Social Media: You Have One Voice

There are many valid evidences to convince one about the harm brought about by the social media of our days. From being a platform for dangerous indulgence of narcissism (‘Selfie obsessed’ teenager Danny Bowman suicidal after failing to capture ‘the perfect selfie’) to extreme cases of cyber bullying (Bullied teen kills herself in front of her family), or from facilitating hate speeches and fake news circulation (as seen rampant in Indonesia recently) to actually enabling extremists promote their ideology and radicalize others (Indonesia woman planning to be suicide bomber worked in Singapore).

Let’s just say that there are 1001 voices out there, in and through the social media. The wise will exercise caution in filtering and digesting their information consumption, no doubt. Some will do well by distancing themselves from it altogether.

But every user has one voice. Among the 1001, there may be some true, good, and helpful contents; there must be. And where else will such voices come from if not from the fingertips of those who know the truth, the good and what is helpful?

Every one of us is entrusted with a voice. Let truth, hope and love be sounded in the polluted streams of information of our days. For we are living in the days when the world can be made a better (or worse) place from behind the keyboard.

“Finally, let all whom God has entrusted with the talent of writing well on theology, take heed to not hide it in a napkin or bury it in the earth. Never was there a time when there was greater need of good thinking and writing to counteract the floods of error, which are coming now from a thousand sources.

Never was there a time when the effect of good writing was so extensive.

By unprecedented means we have opportunity to circulate truth and opinion throughout the world. If godly men sleep, there is no doubt that the enemy will sow his tares plentifully.

Let the friends of truth, therefore, be watchful and wise, and on the alert to seize opportunities to enlighten the world with the pure doctrines of the word of God.”
– Archibald Alexander, 1837

Hidup Hemat: Kebajikan dari Masa Lampau

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(This is the Indonesian translation of the original post Frugality: Virtue of The Past, as it was meant to be a tribute to my parents, who will better understand the article in their national language.)

Baru-baru ini saya nganterin anak ke pesta ulang tahun temannya, biasalah, kalau sudah punya anak, kita pada cuma jadi supir atau bodyguard, anak-anak inilah yang menjadi tamunya. Sore itu cuaca panas dan acaranya di ruang terbuka, pas sekali para tamu disuguhi cemilan Es Ganefo – es yang biasanya dibuat dengan membekukan minuman bermacam rasa dalam wadah plastik silinder. Sering juga dikenal dengan sebutan Es Lilin.

Gegara Es Ganefo ini, saya jadi teringat kenangan masa kecil, kenangan baik yang membuat kangen. Oh bukan, saya bukannya sering jajan Es Ganefo semasa kecil, saya lebih sering dengar cerita tentang Es Ganefo. Soalnya Es Ganefo ini obyek ceramah favorit Papa di rumah, semacam kuliah beliau di meja makan.

“Kalian ini tidak sadar diri seberuntung apa ya? Waktu Papa seumur kalian, Papa mesti keliling-keliling berpanas-panas jualan Es Ganefo naik sepeda!”, begitulah Papa memulai ceramahnya, “Yaa elahhh Es Ganefo, Es Ganefo lagiiii…”, pikir kami diam-diam.

Orangtua kami memegang standar yang ketat kalau urusan membelanjakan uang. Seperti umumnya etnis Cina keturunan generasi mereka, mereka besar dalam masa yang sulit. Mereka mengalami dan tau jelas apa itu hidup miskin dan berkekurangan.

“Habiskan makananmu!”
Papa selalu membelikan makanan apa saja yang kami minta, tapi jangan coba-coba menyisakan makanan sehingga terbuang. “Tidak tau bersyukur ya kalian ini, waktu kami kecil, mau makan yang kalian buang ini pun kami tak bisa! Tau tidak, mie pansit pun kami cuma bisa makan setahun sekali!” Belum lagi cerita beliau tentang gulai ikan.. “Kami delapan bersaudara kalau mau makan gulai ikan, cuma bisa beli ikannya satu, minta kuahnya sepanci.”

Soal mainan, Papa sedikitpun tidak melonggarkan standar. Saya masih ingat dua kalinya saya pernah minta dibelikan mainan. Yang satu adalah boneka beruang berwarna ungu saat masih duduk di bangku TK. Berkali-kali kami mendatangi toko kelontong penjual boneka ini, dengan rengekan yang tidak berhenti, akhirnya saya dibelikan juga. Yang satunya lagi adalah Playstation set, kira-kira sewaktu saya kelas 4 SD. Saya dan adik terus-menerus meminta untuk dibelikan Playstation. Setelah lama didesak terus, akhirnya beliau mengalah, tapi bukan tanpa mengomeli kami dengan “Bapakmu tukang cetak duit ya.”

Sering juara kelas itu tidak bisa dijadikan alasan untuk minta dibelikan macam-macam mainan. Nilai bagus untuk mainan? Tujuan pendidikan kami bukan untuk sesuatu yang sedangkal itu.

Segala sesuatu pakainya harus hemat. Kami paling takut kalau Papa sudah mulai merapikan isi lemari TV, biasanya tanpa terduga. Kalau sudah kami lihat Papa mulai beberes, biasanya kami cepat-cepat kabur ke kamar. Tak lama pasti terdengar omelan Papa sambil mengumpulkan banyak penghapus, pensil dan barang-barang kami lainnya yang kami sangka sudah lama hilang dari dalam lemari. “Terus! Beli baru, beli baru terus ya!”

Almarhumah Nenek dari pihak Papa bahkan lebih ketat lagi standarnya. Pernah sekali saya dimarahi beliau karena minta pulpen baru setelah menghilangkan yang lama. “Kecil-kecil sudah royal ya! Besar mau jadi apa?” Padahal juga bukan Montblanc (memang sih anak kelas 2 SD juga tidak kenal Montblanc), cuma pulpen murah yang semua anak tahun 90an pasti pernah punya. “Tuh kan, memang keturunan..”, kami biasa bergosip dengan para sepupu. Kaum Hainan memang katanya menjunjung tinggi nilai berhemat. Tapi untuk anak-anak seperti kami pasti berpikir itu namanya pelit. Tiga sepupu kami bahkan berasal dari kelompok dialek yang lebih hemat lagi dari kaum Hainan. Kami hanya bisa menyelamati mereka, semoga bertahan.

Kami juga dilatih untuk memakai air dan listrik secara teliti. (Setelah bertahun-tahun diomeli, mematikan saklar ketika meninggalkan ruangan itu menjadi kebiasaan yang otomatis, seolah-olah akan ada alarm yang berbunyi kalau lupa mematikan.) Menampung air dalam ember juga umum meskipun kamar mandi kami sudah modern.

“Coba jual kerupuk Jangek ini, baru kalian tahu untuk mendapatkan lima ratus rupiah itu usahanya seberapa.” (Kalau dikurs ke mata uang Singapura saat itu kira-kira senilai 10 sen.) Uang dinilai dengan kerja dan usaha, bukan dari bunga bank ataupun bunga saham, ini pegangan kami ketika membelanjakan uang. Jadi memang “uang hasil keringat” dalam arti sesungguhnya. Dalam enam bulan pertama saya di Singapura untuk studi, berat badan saya menurun sebanyak 8 kg. Sama halnya dengan kedua adik saya, berat badan mereka menurun banyak ketika awal-awal keluar kota melanjutkan studi. Datang dari kota kecil seperti Pematangsiantar, biaya hidup di kota besar, bahkan biaya sekali makan saja, bisa berkali-kali lipat dari normal kami. Wajar kalau kami akhirnya menghemat makan dengan ketat untuk mengurangi rasa bersalah kami yang sudah menghabiskan banyak uang hasil keringat orangtua (tentu saja orangtua sedih ketika tahu kami berbuat demikian).

Dengan begitu banyak omongan tentang bagaimana kami harus hidup hemat, mungkin membuat orang berpikir bahwa Papa seorang kikir yang pantang mengeluarkan satu peser pun. Tapi kebiasaan keluarga kami seminggu sekali untuk makan bersama di luar, dan juga pemakaian uang untuk Mama berbelanja pakaian maupun untuk tujuan amal menunjukkan sebaliknya. Kuncinya mungkin bukan ‘tidak membelanjakan uang’, melainkan ‘memanfaatkan uang secara bijak dan bertanggungjawab’. Sesungguhnya nilai uang itu terletak justru pada penggunaannya, sebab uang yang diam dan tersimpan selamanya itu sama tidak bergunanya seperti talenta yang terkubur dalam perumpamaan Yesus tentang talenta, atau seperti seguci kepingan emas yang terkubur dan akhirnya dicuri dalam salah satu  dongeng karangan Aesop, tanpa guna di dalam simpanan.

Adalah bijak untuk mengingat pentingnya uang, tetapi kita pun harus berhati-hati untuk tidak menggelembungkan uang hingga melampaui ukuran sepantasnya. “Ingat, jangan memandang koin uang sampai sebesar roda pedati.”, demikian nasihat rutin Papa. Kalimat inilah yang menjadi penyeimbang terhadap semua ajaran beliau tentang pentingnya uang dan berhemat.

Kini, kami mengelola rumah tangga kami sendiri dan membesarkan anak-anak kami sendiri dalam kehidupan yang cukup nyaman di Singapura. Mungkin tidak lagi ada keperluan untuk hidup berhemat. Hemat itu tidak gampang, tidak nyaman, dan tidak menyenangkan. Tapi kita sejatinya sedang melakukan pembodohan terhadap diri dan anak-anak kita kalau kita berpikir dan mengajarkan bahwa hidup hemat dan beririt itu hanya respon semata terhadap masa sulit. Rasa berkecukupan, bersahaja, pengendalian diri, pemakaian sumber daya yang bertanggungjawab, dan tenggang rasa terhadap kaum tak berpunya yang dipupuk melalui kebiasaan hidup irit, uang lebih yang boleh disisihkan dari hidup berhemat untuk tujuan amal; kebajikan-kebajikan seperti inilah yang menjadikan kita manusia yang lebih baik. Seperti kata William J. Bennett, anak-anak (manusia) itu pada dasarnya adalah makhluk moral dan rohani, dan inti dari pendidikan adalah nilai-nilai kebajikan.

Orangtua yang memaksa dan melatih anak-anaknya untuk hidup irit mungkin bukan orangtua yang disenangi (untung saja mereka tidak mempermasalahkan suka tidaknya kita kepada mereka). Setiap didikan memang sepertinya tidak menyenangkan pada saat diterapkan, namun seiring waktu ia menghasilkan buah kebenaran dan damai bagi mereka yang dilatih olehnya (kitab Ibrani 12:11). Melihat ke belakang, saya mensyukuri dan mengagumi dedikasi orangtua dalam menerapkan hidup hemat dan sikap irit. Semoga saya pun bisa mewariskan kebajikan ini kepada generasi selanjutnya.

“Isilah pikiranmu dengan semua yang benar, semua yang mulia, semua yang adil, semua yang suci, semua yang manis, semua yang sedap didengar, semua yang disebut kebajikan dan yang terpuji.” – Rasul Paulus, kitab Filipi 4:8

Frugality: Virtue of The Past

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I went to a birthday party recently, my daughter’s friend’s party to be exact because once you are a parent you don’t get to attend a birthday party as the guest anymore, your kids do. It was a warm outdoor party, and we were aptly served Ice Ganefo – frozen snacks made by freezing flavored liquid in a clear and slim plastic tube. It is also known as ‘Es Lilin’ in Indonesian.

The thing about this Ice Ganefo is, it brings me back to my childhood. Fond memories, they are. No, I didn’t grow up eating it, I grew up hearing about it. It’s my father’s favorite topic of preaching, his kind of ‘table talk’.

“You bunch of ungrateful brats, be mindful of how fortunate you are! When I was your age I would be out there under the hot sun selling sticks of ice Ganefo on bike!”, he would start his lecture and we would roll our eyes thinking “here comes the ice Ganefo. Again..”

My parents were very strict about how money was spent. As was common for the Indonesian Chinese of their generation, they grew up in a tough time. They knew poverty and were acquainted with wants first hand.

“Finish up your food!”
While we were never denied the food we crave, leaving food to waste was a big sin in our family. “How ungrateful! In our childhood, we didn’t even dream to enjoy what you are wasting now. Wonton noodle is a once a year treat, you know!” And don’t get him started on the curry fish; “…we eight siblings would carry an empty pan to buy only one curry kembong fish while asking for a full pan of gravy…”

On toys, my father was no less strict. I still remember the two times I pressed him hard to buy me certain toys. One was a purple teddy bear, I was in my kindy. We visited the mama-shop several times with me nagging constantly before I finally got the teddy. The other one was the Playstation set, probably when I was in grade 4. My younger brother and I pestered him a lot and for a long time, he gave in but not without nagging back at us with “Right, your father is a money printer.”

Topping the class regularly had no bargaining power on him. Toys for score? Our purpose of education was never for something so banal and shallow.

Resources were to be used thriftily. As kids we dreaded the moment when our father would declutter the TV cabinets, which he did unpredictably once in a blue moon. We would all quickly siam* to the bedroom at the first sign of it. Because soon enough, he would be heard nagging while digging out many of our ‘supposedly-already-gone-missing’ erasers, pencils, and whatever sorts of stationary. “Everything buy new, buy new, buy new…”

My late paternal grandmother was even more strict. I was once strongly rebuked by her for asking for a new pen, having misplaced one previously. “What a young spendthrift! What will you be when you grow up?” No Montblanc here (not that a grade two kid would know a Montblanc anyway), just a simple pink with white stripes pen all the 90’s kids probably owned before. “See, it’s running in the bloodlines,” we cousins would gossip among ourselves. The Hainanese pride themselves for being frugal, or so we heard. But to us kids, it was just plain stingy. And three of our cousins are from a paternal dialect group that is known to be even more frugal. We bid them good luck.

We were trained to use water and electricity mindfully. (After years of being nagged at, turning off the switches when leaving the room just became a second nature, as if an alarm would go off if you stepped out while leaving one switch on). Having pails of water in our modernized bathroom is also common.

“Sit here and try selling this Kerupuk Jangek (fish cracker) then you’ll know how much effort goes into earning your 500 rupiahs.” (That’s probably the equivalent of 10 cents in Singapore currency of that time.) Money is valued by the amount of real work, so we are to base our calculation on this when spending. It’s hard-earned money in its literal sense. When I first came to Singapore to study, I lost 8 kgs in the first 6 months. Just as my two younger brothers did as they went to major cities for further study as well. Coming from a small town as Pematangsiantar, the cost of living, or a mere meal, in big cities is many times our normal. So we naturally skimped on meals to ease our guilt for spending so much of the hard-earned money from home (to our parents’ heartache of course).

With so much talk about thriftiness and frugality, one would probably think of my father as a scrooge who clutches his wallet tight unwilling to part with a buck. But our weekly family dining out and his approval for my mother’s occasional wardrobe spending and charity commitment proved otherwise. The key is probably not ‘not spending the money’, but rather ‘spending it wisely and responsibly’. Indeed, its meaning lies in its spending, for an idle, or permanently kept money is as no-good as the buried talent in Jesus’ Parable of The Talents, or the buried gold coins that were stolen away in one of Aesop’s fables, being good for nothing in the keeping.

While it is important to acknowledge the importance of money, one must also guard against magnifying it unproportionally. “In your mind, do not enlarge the coin to the size of the cart wheel, ” is my father’s regular advice. And it provides the much needed balance to our view of frugality.

Today, as we run our own household and parent our own kids in a generally comfortable life in Singapore, the need for practicing frugality may be virtually nonexistent. It is inconvenient, it is uncomfortable, it is unpopular. But we are fooling ourselves and our children if we are to believe frugality is merely a response to hard times. The contentment, modesty, self-discipline, responsible stewardship and empathy towards the needy it instills, the extra resource for charity it affords; virtue makes us better human. As William J. Bennett pointed out, children, human, are essentially moral and spiritual beings and the central task of education is virtue.

My father, and the elders who insisted frugality on us, might not be the most likable adults of our childhood (as if they’d care). But no discipline seems pleasant at the time, only later does it produce a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Looking back, I admire and am grateful for the persistent pursuit of a frugal life instilled by our elders, and I wish to carry this legacy forward to the next generation.

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” – Saint Paul

*siam: evade in Hokkian/Singlish.

The Important Thing

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It’s late in the afternoon, the house is still in a mess, and I am tired of the situation.

Young Missy does not fancy the idea of self entertaining in the playpen and she makes sure to announce her disliking really loudly. Meanwhile, Big Missy is demanding for her fifth copy of the day of Mommy’s Joseph in his many colored robe, with the jealous brothers in the background, followed by a reconciliation scene complete with the Pharaoh witnessing the touching moment in the background. Seriously, with her “do-it-again-ism” this little girl is far more demanding than all my ex clients and lecturers combined.

I think to myself surely I am made for more than this, am I not? I could have done many other more important things with my time. And I need a break, really. Just how I wish I could lock myself up, put up my legs on the sofa, sip some kopi-peng and plug in the snuggest earpieces I could find so I wouldn’t have to hear the girls.

Wonderful.

Yet another thought hits back.

O woman, you are at ground zero of living out what it means to imitate Christ. For back then it could have been when the Master was needing rest did the disciples rebuked the people for bringing children to Him, so that He might bless them. But rather than shutting Himself out of the crowd and taking the rest His body needed for many other more important works waiting for Him, the Scripture recorded that

Jesus said “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them.” . . . And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them. (Mark 10:14-16)

Children are never too unimportant for Christ, and He is never too tired for them.

So over with your kopi-peng. Instead, down on your knees and ask for the love, strength and joy to go on loving and blessing your little girls. Yes, even if it means touring the house with the baby in your arms, and get another Joseph drawing done.

Nothing could have been more important at the moment.

*Days later I found out that the seemingly meaningless copies of those Joseph drawing turned out to be a process of repetitive observation for the Big Missy. By requesting it repeatedly, she was actually trying to copy the drawing herself, which she finally did.
Found this in her drawing pad some days after. =)

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Body and Soul

It is a most wonderful truth that the Lord God would delight in human body as much as in the soul. So much so that He took it on purpose to create human as spiritual and material being, and as if that weren’t enough, He gave His promise that when He returns in glory, not only our soul will enter the eternal blessedness but our very flesh too, reunited with our soul, be made perfect and glorious!
Praise the Lord for His unfathomable wisdom and love! (Think: literal heavenly culinary experience guaranteed for an eternity! :D)

On the flip side of the coin, back here at home, we are routinely absorbed in the care-taking of the bodies under the roof. Winning the bread, filling the tummies, clothing the naked. The needs of the body are many, urgent, and obvious.
Let us not forget that these bodies too, are one with their souls. And while the bodies thrive, well-fed and well-sheltered, let us also see to it that the souls are well nourished. For these souls need nothing less, if not more, of such care.
May God help us!

The President and Bedtime Story

Man of the people. Joko Widodo is the first President of Indonesia to come from outside the political establishment. Pic: AFP/ROMEO GACAD Source: AFP

Man of the people. Joko Widodo is the first President of Indonesia to come from outside the political establishment. Pic: AFP/ROMEO GACAD Source: AFP

photo source: http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/joko-widodo-rises-from-furniture-maker-to-indonesian-president/story-fn5tas5k-1226998692439

Yesterday, 22 July 2014, was monumental for the history of Indonesia. A new president has been elected, and it was no ordinary.

Yes.

Because the newly elected leader, Mr. Joko Widodo (better known as Jokowi) is an ordinary man. He is no political elite. He does not have big moneys to back his political campaign. In fact, he was a slum child, poor peasant. Someone probably like you and me. And worse (well, take that as ‘better’ in fact hehe) he has always been known for his clean and anti-corrupt reputation during his 7 years of serving as Mayor in Solo and 2 years as the Governor of Jakarta before running for presidency.

Not an Indonesian soul would have dreamed that this so-ordinary man would make his way to the Istana Negara! Not in a country where corruptions and bribes and dirty plays are the very rules of the politic game!

And yet, today Indonesia wakes up to a new light,new hope. If a Jokowi can be president, everyone can be too.

Honesty. Hard work. Integrity. The love for the people, and the country. All these values, this ‘naive-ness’, which we thought would never find a place in the politics, have in fact brought a Jokowi to the top post.

Yesterday, when the result was officially announced, I was reminded of my own skeptical thinking when I read my daughter her bedtime story sometime ago. It was the story of Abraham Lincoln, one of the most beloved presidents in the history of United States of America, the “Honest Old Abe”. The story is truly beautiful so please allow me to read to you too 🙂

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Honest Abe
Retold by Horatio Alger

Prologue:
It is surely no accident that the two most beloved American presidents, Washington and Lincoln, possessed a proverbial honesty. The following stories come from Horatio Alger’s Abraham Lincoln, The Backwoods Boy, published in 1883. (Alger, in turn, is drawing from earlier works.) The tales remind us that honesty in private life makes honesty in public office. More important, they show us that habits of a truthful heart begin early in life.

The Young Storekeeper

As a clerk he proved honest and efficient, and my readers will be interested in some illustrations of the former trait which I find in Dr. Holland’s interesting volume.

One day a woman came into the store and purchased sundry articles. They footed up two dollars and six and a quarter cents, or the young clerk thought they did. We do not hear nowadays of six and a quarter cents, but this was a coin borrowed from the Spanish currency, and was well known in my own boyhood.

The bill was paid, and the woman was entirely satisfied. But the young storekeeper, not feeling quite sure as to the accuracy of his calculation, added up the items once more. To this dismay he found that the sum total should have been but two dollars.

“I’ve made her pay six and a quarter cents too much,” said Abe, disturbed.

It was a trifle, and many clerks would have dismissed it as such. But Abe was too conscientious for that.

“The money must be paid back,” he decided.

This would have been easy enough had the woman lived “just round the corner,” but, as the young man knew, she lived between two and three miles away. This, however, did not alter the matter. It was night, but he closed and locked the store, and walked to the residence of his customer. Arrived there, he explained the matter, paid over the six and a quarter cents, and returned satisfied. If I were a capitalist, I would be willing to lend money to such a young man without security.

Here is another illustration of young Lincoln’s strict honesty:

A woman entered the store and asked for half a pound of tea.

The young clerk weighed it out, and handed it to her in a parcel. This was the last sale of the day.

The next morning, when commencing his duties, Abe discovered a four-ounce weight on the scales. it flashed upon him at once that he had used this in the sale of the night previous, and so, of course, given his customer short weight. I am afraid that there are many country merchants who would not have been much worried by this discovery. Not so the young clerk in whom we are interested. He weighed out the balance of the half pound, shut up the store, and carried it to the defrauded customer. I think my young readers will begin to see that the name so often given, in later times to President Lincoln, of “Honest Old Abe,” was well deserved. A man who begins by strict honesty in his youth is not likely to change as he grows older, and mercantile honesty is some guarantee of political honesty.

– The Book of Virtues, pp. 620-621

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Months ago, the story above would be just that to me, a bedtime story. But Jokowi has proven me wrong.

Yesterday, the world witnessed that Honesty is still of great value. Today, I can tell my kid “Be honest, be a president someday!”

First Thing First

6am

I got new great books last two weeks, thanks to Hubby 😉
Lately, with a very active and curious baby around, I had rarely any time for some good reading. You know, when you are a mom with young kid(s) your time is almost never your own heheh..

books

The titles suggest, especially the first book on top (the first one on my read list too btw!), definitely the very things every mom is curious about. And so I was determined to find time to read about how to shop for time. And thank God I did, hooray!

The book is AWESOME. Go read one yourself to believe it, your soul will thank you (and God, of course)! May I share with you one of the things they wrote in the book that had personally spoken to and challenged my convicted conscience..

It’s about the first thing first.

The top tips on how to shop for time is, according to the authors (who based it on biblical principal apparently), to rise up early. Chapter one and I am down already.

Waking up early in the morning is not my forte, no indeed it’s my weakest point, I resent it to the point that I’ll have difficulty falling asleep if I need to wake up early the next morning.

To desire sleep, maybe too much sleep, has been my struggle for many many years. It’s embarrassing to admit that sleep has been an idol in my heart. Doesn’t sound very serious yeah? Perhaps, precisely because it sounds trivial that I have let the sin linger for too long. Little did I realize the impact it had on my life.

For sleep, I have traded my personal time with the Lord, my opportunity to serve my husband every morning, and my being ready, fit and fresh to greet my baby girl and meet her needs effectively when she woke up in the morning. Yes, I am plagued with feelings of guilt every morning but I keep telling myself, excusing myself, that I will make it when things are better later on, when the baby is older, when the house is more under control, when I have rested enough, which I have to admit finally if I go on this way, chances are it will happen only when the Lord returns!

Need not to say, having my spiritual diet starved, the only natural result to my homemaking is the constant feeling of being overwhelmed with my daily chores, which make complaints felt just as natural as well, not to mention the short span of patience and tolerance towards my husband. Joy? Bearing fruit? You bet. It should have been obvious to me that it is impossible living a christian life apart from the Source. As Lord Jesus had said Himself, “..apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Convicted, I knew it was time to take the radical change.

06.00 o’clock in the morning. That’s my current goal. By right, that should make me an earlier bird than my husband is, but he was on the same resolution too so yeah haha.. I have been walking out of the bedroom to the dining table with my Bible for ten days now while it is still dark outside (note how often this phrase was recorded to describe the waking up time of the spiritual giants in the Bible, it’s not there for vain apparently).

Truth be told, I don’t wake up to the birds singing or some heavenly feeling. In fact, it feels miserable. I think it will still do for many mornings. I earned some pimples on my forehead and a big one on my chin from the sleeping hours cut off. But it is the truth also that the peace and joy and gladness one can experience from sitting at the Lord’s feet do flow into my life every morning and guide me for the rest of the day, everyday! On the practical note, waking up early means I have more time to do my work efficiently as well. Pimples are of small cost! (Fear not, my body adapts to my new habit fast and as I wake up early I go to bed early naturally.)

By God’s help, I seek to faithfully rise up early every morning and witness His grace transforming my life through the meditation of His Word and prayers.

If time is money, it would only be wise to spend it on the best deals. Sleep, apparently, is far too pale in comparison with the Life itself. Don’t you agree?