Writing for God

Blogging. It seems so simple. A string of sentences here, added to another phrase there to form a paragraph and voila, you have written an article. Click publish and you’re good to go.

I wish it was that simple though. For me. I have read numerous blogs to get inspiration, joined writing challenges, listed blogging prompts. Pretty much anything and everything I could think of just to get me started but still. Procrastination? Probably. But my main concern for the past few weeks (when I thought I’ve overcome my “fear” of blogging and putting my thoughts out there) is WHAT TO WRITE? Initially, I wanted to make it more of a journal but then who’d read it? Next, I figured I would make it a photoblog or book blog. But I read books too fast for me to write each and every one of it a single review. (But I’m still planning on adding book reviews here, don’t worry). Then by some weird chance, I thought of making this a fashion blog. With the teeny, tiny problem that I am the LEAST FASHIONABLE person I know. (Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration) And lastly, I decided I want my blog to reflect my thoughts as a Christian. But I don’t know where to start. And so it went on and on and on until today. When I realized I can’t put it off anymore.

I was so busy with finding my niche (while that is mostly effective for the professional bloggers out there), my blog is still in infancy. Anyhow, I came to realize earlier that I was so focused with thinking of the right topic that would interest people when i should just be writing about what interests ME. You see, if I continue writing for the people (mostly, if not all, whom I don’t know), then I lose the joy of writing. This is a tool for me to express myself, my thoughts, opinions, and yes, even my crazy, not so fashionable style. So why give in to the pressure when the only person pressuring me is myself? Also, trying my best to make my writing sound so interesting for others so they will be impressed really got to me. I know of only ONE that I should impress. And that is GOD.

Yes, you heard me. God gave me the ability to write, the creative mind to put words together, the talent to paint pictures out of words. Of course, I should write for Him. But no, not to impress. But TO GLORIFY. Because what else can I do to impress the One who created everything in this world? Surely, NOTHING! So why bother to impress? But to glorify? I have all the reason to do so. Aside from the fact that He is God and He created me, never mind that He just happen to offer His Son as atonement for my sins (and everyone else in the world) cause really, who else would do that, right? God gave me all the abilities I have to honor Him.

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

The Word already says it. Who am I to argue? While I focus on the shallow things, God has called my attention and directed me to the things that really matter most. The transformation of the mind that only comes from Him. And there simply lies the answer, I CAN WRITE WHATEVER I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT AS LONG AS I DO IT TO HONOR GOD AND GLORIFY HIM.

That’s how it should be.

 

THIS 2014

I would find more time to read books. And write/blog.

I would find more time to cook at home. Lest my husband should go hungry.

I would write more handwritten letters, snail mail is the way to go. Or emails. Anything as long as i build and cultivate my relationships and friendships no matter how far they may be from me.

I would read my Bible daily. THIS IS A MUST. Feed my soul, transform my life.

I would take more photos and capture LIFE.

I would reconnect with long-lost friends. And family members.

I would save up for a rainy day. And a sunny day, a windy say, a shopping day and so on and so forth.

I would wake up early. Please, Lord, help me. I REALLY NEED TO WAKE UP EARLY.

I would fight the good fight of faith with Jesus’ strength.

I would weed out the unnecessary things that eat up my time. Like clicking the refresh button on my Facebook and Twitter timeline for the nth time in 2 minutes.

I would learn a new skill. Or hobby. Whichever, comes first.

I would lessen my caffeine and drink more water.

I would exercise more. Futsal and football, yes?

I would eat healthier. Cream Dory, hello.

I would visit towns and travel more. Explore the Philippines, explore the world.

I would believe in God for all these things and rely on Him to make it possible if it’s His will.

I would continue dreaming and hoping and praying because essentially, that’s how our lives should be lived.

2013: The Year That Was

I wonder why most of the New Year’s post i encounter recall how “2013 was such a blast!” and that they “can’t wait for 2014 and its surprises” with much “!!!.” Not that i don’t share the same sentiment. I guess, the negative side of me just seems to think that too much recognition of how 2013 was amaaaaazing really is one’s way of sugar-coating how unpleasant it was.

OKAY. That was such a douche-bag thing to say. Fine. I take it back.

I was planning on starting a post that would outline my whole 2013, good and bad. Of course, my tiny mind wouldn’t be able to recollect every single thing that happened. And I guess a list of highlights would just do.

1) CITY GIRL TO SOUTHERN BELLE. Of course, when i say Southern, i’m pertaining to the third largest island of the Philippines – Mindanao. Moving to Mindanao or General Santos City to be exact, was the farthest thing from my mind when 2013 started. Just a background, i got engaged to a doctor in 2012 and he was about to set his medical practice in his hometown, which happens to be in Mindanao. To cut the long story short, after I marry him, we’d have to settle in Gen San. ANYWAY. I honestly thought that things would probably still work out for him and his career in Manila. I was born and raised and lived for my whole 29 years in Manila, there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAY i am moving. But, God has a plan (of course He does! but more of that later) and while i was absolutely resistant to the transfer, i still am adjusting by the way, my April 25 flight to General Santos City opened a lot of doors and opportunities for me that I’m pretty sure I would never have encountered had I stayed.

2) FROM 1 DOG TO 4. Yes, FOUR. Okay, so here’s where the blessings and favor of moving to Gen San started. I initially had a shih tzu dog named Rafa given by my best friend Abby that i totally adore. Our pastor from church and also ninong and ninang in our wedding, presented us with not just one but two dogs as an advance wedding present. Pepper, a standard schnauzer and Shadow, a miniature (NOT SO) schnauzer became Rafa’s playmates at home. Come October, Jay’s aunt asked me what gender i’d prefer for a labrador and i thought she was just asking for my opinion when she buys her own. Turns out, she already has two labs that had puppies and she decided to gift me one (another advance wedding present) to add to my growing “collection.” Oh, sorry, I meant family 😛

3) I GOT MARRIED. Which was a testimony of God’s greatness in my life. From the time I met Jay and we became friends, during our engagement, favor in planning and wedding suppliers, provision that usually comes out of nowhere (jay and I had absolutely NOTHING when we got engaged and God provided everything for us), GRACE during the whole time and FAITH to believe that He will see us through. More than marrying the man of my dreams, the one i prayed for – our wedding was evidence of God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promises. I had never felt so precious in His eyes (and there were gazillion of times that God saw me through but this one is different) than during the time that we were planning everything and until we said our vows in front of God (and our guests) knowing that I am obeying His will for me. Also, my brother and dad walked me to the altar and it was the sweetest and happiest moment of my life, I cried. So everyone thought i was crying because I saw Jay’s face when in reality, i was really crying because I can imagine my mom with us that day and our family has never felt so complete than it was that day with just the three of us in front of God.

4) NEW FAMILY. NEW FRIENDS. NEW CHURCH. Jay’s family welcomed me immediately and regarded me as their own soon as I got here. Tita Let (Mommy) and Tito Jun (Da) made sure that I was more than cared for and was thoughtful and considerate enough to adopt me when i was still looking for an apartment. Even Jay’s brothers and aunts welcomed me with open arms. Friends from the Dog Club (Yes, i’m a certified member of the Canine Club of South Cotabato now) have not just shown hospitality to a newcomer like me but also taught me a lot of things i now know in taking care of my dogs. Without them, i would probably have cried already, not knowing what to do when Pepper gave birth (Thanks Rizza and Wella for adopting her for a while) and wouldn’t be able to travel to Manila for wedding preps because there would be no one to look after the monsters, i mean, doggies. Also Uncle Bot, who has always treated me like another daughter (and who gave me the monster-lab) would always be willing to adopt ze dogs and give free vet advice whenever necessary, thank you. It saved us a lot instead of going to the vet clinics here in Gen San. HAHA. Next is Victory. Ah.. It’s always the same wherever church you go – HONOR GOD and MAKE DISCIPLES. I am now again, being discipled. Thanks to this spiritual family, I have new friends i can share my life with, laugh and discuss struggles whenever sadness comes over me about being in a “foreign” place. Lasting friendships with these people are being developed even as i speak (or write).

5) WRITING. I have always wanted write. I have always dreamed of being able to write. I have always decided to write. But then, I have never gotten over my fear of writing. I used to write/blog as a release. My thoughts were so personal, reading them now makes me wanna get run over by a bus because it was not just too personal and graphic, it also has no point. But thank God for the free time i have as I got to writing and blogging again (not as much as I would have wanted but still a good start). It also provided an avenue for me to improve the way i string the words and thoughts together. And while i still have a long way to go, an online news daily took the risk (I don’t know what they were thinking and i hope they never find out) of getting me on board to write and rehash news for them. WHICH IS SOMETHING I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FORWARD TO SINCE FOREVER. Well, maybe not forever but ever since I realized that maybe, JUST MAYBE, Recruitment and HR is not the job for me.

So, while I cannot say that my 2013 was “soooooooo amazing i could die”, I definitely could say that it was truly a blessed and fulfilling one for me. I have been pushed to my limits, rejected and praised, sure and unsure of so many things during this year. But God has always been the constant one in all of these situations, transitions and milestones. I will always be forever grateful for the year that was because I know that my God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow.

Waiting for the Lord.

“Wait for the Lord, wait for the Lord”

Lord, I really need you to come through for me today. My work is on the line. Our department is on the line. Only Your favor, grace and mercy can turn things around. You are the Most Powerful One, no one else. Please Lord, please.

I’m scared. And maybe I have a good reason to be. Or none. because You are there. You help me and take good care of me and Your plans are great. I may not understand them now but Your plans are way better than what I can perceive. Hold me unto Your arms, Lord. I’m a bit fragile now. Slowly losing my breath with that panic, sinking in. I will not be in fear. Lord, I know You are here, beside me, even as I write and whine and freak out. No, You rebuke the work of the enemy for he is nothing to you, nothing but a tiny wisp of distraction. No, he will not prevail. BUT YOU WILL.

For You created the world. You conceived of this plan, even. And I will not give up. I will keep the faith. I will believe. Lord, help me please.

Successful? Who,me?

But this has always haunted me — the feeling that I am not where I’m supposed to be in terms of my career.

Ever since I have seen that going corporate is not the only way to live your life, to make it to the top and to earn, I always seem to have a nagging feeling that there’s so much more – more than this. More than waking up in the morning, clocking in 8 hours or 14 the most, doing the routine of checking emails, talking to applicants and sending reports. More than ensuring that my growth is more vertical than lateral, advancing at a dizzying speed that I can barely keep the reins in. Of hobnobbing with the higher ups, you barely have time to check if your feet is still on the ground — I have been intoxicated by all these. BEFORE.

It was a hard tug from Him. More like a crash And it hurt. Hurt deeply my pride, ego, self-esteem. (Back then, I thought I didn’t have enough pride in me to be affected that way). I thought I was invincible — too arrogant to see that I have just scratched the surface of what it takes to succeed in my chosen career. I thought I had it made. I was meeting targets due for the following year, clients always praised my work, I can barely sleep trying to make everything work out and being the indispensable employee I thought I was. I was too intoxicated with success (success by my OWN definition) that I was being careless and insensitive. Pride was my fuel and it came with a cost.

I crashed and burned. Something I didn’t expect. I thought it was the end of me. I have allowed my work to define me. I made it my life. And when I lost it — lost the account due to unforeseen circumstance, lost clients who transferred to other companies, lost the revenue coming in , I didn’t know what to do. I thought I lost my everything.

But it wasn’t my everything. Hell, no.

It was JUST work. Okay, maybe it’s not just JUST work. But really, it’s just something. After i “lost” those, I’m still breathing. I still have my family, my friends, my life and most of all, I have my God. The God who has blessed me, and continues to do so, with all the things I could ever need. And I was never lacking even when I had no work, much to my surprise. In fact, I had so much more because this is the God who has supplied me with my work!

This truth – the truth that God can make me flourish and grow (personally and financially) is the promise that I have never let go of ever since He made me see that life is not all that’s within the four corners of corporate glass walls. There is so much more than that.

Look at the girl who has started her own NGO helping women who were victims of violence and abuse, or the group of people who volunteers to help take care of animals in PAWS. I have friends who are artists – musicians, painters who do not have a full-time job – who never worry about the ladder of corporate success and yet, YET they are more fulfilled and content than those I have seen with  their own offices high up in the penthouse of a building, slaves to their own BlackBerry and laptop, because they know that success isn’t measured by the amount you have in your account. Or the housewife who takes care of the home, dressing up and tutoring the kids, minding the household chores and waiting patiently for her husband to come home every single day – it may seem like a routine but her sincere heart and love is what makes it such a joy to come home to her arms everyday.

Success is never about the titles you gain or the degrees you’ve earned. Sure, it’s a step along the way but it should never be the end of it. True success is measured when you are content with all that you have – whether it be running an office, leading a cause, paving your own career or even nourishing a home – because you know that it comes from the One who is able to supply you with all that you need. It comes after you realize that more than the material things, the ties and desires you have in this world (which He will gladly supply), the most important thing really is your relationship with God.

MORE THAN ANYTHING.

Success is when you have enough humility to call on God and rely on Him for anything and absolutely everything because you know that all your efforts will fall short.

Though I still struggle from time to time and cannot say yet that I have fully yielded all authority to Him, I try my best. And every time I give Him back the reins of my life, He gives me the success. Not more than I would need, lest it makes me think it’s of my own effort again and not less than required that people wouldn’t know it’s from Him.

God gives us the success every time we surrender to His Will.

I’m Not Sure Where I’m Supposed To Be Right Now, But That’s Okay

And I thought I had everything all figured out already.

I thought that once I step out in faith, everything will just fall into place and be a walk in the park from then on. But I was wrong.

Boy, was I wrong.

When I stepped out in faith, I knew it was onto something great. Powerful. Amazing. I didn’t know it would entail disappointments, heartaches, frustrations and stretching out what little patience I have left. It makes me doubt the thing that has allowed me to take the bold lead.

Right now, I feel short of a wave being tossed in the mighty ocean – not knowing what to do, where I’m headed and when it will all stop. The impulse to put my foot on the brakes of life and just go back running to the comfort zone I left behind is so great that I have to stop and remind myself on why I turned my back on those things

I realized four things.

First, there is a reason I had to leave the things, WORK, I was used to. God is preparing me for something big and much far greater than my tiny little brain could comprehend. And He Will be able to do that if I am where He wants me to be at that moment. It has to be where He has planned it (or I) to be because He is the conductor  of the GREAT PLAN. I’m not saying that He can’t use me in any place because obviously He can. But it HAS TO BE WITHIN THE PROPER SETTING for me to appreciate and understand better what it is exactly He has planned for me.take for example an orchestra. The musical instruments are arranged in a specific order and place in the formation. Otherwise, scattering them will just ruin the beautiful music they produce. I have to be in the place God intended me to be for His plans for me to be MORE beautiful. (Not just beautiful since it already is as far as His Creations is concerned. But MORE)

Second, that’s why it’s called a “leap of faith” because your belief in God will take you somewhere unchartered. New. To some, it could even be foreign.. It wasn’t a “walk to certainty” that I was asked to do. Had I known where I’m headed, it wouldn’t require much of my faith to do that because I would already have an idea, even from the beginning, if the move was something I would like to do or not. But it doesn’t work that way. Not everything in this life is a certainty. Of this, I’m sure. (WOW. Irony.)

Third, it’s OKAY TO DOUBT. I see some raised eyebrows here. But, really it is. You can doubt your self at times, your capabilities, your path. Of course you will. You’re human. AS LONG AS YOU DON’T DOUBT GOD AND HIS PLANS FOR YOU. They’re two different things. the first is focused on the self while the second, on the One who created us all. We’re not omniscient and omnipotent. Our powerlessness oftentimes are the major cause of our doubts and fears. But our God is All-Powerful. And when you have Him on your side? It’s just impossible not to feel the strength that comes from Him that casts all our worries away.

Fourth, I can be patient and wait all I want but it’s not gonna happen in my time BUT IN HIS TIME. I am actually a very impatient person. This is one of the fruits I’ve been waiting to bear on the tree that is myself for a very long time already. Oftentimes in the past, I have rushed things and made them happen MY WAY which ended up in a lot of tears and frustrations that I almost became a bitter witch. I was so self-absorbed and arrogant that I thought putting matters in my own hands will yield the results and dreams I have set up for myself. But I was dead wrong. It’s not gonna happen if God doesn’t intend it to happen at that time. IT IS ALL ABOUT HIS PERFECT TIMING.

You see, I’m not sure where I’m supposed to be right now. But that’s okay. Really.

Because I didn’t create the world and I didn’t create myself and the fact that Someone GREATER made me is my assurance that even if I have not achieved everything that I wanted. That at this point, nearing 30 (Nah, not really),  I have yet to deepen the dent I am trying to make in all of my dreams, is my guarantee that marvelous things are YET TO COME.

It’s okay to be unsure because it is not my job to make things sure, that God’s role in my life! And I can waste all my time trying to fathom why I am where I am, waste a lot of tears figuring out why things are taking so long to materialize but it’s not gonna make it come and happen any sooner!

But because it hasn’t happened yet allows me to keep the faith and look forward for the time that it actually will. When God will finally hand everything to me the way He wants it to be.

When that will be, where or even how it’s going to happen, i have no friggin’ idea. But when it does, I am definitely sure I would know IT IS FROM HIM.

That is His guarantee. And I just can’t wait.

But until then, may my patience and faith continue to be built.