I Keep Forgetting

…that this world values different things than the ones You value. While this world is bent on yelling out things like justice (without empathy), money (without charity), and rightness (without humility), You always chose the world’s loser side. You never look cool in this world taking the humble stance – nobody ever looked cool kneeling in front of a much less deserving person, more so washing that person’s feet. But ‘cool’ didn’t save people. ‘Cool’ didn’t die and lived again and redeemed a supposedly irreversible eternity of punishment. Humility did. Sincerity did. Love did.

Another thing I realized, people who are prepared to hate everything you say, will hate anything you say. I am learning not to take offense with people’s less than stellar/respectful/even intelligent comments, because, hey, what for? I only feel the start of a grim piece of work, for a future that’s ever changing. Funny how technology made everything more removed and desensitized.

When you give your life to Christ, the world becomes grimmer and darker; God didn’t say ‘sunshine and rainbows’. The world becomes cruel. But the great thing is, sunshine and rainbows are at the finish line. Forever.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
 
John 16:33

 

 

Stealing Some Springtime

It’s the middle of May! I’m here thinking, where did the rest of the year go? It’s almost midyear, and this is the time where I almost always feel confused as regards to time/what I did/what happened/where it went.

So here’s what I’ve been doing:

– taken (and finished) a Greek History class

– taken a Behavioral Econ class, but I think I might need to retake that (it’s free!)

– now I’m juggling a writing class, a psychology intro class, and work

It’s spring in other countries, and here it already started raining. In fact, a thunderstorm is set to form before the day ends, or so says our weather station, which is actually fast becoming an Uncle Abe of sorts.

I just emailed my sister, commenting that spring looks bright for them (judging from the photos she sent of them at the beach). It elicited surprise for me because I thought, from the books I read, the area where she’s in always rained even in good weather. Because the Philippines only has two seasons – summer and rainy season – I feel sometimes it’s unfortunate that I can’t experience what it’s like to wait for a groundhog or the blooming of a flowering tree after a long cold season. But I suppose it’s better for the country to NOT have snow, as we’re likely less prepared.

So I steal spring from other places – my sister’s photos, and this song. I love the MV, even if I don’t understand any of it, and the ending is hilarious.

2012/2013

So is this considered post apocalyptic because we got through the Mayan end of the world thing?

Okay, this is such a late post and considerably so because it’s already 5 days into 2013 (wuuuut!), and seriously, note to myself: thank yous are done typically as it ends. I’m sorry 2012 for keeping you waiting and THANK YOU not because you are over, but because you’ve been a sweetheart.

I feel as if 2012 is the most unique year so far not in the sense that it had given me plenty privileges (I hardly travelled – it feels like I studied all year!), yet it was teeming with experiences that took me to new heights (and sometimes valleys) in my walk with God. In the everyday things, there were so many lessons I started to understand about myself, relationships, convictions, and more than anything, who God is – not only in my life but AS WHO HE IS. I greatly owe this past year a huge thank you banner and streamers for the testings I’ve had – they sucked sometimes, during the moment, but like what they say you get refined by fire. But no, Peeta, that doesn’t include pearls from coals.

2012 was a year of ‘No’s, which sounds like it sucked if you see it in that way. I prayed for a lot of things that I didn’t see fulfilled. I had a lot of hopes that fell through. I don’t believe in unanswered prayers; people say God answers in ‘Yes’, ‘Wait’, and ‘No’. The Bible says that all the promises of God are Yes and Amen in Christ. I didn’t see much of ‘yes’ the past year, yet ultimately, God’s resounding YES is there – not in the event that I get what I want, but in the revelation that the things I wanted weren’t good for me, and in His hands He’s holding something better. In the waiting, hoping, crushing pain of non-fulfillment, God’s promise remains: He is good, and He has perfect plans. The unexpected answers I got stung; but the presence of God through all of those experiences is sweet balm.

The past year is a walk in blind faith, literally not knowing where to go (and for a paranoid like me, how to get there). This was the fork in the road that separates dreams and realities, where anything is possible, where I was starting at zero and I could be anything I wanted – I only need to choose wisely. There were a lot of them, all difficult, and most importantly there were no tick boxes from letters A to D.  I was left to choose between compromising convenience and tenacious convictions. I passed some, I failed some, yet I thank God that He doesn’t give up on me upon a detour or a wrong turn – there is a rebuilding, going on inside of me. 2012 tore down walls and demolished old strongholds inside me.

Some thoughts I cherished at the end of the year and will be sure to carry over this 2013 is this: I won’t ask God anymore for the instant answers because He is THE ANSWER. I won’t ask Him that He gives me good things because He is the good thing. I won’t ask Him for the path, but for Him to be my guide and take me there. Taking care that prayers are defined by the Giver and not the gift, I think God taught me that by not getting the answers to my prayers I was driven instead to seek Him and learn for myself that He continues to be faithful, come what may (with Ewan McGregor/Nicole Kidman singing in the background). God never dangles His promises in front of us and then takes it back – like what I sometimes do with our fat cat and his dinner until he gets annoyed – guess Cat and I are one in saying thank God I’m NOT God. The other thought is that I’ve learned to be more appreciative of my family and friends in the midst of the daily challenges I faced. It just isn’t possible to look at my family now and not see God’s goodness overflowing in the quirks and weirdnesses we have with each other. We’re broken in so many ways; but the way that God has placed us together is one of the greatest wonders I have had. Some people like to think that families are the only ones you own that you can’t replace. I’m lucky enough to say that I would never have traded them for anyone else. The same goes for my adoptive family…crazy varied and oddly different we may all be in terms of life, status, culture and taste, I am incredibly proud of my brilliant, crazy and incredibly fluffy-fuzzy loving friends.

With that, I officially welcome the new year. I am grateful for 2012 and I welcome 2013 being fully expectant that it won’t be easy, yet it will be a very fruitful year. The rebuilding’s not done yet! There’s so much to learn and so much to witness from God. Happy New Year (day Five!)!!

You overanalyze too?

Thanks, I thought I was the only one.:)) But let’s just establish this point first: overthinking anything, however way we term, justify, or defend it, is worry. And worry, in the face of what God can do, is short on faith on that capability (and faithfulness) that characterizes God. So now that that’s out…

I haven’t quite lived down overanalysis. In fact, right now a million thoughts run through my head begging for attention. Sometimes, I like to think of it as wisdom (to stop and think). Sometimes I just get confused. I think about everything. I think about things not even happening yet. I dream up scenarios and imagine my best response or decision. You would probably think I’m good at chess or math. But not really. Not even close. Math and I agree to never consult each other unless necessary.

While I have yet to completely shed my tendencies to worry, today I got reminded of what I was missing that leads me straight into overthinking. I was reading Exodus 1 and 2 today and there are four things that caught my attention.

1. The Hebrew people feared/loved God, and therefore obeyed Him. The Pharaoh felt threatened by the increasing number of Israelites in their land. To make up for this, the Egyptians treated the Israelites ruthlessly in every way. When the Pharaoh issued a law to kill all Hebrew baby boys (even at labor), the Israelites sought to do instead what was right by God. There was faith in their actions knowing that God is above any power of the Pharaoh. When we seek to obey God, there is no fear of the future or any consequences because we know that we are obeying a good and just God, because we know that He is above everything we can possibly think of. Any worst-case scenario is overpowered by the grace and the goodness that is God’s.

2. They did what they canThe Hebrew midwives tried to protect the newborn sons (and God blessed them in their own individual lives). Moses’ mother hid him even though Pharaoh ordered that all Hebrew boys be drowned in the Nile. In Hebrews 11, Moses’ parents were among the Hall of Famers of Faith.  It took their faith also to save Moses’ life because they saw that he was a fine child (they saw his potential), and ultimately a deliverer for their people. Moses’ sister watched as he was caught up by the Egyptian princess’ arms in the tiny basket, and volunteered to find a Hebrew woman to serve as the princess’ babysitter – which was no other than Moses’ mother. She did what she could to protect her baby brother. While we’re so often tempted to do it all, we usually forget to do what we could and let God handle what we couldn’t. The difference in this is that we continue to pave our own way instead of letting God present us opportunities and grabbing them.

3. Ask God’s wisdom. Moses, having been raised a prince and yet aware of the plight of the Israelite slaves, felt for his people. When he witnessed an Egyptian man ruthlessly punishing Israelite workers, he killed the man in secret. Now this would have sounded like a “defending the defenseless” thing, the one thing Moses missed was asking God what he could do – by His standards. Sometimes we think that the end justifies our means, but that is not the case when we want to do right by God. He didn’t know that God had another plan of deliverance for the Israelites in mind. Surprising for Moses, the Israelites didn’t appreciate his “act of valor”, in fact, they became very afraid of him. When the Pharaoh discovered what Moses did, he sought to punish him for it.

4. God always protects who are His. This came as a relief for me. Moses, knowing that Pharaoh is sure to punish him for killing an Egyptian (probably a possible rebellion is in the Pharaoh’s mind), fled to hide from him. He didn’t know, or maybe he was little aware, that God was watching over him and he sent him to people who could help him. It’s a relief to know that God does not disown us when we screw up, but once we are His, we are His forever. He continues to watch over our lives and direct us to where He wants us to be.

When we displace worry, we remember that God accomplishes what He has in store for our lives, even without our “help”. Overthinking doesn’t do much for us except cloud our minds of God’s wisdom and ability. Thinking beforehand of our actions and decisions are well, but we have to remember to seek God’s will and His standards, obey in faith, do only what we could and put our trust in God for what we couldn’t, and stop kicking ourselves when we do something wrong, and instead repent and thank God for His grace in our lives. Putting God first, fixing our eyes on Jesus, leads us to actually aiming at the right mark, where no distraction such as worry can hold us back. The next time we overthink (yes, I included myself), we can put a stopper to that with these. Ultimately, when we seek God everything that’s confusing in our lives become clearer and easier to understand.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. – Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

Something to Encourage Us

We all need a lift sometimes. Easy to make it seem that we can do anything and there is nothing to stop us, but sometimes Fear gnaws at the edge of our dreams. So here’s something to lift us all up. God knows we have to be reminded a lot.:)

Whatever good thing it is that you’re waiting for, consider it a gift waiting to be handed down to you by God in His proper time. His answers are never late. Hold on to hope, put your faith in what He can do, because every good thing comes from Him who gave us everything.

Don’t hesitate to pray! And while we’re here, I’d be honored if I can pray with you too.:)