Looking Back 2021

I drafted a post on my personal vision of 2021. Then, I decided not to publish it because of the word, “prosperity“. A word that is somehow contentious in the religious circle. I have this greed in me that would interpret the word as having financial abundance. Yet at the same time, I have this poverty mindset. I wouldn’t be financially prosperous like I would want/interpret. So I think my vision would turn out to be a false prophecy and thus a bad testimony.

So did I prosper as I had in mind?

First, let’s take two steps back to 2020 and 2021. I felt led to share what I almost published last year. This time, I have the peace to share it, with the events in 2021 to interpret them at the end of this post.

Warning: Long post ahead.

2020: Year of Mountain

My personal vision/theme for 2020 was the year of the mountain. That was in line with the spiral staircase mentioned in our church’s vision message. 2020 truly had been a year of taking one step at a time. I was so tired to sprint, and the road was so foggy for me to see far ahead. In every one small step I took, I believed I was slowly but surely advancing upwards. I indeed felt like I was hiking up a mountain and not a molehill — stretched physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Asking about 2021’s Vision

3 Jan 2021 (SUNDAY)

“What’s the vision for me in 2021?” I asked God. It was a last-minute prayer as I listened to Ps Joseph Prince (JP) open his sermon. I was not on my knees. I was not fasting. I was not meditating for days. I was vacuuming, mopping and cleaning the house while I listened to JP preach in my wireless earphones (a good investment btw).

Yet, in my hustle, God spoke to my heart like fireworks going off beautifully one after another, boom, bang, wow. I was as if opening a box within a box, my heart leapt at the revelation after revelations.

The sermon going on at the same time also added seasonings to what I have received from God, confirming and adding flavour to them. And this didn’t stop, God continued to reveal more to me in my excited sharing with hubby about what He has placed in my heart.

“I’ve already given you a word as you prayed for what to share with your JoogoStyle audience,” God answered.

Ah, PEACE. Year of Peace.

“…and PROSPERITY,” a whisper followed closely behind.

Year of Peace and Prosperity.

Wait a minute, was it my greed speaking? I brushed off the thought. How could it be?

“You need to believe the vision God has given you,” Pastor continued on in his sermon.

Verses for 2021’s Vision (Sidenote: Health)

What God said to me when I had tuberculosis came to mind. At that time, I was wondering about God’s calling in my life. I haven’t even fulfilled anything and now I am dying? Even if I didn’t die, how do I carry on what God has put in my heart when I need to go for treatments? Written in my diary then,

“God said, “I will catapult you to (___) after this episode.” Then something on the news reminded me of Heng Swee Keat, he went through a health scare and came back stronger (to be Deputy Prime Minister).”

I thought the episode meant my hospital stay and treatments for tuberculosis in 2019. But soon after, it was my hubby going for minor surgery for some very unusual growth, and the world was attacked by coronavirus in 2020.

Hence one of my three prayer requests for 2020 was health protection over my family and extended family. Yet, as fears around the virus ease away, there were attacks on my father in law’s mental health and just as he was getting better, my mother had health issues. Hence, I continue to pray for health over my family into 2021. Health is gold. I want to prosper in health!

“May you all have the most healthful year ever,” I vaguely hear Pastor pray the closing prayer.

I digress, anyway as I was doubting on the word prosperity, God told me that I am now going into the era of Solomon to enjoy peace and prosperity. A rest from the era of David-like fighting in the past. A rest from climbing up in the year of the mountain and fighting away enemies at the same time (think Nehemiah).

At this, I am at peace with what God has spoken about in a year of peace and prosperity.

His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ 

11 Now, my son, may the Lord be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the Lord your God, as He has said to you. 12 Only may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 

13 Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the Lord charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.

1 Chronicles 22:9B-13

About Financial Properity

Interestingly God has been speaking to me about being rich and/or rich people during the last month of 2020.

I’ve waited for years for God to bless me financially, and He had been breaking my love of money into shards. I sort of came to terms with the prosperity found in contentment. I have many wants, no thanks to social media, but God has sufficiently met all that I need.

Again, I looked at my fellow schoolmates and friends’ assets and lifestyle and lament on what could be if I had not quit my job. I know, I shouldn’t not be looking back but press forward. I cannot imagine myself having such amounts of money, because I don’t have a growth mindset, but a poverty mindset. Always scrimping and saving when I should have learned to invest or side hustle to grow my finances instead.

One of my prayers for 2020 was to have financial wisdom. And in December, God stirred in my heart to look at the various financial instruments. Investment is now made easier with robo-advisors, etc. I only wished I had these tools a decade ago, then I would be much richer with long term investment. Never too late to start though. Hence, one of my prayers for 2021 is a continuation from last year, which is to have financial wisdom and freedom. Just praying I don’t get burned by investing! See my negative mindset. So I guess, God was changing my mindset to one of growth and faith. (2022 update: If you are stirred to steward your finances well, use my referral codes to invest and insure! ;))

I know they keep saying the rich have their own problems, but so many things in our life can be resolved with money. There’s a Chinese saying that goes, it’s not a problem if you can resolve it with money. But my hubby always likes to joke, the problem is we have no money. Haha. So this is a saying that only the rich have the privilege to say. I don’t deny the rich don’t have their problems. Since being both rich and poor have their own sets of problems, why not suffer from more comfort, luxury, convenience and style? So better rich than poor.

God opened my eyes and changed my myopic mindset about this. In the last week of December, I managed to catch these two shows: “Bridgeton” on Netflix and “Recipe Of Life” on Toggle. Thank God for the children’s early bedtime. Both shows showed me the pretence of the rich behind the glory and glam, among which, the broken relationships and compromised integrity. It’s not like they’re entirely new story plots, but God opened the eyes of my heart.

He made me see and appreciate the happiness of the ordinary and the freedom of not pursuing riches. I am not sure how to put it in words, but my friend posted this poll on the night I received the vision of prosperity (Sunday). It aptly described what God was trying to tell me, to click on the lifetime of peace.

On that Sunday morning, I prayed something out of the usual prayer points with JBL, “to be blessed so that we can be a blessing“. And that’s the reason to be excited about prosperity for ourselves. How to bless and help others when we are in dire need ourselves?

First and foremost, I pray for peace for myself and my family. Without peace, it’s also hard to bless others. My mental health is not in tip-top condition, and that means I have no capacity to reach out to others. Hence, it’s so important for the peace of God to flow into us and overflow to others.

Reaching out to People

To bless others with our finances.

To bless others with our peace.

To do that long term, we need to be healthy as well.

Year of peace and prosperity.

It’s been a long time coming.

“God will reach out… ” Now seemingly a whisper in the past that I wondered if it was ever spoken if not for me writing in my diary. So it’s important to write down what God has spoken to us! Because the devil will come and steal these seeds planted in us.

Years of prophetic words about the billion of souls saved got me excited. And years come and go, and nothing happened.

Pastor mentioned about many people will be saved this coming year.

His son prayed about the coming year and said about many souls being saved too. In line with the passage of Acts, the church’s vision is based on.

Is 2021 going to be the year?

He mentioned hanging out with non-believers friends as well. This assured me because I have been questioning myself because I was wondering why I had more non-believers than church friends as close friends. Perhaps the heart of evangelist in me?

I really hope more of my friends will come to know the goodness of God and receive Jesus’ in their lives. Not for my sake, but for their peace on earth and eternal life after they pass on.

That was the post then.

Looking back at 2021, I would say the peace and prosperity came not as I have imagined. It should be a year of learning about peace and prosperity.

Of Peace

Of peace, it’s not about having a smooth sailing life. It’s about learning to be at peace in the midst of raging storms. Like Jesus sleeping in the boat that’s rocking violently in the raging waves of a thunderstorm. Not fighting like David, but learning to be at peace and let God fight the battles for me.

2019 attacked me physically.

2020 was a mix of physical and emotional attacks.

2021 climaxed into emotional and spiritual attacks. Facing old hurts, and braving new hurts. I find myself distancing from God as I got so busy with the girls and being drained emotionally.

So yup, my series of misfortune continued towards the end of 2021. I have been procrastinating about writing the list of my plights for the past 2.5 years. It’s kind of incredulous about what we went through and how continuous the attacks were one after another, so much so that I felt it’s not simply bad luck but a well-planned series of spiritual attacks. It’s painful to write the post and hence my procrastination. At the same time, I know that post would reach out to people who are in the same/similar plight and feel alone (like why only me?). And for these people to reach out to me for a listening ear of “I know what you mean”. With both girls in school, I might finally have time to write this out.

One of the reasons why I wanted to fly to Paris (another post by itself) is because I felt it was a trip to mark the end of this series of misfortune. I hoped. This misfortune series began shortly after our trip to the Netherlands in 2019. So I thought another Europe trip could conclude it. As I am writing this post, I thought of this phrase used by non-believers: 转运, change of luck. I supposed I wanted this trip to be of this effect.

The girls at Luxembourg Gardens (Paris)

Of Prosperity

Of prosperity, it’s not about having a windfall. It’s about learning to grow wealth, see the abundance in what I have and hold loosely to what I have.

Hold loosely to what I have.

On the last point, I learned the hard way in December. We have been losing so many things in December (starting from our Paris trip). We don’t usually lose stuff, and so to lose so many things in a month is weird. Lost scarves, gloves, beanies, and then back home my sunglass bag among others. The most recent loss is a library book! JBL lost most things. -.-

See the abundance in what I have.

I always think it would be nice to have more money so that I can buy this and that, and spend more freely. Then as I opened my storeroom (“bomb shelter”), I realised I have more than enough. Prosperity comes from contentment. I like to stock up things, and this is abundance. I have the fortune to bulk purchase, and not scrimp for the next meal.

A lesson I learnt towards the end of 2021: Before buying, see what I have and use them first. Not buy because of some deal and accumulate too much. Buy only when stock is running low. With this in mind, I realised I am not buying as much anymore. Although I must admit, I miss parcels arriving at my doorstep. Buying is satisfying, but I know it’s a short term satisfaction that eats into long term goals and hampers me to be a blessing to others financially.

Grow wealth.

Instead of giving me a pot of fish, God made me learn how to fish.

God opened more streams of income for me, like having you use my referral codes to invest and insure or to shop and dine, and buy me a cup of juice. 😉 Although I wished for gushes of water instead of the current trickles, it could be the creativity of opening up different streams that’s important. Such as being a useful skill in the future economy.

I somehow managed to survive with my savings and God’s providence over the past decade. However, seeing the big pot other people have saved for retirement made me worry if it was too late for me. I should have started earlier! Well, God only opened my eyes in 2021 to start investing for the future. His timing is never too late right? 😛

I increased my financial literacy with SGbudgetbabe, and the Thewokesalaryman. I started to invest more instead of letting the money erode in the bank and disappear in shopping. Speaking of which, I have been spending more than necessary. I was more of a saver than a spender until the health scare made me wonder what’s the point of storing up when one day I could just die. But I realised that’s not good as well. what if I live a long life and I have nothing left for the future? Even if I die prematurely, I would have an inheritance for my children and grandchildren. Now, I have to find the balance between saving and spending.

A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

Proverbs 13:22

In 2021, I also looked into estate planning with the lawyers (but still procrastinating in submission, so much work!). Recently I also came across this estate planning app: heritance.org. It’s built by fellow believers that I recently connected with at DM360 community.

Of Reaching out to People

Of reaching out to people, it’s not a solo game, but a community effort. Hence instead of reaching out to people in 2021, God helped me to connect first to the body of Christ. The divine connections I had in 2021 helped me to connect to the different body parts. Perhaps this could mean prospering in personal/spiritual relationships.

I met an ex-colleague when I brought my daughter to swim. He introduced me to DM360 (digital missionaries). I’m humbled. I thought I am Elijah, the only one left, when in fact there are so many people doing such great work for God.

I met an online acquaintance as I walked into a gallery at Millenial walk. We finally connected offline and spiritually. Made me think of lost and dead dreams, and the possibility of their restoration.

I went back to onsite church services. Personal reason and continued online Sunday school from our church made us join another church. Online church services don’t work well for our family — hard to concentrate on the adult church services and too much screen time isn’t good for the children. Going to an onsite church helps us to connect with other believers more personally and it’s easier to build relationships this way, especially for the children. Good to be able to talk with other people after church service.

Like many have said, the greater work and fruit we are going to reap for God in future, the greater the spiritual attacks to stop us from fulfilling them.

Vision of 2022 coming up.

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