God is Within Her
Before the 2018 prayer workshop for teenagers, I had always felt the need to excel in whatever I did – my academics, my co-curricular activity and many other external activities I had. I thought that only when I was outstanding enough that I would be loved by God and the people around me. I rarely turned to God because I thought that as long as I worked hard and put in my best efforts, I would be in control of my life. However, the turning point came when I felt that no matter how “exceptional” I was, there was always an emptiness in my heart.
Prayer had been a dispensable part of my life. I would place all the other activities as my priority. My priority had never been God because I thought I could do without him. I wanted to rely on myself to achieve all the successes in life. I wanted to be independent.
At the prayer workshop for teenagers, something which Father Terence shared with us struck me. “If you are not real to God in prayer, you will never have a true and deep relationship with him.” It got me thinking. Have I really been authentic in my relationship with God? Or had prayer just been a ceremonial act which I did to deceive myself into thinking that I was a devout Catholic?
He had also shared with us that prayer is not merely about petitions. It was more about glorifying, adoring and being grateful for all the blessings that God has showered on us in our lives.
Now, I set a fixed time in the morning just when I get up from my sleep to pray to God. I still face challenges in trying to listen to God and enter into silence without all my daily distractions. Thankfully, I have learnt to trust more in Him and to put my struggles, burdens and negative emotions all into His hands. The best way for God to heal is to place all the broken pieces of our hearts to Him. I still fear but I’m grateful that at 18, I realise how paramount it is to place God at the centre of my life.
There are many moments in my life when I am filled with so much apprehension. However, now as I start to spend more time in genuine prayer and remind myself that God loves me, I no longer feel the need to prove my worthiness to people. It is like a heavy load of my shoulders as I allow God to enter my life, walk beside me and carry the cross together with me
To all of you out there who are also struggling, who are on the verge of giving up, who are so exhausted, turn to God, put everything into His hands and allow Him to take charge. Because it was not the nails that that held Him on the cross. It was love.
By Rebecca Tan