Are you running on Empty? Yes. Are you a lover of hot beverages and in desperate need of a new mug? YES!….Sold! Ha…well, it didn’t actually say that last bit on the box but it might as well have. Even as I stuffed my brand new purchase in my already bulging handbag, away from any judgmental prying eyes and fumbled to get the zip closed…I was already mentally trying to rearrange the kitchen cupboard back home to be able to accommodate my new mug.
I’m a sucker for sales, bargains, genius products and clever inventions. Yes, I’ll admit I even trust infomercials on TV…*covers face*. Cool packaging and clever captions is another thing that catches my eye…as seen on Nescafe cappuccino sachet packets and Glaceau vitamin water….(No I don’t just know this stuff…it comes with the territory of working in a supermarket. Fellow shopaholics and foodies…you can thank me later). You heard me, I’m Wong and I’m a shopaholic.
When you cross a shopaholic who has not seen the inside of a shopping mall in over half a year with….well a shopping mall. You can cue Taylor Swift’s “Sparks fly” because that is exactly what happens. There are fireworks and the swooshing sound of bank cards swiping followed by the gut-wrenching sound of message tones as the bank pleasantly reminds you that nothing comes for free, before you decide to finally silence your mobile betrayer and banish it to the bottom of the safe haven that has become your said handbag. And then after that it’s all a blur of magical, mystical bliss until you realize you have to start compromising and should probably start thinking of getting home now because the city is not safe at night for a lady travelling lite*.
But that was not the best part of my city sabbatical. That came next. An impromptu slumber party with my girlfriends I hadn’t seen in months. There were hugs and tears, chick flicks and candy. and an endless supply of coffee because yes, we would be up all night. Bonding time is always good. it’s a breather in an otherwise chaotic schedule and breathers are good to reflect on your life, how far have you come? What new things have you done? What are you going to do next…
The next day I got to go to my church. Another highlight. I had missed my friends, family, my serving team. It was a joyful occasion all around. Though one thing was recurrent, the questions. Where have you been? What have you been doing? When are you coming back?…all routine and expected but it made me think. Had I been so focused on when I would be ‘back’? With my friends? In the city? Where life was happening? Did I get so caught up in the countdown that I had forgotten to enjoy and live in the moment? Oh I got a job, just to make ends meet until I can come back. Or I’m living in this little town, saving up so I can come back. Back to where?
Imagine my surprise when the song we concluded our worship session with was Matt Redman’s 10,000 reasons. It sounded great while it was led by our powerful praise team, backed up by our full band with all the trimmings, booming from our surround sound system in our magnificent hall. I had missed this! But what surprised me wasn’t how good it sounded. It was just the simple realization that God is still God no matter where we go. Because back home, we sang the same song, sitting around a fire, backed by only the simple melody of an acoustic guitar. Guess what? It was still just as beautiful.
Inasmuch as I had loved living in the city, it wasn’t who I was. My whole life wasn’t meant to be dependent on where I was. But what I was, while I was. What difference was I making in the place God had positioned me for now? Was I still pursuing my dreams and pursuing my passions? What if I died in the ‘wilderness’ because I was waiting for the promised land? What account would I give at the pearly gates? One thing to remember is we are never in the wrong place to serve God. He can use you anywhere, anyhow and any time. Let’s not get so caught up in waiting that we stop being, serving, loving…2 Corinthians 2:14-15 talks of us being a fragrance wherever we go.
Bloom where you are planted.