Reflecting upon my past, I realise that I have been dropping in and out of connection with people from all facets of life. Be it family, friends and even intimate relationships, I have always been inconsistent in how I treated loved ones. More often than not, someone would get hurt and it would all fall apart, leaving nothing behind but guilt and fear of being vulnerable again. Perhaps I was self-centred. Perhaps I lacked courage and self-confidence. Whatever it was, something was clearly missing.

Attempting to fill the hollow within, I fell into this thrill cycle of clubs and substance abuse, believing it would alleviate the pain. It became worse. I was unmotivated, lacked of energy and literally had trouble getting out of bed. I was 23 and depressed for most of it. I knew it was not going to just go away on its own. I tried to mask it all in for fear of what people might think or feel, but it was exhausting.

I had been a church goer at a much younger age, but dropped out when I was 17. I had learned about Sunday schools, but not much about God. I was there for 10 years, but not really. Yet God gave me a second chance to submit and recognize His place in my heart when I graduated and was granted PR to stay in Australia. I knew He was real, but my pragmatic and cynical nature held me back each time. I had frequently lost my passion and patience for His presence, but God was always there to rejuvenate me through His grace, peace and countless favours.

Over the past few years, I have witnessed how God’s love had transformed individuals and brought people together. I have been touched by the gentleness and humility of my brothers and sisters in Christ. It inspired me to press forward. I wanted to change. I wanted to be broken, and restored.

Surrendering to God, I finally chose to face my fears and my true ugly self as He peeled away the layers of lies I have convinced myself my whole life. I thank God for His mercy and grace for not giving up on me. Through His love, I have decided to reconnect and reconcile previous torn relationships.

Today, I am a “work-in-progress”. It has been rewarding and will be even more so as God continues to tear my insecurities down. I was in denial of the impact the love of God had on me for most of my life. But now, I simply let go and rely on His joy for true strength.

2 Corinthians 5:17 is a verse that I keep close to heart – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Keith Chew

Elevate S1, St Lucia Morning Service