into a state of frenzy, helplessness, hopelessness and depression. While our city is facing a spike in the number of Covid-19 virus cases, many of us are experiencing a mix of emotions.

At times like this, I cling on to the words of Jesus.

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31b, NIV).

Jesus spoke these words to His disciples after a long day of ministry and it was not even over yet. The first half of the verse tells us, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest”.  

Jesus told the disciples to withdraw with Him to a quiet place to rest. They had been working so hard and the demand for them was so great that they did not have a chance to eat. Self-care doesn’t mean we are selfish, it simply means we are taking care of our spiritual, emotional, physical and mental health and needs.  God wants us to thrive wherever He has placed us. He wants us to use our gifts to bless others for His glory. He does not want us to be depressed or withered, especially in this season of our lives.

By taking care of our wellbeing and needs, not only are we able to function well in our duties, we will be fruitful.

Below are some of the ways I take care of myself. I hope they will be useful for you too especially we are facing challenging times:

1.Get enough sleep

A well-rested night improves our overall mood. Jesus slept in the storm (Matthew 8:23-27). We too can commit anything which is bothering us to our loving God. Doctors recommend at least 7 hours of sleep at night. Each of us is different. But as human beings, we need to get enough sleep to recharge from the day. Some of us need a nap in the afternoon. Naps refresh us too.


2.Eat nutritious food 

Nourishing our bodies with nutrition-dense food will give us stamina for the long-haul. In the past, in order to sustain myself for a long day of ministry, I would just eat junk food so I could go back to work quickly. I would eat instant noodles because it was quick to prepare (and I must add, tasty!). When I was sleepy, I would get a can of Cola from the vending machine or a convenient store. When I was low in energy, I would get an ice cream cone for the sugar to keep me going.

But then I realised that by eating well, I am more alert and have more stamina. Sugary and starchy foods are tasty but they make me bloated or sleepy due to the spike it made on my blood sugar level. Eating home cooked food will always be a great option for our well being and for our wallet.



A walk in the park, doing gardening and watching the plants grow and harvesting its fruits, sitting in nature, taking a walk outdoors, dancing to music gladden our hearts. God knits our muscles together. “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalms 139:13, NLT). I often remind myself that exercise is celebrating what I can do with my body.


4. Find a community

Engaging in a conversation with our good friends can boost our mood. It is even more so during this pandemic. We should reach out and care for one another. We may not be able to do this face to face but we can always reach out to our friends through phone calls or social media (depending on which is your friend’s preferred mode).


5.Take a shower

May be it is something about the feel of running water on our skin, or the sweet-smelling shower wash. Taking a shower rejuvenates me and makes me feel fresher and better.


6. Get tidy

A tidy space does wonders to our soul. The process of tidying itself is liberating: learning to let go of a pre-loved item, giving away clothes I do not need (but must be in good condition!) cleaning my space and giving thanks to God for a space I can call home is a blessing.


7. Take a break

Don’t feel guilty to take a break. Over-scheduled calendars overwhelm us and take us away from the priorities that God has given to us. Schedule some free time for yourself to do something you enjoy. It can be having half an hour to yourself each day, or taking annual leave to refresh ourselves, or to go for a silent retreat at retreat houses.

At this time of writing, I am already planning my leave to recharge myself.


8. Set healthy boundaries

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16 NIV). The demands around Him were great but He knew what was most important to His wellbeing, which was, time with God. Without setting healthy boundaries, He could not give the best to those in need of His help. Don’t feel bad when you have to say “no” just because there are some other things you need to take care of. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. There are times we need to take a break from ministering and caring for others. There is a time and season for everything, including a time to serve and a time to rest so that we can be more effective when we serve.

9. Spend time with God 

Spend time with God by worshipping Him, reading His Word, meditating on His Word, journaling, listening to sermons and so on. He loves us the most and time spent with Him not only refreshes our souls but will strengthen us for the day ahead.



Jesus Christ came to save and yet He did not neglect looking after His wellbeing. He made time for rest. He prioritized His prayer times. Taking time to nurture our physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health is important for us and to those around us. When we are healthy, we will thrive in the gifts God has blessed us with.

What are your self-care activities? I would love to hear from you!

Life Is Like Riding A Bicycle?

I learnt how to ride the bicycle as an adult. To be precise, I learnt how to ride the bike eight months ago. I was so blessed to have my good friends, Christine and Chew Yen, by my side to cheer me on. Chew Yen taught me how to ride the bike. She would push me from behind and asked me to keep peddling. She would let go once I could balance myself. And Christine was my cheerleader.

From learning to ride the bike as an adult, I think I can use this quote life is like riding a bicycle.

Start Peddling

Once I got on my bike, Chew Yen told me to look straight ahead and start peddling. I had to keep peddling so that I will not fall. Once I stopped peddling, I would lose my balance.

Interesting enough, I came across a quote by Albert Einstein. He wrote, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

We may face obstacles and challenges in life. They may come one after another. But, we have to keep going. Don’t give up on ourselves. We may be scared and fearful but, keep going. I like this quote by Mark Twain, a well-known American writer, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear”. So, keep going.

Look Straight Ahead

I had to look straight ahead when I am peddling. Initially I was nervous and so I kept looking at my front wheel, but that was not the wise thing to do. I needed to see where I was going.

In life, we need to keep track on where we are heading for. We should have a vision in life so that we will not waste our time away. Hour turns into days, days turn into months, months turn into years. Time slips by very quickly. Our vision will help us use our gifts and time wisely.

Almost every year, I would be given the opportunity to teach secondary school students about the importance of vision casting. We would do an exercise on setting specific goals for the coming year, the next 5 years and the next 10 years so that we achieve our targeted dreams.

One of my favourite verses from the Bible is this: “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18, KJB). We need to have a vision and know what we want to do with our lives.

While cycling, I don’t turn my head and look to the back. I have to keep my eyes to the front. We can’t dwell in the past either. The past gave us rich lessons which would make us into better people. The past does not have to define who we are in the present. Let us not let our past entangle us from doing what God is calling us to do.


After mastering cycling in a straight line, the next thing I learned was to turn. And turning was hard to do! It will be impossible to keep riding in straight lines; there will be corners, turnings and curves on any roads. Eight months ago, I fell when I was moving too near to a pole. I injured my left knee and it took eight months to heal! I could not bend my knee for several weeks (I could not kneel to pray for eight months). It was difficult to climb up and down the stairs or getting in and out of cars!

Life is seldom as straight forward as we hoped. There are different seasons in our lives. God leads us through the different chapters and seasons in life. There will be times when God asks us to do something which we had never imagined. It will be like taking a turn in our life. He nudges us out of the comfort zone in His great plans for us. We need to obey, step out and readjust to His plan for us. It is often such a blessing if we obey Him.


The last step was to brake safely. If we do not put the bike to a stop in the right way, we may fall (yes, if you want to learn how to ride a bicycle, you have to expect a certain degree of falling off the bike).

In life, we need to take rest seriously and systematically so that we will not get burnt-out. Taking breaks to rejuvenate are important so that we can keep going. Taking a restful sleep at night, have mini breaks throughout the day, and take our annual leave from work so that our mind, soul and body will thrive.


From time to time, Chew Yen would watch me cycle and give me feedbacks so that I can improve and will not fall. Christine would encourage me.

We don’t live alone. Human beings are social beings by nature (although some may prefer to be alone). Friends enrich our lives. They give us wise advice so that we will stay on the right track. With their encouragement and support, we can continue to improve to be better people and live lives that are pleasing to God.

Is life like riding a bicycle? I think so. Remember: keep going even when it is tough, keep our eyes on our goal, be willing to readjust when God is leading you to a different assignment and take breaks regularly. Life is enjoyable, just like riding on the bicycle.

Recharge to Restart

The battery of my parents’ car was flat so we took it to the mechanic.

Sometimes when I am exhausted (when my battery is flat), I will take a nap. Sometimes when I am exhausted as a leader, I will read a book to take the matter off my mind. Sometimes when I am exhausted from the notifications on my Facebook, I log out and only sign in again until a couple of days later.

We recharge ourselves to get back on the journey again. Take a break from work as and when necessary. Take a break from social media, when you need some time alone to reflect, meditate and be still. Take a break when needed but never take a break from God. He is our everything.

Day Off

Since we were talking about the Sabbath rest yesterday, I would like to talk about my off day, which is today. Monday is my off day, and it is also the off day of the other pastors in the conference. The purpose of the off day is to obey God’s command to rest and to keep the Sabbath day holy. On Monday mornings, I will have my Quiet Time, then, I will visit my grandma and aunty. Before the MCO, I would visit them with my parents. After that, I will have lunch with my parents, and go grocery shopping for the week. In the afternoon, I will read the newspapers, read a book (usually not the whole book, but at least a few chapters), catch up with some friends or family members, strum on my ukelele and have an enjoyable nap. Sometimes, I hang out with fellow pastors on Mondays. But I do that less now since I am back at my home town. I hang out with my parents instead. We are a close-knitted family. In the evening, I will have some time to read. Monday evenings are when I am most relaxed. I enjoy the peace on Monday evenings. I may also watch a movie. And then, I will start to plan for the week ahead, slotting tasks into my “to do list”. I enjoy my Mondays. It is a gift that I treasure. It relaxes me from the demands of ministry and also prepares me for the week ahead. It is a time to enjoy my parents and puppies as well as my hobbies and interests. So, on Mondays, I make sure I have time to rest physically and emotionally and to spend more time to worship God. Jesus says, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27) What about you? What are some ways for you to rest?
A picture of a box of Macarons which I had when I was in Australia. Such is life. There is a different flavour for each day. Each day is to be savoured and enjoy. Let’s give thanks to God for our gift of life. He ordains our days.

The Rhythm

As created beings, it is important to find a balance between work and rest. When it is time to work, we are partnering with God to do the work He has entrusted to us. We put in all of our best efforts and attention. When it is time to rest, we rest fully from our work to enjoy Communion with God and His creations. We work to use the gifts God has given to us. We rest to enjoy God’s gifts for us. When we are overworked, it will bring negative impacts our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual states. When we are mentally and physically tired, we will produce poorer quality of work. We will also become easily agitated and it leads to strains in relationships, especially with those we care about. When we are spiritually exhausted, we can’t find joy in our relationship with our Creator. Our Creator too, rested after He had created the universe. It says in Genesis 2:2-3, “On the seventh day, God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” In the 10 Commandments God gave to Israelites, God commanded them to rest and keep the Sabbath holy. Sabbath is a day when God also rested, and He wanted His people to be rested too. Sabbath is God’s desire to be in a communion with His people. So, keeping the Sabbath is to live out of this communion that we are God’s people. In Ezekiel 20:12, God says, “I gave them my sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, so that they might know that I the Lord sanctify them”. For us today, we rest on The Lord’s Day, Sunday. This is to rememeber that Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday. In the New Testament, Jesus encouraged His disciples to rest. Rest is more that just recuperating from a busy week. We can nap and be refreshed but we are invited to a deeper rest in Jesus. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). This rest Jesus offers allows us to surrender everything to Him: our minds, hearts, plans, wills. We let go of this and focus our gaze upon Jesus. With God’s help, let’s have a healthy rythm between work and rest. We work hard and let us “rest” hard too. Let us be refreshed in His friendship and in His love.
Rest and enjoy God’s creation

In the Garden

During this lockdown, I appreciate my dad’s garden even more than before.

I go to the garden every morning, enjoying the different species of flowers and plants. It is a restful place to be still and to pray. I enter the house rejuvenated.

Jesus’ invites us to spend time with Him, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)

Are you surrendering your cares and worries to Him? Are you finding rest in Him? Let’s go to Him for He gives us rest.