How far we've come

In fellowship and prayer

"Weekday warriors" was the catchy theme of the night. For the first time in many many months in this fellowship, as a larger group, we shared a glimpse of the struggles we really have during our weeday lives. To not lose sight of God in the midst of work, studies, trying to achieve, joining clubs and committees, and so on.

Sorry to sound almost rude, but I dread sharing prayer points every week. TG for the week, P4 study (pray that I can do really well...), P4 time management, pray for QT. I'm not making fun of the prayer requests. We can and should pray about some of these things, and we can always tell our God what is on our hearts. But surely, we can do more for the sake of our own reflection, and in fellowship, than repackaging those three phrases and not share anything else to one another week after week. It's become so routine that the person jotting down prayer points already started writing before I even started sharing, and added some of the routine prayer points even though I haven't said any of them (hmmm wait, I didn't say that). The reason I dread these prayer sessions is because the group isn't interested in sharing their lives to one another, because we're happy to hear about what is going on in someone's life at a very superficial level and leave it at that without asking "why exactly are you not very energetic this week?" Without caring for one another in a genuine way, it's very hard to be open to one another, or come together before God together, encouraging one another, praying in unity.

Come on Bible study group! Why is it so hard to share that we do struggle throughout the week? With loving people - that I get angry, I get jealous, I hate intensely, that I struggle in my friendships, relationships, with my family at times. That in fact, though I pray for more opportunities to share the gospel with others, I actually don't like having those conversations, or feel too awkward to make a clear stance when someone mocks Christianity and its worldview, or simply can't be bothered when I have my own life to attend to. Why is it so hard to share specifics about why we want to pray for QT - that in fact - for example, I end up surfing on FB everytime I try to start. Or that sometimes, I actually feel that studies and life is something I handle by myself, not something to bring to God. That actually I find the Bible boring and repetitive sometimes, and my mind is hardly there when I'm mouthing the words to the worship songs at church. What about the whole list of other sins we struggle with - that I lust, I love money, I am proud instead of thankful, I gossip. (You can interpret 99% of the "I's" in the above paragraph as literally referring to myself, rather than just a figure of speech.)

Well, today was a good start, maybe it's time to pray for authenticity in our fellowship.

And in medicine

The title of the post really refers to this second section of my post. Somewhere in the middle of the sharings, the songs, the prayers, I was reminded of something important. Put God at the centre of your life, everything you do is for him. One of these phrases that is said many times, to the point that I've forgotten it's true meaning. (On a side note, can anyone explain to me what does "bless this food into our bodies" really mean when we say grace for the food?)

Let me tell you about a time not so long ago, when I came into this with perspectives not yet influenced by the general medical profession. I struggled at the time, to see people suffer, and struggled all the more in understanding and addressing that, not only as a medical student, but a human being, and as a follower of God. I prayed for the patients that I remembered, and my classmates also. I asked doctors who have worked for many years, whether they prayed for their patients, how they served God in their everyday, sometimes mundane roles as doctors. Disappointingly, I don't think that person really understood or addressed the question seriously. I was serious about my medical life being an extension of my role as a servant of God, and can probably thank my medical christian fellowship in S for that. During that research year, I cared about God in my daily life and friendships, work relationships, at home too. During that year before I started clinical school, I already heard plenty of stories from those in the years above about trying hard not to conform to the general trend of treating patients as cases instead of people, fighting and competition between classmates, being patient when taking histories instead of getting annoyed that the person is rambling. Good role models who were serious about serving God in all areas of their lives, including medical studies and hospital life.

How far I've come - I can take histories faster, I can write notes that flow more logically, I can present cases a bit better. Yes I can ask about bowel motions without inducing a giggling fit, talk about sexual partners without cringing, see pap smears and do prostate examinations without feeling like I could never look at the person in the face again. But, look how far I've come. I haven't come to the point of seeing people as merely "an interesting case", or take histories purely medically without really speaking to the person, yet. I have, however, grown to view patients more as medical cases rather than people, and when the clinic becomes routine it does perk things up with someone has something else beside the usual (usually more serious). How lightly I speak of other's sufferings, and how often their stories become interesting stories to share and laugh at and nothing more. And gee it's strange to pray for a patient, or isn't it strange to ask God to heal them completely, physically and spiritually? Or why pray for the friends you meet, the hospital people you meet, or your interactions with them? Maybe it's time and familiarity, plus influence of friends, clinicians and the general hospital culture. Are these normal self defence mechanisms to help with the adjustment to hospital life, or are they processes to actively avoid?

I have grown in some areas of my relationship with God, but not this one. It's something to mourn about, to pray about, to realise how far I've wandered from seeing medicine as part of living for God, rather than medicine as something to be done, and living for God something that is essential, or even the priority of my life, but nevertheless quite separate to where I spend a good (at least) half of my week.

2 comments:

tablecolor said...

i wish i read this before we met! what you shared about your Bible study group only willing to share lives on a superficial level is exactly one of things I was trying to convey about my cell group..., and here you've said it so well! -_-

and if i can be encouraging, it is truly refreshing to read about your desire to serve God in Medicine, and your struggles in this area. thanks for being willing to share... i agree role models are important -- certainly a few doctors have been such inspiration in my journey...

write more! or we should meet up and talk more

Winnie said...

I probably express myself clearer in writing, than thinking and talking. and maybe you do too haha. hope you work out what you'll do about fellowship soon!

perhaps I should pray to find some encouraging mentors or role models too :)

 

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