Uncertainties and a new chapter in life

Dear Readers,

My final exam results are all out and i’m eligible for graduation!

What’s next? Most people would have a rough idea on what to do next year whether they are furthering their studies or going to start working, and most importantly, know which country they will be in next.

But I don’t know all these.

Should I get offered to study medicine, I will be studying, in whichever school that offers. Either NZ or UK (the 2 places I am eligible and have applied to). So, this means I still don’t know which country I will be in come 2019.

Should I not get any offers, then I will most likely start working. Working as what, you may ask. I don’t know either! To be perfectly honest, I am quite open to anything, as long as it is able to provide me with support and growth opportunities to develop and establish myself.

For now, this interim period of waiting for the schools to get back to me, its really unnerving and I don’t know what to think or what to expect. I’ve come to terms with whatever happens, will happen for a reason, and i’ll accept it. JUST LET ME KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT URGHHHH… But I guess this is a good time to train my patience and faith in God, that His timing will always be PERFECT and that I should not try to rush or delay it.

Whilst I am back in Singapore for now, I have decided to start being more observant, and talking to more friends and people around me to learn as much as I can. To give Singapore another serious consideration and chance, pitting it against New Zealand in that sense, as to whereabouts I should decide to stay and live in (and quite possibly to start laying up roots). For now, its been a period of weighing the pros and cons of what both places have to offer, and whereabouts would be most suitable I guess.

Keep the faith.

Paul Chong

Completing the Bible in 90 days

Its been slightly under 2 months now since i’ve started this reading plan to complete the bible in 90 days. Today would be day 51 to be more exact.

There have been many thoughts running through my head occasionally, having to read such a huge number of deep bible passages everyday, ranging from about 12 to 26 chapters each day. Some days, it gets really really tough.

I’ve observed my personal discipline currently being much better than what it used to be just a few years ago. Back then, such a task would have been impossible for me to do. Honestly, I would chalk this improvement up to my 40 day challenges, having to really challenge and push myself to consistently keep doing something for 40 days straight. E.g. 40 days of no sugar, 40 days of just cold showers, 40 days of 121 pullups. Why 121 pullups you ask? I challenged myself to do up-down pyramid sets, from 1 to 11 and back down again. Its not been easy. However, what all these has done for me, is make me into a mentally stronger person. Someone who has the will and drive to actually do what they say they will do and you can trust them to carry it out no matter what. Now with this 90 day challenge, its really like a long marathon. Having trained up with those half-marathons, this is it now. Show time.

Anyway, back to my observations about having had 50 days of daily consistent bible reading.

Pros:

  1. I really get to see the structure of the bible books and passages within each one, to see how each book connects to the next, and notice patterns and subtle consistencies. Noticing how the Israelites, generation after generation despite God’s providence, still choose to forsake Him and do whatever they wanted. You would think that they would’ve learnt from all the past generations, and its easy to condemn and say they were so stupid not to have seen God’s hand in all that and how real He actually is. That is you choose this, then you will get that. But looking at my own life, isn’t this exactly what I do all the time too??? Sometimes I know that if I do this wrong thing, I will get that. But I still do it anyway. How am I any better than they were?
  2. I get to cover much more ground in the bible than I were to if I just did way less books and not daily. This would then just be a long drawn out session whereby its easy to fall into the trap of not being consistent and find it even harder and more impossible to complete. By keeping it relatively shorter (90 days is honestly still pretty long), this personally becomes a much more realistic and achievable goal for me.
  3. This is forcing myself to be even more disciplined in my quiet time with God. Because if I do not read 15 chapters today, I will end up with 30 chapters to read tomorrow. And if I do not read 30 chapters tomorrow, I will end up with 45 chapters to do the day after. By being consistent (just as it is with everything else in life.. like exercise), I get much more out of it and am able to keep the chapter numbers low. If not all this just becomes a vicious cycle and I am likely to just end up abandoning this challenge and plan altogether.
  4. By covering such a huge amount in a shorter time, my memory stays fresh, and when I have my bible studies or listen to sermons in church, I have found it incredibly helpful and familiar at times, because much of the passages shared are sometimes things I have just covered and read a few days ago or even that day itself.

Cons:

  1. I do not get to seriously delve into each bible passage and get as much out of it as I would, spending 1 hour on one chapter, rather than 15 chapters. Because I know I have so much to read, I sometimes tend to skim and just read the passages just for the sake of reading and covering as much ground as possible. And that should not be the way. I am likely to miss so much content because my thought ratio to each passage is way less.
  2. I sometimes dread having to read the bible. (But then again, even without this, I already dread having to do my qt -quiet time. So whats the difference anyway?)
  3. I find myself making less notes and just finding things repetitive in the bible at times.

So what am I planning to do after this?

Probably to spend some time re-reading those books and passages that i’ve found tougher and harder to understand. This is to compensate for this time of “skimming” and not fully delving and finding those hard to get chunks of knowledge that would only be gotten with more google and time to think and ponder about. But for now at least, overall, i’ve found it incredibly rewarding!! And I would like to challenge you guys to do the same. Stick to it, and I promise you, you won’t regret it!!

Cheers,

Paul Chong

Its time to get back to the grind 💪

Dear readers,

I apologise for the really really long hiatus away from my regular weekly Wednesday posts. The last couple months were really spent trying to focus on my exams in my final semester & year of university. As you guys already know, i’m still trying for medical school, and I really wanted to give it my all and focus into completing and finishing my current degree as well as possible.

Also, my second sister is getting married tomorrow, and i’ve had to fly from New Zealand back to Singapore. This is why the past couple weeks have also been really busy running around trying to catch up with my old schoolmates and settling back into life over here.

I’ve missed so many things about Singapore, and i’ve basically summed them up into the 3 F’s. Family, Friends & Food. These are what makes home, truly home. Its tough, growing up in 2 different countries. I have fond memories of both places, growing up and maturing from one stage of life into another. I’ll try to keep this for another post (just so I still have something to write about in case I run out of ideas next time!)

Anyways, this post is just to let you guys know that i’m back and will start doing my regular weekly posts again!

See you soon,

Paul Chong

A Quiet Place

Have you watched the movie “War Room”?

I’m not going to provide any spoilers here don’t worry!! But I highly recommend you to add it to your list to MUST-WATCH movies 🙂 I watched it a couple years ago, and it provided such good advice and perspective on how to handle the trials you think are too difficult, too impossible to handle as they seem to bombard and wreak havoc in your life.

Its totally understandable that at times, we may find just reading the Bible quite dry and uninteresting. What really helps me personally, is that I find Christian movies and worship music really helpful in keeping things interesting and bringing life and relevancy of things I read and learn about in the Bible to my daily life.

Do you have a quiet place? Is there a specific time during the day or night during which you block out and reserve to talk to God? Remember we can talk to God about anything, at any time! He just wants to listen and hear us talk to him. It could be about your day, your needs, hopes and thoughts.. anything really.

Recently, i’ve been really trying to make an effort into creating a quiet place and time twice a day. Once when I wake up, once right before I sleep. By focusing on God and preparing myself for the day ahead in the morning and reflecting on how the day went at night, even if I had a horrible day, I would still be able to start and end the day right, and in the best possible way I know how. It also helps me stay focused on my goals that I want to have for the rest of the day, and consolidate them all at the end.

P.s. I’d like to apologize for the irregularity of my postings, it’s exam period now of my final semester (in my final year of my undergraduate degree) till mid Nov and things have just been a little hectic and disorientating at times. I’ve sent in my applications to medical schools in both New Zealand (University of Auckland and Otago), and the UK. All I have to do now is be patient (something i’m not very good at doing), and wait for a response. God-willing, I will get invited for interviews in December and know if i’m offered a place by January. This will dictate what i’ll be doing next year and probably the rest of my career (maybe) whether I go into healthcare medicine or find a job somewhere else. I’m leaving it all up to Him now, no point worrying over matters that are beyond my control. He created the entire universe and world, which includes these medical schools. This is nothing for Him if He wants it to happen!

Stay positive friends! 🙂

Paul Chong

Crossroads

When you find yourself at crossroads in life,

Trembling, afraid and scared to move,

What do you do?

When you face uncertain times in life,

Panicking, stressed and unsure what to do,

What do you do?

I turn to God the Almighty,

Opening up His book for words of encouragement,

Falling on my knees to pray for wisdom and strength.

I turn to my inner circle,

Opening up my heart and being vulnerable,

Finding them for support and comfort.

—————————————————–

Dear readers,

I don’t know what problems you’re facing today.

But I know all of us have issues and problems in life that we’re currently trying to manage and cope with.

I hope this post brings that you just that little bit of sunshine and encouragement that we all so dearly need every once in a while to realise that people do care. You’re not alone. We’re never alone. Life isn’t all that dark. Take your time, there’s no hurry. Find help. Find company. Open up to your close friends, and you’ll realise that although the situation may not have changed, you’ll feel tons better knowing that someone is there alongside you sharing your burden. Trust me, i’ve been there, keeping everything in and IT SUCKS.

Give it time.

We may not forget, but time helps you heal, allows you to take a step back from the current state of things, move on and past whatever issue is on your mind and heart right now. Give it time.

Here’s a poem from this website, that’s much better than my feeble attempt at one 😂

Crossroads

Standing at the crossroads

I wonder how I got here

Walking was never easy

Destination I never care

As I stand at the crossroads

I don’t know where to go

All paths look similar

All paths look old

The crossroad was a milestone

I should have known

I know not what to choose

I know not what to moan

When I stand at the crossroads

To all the roads I gaze

Every path is endless

Every path looks torn

I am here at the crossroads

May be someone knows

But I am here at the crossroads

All alone!

I am now sitting at the crossroads

and I don’t know if I am right

But I am still waiting for someone

who would show me the light

– Divya Godayal

Yours,

Paul Chong ❤️

Honestly, could you wait?

One of my favourite childhood stories was actually an experiment and long-term observational study that was conducted on children. The Stanford Marshmallow Study. This study wanted to find out whether children were able to make smart, rational choices or would they give in to short term temptation and cave-in to their desires (even if it meant them getting ‘less’ eventually.

A number of children were placed in a room individually and each was asked just one question.

Do you want a marshmallow now, or if you wait for 15 minutes (without anyone watching you), get 2 marshmallows instead?

Some children obviously decided on having the marshmallow ‘right now’, right that moment. However, a significantly smaller number of children opted to wait the time out (in anticipation of getting 2 later). They knew they if they sacrificed their current ‘wants’, they would be able to be ‘better off’ eventually. They recognised that short-term sacrifice would pay off and worth the ‘torture’ of waiting out. It definitely wasn’t easy making such a decision of self-deprivation for future intangible gains, especially since they were so young.

Many years down the road, those people who conducted the study followed up with those children who were by then, adults. They found that most of those children who opted to wait out for 2 marshmallows instead, they were doing better financially compared to the former group who couldn’t wait. They were better savers, investors and in more control of their finances. They were able to successfully reason within and convince themselves that the many years of living under their means would eventually be worth it. To not give in to the temptation of splurging on pretty things, or on the latest Iphone.

This brings me to my next point. We all know that we should wait. But are we honestly able to get ourselves to wait it out, especially when we are tempted? During our low moments in life when we’re just so stressed out and alone?

Eventually, I feel that all this boils down to just what we decide to do. The system doesn’t care how much you’ve struggled within yourself. It only cares about WHAT YOU EVENTUALLY DID. Did you give in or not?? I’m not saying that these mental struggles don’t matter. They do. But they don’t get you results. If you really want to succeed, DON’T CAVE IN.

This brings me to my last point. I’m honestly quite curious as to what you guys, my readers think.

Imagine you were one of the children in that study. But instead of hearing the person saying you either get 1 marshmallow now, or 2 in 15 MINUTES, they ask you “Would you rather get 1 marshmallow now, or wait ONE HOUR to flip a coin. If you flip heads, you will get 5 marshmallows. But if you flip tails, you won’t get any.”

Which would you choose? And why?

To find out, I conducted a poll on my instagram account. Here are the results!

Pretty interesting isn’t it? Majority of the people who polled, chose the option to have the marshmallow now instead of choosing to wait.

Now i’m curious.. would the answers still remain the same if I changed the first option from 1 marshmallow to $10 and the second option from 5 marshmallows to $50? 🤔 What about if I offered $50 and $250 instead? Hmm…

Thanks for reading,

Paul Chong 👣

P.s. If you’re interested, theres actually a recent update to this study. They say that its not the ability to have delayed gratification that predicts a kid’s future success in life. Its how they were brought up. What kind of environment they grew up in. Interesting isn’t it? You can read more about it over HERE.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

  1. Be proactive. Don’t complain about the things you can’t control. Change what you can control.. that is yourself and how you see and choose how to react to circumstances.
  2. Begin with the end in mind. Imagine yourself at your own funeral. What do you want to be known for? To have people remember you for when you were still alive? Choose something, and focus working towards being that person you want to be.
  3. Put first things first. Too many of us procrastinate and push stuff that we have to do till much later and end up rushing right before the deadline. Prioritise important things to do first.
  4. Think win-win. Co-operate with others! Always much better to create value for others, rather than just focusing on helping yourself.
  5. Seek first to understand, than to be understood. Other people don’t really care about you unless they see something that affects or helps them! If you are able to impact their lives, they will start to think and bother about you.
  6. Synergise. Choose who to work with carefully, but always be on the lookout to synergise! You both benefit much more together than if you were to work alone individually. Its like 1+1=3!
  7. Sharpen the saw! Do the little things in life that boost productivity and help aid you in achieving the big picture rather than trying to find the magic bricks to build a building without first caring about its foundations. Think of it this way. You have a tree logging business. So in order to maximise profit and number of trees cut, you need to ensure that your tools and saws are in perfect condition and well maintained (e.g. sharp). No point working so hard with a blunt saw. You’re just wasting your time.

This is just a very short summary of what the 7 habits are! Highly recommend those of you who are interested in learning more to google it up to learn and understand it more!! 🙂

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by:

Steven Covey

The last gift.

It’s been 2 years. This is the last poem you wrote for me when things ended. Maybe i’m just biased and maybe it’s just because I can relate to all the raw, personal emotions and memories attached in the words you wrote. You’ve always had a knack for writing, but this has been a masterpiece and still is my favourite poem.

.

.

I hope in the days to come

When you think about me

You remember these things:

.

Tears I shed,

Things I sacrificed

Time I spent

.

Cards I made

Kisses I showered you with

Hugs I comforted you with

Hours spent in each others arms

.

Interlaced fingers

Tracing your skin

My head on your chest

Legs intertwined

.

Our fights,

How I chose to stay

How I chose to hold on

.

Measure my love with these things

Not with the time it took me to let go

Measure my love with these things

Not with the time I found another

.

.

And should you ever chance upon this post, my reply will still be the same.

Always bel. Always.

Paul Chong

A verse I live by

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭10:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Apologies for the late post guys. No excuse, but its been a really busy period for me recently with school assignments and tests coming up. It’s gonna be like this till end of next week when the mid-semester break finally comes!! CAN’T WAIT.

Anyway I thought maybe i’ll share a verse that has been really close to my heart and is a verse I live by daily. To remind myself that everything that happens, happens for a reason, and that God is ALWAYS IN CONTROL even when it doesn’t seem so to us.

In life, we always need something or someone to hold on to. Things and people around us no matter how close or able they might be, there’s only so much they can do to help. Sometimes, they fail us too. So why not place your trust and focus your eyes on what is infallible from the beginning instead? That person is none other than God our Father. Jesus Christ our Saviour. The Holy Spirit who lives within us. This Holy Trinity, God, is the best thing we can ever look up to for help and support when we need it, especially in our darkest and most helpless moments. And this is precisely when this favourite verse of mine comes into play- God will NEVER tempt us beyond what we are able to bear. Even when things seem wrong and all out of control, remember, he can use a crooked arrow to shoot right into the bullseye.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Have a blessed rest of the week guys! 💪 Hang in there, we’re almost there at the finish line ❤️

Yours

Paul Chong

Patience is a virtue.

I’ve known this phrase since young but never really placed much thought into it or felt deeply as to how much it could mean. Lately, i’ve been wanting or hoping for certain things to happen in my life. Been praying, fasting, asking and just doing whatever I can to find out more about why things aren’t turning out the way i’m trying to get things to be.

Whilst talking to my mum recently, she reminded me of this phrase. And told me that since young i’ve always struggled with patience. Being too impatient. Not being able to wait for my Christmas gifts and asking to see them in advance, or asking my parents to buy me something earlier on in the year (telling them that this item can be my Christmas gift).

Being young, you sometimes want things to happen quick. To happen now. Right now. But good things come to those who wait isn’t it?

I was reminded of patience again during my daily devotion/quiet time today. It was based of these verses.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

What I want to look at today is how God seeks to bring us to maturity by building patience into our lives. If there is one thing I have learned in my Christian walk, it is that God is not in as much of a hurry as I am!

God is willing to wait for the perfect time, just so His plans can have the perfect outcome it deserves. Shouldn’t I learn from that?

These past 3 years, i’ve been consciously working on my faith. Trying to grow it. To develop mountain-moving faith. To be able to be able to take that leap of faith to trust God that He has the best and perfect plan for me, whether it be Medicine or not. My faith has grown tremendously and I really thank God for that. I think it is time for me to shift my focus now, and start working on developing my patience.

Be patient, young one. Patience is a virtue. Give it time. A seed when planted does not show immediate external growth and change. But there are unseen changes. Things are developing inside. With time and patience, it will grow into a tall, strong Oak tree that will be able to withstand even the fiercest storms and winds.

I’ve learned that it’s not a straight road to the top, and there are going to be setbacks along the way. You have to be patient, and you have to keep believing in what you’re doing. And keep believing in yourself, no matter what is happening. And then eventually you’ll get there.

Eugenie Bouchard

Thanks for reading guys, always appreciate your support.

Yours,

Paul Chong