God Colours: Shenali's Story
We are delighted to introduce our fifth and final inspiring interviewee, Shenali, for our series ‘God-Colours’. Shenali has such a heart for seeing Jesus move in the lives of those around her and a real attitude of kindness towards those she’s ministering to. I pray we would be encouraged by how God has moved in her life and by her advice for living out faith.
It was such a privilege to hear Shenali talk about what faith lived out looks like for her. Seeing the value of the church in her life - and how that is key to establishing a community which fills us up to send us out - is so powerful.
“What defines my faith is really seeing God’s character demonstrated outwardly in the way we live our lives”
Shenali really clearly speaks of some key traits which help us to outwardly demonstrate our faith:
1. Integrity – “having unwavering discipline on our moral principles and values in Christ”.
I think whatever age we are and whatever we do day to day, holding integrity close can really show our faith to those around us. The idea that living out our faith requires discipline is also a helpful reminder that we need to train ourselves to stand firm in our values.
2. Generosity – “We need to be generous in our living”
Shenali helpfully points out that at different stages of our lives, we might have different capacities to be generous in different areas. Often we associate generosity with finances, but our time and skills can also be areas in which we can be generous.
For me, I have recently been challenged that generosity won’t always be recognised or acknowledged, but that Jesus is interested in the heart behind it. I’m reminded of the Widow’s Offering in Mark 12:41-44, where the Widow gives all she has: even though she puts in less money, she has actually put in more.
3. Kindness – “Kindness cannot be faked, kindness has to come from the heart”
For Shenali, kindness is another marker of living out our faith. I love the observation that kindness has to be from the heart, and it has to be authentic. If we need to learn what kindness looks like we can look at the way Jesus lived his life, reaching out to the poor and the marginalised. Kindness is contagious as well. I think of my commute home on the tube when I sometimes see someone asking for money for a hostel along the carriages. Faces look down and people shake their heads. But if one kind person reaches for their purse, it can spark others to follow. It can sometimes take one act of kindness to lead to a chain reaction.
“Sometimes God has so much more in store for us than we can ever imagine”
Another lesson we learn from Shenali’s experiences of living out her faith is how to show our faith in the workplace. The wisdom Shenali shares is that it is often of greater value to first invest in our colleagues, friends and family, to show a willingness to understand them and build trust. When we know them better and we have heard their stories and their experiences, then conversations and opportunities might be more likely to happen.
“If we seek God first, through the peace that He gives us, we can be assured that we are on the right track”
Shenali speaks of how God has the very best in store for us and doesn’t want us to settle. She uses a brilliant metaphor of us having to walk along what might look like a difficult road to get to the corner, in order to peer around and see what lies ahead. I’m encouraged that when we don’t know where we should be going, we can humble ourselves and give those conversations to God. Something Shenali models so visibly is the simple questions we can ask God – ‘Where are you leading me?’ ‘What should I do Lord?’. In those requests and conversations, we can find peace and we show that we trust in our Creator.
Having been born in Sri Lanka, raised in rural Australia, then completing university in Melbourne, Shenali has valued diversity of thought and culture from a young age. She is interested in community impact and supporting the mission of the church and its leaders. Shenali is a Civil Engineer, resides in London, and attends Holy Trinity Clapham.