Grades, Friends and Faith: How I Renewed My Purpose in Life By Loving God First
Hello everyone! I’m Norah. I am 16 this year, and I am taking my O-Levels.
Since young, I have been a Christian, and I attended church every Sunday. However, sometimes I could not really understand the words that were shared as I found it difficult to apply it in my teenage life. Gradually, because I could not understand the Word of God, I started to be distant from God. I could not pray, I could not understand God at all, and I did not see the need to love Him. I thought of God as somewhat like a genie. When I needed help, I went to Him, and I knew He would be there for me. But other times I was not there for Him. As I only received freely without giving, I felt very stagnant in faith. I just went to church because my friends were there.
Even though I was just 14 years old, I felt so lost in my life. I knew there was a problem with the way I was living my life but I did not know how to resolve it. It was when I was at my lowest point, that I saw how God turned my life around.
Thus, I would like to share with you my story of how God helped me to come alive again and gain a new-found purpose. My faith was revolutionised!
Before I came to be more involved in faith, I had hit rock bottom in my teenage life (in 2019). At that time, friends and studies were everything to me. Prior to that, in 2018, I was known to be a bubbly and humorous girl. That characteristic of mine made me quite popular, and I came to have a close circle of friends, However, in 2019, after a huge misunderstanding with one of my friends, I became very quiet and withdrawn. I just could not find it in me to pluck up the courage to socialise with my friends again. This naturally made me more and more distant from them, since I was no longer as outgoing as I was in 2018.
As a result of my loneliness, I lost the strength to study. My grades dipped, and I was not close to anyone anymore. The worst part was that no one else seemed to relate to me, as everyone looked like they were going through the best times of their lives which made me feel even more alone. It felt like my whole world was crashing down and everything that I worked so hard to gain, like good friends and good grades in the previous year was instantly falling apart right in front of my eyes.
Everyday was a struggle to escape the endless agony and cycle of being ignored and forgotten. I still remember a time in February where I wondered when this period would end for me, and I hoped I would be better by the end of the year. I sought the world for solutions, like playing Brawl Stars and watching anime to fill up my lonely heart, but to no avail. So I selfishly sought God for him to put life back together magically. One of the options that was presented to me was to seek God through learning about him through the bible.
I had high hopes that 31st December 2019 would be that one day of the year that I can enjoy myself and at least conclude the year well, so that I could start 2020 better and renew myself. However, New Year’s Eve was a day I remember, not because it ended with happiness, but with tears. Nothing went well that day, life did not change magically as I hoped it could. I still felt lonely even with a new set of friends and even after taking some bible lessons. Life to me was meaningless. I cried for a long time and couldn’t sleep until the predawn hours that day. At that time I recalled a sharing about prayer, and entrusting to God. So on 1st January 2020, I called out to God at around 4.30 am, pleading with him to see a change in 2020, that life would be better than the extremely miserable year of 2019. And now, in 2021, I am glad to say that I cannot deny that God has fulfilled that prayer.
After I prayed, I finally felt hope and certainty that there would be change if I did it together with God. I just felt so refreshed to finally have a conversation where I could express myself after a whole year of being so reserved.
As I took bible lessons, I learned how to pray, and that helped me become close to God. I came to learn and understand that prayer is a conversation with God, and that the more I keep doing it, the closer I can get to God, like conversing with a friend. Thus, I came to know God’s love for me, and naturally, I was moved to love him back. And I made that my purpose. As I actualise faith in my daily life, by praying, reading the words, sermons, praising, and giving thanks without stopping regardless of school etc., I have come to see how God also works in my life, by answering my prayers or repaying me according to my deeds. Because I prayed, I was able to finally find a lasting circle of friends who are sincere in helping me, which is something I never had before, and this was the opportunity to open myself back up and be myself again :).
My life in 2020 turned 180 degrees as compared to 2019 and I really loved it. Although I was still lacking in many areas, one thing for sure is that I have come to learn how to love God and entrust to him my struggles and worries.
All the physical and spiritual help allowed me to overcome my reliance on media and being overly absorbed in all the anime characters. Living a life liberated from my ignorance towards God was truly a dream made possible through learning about Him perfectly through the Bible lessons. At the same time, my grades got better too. My mid-year examinations’ results drastically improved. Since I was able to cut off all media last year, my thoughts became clearer, and I had more time to study and strengthen my basic faith. I was also more focused during lessons and exams and I lived a very productive life during the circuit breaker.
Now I do not want to just seek God to fulfil only my purpose and to live a ‘better’ life on the earth, but I desire to live for God’s purpose, which is to live with God, loving Him with all my heart, will and life. And so I will not abandon God, even during the times when life becomes a little miserable, because I now know God’s heart and His unchanging love for me. I should do the same.
This year, I have made my constitution of waking up early and praying in order to really be closer to God, because that is the best time to meet God through prayer. In the Bible too, it was recorded that prophets also meet God at early hours. Our brain is also scientifically proven to be at its peak and more active during the early morning, allowing me to think more deeply and pray to God more intimately. Honestly, having this ‘constitution’ also allows me to do unfinished homework at the predawn.
In fact, for my common test at the start of this year. I was super tired the previous night before exams, then I had this inspiration: “how about I sleep at the right time, then wake up at dawn to continue studying”. So I did that, and studied for my physics, and my chemistry in the morning of the respective dates for each exam. And guess what? I scored an A1 for both papers! And I managed to top the class in Chemistry. What is even more miraculous is that when I was studying during the predawn time, I called out to God to guide me for my revision and asked Him to give me wisdom. In the end, what I studied for came out during the test! I think that was really cool and I was so amazed by God’s power. Truly it is so fun doing things together with God, grabbing the right time to do things!
So this year, I am determined to make it worth it. I cannot deny that I have changed a lot in my socialising skills, my maturity in faith and also in my love towards God. Although this year is a year with more struggles, it is also the year I have come to love God more deeply and my mentality has become stronger. I am also able to bounce back up in faith more quickly now.
I will keep going on this path of life until the end, because I know I am not walking this path alone, but with the stories I shared, I am reminded that God is always with me. And I hope that you know that God will be as close to you as much as you want Him to be.
When things are tough, I always remember my favourite scripture:
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
It was through God’s Word that I sought to find a purpose greater than my own – which is loving God. Previously, my purpose was to have a lot of friends and do well in my studies. However, through fulfilling this new but true purpose of loving God and living for Him, God also fulfilled the desires of my heart, which is to give me better friends and let me glorify Him well through good grades too.
I want to thank my friends who helped me during this journey and those who supported and prayed for me along the way. Most importantly, I want to thank God for providing me with such patient and wise friends who centred on the Lord to help me from where I was in 2019 to who I am in 2021!