Growing up, all I could envision myself as was a leader. I have always felt that being a leader was who I was meant to be. From the lower positions of being a class monitor to the highest office of head prefect, I had done it.
Wherever I went I often needed to uphold this image of authority and influence. I would be serious and always maintained an air of confidence. This led me to feel quite disconnected from my friends in school and church.
However, that image and my confidence started to crumble the moment I entered junior college, where I decided to not run for an executive position in the students’ council. I felt that maybe not being in a leadership position would allow me to learn more about humility and feel more connected with those around me. But I was so wrong, as this marked the beginning of four-year- downward spiral.
Without a high position and influence, I started to feel helpless and lost. I was repeatedly mocked and I became very self-conscious. It did not help that I was at the bottom of the level academically. There were many times where I felt like I was a failure and doubted everything I wrote, spoke or did.
Things got a little better when I started serving in the army where I was given the opportunity to enter Officer Cadet School. This brought back a lot of my confidence. However, I had to leave the course halfway due to a back injury.
I could not let go of the fact that I had failed to be an officer. I was angry and disappointed with myself. Each day went by and all I saw was the hopelessness and the mundane life that I thought I would now have. There were so many times that I asked myself if I had subconsciously been trying to escape the toughness of army.
However, when I was at my lowest point, God began to use the next one year of my army life to rebuild me. I began to take pride in doing the small things well. I started to see that despite my rank and position, there was an opportunity to make a positive impact on others.
I began to understand that I had been trying to fill a hole in my heart with things that made me feel good about myself. I was so busy trying to impress my family, friends and others that I could not see that all I needed to do was to love God and allow God to fill that big hole in my heart. I was seeking to fill that hole with treasures of this earth but all God cared about was how much I choose to seek him and love Him.
While sometimes I still experience frustration and self-doubt, I am continually humbled and blessed by God to be able to connect with other members of church in this season where many may be feeling isolated. I have been led by God to currently serve as a programme coordinator with the youth ministry at Wesley Methodist Church. I work with a team of young adult volunteers that have come together to help the church with IT-related issues, and to assist members to join online services, ministry or small group meetings. Thus far, it has been a fruitful and exciting experience of learning new ways to do God’s work in this COVID-19 season.
Benedict Tay is a member of Wesley Methodist Church. / Photo courtesy of Benedict Tay