three weeks in.

2017 09 20 three weeks in

It has been exactly 23 days since I landed in London. So, am I officially a Londoner yet? Well, not quite. There have not been enough days where I’ve become a tourist in my own city – yes, it’s been quite busy these couple of weeks settling in my new home and business school. If there is one word to describe my experience in London so far, it would be overwhelming. I am not entirely sure if it is in a good way or otherwise.

Overwhelming it has been indeed, and honestly, it is more so in terms of the “more important” things in life – school and career. To be fair, I should have seen this coming. I am in a post-grad course where we are expected to figure out or at least have a sense of what we are doing in the real world after we have completed the course. But yes, being in business school is something out of the ordinary. And no, I am not just talking about the business attire I am expected to wear every now and then (although I am not too fond of it either). I am talking about all the company presentations, recruitment evenings, CV/cover letter reviews, interview preps, career workshops and just about anything else that kind of help you get a job. Oh, not forgetting all the courses I have little or no prior knowledge about. It gets to a point where I literally have to play the “I need to check my calendar first” card before setting up a lunch/dinner plan with a friend. It’s intense. Believe me.

It is easy to be drowned in all these events and to-do lists, but I actually did not fully realize my current state until these past few nights. I had a hard time falling to sleep – it must be because of the countless appointments and deadlines spread across the calendar. So, what do I do when I get to this point? Kim being Kim, she takes a walk. A long walk (FUN FACT: scientists have proven that walking can soothe your brain; AND it helps me close the move wring on my apple watch haha). And what does Kim do during her walk? She reflects.

 

Well, I don’t actually have to sign up for all those events.”
Hmm, but it is essential for my future – I gotta start before the time runs out.
“What if they tell us something important at the presentation?”
“Uhh, everyone is prepping for case interviews already, and I have like zero experience.”

 Fear of failure. I guess know that has been driving me all along. I mean, it’s great – it has ‘motivated’ me to be where I am today, but I know it is only healthy to a certain extent. There is just something inside me that continues to push myself towards perfection, which then leads me to have this mindset of I-gotta-do-this-I-gotta-do-that, or else I won’t succeed.

One phrase stood out during my walk home though. Rest and remember.

Rest, not because I know it is not the end of the world if I don’t do everything, but because I know that everything has been figured out by the One who made it all. What was I thinking – I am here not supposed to have it all together or to know it all, I am here to be human. Human who, in all her imperfections, can fail at times but eventually pick herself back up, discover and become who she was made to be. There is so much noise around about what you should accomplish and the standards set by the society you need to meet. Heck, everyone is on a different journey, and we need to embrace our own.

Remember, not for the sake of listing my achievements, but for the sake of building up my own confidence in myself. Look how far you’ve gone – how did you even find your way here? With all the ambiguity thrown at you, how did you make it to where you are today? So I force myself to take a step back today and acknowledge the journey I have been on – the struggles I have overcame, the hurdles I have jumped over and the failures I have learned from. Remember and be reassured that we’ve got this. No, things will not get easier, but we will get better and stronger than who we are the day before. Press on. We’ll get there.

To rest and to remember. That goes to the top of my to-do list today, or for the rest of this crazy year ahead. Let us not allow the situation to dictate our actions, but let us instead take initiative over the things that are within our control. Rest and remember, but don’t quit. As much as I want to just let go of everything and instead go to all the places in UK/EU and indulge on all the amazing food here, I think this season of discomfort is good for me. Don’t take it easy, take it one day at a time.

Much love,
Kim

“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

 

 

 

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stepping into the unknown.

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Who here loves to be in a situation where there are just too many fuzzy variables that can significantly affect the outcome of the situation? I bet none of you raises your hand. Well, I won’t blame you. Ever since we were in school, we were trained to not settle with the unknown. In algebra class, we were always asked to find the unknown variable, x. In physics, we were constantly asked to find the correct values of variable after variable in order for us to derive the final answer to the problem. And so, I won’t blame you for being so restless as you step into a situation with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of different possibilities, in which you have no idea how it will turn out. Our natural tendency is to worry and panic when we don’t have it all together, and it spikes up when we are not in control of it all.

Using the same analogy as above, I just got far enough into the algebra exam where I am not only faced with an unknown x, but also an unknown y and z. To say the least, I have no idea what to expect. Though many of you may have known already, this might be news to your ears today. With my recent graduation in May, I left Vancouver for good, but have not gone back to Indonesia for good. At least just yet. I will be continuing my studies, in pursuit of a master’s degree, in London Business School. I am looking forward to this new journey, yet, the thought of being in a whole new city with only a few familiar faces scares me. To start, I don’t have the slightest idea of how London looks like as I have never been there. And just to make things a little bit more interesting, I am flying out solo. Sure, it can be exciting meeting new people and living in a new environment where I can so easily travel around Europe, but I can never guarantee that everything will turn out just fine. Can I adapt well in London? Can I cope with the different learning style in graduate business school? Would I find a positive community where I can grow in? Would Tim be strong enough to resist any temptation as we go through this long-distance relationship once again? (Hahahah just kidding, I’m sure he will. Bool, if you are reading this, just know that I’ve got eyes everywhere spying on you :p)

And then, there is this question that might possibly linger in the minds of my family and close friends. Would I be safe? With all that has been going on around the world, especially in London and EU, such question is undeniably disturbing. As I tell people about my plans for London, I almost get the same look and comment every time. Ooohh, that’s good for you, but why London? Did you hear about the latest tragedy that happened there and in Europe? Oddly, as concerns after concerns come my way, I did not feel worried or fearful. In fact, I felt a sense of peace. Of course, I care a great deal about my safety and well-being, but aren’t we living in a sea of uncertainties all the time? Where anything can happen whenever and wherever.

As I prepare myself for my journey to London these past few days, I am reminded of the time in Vancouver when I went for a sunrise hike at 4 AM in the morning. It was dark. Really dark. All we have for lighting were flashlights and our phones. I could recall the anxiety and worry I felt as we take step after step into the pitch-black woods, into the unknown. Every sudden noise was followed by a thought that runs in my mind. Could that be a bear? Every pathway that we choose to take was followed by a dilemma and doubt. Could this be the wrong way? After 90 minutes of dread and being lost on the trail and finding our way back to the right path, we were able to make it to the top to enjoy the beautiful morning view. We were able to reach our destination in the dark with just one flashlight. You see, often in life, we don’t have it all figured out. The future might seem dark and fuzzy and so full of uncertainties, but maybe we don’t need to have a clear vision of everything in order to take that next step. As long as you carry a flashlight, you will be able to navigate through it all until you reach your destination.

And so, here I find myself sitting on the plane to Bangkok before I set for London feeling thankful for the ‘flashlight’ I carry. The ‘flashlight’ that has directed me through all these years of uncertainties. The ‘flashlight’ that has kept me at peace in times where fear comes knocking. The ‘flashlight’ that has exposed the wrong direction and led me to the right one as I make decision after decision. The ‘flashlight’ that will never fail in guiding me as I embark this whole new adventure. That sounds like an out-of-the-world kinda flashlight, eh? For me, that ‘flashlight’ has been the Holy Spirit. Yours could be different – it could be your very own instinct, a mentor’s advice, you name it. But whatever it is, know that what makes a good flashlight good is that it drives out darkness and it remains certain in the midst of uncertainties.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Psalm 119:105

Friends, facing the unknowns in life is inevitable. After all, is it any fun to know it all? Maybe today you find yourself in a place of total darkness, and you have no idea which step to take. Maybe for some of you, you are on the brink of taking a step, but there is an immense fear of not knowing what the outcome will be after you take that step. Or maybe you are like me, overwhelmed by the numerous different possibilities that could happen and restless knowing that you are not in control. Why don’t we together take our flashlight and let it guide us through the dark. One step at a time.

Written on the plane to Bangkok en route to London // 28 Aug 2017

volume control.

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You are watching your favorite YouTube travel vlogger (check out @abangjalanjalan for a great laugh as he takes you around the world) showcasing his most recent adventure in Mexico with your earphones on as you know he is well beyond credible (and humorous too) with regards to traveling. Beside you are your friends chatting about some scary stories they have heard regarding people traveling alone to that country. As both of your ears are trying to listen to the video as the vlogger shares the unique culture he encountered, the friendliest people he met, the amazing food he tasted, oh you name it, you can’t help but tune in and tune out to the chattering voice of your friends as they freak out every now and then as they listen to each other’s creepy stories about Mexico. You are then left with two options. A, you turn up the volume on your earphone altogether and listen to what your trustworthy vlogger has to say. Or B, you tune down a little bit on your earphone and listen to what those who have not been to Mexico have to say. So, which one is it – is it A or B?

I think and I know this happens to us quite often in our day to day lives. Maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with traveling, but I am pretty sure you’ve been in such place before. You are trying to go on life trying to push through anything that is thrown at you, but at one point or another, your problem suddenly becomes too big and the resistance becomes too strong and your willpower weakens and you simply stop trying. You are inadequate, it says. You don’t deserve it, it asserts. Who are you to think you can, it plants doubts. This is because of what you have done, it accuses. No one cares about what you are going through, it robs the joy out of you. Lies after lies after lies after lies. Lies trying to bring you down. Lies trying to steal away the hope and peace in you. Lies trying to question your true identity. Lies trying to steer you away from who you can become. They are all lies after lies after lies after lies.

“What you choose to magnify will dominate your life. Make a decision of what you will magnify – your problem or your Lord,” Carl Lentz said it in one of the session in Hillsong Conference 2017 I get to attend two weeks ago. And of course, he had to quote one of the psalms in which King David had just gone through a time of danger. “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!” (Psalms 34:3) It’s true. What we magnify is what will seem big in our perspective. When we are faced with a problem, it is so easy for us to drift away from Him and His promises for us as they just simply seem too impossible to believe at that moment. But would we answer the call to magnify. I believe that when we magnify the Lord, He will change what we see.

Oh, how happy would I be to tell you it is so easy for us to do so. But no. It is so darn difficult. It takes a huge leap of faith and some serious effort to tune in the right voice and turn up its volume. I’ve been there – admit it or not.

At times when it seems like things or people are taken away from me, I’d hear the voice questioning, why does a good God take good things away from you? Only after a tad bit of volume control did I know that nothing is ever lost, only gained – the love, the peace, the comfort, everything. Yes, I tuned in to the promise that for those who love God all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).

At times when it seems like things are just too hard for me to handle, I’d hear the voice saying, you won’t be able to fight through this – you are weak. Only after a tad bit of volume control did I know that I don’t have to go through life alone. Yes, I tuned in to the truth that though I am weak, in Him I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).

At times when it seems like all the uncertainties and the unknown are too overwhelming, I’d hear the voice casting doubt on me, you are all alone in this – no one really cares about you anyway. Only after a tad bit of volume control did I know that as long as I got Him, that is more than what I need. Yes, I tuned in to the assurance that God will never leave me, nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6).

At times when it seems like all I do were useless, I’d hear the voice exclaiming, you can’t even do such simple thing – you are not worth it. Only after a tad bit of volume control did I know that it was never about what I do, but all about what has been done. Yes, I tuned in to the fact that I am immensely loved and cared for that it cost Someone His very own life (John 3:16).

Today’s world makes it especially hard for us to filter off the lies from the truth. We are constantly bombarded with messages of every kind – about ourselves and the world surrounding us. And not just messages we hear from the television, social media, word of mouth and many other media, our impressions, feelings and reflections, too, have very likely been contaminated by lies. What lies are you tuning in today? What truth do you need to hear? Magnify. Magnify the truth and the lies will soon have less effect on your life. Magnify the Lord and your circumstances will seem much, much smaller. Will it go away? No. But it will be dominated by a bigger and stronger God who got your back every step of the way. In whichever situation we are currently in, be it a stormy season or a nice walk in the park, we have the choice to make. Let’s choose to magnify Him and what He has to say in our lives. Let’s choose to tune into the right frequency of His love and promise. Let’s choose to turn up the volume of Truth and switch off the voices of lies altogether!

Much love,
Kimberly Subianto

P.S. Here are some snapshots of the Conference. I will be writing a couple more posts on the things I’ve learned from the Conference and my experiences in Sydney/Melbourne. So, stay tuned! (Follow the blog to receive instant notifications on my latest post!)

a beauty worth searching for.

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Have you ever been in a place where you are on the brink of believing that your current situation is just fully and solely wrecked? That there is absolutely no way for any beauty to emerge from it? Have you ever been in a place where you begin to doubt those who say there are always two sides of a coin? That in fact, both sides are only filled with pain and sorrows?

If you have, I’d ask you to read on and give me the benefit of the doubt that maybe (just maybe) what I am about to say might be true. Or at least, gives you a tad bit of encouragement and strength for you to keep pushing forward in the midst of whatever you are going through. I’d say it was something significant I was reminded of during my trip as we sail through the Flores Sea to the beautiful islands of Indonesia in the East Nusa Tenggara.

Just to bring you guys up to speed, I was on a 3D2N live-on-board sailing trip the past weekend, where we extended a night each before and after the trip at Labuan Bajo. We went as a group of seven and were guided by a tour guide and a boat crew of five. If there is one word to describe the trip, it would be jaw-dropping. I was literally awestruck by the beauty and the grand vastness of the place I can proudly call home, Indonesia. The trip involves some sort of strenuous and demanding activities, such as hiking up the rocky and sometimes slippery mountains, swimming in the open sea against the current for an hour or so, taking shower with a filtered salt water straight from the sea, and of course being sunburnt after hours and hours under the scorching heat. Though I’ve realized this kind of vacation can be draining and absolutely unsustainable, especially for me and those whose pet peeve is wet and dirty toilets, I did not have the slightest regret that I experienced what I experience as it really gives me a whole new perspective of the beauty of Indonesia.

Up to date, it has been just a short of three weeks since I’ve gone back to Indonesia. Aside from the company of friends and family back here, it is quite challenging to boldly say that this place is beautiful (at least physically). Coming from the civil engineering viewpoint (yes, I just graduated! haha), most streets of Indonesia, or Jakarta in particular, bear a level of service grade of D or worse, there are not enough properly-built sidewalks to encourage people to travel on foot and many other things you can grumble about. Pollution. No blue skies in sight. Congestion. Haze. You name it. And so, for now I have reached to a point where I can say that this place ain’t pretty.

This thought was challenged when I was on this sailing trip – that I myself do not have the ability to see the bigger picture. Yes, though I have seen the unpleasing side of Indonesia, it just recently revealed to me its magnificent beauty too lost for words as I spent three days out in the ocean. I realized that this world was made by a great God who sees the bigger picture, and too many times when we are placed in a corner of what we call ‘the ugly’, we tend to dwell in what’s broken and what’s not working. I realized that it takes hard work to actually get to an elevation high enough up on the mountains that allow us to have a better view of the horizon. Of course, I can instead just stay on the boat, miss the opportunity to peek at ‘the beautiful’ corner of Indonesia and keep on grumbling about how aesthetically unappealing my country is. But which of the two options are you going to choose?

Are you facing the dark corner of your life right now? Are you in a place of hopelessness as you go through the season of ‘ugliness’ in your life? Are you feeling helpless as you are struck by ash after ash? Are you starting to doubt the saying suggesting that there will always be beauty that comes out of ashes? Friends, let us mourn for the brokenness in our lives, and yet not dwell in them for too long. Let us put on our gears and explore God’s goodness and the beauty He has already prepared for us. It takes effort and perseverance to reach such place where we can get a clear vision of His sovereignty. The beauty is already there – He has made it all – we just have to open our eyes and search for them. It won’t be an easy-peasy journey, in fact, it will be a tough one. But trust me, it is a beauty worth striving for. A beauty worth searching for.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.”
Psalms 37:3

Tons of love,
Kimberly Subianto

PS. Let me show you the beauty of my home country, Indonesia! Here are some snapshots from my trip to Labuan Bajo. Hope you loved them as much as I do!
(Photo credits to Arley, Cavin and the crew)