Written By Aryanto Wijaya, Originally in Bahasa Indonesia
If you’ve been active on social media lately, you would’ve seen the #10YearChallenge hashtag, along with side-by-side photos of your friends from 10 years ago and now, dominating your Facebook and Instagram feeds.
While I had fun looking at the physical changes my friends and I had undergone in the past 10 years, this trend also prompted me to think about other changes that have taken place in my life over the years.
I had already started thinking about this question since the week before, when one of my church leaders asked us to think about what the biggest changes in our lives have been since we accepted Christ.
The question left the whole class speechless. We looked at each other and smiled. It wasn’t until our leader singled us out one by one, that we began answering the question.
The answers we all came up with were very different. Most of my friends shared that they have become more patient, more energetic, or more grateful. When it was my turn to answer, I reflected on my life, and realized that I had gone through an incredible journey in the past 10 years.In 2009, I was full of fears about the future, but now in 2019, I realized that most of these fears were unfounded—and life isn’t as scary as I imagined it to be.
Through the different transitions and life stages that I went through—starting from moving away from home to college, relocating to a different city for work, and dealing with the different family problems that I faced—God was me with each step of the way. While my journey in life is far from over, each storm that I have survived serve as a reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness in my life.
If I had to answer the question, “How has God worked in your life?” more specifically, my answer would be that He’s changed my perspective on life, and I’ve learned to cherish my life journey day by day. The past 10 years has taught me that our lives will never be free of problems, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed and sidetracked by them. However, if I leave them all in God’s hands, He might not change the circumstances that I’m facing, but He will definitely use the situations I face to shape me into the person He wants me to become. And that’s the kind of transformation that really matters.
Three years ago, I experienced a transition that shook me. After graduating from college and moving to a different city for work, I was very pessimistic about my future. I thought I made the wrong career choice since I found my job so unfulfilling. I also felt lonely in this new city, as I was living far away from my family and best friends. The problems before me felt so big that I didn’t see how I could overcome them.
But as time went by, I saw that I wasn’t truly alone—God was there with me. This knowledge changed the way I view my life and the work that I do.
I realized that my life is like a journey from the shore of a beach to the top of the hill. When I’m at the shore, the ocean is full of huge waves. As storms come, the waves grow bigger and stir up fear in my heart. But if I choose to keep going and focus on getting to the top of the hill, my view of the ocean changes. Along the way, the ground I step on may be full of pebbles or uneven terrain. But when I finally reach the top of the hill, and look down, suddenly the waves of the ocean do not seem as fierce as they were before. All I see is the calm surface of the wide blue ocean, which brings peace to my heart.
Whenever problems beset us, we can choose to stay by the shore of the beach and end up being drenched by the powerful waves. Or we can choose to keep focusing on the path until we reach a safe and high place.
I’m not suggesting that we should avoid or run away from our problems, but to alter our perspective so that we can deal with them wisely. We can choose a perspective—God’s perspective—that enables us to view our problems not with anxiousness, but peace and calmness because we know God is with us and will help us overcome the problems that we’re facing.
I like how Deuteronomy 32:11-12 gives us a clear pictures of how God leads us:
Like an eagle that stirs up its nest and overs over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft. The LORD alone led him…
God’s work in our lives can be likened to an eagle that deliberately stirs up his child’s nest to awaken them, but keeps watching over them and protecting them until they are strong enough to fly on their own.
Dear friends, regardless of the changes we may go through in the next 10 or 20 years, God will never leave nor forsake us. If you’ve been participating in the #10YearChallenge, make it not just about marking the changes in your physical appearance, but take some time to also reflect on how God has carried you through different seasons in your life, and be reminded that He will continue to lead you for the rest of your life.