IG highlights of NGL Q&A can be found here.
Q1. Do you think it’s okay to spend on slightly expensive food or clothes as a Christian?
This is such a timely question, given that I’m speaking on God’s provision this Sunday!
The simple answer is YES- it’s okay, but what makes my heart smile at this question is the earnestness behind it to honor God with our stewardship.
I used to think less/cheaper is better. I remember when we organized our wedding, I was so wrecked with guilt for spending on something as “frivolous” as a wedding.
But God blew my mind when after we heeded His call to give away all our wedding angpow to 2 anti-sex trafficking ministries, He lavished on us a sponsored garden wedding in Toronto Botanical Gardens for what might be less than a tenth of the costs.
He reminded me that His first miracle of turning water into wine was at a wedding banquet.
What these two narratives reveal to me is God’s heart- He loves to bless us, He loves to CELEBRATE and He’s not short of resources.
He’s no miser! He’s God!
But I hear your desire to be a good steward. And I believe we can be that AND shake off a poverty mindset!
I’ll give you an example- between buying a $8-latte at a coffee shop and a $1.40 Teh (local tea) at a kopitiam (local coffee shop), I’d opt for the latter any day. I tell my children they can’t have Udders ice cream all the time! It’s a TREAT.
Cliff and I use a budgeting app. We believe it’s wise to save and spend prudently.
But I also know God is no man’s debtor.
Matthew 6:33 tells us: Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you!
HE KNOWS OUR NEEDS!
There have been so many times He’s provided for us so creatively- that I no longer shy away from “I can’t want that because it’s good quality and thus expensive.”
Your question is about spending on “slightly” more expensive clothes and food- I don’t think that’s wrong because 1 Cor 10:31 says “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
So if you’ve made it with principles of wisdom, prudence and stewardship (you’re not busting the bank, you give regularly to others, it’s not exorbitant…) then, why not?
But it’s through the little things really, that help us know God knows our hearts.
A lil’ anecdote- after I’d finished the F45 trial, there was no way our budget allowed for me to continue. I was really disappointed.
But I just prayed and asked God to help me let it go, and yet help provide for me.
A poverty mindset would just say- “it’s expensive, trash it.”
A faith-filled mindset says, “God, I’m willing to let it go, but I also want to trust You can provide.”
Two days after my trial ended, an unexpected National Day promo provided a 33% discount- which was exactly what I needed to fit our budget (I have to adjust down other things)! I knew God knew.
If you’d love to learn more about a healthy perspective of God’s provision and seeing Him as our provider, look out for one my new signature messages- God, my Provider on Kitedreams Youtube in the coming weeks.
Q2. what happens if i’ve struggled with sexual immorality? what do i do
Oh friend, you’re so brave.
My heart aches and beans for you for reaching out.
Remember this, no sin is too grave for God to forgive.
Your love life is not “all over.”
Shame keeps you hiding your sin. Then it stifles and haunts you. Confession, repentance and healing break that.
You’re not alone.
Your life is not all over.
Remember David, who sinned, and repented and is now known for all ages as a “man after God’s own heart.”
You’re loved, friend.
As with any sin, the first step to freedom is
1. CONFESSION (first to God, and then to a trusted mentor- like a safe pastoral person who can hold space for you) and
2. REPENTANCE (which means turning in the opposite direction) before God.
3. Your third step would be to SEEK INNER HEALING, to get to the root of the sin.
Else, if the root (e.g. fear of rejection, need for approval etc) isn’t dealt with, it can manifest in other ways or worse, return again.
Seek out your pastors, mentors or check out Ellel Ministries, or Restoring the Foundations Ministry.
I hope this helps, friend!
You’re so brave!
Q3. Hi Wai Jia I’m really inspired by your missions to Africa! I personally feel a burden for refugees and want to do missions in this area but its been challenging finding like-minded young people in church. How can I connect with mission-minded people resonating with missions/refugees outside church?
Finding your “tribe” is never easy, especially when you have such a unique call!
1. Pray! Sounds obvious, but every time I needed a particular type of community or mentor, I’ve always started by praying. Make your prayers specific!
2. Google. There are probably groups of like minded people, especially in today’s day and age whom you can connect with, either in Singapore or globally.
3. Go to a Christian bookstore and ask for Christian mission books. You’ll probably find a number of authors with links to their ministries etc. That’s a good place to start.
No straightforward answers from me- but principles to guide you with!
May the Lord be your guide!
Q4. How to cope with chronic physical pain while continuing to believe for God’s healing?
I’m sorry that you’re struggling with physical pain. That is hard on many levels.
Let me first say that although I’ve had a Grade 3 hamstring tear that left me in a wheelchair, undergone 2 drug-free home births and struggle with injuries that have lasted months, and have previously struggled with major depression on and off for years…
…I’ve don’t suffer from chronic physical pain currently.
I do, however, have injuries that limit and constrain me, and which bring on tears when I get frustrated.
I know how debilitating pain can be. My heart aches for you.
Having said that, I hope what I’ll share with you will not belittle your experience, but encourage you to seek God amidst your pain.
I know we’re supposed to trust God for healing and breakthrough.
I know we’re supposed to be brave, have faith and maybe the world might tell us to “suck it up” with willpower, but the truth is —
Pain is a very real and human part of our existence and experience.
Don’t resist it.
Here’s one of my central go-tos when I cannot understand why God doesn’t take my pain away, and how to reconcile having faith to believe while still struggling.
While I believe in God’s power, and His love for us, I also believe not all our pains or illnesses may be taken away.
These verses tell me- that God might not take away all our pain in this lifetime.
It’s not that He’s a masochist, or just sitting around waiting to “test” us. Pain is a mystery, and we will never have all the answers on this side of eternity.
But I do know, that even amidst the pain and many unknowns, He longs for us to seek Him even in our sufferings and questions.
So, this morning after my workout, I felt awful.
I was frustrated that I couldn’t push myself in many of the exercises that morning because of my weak and painful wrist and finger joints.
When I sat down outside, your question about chronic pain came to mind, and I thought about answering it practically, about how to cope.
It’s one thing to wrap your mind around the spiritual aspect, and then another to get by day by day trusting God and keeping your own spirits up.
Here’s sharing how I’ve been coping with this frustrating pain that comes and goes-
1. Accept my limitations.
– I cannot do everything others can do, and that is OK. It doesn’t make me less of a person, even if I feel so.
2. Modify, modify, modify.
Friend, don’t let pain rob you of your joy. Sometimes I tell myself I don’t wanna show up and look like a weak loser, but show up anyway. Make modifications to help you enjoy what you used to. I couldn’t do some of the hard stuff, but the trainer helped me still get a good workout.
3. Don’t compare.
Once you do, it’s all over. Fix your eyes on Jesus.
4. Get help.
Getting real physical and pastoral help is not weakness or a lack of faith. If you’d tell a friend in pain to see a doctor, why wouldn’t you allow yourself to? I’m seeing my occupational therapist soon, too!
5. Mine your pain.
Pain is a GOLD MINE. Don’t waste it, mine it!
Ask God- what do you want me to learn?
My finger and wrist injuries constantly remind me to rest my joints, not to overwork through typing, and to let go of replying to every message. It’s helped me be more present for my kids. And to trust God to heal me when my heart is back in the right place.
6. Trust God.
Although it’s very tempting, don’t let pain deceive you into believing that God doesn’t love you. He disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6). I’m NOT saying all pain is discipline, but I know mine for now, is.
Q5. This question relates to false humility that’s so common Asians, eg. when people praise you, because of your own self doubt, you dismiss the affirmation with “no lahh”.. When people call you a role model but you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, what kind of self talk goes on in head?
Wow, what a question!
It reflects a deep self-awareness you have, which is a gift in itself ☺️
I absolutely resonate with the internal conflict you might be facing- the mixed feelings between desiring praise/approval and yet feeling not-good-enough.
I’m honored that you asked me this question.
Here’s how the self talk in my head goes…
I know I’m not the best, and man, I really don’t feel like an expert at all…
… but if someone has made him it herself vulnerable and brave enough to tell me that he/she looks up to me, or aspires to be like me, or is encouraged by me, the least I can do is to hold space for that person, honor his/her heart and say a wholehearted THANK YOU.
Indeed, I may not be the best but I don’t need to be.
Everyone has something they can learn from someone else.
Everyone has something to impart to someone else.
We’re all on a continuum of learning and giving.
So, let me give thanks for this moment knowing that I’ve been salt and light to someone else.
This is what I tell myself when I meet followers or people on the street who recognize me, because I think the worst thing I could do is say, “No la,” and invalidate the vulnerability and courage it took them to give affirmation to me.
I honor them instead when I look them in the eye and say with all my heart, “Aww, thank you.”
Q6. how do I keep trusting that God writes my love story even as I continue to wait? should I just give up?
Ahh friend, it’s hard to wait, isn’t it?
I’ve been there.
I hated it when everyone was getting attached. I never had a boyfriend until I was 25. Some days, I felt really awful being single.
The best way I knew how to grow my trust was reading. Reading the right kind of books (NOT romantic fiction) helped sow seeds of faith, patience and hope in my life, trusting that God knows and is keenly aware of how I’m feeling and what I’m going through.
I know loneliness is hard, and there is no real “instant cure,” but here’s sharing a list of my favorite books and personal synopses I wrote while I struggled with waiting on God.
So… no, don’t give up. But learn to see this season as one of deepening your surrender and learning to let God, let go.
Q7. I listened to Lean In recently and would like to hear your thoughts on how Christians fall into depression even when hindsight shows us how good God is. I’m aware that previous testimonies don’t make us immune to depression but I’m having trouble reconciling it fully. Tq for answering w such grace!
Wow, first of all, thank you for making time to listen to “Lean In!”
Depression is a troublesome Christian topic for many, so it’s a very good question to ask!
I think what you shared revealed something very insightful- that the knowledge of God’s goodness doesn’t absolve us from the brokenness of our fallen world.
The truth is- life is hard.
Depression is one of those things that reminds us of our humanity.
David, Jeremiah, Elijah were all great men of God who suffered from depression.
So, over the years, as I’ve struggled with it on and off over several years, I’ve learned to see it no longer as a “bad thing,” or a “weak thing for weak Christians.”
Rather, I’ve come to embrace and see it as being part of the spectrum of our human experiences, and one, in particular, which we can dig deep and mine gem-like pearls of wisdom to last for lifetimes to come, or one that can leave us bitter with God.
That’s how I see it, I hope this helps!
Q8. hi! how do you deal with questions, if any, about your husband as a SAHD and people assuming he’s in a “lesser” role? I face this challenge and find it hard for my husband to find acceptance in social circles where the man is seen as having to “earn more” and “bring home the bacon”. any advice?
Mama, I’m so sorry you’re facing this!
It’s hard! I wish I could tell you a pat answer like “find your security in God alone,” but man, having walked through that journey with Cliff, we know how hard it can be!
We are human, and all long to be part of a connected community where we can feel accepts, affirmed and belonged.
Sometimes, when these questions come from Christian circles, they can be all the more piercing!
Here’s sharing what worked for us:
1. Create space in your marriage for hard conversations.
There may be days your husband might feel absolutely demoralized and grumpy, and it’s no good to tell him to “snap out of it and find your security in God.” By doing that, we shut one another out. (I’m sure you don’t do this!)
But what helped us tremendously was being honest with each other what we were each going through, carrying each burdens without judgment.
2. Create your own community.
Frustrated with comments at cocktails and socials? Drop them!
Connect with other like-minded people. Pray for and seek out your tribe! There a thousand over other SAHDs in Singapore at the moment. Reach out. Hit Cliff up, drop him a note on IG!
3. Be a duck.
I used to get really frustrated by Christian women telling me to be less successful or ambitious or to “create opportunities for my husband in speaking.” That does not honor my husband nor myself at all.
But when I learn to see through their lenses, I realize they’re not being malicious! Their intents are far from that!
That helps me release bitterness and let their words flow off like water off a duck’s back. I take things better in my stride, and Cliff and I have a good laugh about comments that would otherwise cause grief and heartache.