One Sunday morning, God made me realize how blessed I am. You see, I haven’t been my best self these past few weeks. I complain a lot, I get irritated easily, I kept filling up my heart with temporary pursuits of happiness. I was feeling out of the loop, as if I’m spiralling down into an abyss of dysphoria. I don’t know. But that Sunday morning, I started my day by asking God to really minister to me. And He did. He started speaking to my heart the moment I was about to brush my teeth. As I opened the cap of my toothbrush, I realized that I am blessed to have three homes. Where did I ever have three homes? By having three places where I can brush my teeth any time. I know, that sounds funny. But remember when you had your first ever unplanned sleepover and you had to look for or buy a toothbrush? Why would you buy a toothbrush? Because you don’t have one in that house. Why don’t you have one in that house? Because that is not your home. Get it? I know, my logic’s weird! Hahaha you are free to laugh, no worries! But anyway, going back to my story, God used the toothbrush analogy to show me the reality that I have three homes–one in Los Baños, one Sta. Ana, and one in Pateros (technically though, I don’t go home here to stay over the night, but this place really feels like home whenever I visit). Why and how? Yes, you got it! I have my toothbrush in each place!
But the real deal here is that the past few weeks I felt as if I’m lost and far from home. Leaving for grad school gives me sepanx since I have to leave my family (and my dog) in Laguna. Leaving Sta. Ana gives me the feeling that there are stuff that stresses me when I go back. Leaving Pateros gives me the feeling that I need to face the harshness of life on my own again. And I just find myself crying most of the time.
But God answered my prayer that morning. He moved in my heart. He made me see the goodness that I have three homes. I have people in my life who truly loves me and cares and prays for me. People close to my heart knows what I’m currently going through. Three homes where in each one I have found a family who embraces me despite of my brokenness. Three homes where I can completely be myself, exposing all my vulnerabilities. Three homes where Jesus is the boss and Lord of all. Three homes where I can eat to my heart’s content. Three homes where I can brush my teeth any time I want.
That Sunday morning an old but classic song was sang. And it says,
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning, new every morning.
Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord.
Great is thy faithfulness.”
You see, I am not yet perfect, but I am on my way to perfection as I live my life the way God wants me to. I may not be a hundred percent faithful, but God remains faithful. I am broken, still, but God is holding my world in His hands. I am weak, but in God I experience renewed strength. I may have fears, but I know that in Christ, I am a brave soul. In all my imperfections and flaws, God still chose to love me and He made me experience grace and mercy in a new light. Just as the song says, “they are new every morning!”
So today, if you are feeling lost and empty and dull, I just want to tell you that it’s okay not to be okay. But don’t be okay with that. Pray to God and ask Him to minister to you. I always pray every single day for God to connect my spirit to His Spirit, and to tether my heart to His heart. Try it. Try God. He will not fail you–and never will He fail! Keep moving forward, brave soul. Just keep going, God is with you.
Finally, let me remind you that we are all too blessed to be stressed. You see, I’ll never have to leave home again because every time I go, instead of seeing it as “leaving home”, God would remind me that I am only “coming home” to one of these homes that He has given me.
“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
It is called mental health for a reason. Mental illness is an illness, it is a serious thing. It’s not something that people just made up, nor is it something that we should just brush off. It’s not something to be ashamed of as well. Mental illness, just like any other kind of disease, needs attention and proper care. Not because people look happy, strong or able, does it mean that they are okay. Not because someone is rich does it mean that he/she is happy with his/her life. Everybody needs somebody. Somebody needs to learn how to listen wtithout judging. Everyone should be extremely careful with how they treat their neighbors. For the saying is true, everyone is fighting a battle. Some had a hard time sleeping last night. Some didn’t have any sleep at all. Some were afraid to even fall asleep. Some even wished not to wake up anymore. And to some, getting out of bed is like pushing the wall. Some are crying just to get by. And some, they smile.
So don’t ever be rude. Don’t be a know-it-all. Don’t even tell people that what they are going through is easy. Cause they are not you, and you are not them. It’s not their fault that they are rich, famous, successful and yet they still have problems. Ordinary people have problems, yes. But here’s the truth, everybody is ordinary. We all have problems. Your age, status in life, achievements don’t matter when it comes to having problems–not even your belief and religion. Yes, you heard me. Aren’t you surprised that the person who used to sit next to you at church, at school, at work, or even someone in the family suddenly opens up that he/she has been suffering for a long time already? Like, why just now? Because of the culture and the mindset that was instilled in us. But it has to end. We have to end the stigma. It is not a sign of weakness. Being mentally ill is not something to be ashamed of. It only means that you have been fighting so hard that you finally gathered the courage and strength to ask for help.
It is okay to think of and care for others, but it’s not wrong to think of yourself as well.
So please, if you are suffering or thinking of ending your life, there is a better way. I won’t tell you not to feel down, it’s okay to not be okay, you are entitled to your own emotions. However, I just want you to know that there are still people who are genuine. Not everyone is bad. Not everyone is a hypocrite. Find someone who truly knows how to listen, someone you can trust. If you need to see a psychologist/psychiatrist, please do. Cause helping yourself is the best gift you can give to yourself. You’ve fought so hard and have come this far. And now that you’ve reached this moment, it’s time to be kind to yourself. Go seek help. Ending you life won’t end the battle. But seeking help will lead you to a way out of the maze.
Yesterday in our AbPsych class, our professor mentioned that in identifying disorders, we have to look for and consider the contributory factors. We cannot just diagnose a person with just the symptoms we observe. We have to really listen and know their side. To explore the contributory factors means to understand the disorder based on the person’s context.
I believe this is true not just for identifying disorders. And this fact encompasses every field and all walks of life. This should be a general/universal rule to everyone: to never judge a book by its cover, but to really know the context of where people are coming from. Each one has a battle that he/she is fighting. Everyone we meet may seem okay, but not everyone is actually okay. Because beyond every smile, laughter, and joke that we encounter, only a few is considered out of pure happiness, and most are signs of strength in the midst of suffering.
Everyone is fighting a battle, so choose your battles wisely. Be sensitive enough to be kind. Be understanding. Listen. Never judge. For each of us doesn’t have the right to be right, but only the the right to be broken.
People are like eggs. We are all placed in this nest where we get taken care of until we reach our hatching time. From then on we start living our lives.
But some just don’t want to leave the nest. Either they are blinded from the fact that they are meant to do things, or they are simply scared of getting out of their comfort zones.
I was both.
But you know what? I finally got out of that shell the moment I was pushed out of the nest. Falling so hard cracked it open for me and now I can see clearly what the real world is like. We aren’t born (again) to stay inside our shells! And when hatched, we aren’t meant to stay on the nest either. We are nurtured and we need to go out to do our thing. Well, not our own thing, but the thing that God has purposed us to do.
Many people, Christians, think that to live life’s purpose means letting go of your dreams and just serving God in the ministry. Well, this is correct, but usually taken out of its true context. Let me go through them one by one.
LETTING GO OF YOUR DREAMS. This doesn’t mean that we should no longer dream big dreams. No! Our God is a big God, we should dream big! But big dreams should be guided by His Word and given by God himself. Big dreams should be selfless dreams. Let go of your personal agenda and go start dreaming God’s dream for you.
SERVING GOD IN THE MINISTRY. Yes, we all should do this. But then again, “ministry” isn’t limited to the four walls of the church. Whatever God is leading you to do in your workplace, campus, community, home–these all are your ministry in your service to God. You must serve God at all times and each thing that you do must be done as if you are doing it for God and not for men.
Why am I emphasizing these two? Because like what I’ve said earlier. I was blinded by my wrong perspective and I was afraid back then. I thought to live for Christ means staying nearly 24/7 in the church doing all sorts of activities. Don’t get me wrong, nothing is wrong with church activities. But what I am saying is that we must not condemn those who are working or doing other stuff that we think are not church-related. Our God is a personal God, He has a personal dealing with each one of us. I used to agree when people give comments such as, “Dati nagpapapray na magka-work, nung nagka-work, nawala na sa ministry.” Well, they have a point, I can see where they are coming from because there are some who totally turned their backs from God because of work. They have their own battles, so let us not judge them. But there are also those who just want to obey what God is telling them to do–to be excellent employees and businessmen, students even, who would bring more people closer to God through their work, thus they’d be able to give glory to God as well. I used to agree to that comment. But now, the scales have been taken out from my eyes. I can see now that we have different callings in life. Some are called for full-time work in the church and some in their companies, some in missions, and some in their local communities.
But in all these, the secret is to never judge your brother or sister because we can never know for sure what God is actually telling them. Rather, let us pray for one another that we may fulfill the purposes that God has planted in our hearts.
And yes, I got out of that shell. And I have come to realize that I am meant to spread my wings and fly towards the dream that God has placed in my heart.
Now I can see clearly why my first boss told me–that I can still serve God even when I am working in a company. She also used to tell me most of the time that I should never be a pushover, and she thinks I am so trusting and naive back then just because I am extra kind to all. I used to shrug her comments off my mind and just say to myself, “she’ll never get it because she’s not me.” But I was wrong. It was me who didn’t get her point back then. I was really young and naive back then. But I’m so glad that God removed that arrogance from my attitude and humbled me by letting me get her point now. Given the chance, I would definitely love to talk with my ex-boss and thank her for her words of wisdom.
Another thing, don’t ever let people take away your dream from you. Don’t let others push you to set aside your dream just for you to do their dreams for them.
So there, I got out of the shell. And my next step is learning to fly properly. It may be challenging and hard at times, but it is much safer and worthwhile compared to just staying in the nest and miss out on what God has in store for me in this life.
So go on and crack your shells open. Seek God. Encounter Him. And listen to that gentle whisper that He is telling your heart. If you are called for mission, go for it. If you are called for full-time church ministry work, go for it. If you are called to be excellent in your business or work, go for it. But remember the central rule, put God first above all else. Serve the King, and be responsible in the Kingdom. Honor God, honor people. Serve God, serve people. Seek God, save people by bringing them closer to God.
I have said quite a lot, thank you for sticking with me even up to this part. My prayers for you is for God to make whatever it is that your hands are doing flourish and grow. May you bear fruit, good fruit, and may your life be a living testimony of how good and great and loving our God is!
Happy Tuesday! ♡
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24 NIV)
“Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11 NLT)
Wednesday, April 4th.
My ride was almost up and I was thinking of a faster way to get to my next stop. But then the jeepney stopped over to load two more passengers. I usually don’t pay attention to new passengers, but these two are an exception. The pair was a lady, prolly in her 40s, and a 7th grade young lad.
What caught my attention was that the moment the two got on the jeepney, the lady haven’t stopped nagging the young lad. She kept saying the same things over and over again. The gist of their (well, her) argument was that the boy went to school early but it turns out that their school gave a late announcement that there are no classes for that day, just when most 7th graders are already outside waiting to enter the campus. So the boy went some place else to spend time while waiting and apparently, the moment he got back again, it was already announced that their grade level has no more class for that day due to the 10th grade graduation practice. They were advised to go home and this young lad called home to ask someone to fetch him from school, and the lady did. The lady braved the 12 o’clock lunchbreak traffic in Paco, Manila just to get to the young lad–and to nag him all throughout their way home. She kept saying, “You could have just travelled on your own, why did you have to call to ask me to come pick you up? Don’t you know how traffic it was and how hassle it was for me?” She kept saying these things over and over again while the boy just answered the questions asked of him in a very calm tone. I admired the young lad. I somewhat wanted to tell the lady, “you know what, you’re so blessed with your son, you raised him well.”
But I didn’t.
And I’m glad I didn’t.
The prolly 40-year old lady told the young lad that next time his mom should be the one to pick him up. Turns out that this lady is a staff/employee of the young lad’s family. All the more did I admire this young lad. He just kept silent. Irritation and agitation cannot be sensed from his facial expression. Not a even a hint. Even the tone of his voice, every single time he’d answer the lady’s questions, did not have a tiny hint of dismay or disrespect. He was so respectful of the people around him. He honored even the most disrespectful person during that time.
Wih the few minutes remaining of the ride, I can’t help but contemplate about my own attitude. How many times have I been so reckless with my words that I easily gave in to my emotions and temper? How I long to become more like the young lad who just kept his cool, who did not gave in to the provocation brought about by the lady’s nagging.
Also, considering the matter of age, it is true that age and maturity does not necessarily go together. Not because we are old enough does it mean that we are also mature enough. Basing my statement on what I’ve just witnessed, even a young 7th grader can become more mature than a full-grown woman in her 40s.
Let this be a lesson for grownups like us to find that kid in us. The kid who kept his cool despite the pressure brought by the naggings of life. Choose to respond when asked, but don’t react even if you think it is necessary. Cause most of the time, it’s not. Don’t give in to the provocation, control your emotions and find that kid in you. Always honor people, not just because of their age, but even when they don’t act their age.
Finally, I prayed to God to bless that 7th grader. I have learned a lot from him. May more people learn from him as well. He’s an asset to our nation’s future. Who knows, he might become one great leader someday, or a parent to his own children?
I finally reached my designated jeepney stop. As I was getting off the jeepney, I cannot help but think that, yes, I have spent 10 pesos for the ride, but I have gained another jewel of life lessons and reflection. And this is priceless.
Tuesday, April 3rd.
I was almost late for my appointment when the jeepney that I was riding stopped for the nth time to load more passengers. Then something caught my attention: with details so vivid, I can still remember that he was wearing a finely pressed padpaper-inspired printed polo. With his hair already flatly brushed up, he flattened it even more with his left hand. After touching his hair, he looked at his gold vintage watch and signaled a quick prayer. I admired the old man for his routine of praying every 5 minutes or so. I felt led to pray for him as well.
Then traffic became heavy. All passengers were wondering why. Upon finding out that a delivery truck caused the traffic–its driver could’ve moved it a bit forward so that those behind it can turn right–the old man in the padpaper-inspired polo yelled at the truck driver, “Bobo! (Stupid!)” I was shocked. And my short-lived admiration somewhat turned into a mixture of disgust and disapproval. He should’ve just kept silent. He could have, but he didnt. Nobody gave him a reaction though. All just stared at him, and in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, he again signaled another prayer.
Did I judge him this time? I was tempted to. But then I was reminded that this old man is also myself at times. Many times have I prayed and even publicly displayed my beliefs and faith, but then I also sin in my words and thoughts. So who am I to judge?
We all are this old man in a padpaper-inspired polo. We pray, we make mistakes. However, you can decide to just be the old man who prayed, rather than the one who yelled. But in case you’ve yelled today, you have to remember that your mistakes don’t define you. You may have made a mistake but it isn’t the end point. Again, you can just be the old man who prayed and no longer yelled… and be so ever flashy and fancy in every blue and red stripe of your padpaper-inspired polo.
Many of us are lost. It’s not an argument, it’s a statement. And being lost, that is not the issue, it’s the reality. You see, it’s not about being lost. It’s about the process of finding yourself.
Expectations. Emotions. Evaluations.
These are three of the things we often encounter everyday. The people around us have different emotions, different expectations, and different ways of evaluating things. But these three aren’t supposed to control you. These must be mere gauges and not dictionaries, guides and not rules, commas and not periods. They should only be used to measure where we are in life, not to define who we are. Because definition of one’s self is a decision to make for one’s self. So, lay it all down and see the whole picture–what are the expectations of the people around you? Does it match the emotions within you? Why do some people evaluate things differently? What do we need to do to be able to fully understand where we are in this journey called life?
Expectations x Emotions
These two are the usual negatives in life. The polar opposites, if you’d ask me. A lot of people do a lot of work, pursue a lot of things, forget their true selves focusing on meeting expectations made about them. But you see, this is a complete taradiddle. Who are we fooling? Why should you pursue something that isn’t even a fraction of your true longing? Okay, well maybe it is a fraction, but why do people pursue things that they are halfhearted about? Isn’t it more fulfilling to pursue something that you really want and attain it, rather than punishing yourself with all the sacrifices that you know in the end doesn’t even make you a hundred percent excited? What is your true emotion on that something that you are currently doing right now? Why are you doing it? Is it because it is what other people expect you to do? Or is it because it is really something that you love to do? I guess we all understand the difference between these two. Let’s move on to the next.
Emotions x Evaluation
What do you feel right now? is different from How do you feel right now? It’s a matter of how we evaluate the question. You may feel a noun, and you may feel an adjective describing the noun that you are feeling. Okay, that may be too overacting and over-evaluating, but just hear me on this one. We may feel “love” right now, that’s what we are feeling, a noun. But how are you feeling requires an answer of “love” in its actual condition. I can easily answer the first question like this, I feel love for this thing that I’m doing right now. Answering the second question would be something like this, I really and sincerely love what I do! Okay, some of us may have a different evaluation on this aspect, but for me, it’s not just a matter of what, but it should always have an element of how. How are you in this thing called life? How do you evaluate the path that you are taking? Are you satisfied, or are you searching? Is the thing that you do right now the same thing that you want to do? Are you doing it for yourself, or are you doing it for others? Whose life are you living, yours or theirs? Are you living the life or are you merely existing to satiate the storyboard that other people expect you to take part in? Because you see, at the end of the day, you’ll lie in your bed and think about the life you’ll only once live, was it all worth it? Was is all that I ever wanted? Did I have a fulfilling life? or will you say that I hope I decided for myself when there was still time. So go on, when you lie tonight before you sleep, pray and evaluate. Evaluate where you really are in this journey called life. It’s not too late. It’s never too late to decide to live your life. Evaluate your true emotions. Don’t base on the fabricated ones that are shaped by the society’s expectations. Be honest to yourself and really ask God what His plans for your life are. You have your own calling, your own path to take. It is God’s prerogative, not men’s. It’s your life–your decision to make, and not for others to dictate.
Evaluation x Expectation
Now that you have evaluated your own emotions, it’s up to you whether you’ll go blindly along with the usual flow of your life and keep moving along with the current of other people’s expectations, or you’ll break that silence and go against the current and swim towards that one thing you have been wanting all along. That thing we call life. Some people say that evaluation not followed by action is just a waste of time and effort. But I would like to stress out that evaluation followed by the wrong decision and action will just be a greater waste of time and effort. After evaluating your life and its current state, it’s very crucial that you know what to do next. I know this is easier said than done, but will you just allow people to dictate what it is that you should do in your life? Will you be happy moving along the shadows of other people’s calling and miss out your own? Will you be truly and completely happy to see them happy because they have decided to decide for themselves and yet you forgot to take action for your own life? Is there fulfillment living a life that that you know you’ve never wanted? I’m not saying that you stop supporting others on their journeys. No, it is very important to take part in other people’s success and happiness as well. But what I’m saying is, you cannot expect a different outcome if you never do something different in the process. If you keep expecting change to happen in your life but you don’t start changing your ways, then I’d be the one to break it to you, that is plain insanity. After evaluating your life, you have to decide and act upon that decision. If you want to get out of a cyclic, mediocre and boring and routine-based life, then you need to break the wall of that box that you are in. There is life outside the box! Don’t let the expectations, and neither the emotions and evaluation, of other people box you in. A gold decoration piece should be put in a box that comes with the label of “gold decors”, it shouldn’t be boxed in with silver ones. Or better yet, it should be placed on that particular corner of the house where it will be able to let others see its true shine and luster. Get out of the box. Get a life, a real life. I’m not saying that you become wild, no! What I’m saying is that you have the right to be free, you have the right to live your own life, the life that God designed for you to live.
The Final Equation.
After everything that I’ve said, I know that nothing will mean anything unless we put God in the equation. You see, all of these–all the expectations, all the emotions, and all the evaluation done–will be meaningless if we don’t include God in the picture. It will all be vanity to decide to live a “life” without God in it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to put you into that idea of quit-your-job-and-do-volunteer-work, or serve-in-the-church-and-prioritize-it-above-all-else. Hey, I respect these ideas, I’m not belittling those who went for these because it’s where their hearts are. I completely respect and admire people who went after their true calling. But if you come to decide to pursue these knowing that you are called for something else–not to mention your true motive of just wanting to please your parents or the people you love, or getting attention and praise from men such as, “oh wow, how self-sacrificing of you.” Kidding aside, I know that you know what I’m talking about, we’ve all seen these somewhere–that’s where the danger is, you are headed some place where you’ll eventually lose yourself. What I’m trying to say is that, whether you work in the church, the community, or in the workplace, you have to remember that it is a ministry given to you by God. And if you take Him out of the picture, it would all become nonsense and all efforts will just be in vain. Whatever it is that God has called you to do in life, don’t ever remove Him from the equation. Cause if you want to have a life, you should never take the Life-Giver out of it. So go on, get a life, live a life, and hold on to the true source of life, Jesus Christ.
Peace out, ya’ll.
T u m p a k . 👍👌✔
(Exactly my point.)
Upon watching this video, I feel so blessed to see myself having accomplished the first few steps in what I am supposed to be doing now. I am sure that the years I spent reaching out to the community did not end up for nothing. Hindi kami nalugi sa ginawa naming pagtulong at pagvolunteer. (We’re not at loss in the work we’ve done in helping and volunteering for the community.) I remembered there’s this one night when my friend asked me how we, my parents and I, started our community work and I remembered telling her that we just focused on building relationships with them, not for any hidden motive but just really being friends with them–to care for them and to really be interested with what is important to them, to know their needs, and to be with them in their joys and sorrows. So today, I finally realized that we followed these steps in witnessing and discipleship:
Step 1 is build relationships.
Step 2 is bring them to Jesus’ feet.
Step 3 happens simultaneously with steps 1 and 2, and that is showing them who Jesus is while you build your relationship with them.
Effective witnessing and discipleship start and end with Jesus. We gotta make the people feel that they are truly loved by Jesus. It’s about Jesus and His heart’s motive of saving people and bringing them closer to Him, to His Kingdom. I remembered one of the things that my college instructor told us in class, “people won’t care about what you’re saying unless you show them that you care.” And that is basically the same for every situation we have in dealing and interacting with people. I couldn’t agree more with this video. Thumbs up kay kuyang gumawa ng video! Na-articulate nya talaga ng ayos tho namisinterpret lang ng marami, check n’yo sa FB comments section. Well, people will always be people. 😌(Thumbs up to this brother who uploaded the video. He articulated his point and message very well even though other people misinterpreted what he said, you can see these in the comments section on his Facebook post.) It is about Jesus and His word. To bring people to Him, to do the great commission–that is our mission, our goal. Jesus is the one to be exalted, not us, not our ‘church’, not the leaders, not the workers, not even the guests, but only Jesus. It’s all about Him and He alone should be the center where everything would just revolve around Him.
Again, effective witnessing and discipleship start and end with Jesus. He is the one who commissioned us to do the work, and it is for Him that we do the work to share the Word, and it is for the glory of Him who is the Word. God bless us all.
We’ve all asked that question. We have all wondered about the whys in every situation that we have in our lives. We have all thought of our circumstances and I know that you have somehow come to a point when you’ve pushed your mind to its limit. All the logic, all the reasoning, all the possible ways of deducting as to why a thing is a thing and your situation a situation.
We have all asked the magic question, “why?”
It’s frustrating, right? It is frustrating to feel butterflies in your stomach but you can’t seem to trace out where they are coming from. It is tiring to overhink. It is draining to not admit that you are weak. You’ve got to keep yourself together. But why?
When the world tells you to pull yourself together, what you need to do is to pull and push. Pull yourself together and push yourself even further. Further towards your purpose. Further towards your passion. You have to look for reasons why you are born into this world. Why and for what are you created for? For one, you aren’t just existing for nothing. Surely you are alive for a reason. What are the things that make your heart beat? What are the things that drive you crazy for a good reason? Follow that motivation. If you’re asking why your life is the way it is right now, let me ask you why are you settling for that if you know that it isn’t the life that is meant for you to live?
Why aren’t you fighting for your purpose? Why are you still there? Why are you denying yourself of true joy. You cannot experience full joy and fulfillment if you aren’t living according to your purpose.
So please stop. Stop living a counterfeit life. You have to decide. Decide for yourself, not because your parents told you to. Not because it is what’s ‘in’ right now. Not because of emotional rush. But decide for yourself because you’re sure that it is what God wants for you. Don’t decide because you are scared, angry, lonely, happy, uncertain. Don’t decide based on your emotions. Don’t decide based on your selfish ambitions. Decide because you know it is God’s will for you.
And if you are having second thoughts, just ask yourself, why not?
If God is for us, who can be against us? Put your trust in God. If He is calling you to it, He will definitely bring you through it. God bless you. 🙂