Friday, September 11, 2009

Archive: Powerless

I am a screwup twenty years in the making.

Every now and then, I would like to believe that it is true, just for the sake of putting myself down, same effect as with rubbing the salt in the wound(?). I don't take pleasure in torturing myself mentally, neither do I have a psychological disorder that I'm aware of that could make me think this way. From an innocent kid's eye, I really am a screwup. I mean, what else do you call a 20-yr old undergraduate who gave up her school and her job for an unknown lifetime adventure? Aside from crazy, that is.

I just learned from one of my class that the term election, in terms of ethics, is the selection of the will to carry out your intentions. So, I "elected" not think of myself a screwup, no matter if I really am one or not.

...It's more of a vow. Like a pact with God. I just realized that it really takes great GREAT courage to admit that you are weak, that you are a coward, and that's what I did. I surrendered everything when I accepted God at exactly May 21st this year. I made a promise to just offer him my life, to let him take the wheel and drive (in accordance to a song). The daily struggles we, mere mortals, are facing are enough to keep us down, making us feel that the burden of the world is on our shoulders. And you know deep inside that there is only one way, one sure way, to calm the storms in our hearts. It's you choice if you're gonna listen to that small voice.

In one of the services I've attended before, it was once mentioned that God doesn't give second chances; instead he gives new beginnings. Funny because I don't feel like twenty at all. I feel like I just came out of the surface of an ocean, after a long time being under water. It is a new beginning, another glorious morning after a long, dark night. So, basically it's starting from scratch though this time, I'll make sure everything is right. Or rather, do it with the assurance that it's His will and He has plans for you. This time I won't be alone; I'll be walking in the light with Him.

(Posted: June 26, 2008)

Monday, September 07, 2009

When Love Speaks

On love and friendship

“I’ve thrown away the hope I had in friendship; I’ve thrown away so many things that could have been much more.” – When I go down by Relient K

Hair? Negotiable.
Height? Non-negotiable.
Aesthetically gifted (gwapo)? Non-negotiable!
Good conversationalist? Non-negotiable
.Coffee addict? Negotiable.
Film buff? Negotiable.
Book-lover? Non-negotiable!
Loves God? You’re kidding right?

With the last statement, it’s pretty much clear that it should be a non-negotiable criteria.

Lately, my conversations with girl friends involved an episode of romantic love. Since this has been a recurring theme for the past three weeks, I might as well share what I feel about it.

It started with a friend who confessed her affections for this guy, though her problem is that she, on her own judgment, thinks that she is giving away too much of herself to him (in terms of time and attention). And she doesn’t want that: in other words, she wants to be with the guy without giving him any hint of her feelings. There’s this another one who has confessed that she had already let go of someone, after long moment of waiting.

One morning I received an alarming text from a friend who saw her ex and can’t help thinking about him. Well, I said, you said it yourself: he is your ex. Move on sweetheart.

Just last week, I received a text from a younger friend who I was just hanging out with the other night. She was relaying her kamustas and imissyous (and I love her for that). I joked that she really wanted to tell me something – a code that means it’s about the matters of the heart - that’s why she texted. After that, I received 3 pages worth of text message from her, a burst of emotion that 160 characters worth of a reply cannot do justice.

And all of these because of a guy that, in the first place, they do not currently have a formal romantic relationship with. Can you imagine how much more if it involves a real boyfriend?

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:25

In the past year, God has imparted me with enough courage to deal with my own ‘heart hang-ups’. I cannot say that I have “been there, done that, bought the T-shirt” because I haven’t. But when once you have survived wrong relationships and romantic disappointments, you would at least have the wisdom to watch out for signs. Signs that this feeling of infatuation is what it is: just a feeling and it would soon go away. Signs that your friendship with a guy is really rooted with wrong intentions (major consequences awaits). Signs that you are being too friendly with the opposite sex. Signs that he or she is not the right person – yet. Signs that you are not really ready for a relationship.

Disappointments, breakups, and all sorts of emotional pains. Just some of the things we would never want to hear in our lives again. Past experiences that have proved all fairy tale wrong, but still we go on searching for that perfect love: the hope was perfectly planted in our hearts. You know why? Because God planted that hope and desire in our hearts. We, boys and girls alike, are designed for that kind of thing. To feel that desire, as I have told one of the girls I have mentioned earlier, is a gift. Acknowledge that gift of desire to love someone as His calling. This calling is not of the church or of any ministry, but a calling to your becoming a man, a woman. The journey lies in our quest to find that genuine, pure and unselfish love – only in this kind of love you can both meet God. Can you imagine that kind of relationship? No guilt, no jealousy, no pride. No stain of impurity from their hearts. Adam and Eve in Paradise.

When Love Speaks

What’s your love language? I first heard about it from a friend of mine who was actually relaying her crush’s love language. She said that he was a “time and affection” kind of guy. I was clueless about it when she asked for my love language. I told her that I would know if I am loved when the person would give up doing other things in his day – relatively more important things – just to be with me. “Pareho kayo! Quality time ka rin!” she retorts. Is there any other way to love apart from doing things together? I asked. Apparently, there are other ways.

Believe it or not, these love languages can be used against you. Your heart (I’m speaking to both guys and girls here) is the most valuable thing in your life because from it springs our very life. You can be deceived by it, no matter how harmless it might seem.

So what now, you might think, what now can I do? Should I be cautious of the motives of the opposite sex? Should I give him a dagger look when he glanced my way? Should I flush down my sim card when she texts with happy umlauts? Should I transfer school because she accidentally held my hand? No, dimwit, you ask the Bible, that’s what you do.

Here’s what the Bible has to say: “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Let’s make it simple. Get a piece of paper. If you are single, currently active in your network, and is subject to daily interaction with the opposite sex (to put it bluntly, may mga umaaligid-aligid sayo), list down your limitations and boundaries.

(for the boyets) I will limit my talk time with pretty girly to 30 minutes a day.
(for the girlies) I will not allow myself to be physically close to any boyet (no holding of hands, no hugging, etc.)

If you are single, currently active in your network, but no one is making aligid (yet), what you need to do is: first, focus on God. Are you sure your heart is ready for this kind of encounter? As I’ve always heard, before you seek out your prince charming, make sure you are already a princess. It goes the other way around for the guys. Keep yourself pure, ask God to cover your heart and hide it in His hands that whoever wants it would have to seek God first. I’m sounding preachy here, but that’s the truth, there’s no denying it. Allow God to transform you into the man or woman that He wants you to be. Second, make a list of the negotiables and non-negotiable qualities of the person you’re looking for. I got this from Jiggy. This will help you “filter” the people that would come into your life, and sort out the person that God wants for you. Be honest about your list: just list down the qualities of the person you would actually want to be with. I saw this young woman on TV who had had her share of heartaches and all. She sought God’s wisdom, and listed down 60 specific qualities of the guy she wants to be with. Eventually, she found her happy ending from a guy who exactly has all those sixty qualities. ‘Stig. Like Jiggy said, specific prayers get specific answers. Just remember it would only be God, not anyone else, who can save you from all possible heartaches.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Those Seven Words

Those seven words: “Oh God, oh God I needed you.”

Maybe, just maybe, set deep in our hearts is this small prayer, when everything else in our lives is going wrong. When we diverted ourselves in preparation, in band practice, in meetings, in budgets and supermami, unconsciously we are saying this. When we have tired our bodies at work or school, the struggle to be closer to Him – just to give even a small amount of our precious time – is our own escape. We never fully said it, but we cannot deny that it’s there: all this time we have all been hungry for His love, but our own efforts weren’t enough to sustain it.

“Keep your mind on higher things.”It was a simple Saturday morning when I was called to church for preparation. People strumming on their guitars like there’s no tomorrow welcomed my sight. So this is it, I guess. Another anniversary we would talk about for, say, 2 weeks max. I can’t even remember last year’s anniversary - and to say it was held for 2 days!

But amidst prayers during that day, I was chanting those seven words. Oh God, oh God I needed You. Let this not be another event.

We have prayed as we ate lunch. We have prayed as we did the run-through. We have prayed as we went home. And I know that as we all went to sleep, we still prayed together.

Sunday afternoon. The prayers never left us; instead it was growing louder, with a hint of desperation. “Be with us for this day is for You.” We needed Him so badly, as indicated by the tears that poured and by the comforting hugs that were offered everywhere. We have taken that as a cue to call on His people and just start worshipping Him till daybreak.

And life, as we have known it, would never be the same after that Sunday.

“So let Your name be lifted higher.”

At the end of the first song, we were blown away. The magnitude of their desire to just be with Him is so greatly felt, you have to be a stone not to get goosebumps. This is the cry of the young people who are taking that path closer to Jesus. Everything just made sense: this is His time, our wake-up call, to just respond to that calling. We were refreshed for we had had a glimpse of the life that He has in store for us. The freedom is ours; the least we could do is to jump and sing our hearts out in rejoice.

“We are people of destiny.” Pastor Jesse was right. We weren’t there by mere coincidence. God had placed us there, on the right place at the right time. And as God’s mouthpiece, He has delivered His message with all conviction and passion. Thank you for awakening our Took-ish side. Thank you for moving us.

Four hours weren’t enough to sing Him praises. A lifetime wouldn’t be enough either.

Here I am, four days after that one fateful Sunday. Sick, physically, but nourished in spirit. The shouts, the dancing, the kneeling down, that “sophisticated worship” – all of these I will carry on forever. I am just excited for what is in store for all of us in the future.

For the people who were sleep-deprived, have fasted and continually prayed with us through the end, thank you. Indeed, God has always been faithful to us. The miracles of Jesus are not found in the loaves of bread or in turning water into wine: The miracles are the people whom He has changed. Glory be to our one and only God.

Happy 11th Anniversary Ignite Youth Network!