Have you ever had a season of life where you felt stripped down?
A time when you lost all your status, your sense of competence, maybe your job or your income or a key relationship? When you feared you were losing everything that made you you?
It's a vulnerable feeling. And to Norman Tam's surprise, that feeling was key to the work God wanted to do in his life at Regent College.
I was a successful private banking director in Hong Kong—a lucrative, prestigious career. Nine years ago, I became a Christian, and as I began growing in my faith, I got increasingly involved in the church, in Bible study, and in service. But my heart was calling out for God; somehow I wanted more. So I decided to come study at Regent College.
And I became less.
I was no longer surrounded by people who knew I was successful. I lost my income, my status, my confidence in my abilities. I was suddenly a student, struggling to understand my classes and readings, struggling to make new friends, struggling to build a new community and sense of myself when all my former social “markers” were gone.
It was so hard, but it was also a sweet gift.
As a student at Regent, I discovered my true identity—the only one that matters—as a child of God. I had nothing to offer—no credibility nor status. Just me. Alone and praying.
As Christmas approaches, I’m reminded that in the Incarnation, Jesus took this kind of journey too. He was "in very nature God"—but he became less. He humbled himself, becoming a human being, living as a servant, emptying himself of honour and glory to faithfully follow his Father.
Jesus’s act of humility was intentional. Mine was not. But by inadvertently following in Jesus’s path, I have become more anchored in my true identity, more rooted as a child of God. The more I study, the more I see myself as very small and—gloriously—the more I see of God’s grandeur. Upon having nothing to offer, I have discovered a sweetness in knowing God in humility, just as Christ did.
This settling of my character deeper into Christ happened because Regent was ready to welcome me. A place, a community, where I could study and pray and wrestle with God and be known just as Norman, not as a professional.
This year, hundreds of other students are with Norman on similar journeys, relinquishing comfort, familiarity, and status to study and grow at Regent.
For any of this to happen, Regent needs the financial support to carry out its mission, to welcome the sojourners, and to challenge them to pursue Jesus in deeper and more thoughtful ways.