#Goodbye

Hello, hello, hello!

It’s that time of the year in my student life when I get to say momentarily:

I AM FREEEEEEEE!!!! ūüôā ūüôā

Sembreak is here once again to prepare me for the deadlines, projects, quizzes, exams, presentations, and commuting hurdles that I shall face after 16 days. HAHAHA ūüėÄ

After more than a month-long absence, I am back!¬†However, I won’t be back for long. Actually, I won’t be back here. Ever. ūüė¶

Before #Selfless, there was Gracing Jenny. My original blog had been dear to my heart for over three years. It chronicled my journey with my First Love, my growth both as a person and as a writer, and both painful and wonderful memories. ¬†I also “met” people online whom I have exchanged views and emails with, and though we haven’t met personally, I was privileged to be able to experience their online presence. People commented or told me personally that they were blessed by God’s hand in my life as seen on the blog. I also had a foretaste of what it was like to be a sort of popular blogger with the popularity of my Hair Click post (even if I’m not a beauty blogger! Who knows, maybe I’ll try my hand at it one time). Gracing Jenny has blessed me, has blessed others, and ultimately, glorified my gracious Savior.

If only I counted the blessings God gave me through the blog, which was a already blessing in itself. If only I did not feed my longing to be popular netizen and choose to remain humble in my small sphere of influence. Perhaps, I wouldn’t have to do this. Perhaps I would have continued blogging the way I used to. Perhaps there wouldn’t be #Selfless to begin with. Perhaps I wouldn’t have to do this–baring my deepest, darkest secret as far as my blogging experience is concerned (which is actually a reflection of what’s been happening in my life).

You see, around the months of June-August, I was thinking selfishly. I grew discontent with the way the blog was because it did not attract the number of views I wanted it to attract. Insecurity welled up inside me as I read Christian personal blogs such as mine who started only last year or even early this year and already had more than a thousand daily viewers, while mine are still a hundred. I wanted numbers. I wanted change. So I thought: “Perhaps it has something to do with the message of my blog. It’s not as compelling as the Harris brothers’ ‘Do Hard Things.’ Yeah, that’s what I need–a revolutionary-like message that was culturally relevant so that my fellow young adults will get the message. People don’t need another personal blog that tells the journey of some uninteresting person or write about how their day went and how no boy admitted his feelings for her since 1994.”

The day the focus shifted from Jesus to Jenny was the day I started going downhill and had crazy ideas, the craziest of which: Start a new blog.

And so, one of 2013’s greatest paradoxes, #Selfless,¬† was born. A blog about denying one’s self and living the Galatians 2:20 life was founded on proud and me-centered thoughts. This is the real story, ladies and gentlemen.

At this point I want to apologize to those who read my first post here (and who will read it after reading this) because what I told you was a lie. It’s a lie because it wasn’t entirely truth. The truth was, I really, really wanted, in the bottom of my heart, to inspire people to be selfless, to live above themselves. I wanted to live unselfishly the way Mother Teresa and Jesus did. The tricycle quandary and my experiences with my Mom were all sincere, genuine, and legit. The lie wasn’t really in what I told, but what I did not tell. The lie was nothing new; in fact, it was the very lie our first mother fell for in the Garden.

What?! You’re still sticking to your old ideas and values, to what He said? He just told you that because He doesn’t want you to experience what you want. Think of new ideas and make them come alive, and you’ll be just like God Himself–a creator and a genius!

And so I bit the fruit. I fell from grace.

The story–the sin–would have been less tragic if it just revolved around my blog. The saddest part was, it impacted my life. Gracing Jenny wasn’t just¬† a WordPress account I made to publish my ideas. I carried and embodied Gracing Jenny. I was Gracing Jenny.

circa 2010, when I started taking blogging srsly

circa 2010, when I started taking blogging srsly

The problem wasn’t my blog, the content, or whatever “theme” or message I espoused. I wasn’t able to update my blog regularly when my workload in school became heavy (which is also why I can’t be a full-time blogger while studying, unless I let my grades take a back seat). The problem was internal, not external. The change that ought to have taken should have been in my character, not my behavior. The real issue, more than the workload and the time, was my selfish heart. It did not need a new place to find its security; it just had to go back to where it was once before–back where it found its essence and purpose.

In the heart of its loving Creator.

#Selfless has been a blessed avenue for my spiritual growth, but it’s not where my writer’s and blogger’s heart belongs. The so-called “God-given idea” wasn’t from God to begin with. Another lesson I learned (and still learning) is that I do have to love and be comfortable with myself. One reason why I resorted to starting a new blog was that I thought if I was “me” and not “revolutionary” and unique, I was ineffective. I won’t expound on this now, but suffice to say, I hated myself. Once again, God showed me who I really was. He made me to love Him and love others and love myself with the faculties, abilities, talents, intelligence, and will He endowed me. There was nothing selfish about that. Besides, as Stephen Covey put it, “In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do.”¬†(Covey, 1989)

I praise God for how He’s opened my eyes to selfishness and its ugliness. I thank Him for disciplining me in love (there was a whole lot of tough love in the past few months) and comforting me with gentleness (the big, fat hug that always succeeds a spanking). He alone deserves all the praise for placing my heart in the right place and sprinkling me with renewed hope so that I can get back up and start all over again.

So with that, I am closing my doors on #Selfless, and will go back to Gracing Jenny.¬† This is my choice not based on feelings (although they influenced me), but on the truths that I can’t handle two blogs at the same time and that I don’t need a new talent or medium to be effective; I need to grow deeper. Although it had a noble purpose, #Selfless was a distraction from the real blog. Some of you may think, “What’s the big deal? I mean, just get on like you used to.” I got attached to this endeavour so much that I value it the way I would value a human friend. ūüôā Most importantly, God gave me this gift and ministry; surely that’s something worth taking seriously.

Don’t worry, I have fun, too. In fact sometimes,¬† I have too much fun. Starting today, I’ll create greater, deeper, and more grace-filled memories in Gracing Jenny. I won’t let go of #Selfless totally, as a reminder of my short-lived “infidelity” and God’s amazing grace (and perhaps, still be a blessing to those who encounter it).

So‚Ķfor the last time, goodbye. ūüėź

Well, not really.

By God’s grace, I’ll be here. ūüôā

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Reference
Covey, Stephen R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Fireside, Simon & Schuster.
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Tricycle Quandary

This morning should have been like my usual Monday mornings: my Dad, Mom, and I seated comfortably in our red minivan as Dad drove Mom and I to our respective destinations in the Ortigas area. We should have passed by our usual route without much difficulty and even without much traffic (since we didn’t travel at an unholy hour).

Except it wasn’t. Our morning was sort of unusual, and we passed by our usual route with minimal yet unexpected difficulty two minutes into our trip.

We left the house at around 9:45 AM. Two minutes later, Dad turned left to an alley in Barasoain St. The narrow alley became even narrower because of the jeepney and car parked on the right. But those vehicles weren’t the problem. To the left were two tricycle drivers sitting in the driver’s seats of their respective tricycles, facing us. With the two tricycles on our left and the jeepney & car on our right in an already-narrow alley, there was no ample space for our minivan to pass through. So we (Dad, Mom, and I) waited a few seconds, expecting the tricycle drivers to back up a little so that we can pass.

example of a Filipino tricycle. Photo from Google Images

But because they were selfless, understanding drivers like many Filipino drivers, they stayed put, waiting for us to make our move.

We waited another ten seconds. They still didn’t move. Dad and Mom started signalling them to move back and make room for us to pass. Another ten seconds passed, they did not move. Dad and Mom signalled some more, starting to feel irritated. The tricycle drivers started getting on my nerves, too. Kuya, galaw-galaw din. Malaki yung kotse. Please lang. A minute or so has already passed since we entered that short alley, and still, they refused to move! Leaving him no choice, Dad slowly drove forward until our car was beside the drivers’ tricycles and the parked jeepney, and then rolled down his window to be able to gauge if he was going to bump the tricycles. Mom removed the rollers from her hair, a sign that she was really irked, and rolled down her window as well to see if the car was going to bump the parked jeepney. ¬†The ever-considerate tricycle drivers (and other onlookers who were sitting near there) remained still and just sat there and watched my Dad struggle to make our car pass scratch-free! Feeling pissed and doing her best to hold back an angry response, Mom asked one of the onlookers “assisting” Dad if the tricycle drivers could back up a little, since that obviously was the fastest and safest way for us to pass through.

Guess what he said?

“Ayaw nila umatras eh.” (They don’t want to move backward)

That did it. I was mad.

Anger started rising within me. Against the Holy Spirit’s warning at that time, I allowed my anger to surge inside my heart and meddle with my thoughts. That morning, for the first time in my life, I gave the dirty to finger to those two noble gentlemen, screamed “DI BA KAYO MARUNONG MAGPARAAN PLEASE LANG,” and scorned them for ruining my morning all in my mind. I seriously thought of showing my face to them through my Dad’s window and giving them a piece of my mind, but I thought (the only right thing I did at the time) that that would add fuel to the fire and displease my parents (and of course, God). So I just shut up. Now that wasn’t all. The other onlookers who acted as if assisting my Dad seemed to condone the tricycle drivers’ actions by not telling them to back off! (The woman who stood there watching was smiling the entire time, and for some reason this really irritated me)

So three minutes in our quandary, Dad inched our car towards emancipation. After some quick but wise movements of the car, Dad freed the car without any scratch (and might I add, without getting mad). What Dad did after “the emancipation” astounded me. Before rolling up his window, Dad told the two tricycle drivers:

“Salamat, ah.”

He said this without a hint of sarcasm or tone of anger in his voice. I can tell if Dad’s angry, and I can tell he wasn’t angry at that time. Mom was, as she also said “salamat” with a bit of sarcasm. Again, I just shut up because I did not want anymore blood to ensue from this simple quandary.

BUT WAIT!! THERE’S MORE!!

When we turned right to head to Kalayaan Avenue, another tricycle headed toward us! Oh, God, not again. Just like the previous drivers, this new driver waited a while for us to move, but since it was so obvious that he was the one should move, he budged and moved his blue tricycle backward. Dad drove forward until we got ourselves out of that area. Good riddance!

When we finally made our way along Kalayaan Ave., Dad said, “God just wants us to take it slow this morning.” Mom quipped rather humorously: “Buti nalang si suishi ko (her term of endearment for Dad and vice versa) ang driver! Kung iba yan, naku….Hay, bahala si Lord sa kanila.”

And there I sat, still angry at the people who did not do anything harmful to me or to my parents (not even our car). After hearing Dad and Mom mention “God” and seeing them totally calm and cool (especially Dad, who was the one who should have been the maddest of us three, but chose patience instead), I was convicted. Like really, really convicted.

I realized that was a test for all of us. A test of patience and surrender to the Lord–that even if things did not go the way we planned, we should remain joyful. Well, Dad passed with flying colors, so did Mom (except maybe for her sarcastic remark at the end…haha) and I successfully failed.

I already heard Him. I could have ran out of the door and chose to forgive and trust God, but instead, I remained angry. You may say, “But what you did was just the natural reaction to such a situation! I mean, it really was irritating!” True, to be irritated was natural. You may even say that getting angry was my (our) right and that we wouldn’t have been called unjust if we shouted at the drivers. But to do that would be against our new nature in Christ, against the will of our Lord and Savior. By remaining angry, I rebelled against my Lord and Master. I became selfish and proud.

As the car sped along, I confessed my grave sin to God. I admitted disobeying God at that time and “killing” those drivers in my head. As I type these words and recall them from memory, I am praying for those drivers, that God would touch their hearts to lead them to salvation so that they would be considerate of others who are in need.

I was actually shocked to see myself well up in anger so easily even after having surrendered my hang-ups to God and listening to the Holy Spirit (but not obeying). I’ve never felt so much anger in a while! It just goes to show two things: 1) that being a Christian does not mean you’re perfect because you still have the old nature in you and that 2) walking by the Spirit is a choice, not a feeling or a abstract object that you ask to be given to you (much like you ask for healing and then it’s given to you.

Praise God He is unlike those tricycle drivers who refused to be inconvenienced! God inconveniences Himself to work in and through imperfect and impatient individuals like me. Praise Him even more because He’s not like me who retaliate when inconvenienced! ūüôā I praise Him not only because He has forgiven me, but because He is pruning me so that when the time comes that my patience will be tested, I will pass with flying colors.

Tomorrow, I’ll have to ride a tricycle and get down at the same spot where we got momentarily stuck because on Tuesdays (and some other days), I commute to school. Tomorrow, I could also be met with unexpected quandaries I don’t like. Who knows, maybe those drivers will be in the exact same spot where I saw them. But I know better. I know Him better. ūüôā

Be Grateful Even When You’re Sneezing

One of the greatest lessons I am learning on being a #selfless and authentic Christian is being joyful by being grateful for unpleasant circumstances. It’s one of the commands I almost always fail to remember. When I am reminded of it, I take a while to actually do it because…well, who automatically thanks God for the bad things that happen to him (or her)? Even pastors struggle with this. :\

Yesterday, I felt sick. I didn’t have a fever, but I felt one coming. (It didn’t, but I felt hot “inside,” and I felt considerably weak) I still had my allergic rhinitis since Saturday, so I kept sneezing and wiping my nose from the time I woke up until I laid down to sleep (even after taking two decongestants and an antihistamine, plus three Vitamin C capsules). My body refused to cooperate with my mind, which was, thankfully, still quite functional. ¬†However, it was still very much affected by my “pseudo-sickness,” so at times it was sabaw;¬†in English, soup. An episode in my literature class was a testament to this:

because my insides were being burned somewhere in Inferno

because my inside was being burned somewhere in Inferno

In the other classes, I mostly just kept quiet, especially in my last class, because I grew weaker and weaker. I felt so weak after Literature that I decided to cut the class that followed (Ethics–how ironic) to sleep in the clinic because I needed to stay awake for my last class (Japan) for our examination review. My short nap helped alleviate my sneezing a bit, but I still felt weak. Later in Japan, my rhinitis returned. ūüė¶

A few minutes before Japan class ended, I texted my Dad and asked him what time he’d pick me and my Mom up. He didn’t reply to my first message, so I texted him again. He still didn’t reply. Later, my Mom texted me that our non-color-coding car needed repair so Dad couldn’t fetch us anymore and we had to ride a cab home. She told me she would be done by 6:40 PM. Thirty-five minutes after class ended, I walked slowly to my Mom’s office. I reached her office in in five minutes and waited for her inside for about 15 minutes. I leaned against a wall beside Big Chill and Mister Donut, waiting and playing Jumbla on my phone. I texted a “where are you na po” message, feeling quite irked. I wanted to go home already and sleep, and my Mom delayed all of this. I grew more impatient and frustrated. Of course Mom was always late! (Everyone who knows her knows this) I should have known better. About 15 minutes later, she passed by me and jokingly pretended to leave me; but since I wasn’t in the mood for any jokes, I also “pretended” to have not seen her and stayed put. She sort of caught the signal (because she’s female and she’s my Mom) and walked over to me and patted me affectionately. I didn’t kiss her or greeted her with a smile, but just kept on walking and still harboring my anger and impatience over her small mistake (which really wasn’t sort of a mistake since I have long accepted her tardiness).

So we stood on the taxi lane and waited. It took us only a minute or two to realize that we had to wait eighty years (our expression for a really long period of time for waiting or receiving something, like saying “it takes forever) to get a taxi. So Mom decided to walk outside her building’s vicinity to get a taxi. Since it was drizzling, I lent her my umbrella and stayed in line. When I was alone (i.e., no one around me knew me–only God inside me did), that’s when the Holy Spirit rebuked me. Gently, of course.

“In everything give thanks! #Selfless, remember? Christlikeness doesn’t happen while you’re writing a blog post, you know? It’s about your attitude in everyday life, in each event of your life, whether big or small. What are you so grumpy about?”

Suddenly I remembered that morning’s events–how I woke up with the sun shining on my face (I really like this), left for school with–guess who–my Mom who paid for our taxi fare and gave me my allowance; how I managed to think, walk, and live through that day with an alert mind in spite of my bodily weakness, and how, minutes later, I was going to go home to a safe, loving, joyful, peaceful, comfortable, and well-provided-for home with, again, my beautiful and loving Mom. Yet there I stood, complaining about my sickness, Mom being 15 minutes late, the lack of a decent taxi driving up the taxi lane….SELFISHNESS took over once again!

Right there and then, I confessed my sins to the Lord. I admitted I forgot to thank Him in all circumstances and to recognize His mercy in my life that day. I asked Him to forgive me for not treating my Mom honorably and respectfully. Immediately, the frown on my face (which I didn’t realize I had) faded away, and my Dad texted me that he was going to pick us up. Yay! But then, a minute later, Mom texted me to get ready because she already got a cab. So hurriedly I texted my Dad not to pick us up anymore. (But since he didn’t read his phone immediately, he left anyway, and was already passing Boni when he found out we were already near our house. Boo.)

Gratefulness, joy, and selflessness are all traits of a Godly person. They were clearly evident in Jesus’ life, and so I am obliged to apply them. We Christians need to be alert for tests that God will send our way because these are opportunities for us to become more into the persons God intended us to be, and for God to be glorified. Thankfully, I remained quiet when I became angry and impatient and did not complain out loud (although that did not make my actions less evil). Imagine if I spoke my thoughts out loud and someone heard them! They would be discouraged. Worse, what if that person turned out to be a person who knew I was a Christian? They would stumble! Another reason why we should be on the alert: our actions cause people to either stand up in faith or stumble to sin. We have to be careful. We also have to remind ourselves that sickness is not an excuse to be grumpy, even if that’s the easiest option. Grumpiness can be willed as much as gratitude is willed. We can always choose to be grateful. In fact, we should train ourselves to be “allergic” to ingratitude and selfishness and “addicted” to gratitude and selflessness. ūüôā

I had more things to be thankful for yesterday: Mom and I got home safely (and so did Dad several minutes later), we enjoyed delicious supper, the weather was cool (so I didn’t have to switch on my air conditioner and was able to save electricity), and I slept soundly that night.

Oh, and one more thing.

At 12:30 A.M., I woke up, whining (Jenny, you’re such a loser), because my Mom told me to change to a sando because my back was wet with sweat. If I didn’t change that night, I probably would have developed a cough, or my allergy worsened.

Thank you, Mom.

Thank You, Jesus, for gracious, loving, and selfless moms.

Thank You for putting up with selfish brats like me.

I love you Mom. :*  (c) Dad

I love you Mom. :*
(c) Dad

Clingy ka ba?

Sa mga relasyon–mapa-kaibigan o ¬†ka-IBIG-an–iniiwasan nating maging masyadong clingy. May “healthy” dose ng clinginess na okay, yung tipong timing ang pagka-clingy niya at humihiwalay na siya ng kusa kasi alam niyang gusto mong mapag-isa. Pero meron ding “lethal” dose, yung tipong, nasasakal ka na kasi ayaw ka niyang tantanan; one month palang kayong nagda-date, kasal agad ang minumungkahi. Kaya nga nauso yung kasabihang, “I need some space.”

Naging masyadong clingy kasi si Popoy. Ayan tuloy. Source: Google Images

Wala man akong ka-IBIGan, nararanasan ko ang pagiging clingy, at madalas ito yung “healthy” dose. (By the way, inimbento ko lang yung mga dose na yan para mapakita ang pagkakaiba) At dahil introvert ako, madalas ako mismo ang humihiwalay sa mga kaibigan ko. Nakakalma at nae-energize ako sa mga “me time” ko kasi nakaiisip ako ng malalim, at naihahanda ko ang sarili ko sa mga pagsubok na haharapin ko (chos, martir ang peg? Pero yun ang totoo).

Sa mga relasyon sa kapwa tao, masama ang masyadong pagiging clingy–yung wala ka nang inisip kung hindi yung kasama mo. Let’s face it: tao lang tayo, at napapagod tayo. Kailangan natin magpahinga. Kahit ang magulang minsan kinaikalangan na malayo paminsan-minsan mula sa anak upang hindi maging sentro ng buhay nila ang kanilang anak. Hindi nito ibig sabihin na pinagsasawaan natin ang mga mahal natin sa buhay, kung hindi, kailangan lang natin ng “momentary breather” kung tawagin ko upang maka-connect sa poong Maykapal at sa realidad.

Paano naman ang relasyon natin sa Diyos: may period of “unclinginess” din kaya? Mali bang maging clingy sa Kaniya? Tama ba na sabihin natin sa Diyos, “Lord, I need some space.¬†Cool off muna po tayo?”

Nagkaron ako ng quiet time (devotional) dati sa Joshua  23:8 at eto ang sinasabi niya:

“…but you shall cling to the LORD your God, even as you have done to this day.”

Ang ibig sabihin ng salitang “cling” sa Hebreo ay “to hold fast, to cleave; to attach oneself.” Sabi ni David sa Panginoon sa isa sa kaniyang mga salmo: “My soul clings to You…” (Psalm 63:8)¬†¬†Malinaw ang utos ng Diyos kay Mosies at sa mga Israelita kung paano nila dapat palakihin ang kanilang mga anak:

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. РDeuteronomy 6:6-9,

Mula sa pag-gising sa umaga, paglakad sa hapon, hanggang sa paghiga sa gabi–sa kamay, sa ulo, sa bahay, at sa gate ng bahay, dapat inaalala si Lord! O diba clingy?

Ano nga ba uli ang ibig sabihin ng pagiging clingy–yung healthy dose?¬†Sa mga relasyon sa kapwa tao, ibig sabihin nito inaalam mo palagi ang kanilang kalagayan. Gusto mo napasasaya mo sila sa bawat sandali ng bawat araw, kung may pagkakataon. Hindi ka magdadalawang-isip na patulugin sila sa bahay mo para magkwentuhan kayo ng matagal at masinsinan, o sa tuwing binabaha ang bahay nila. Pag nagkikita kayo hindi kayo mapaghiwalay; para kayong mga daga na nadikit sa sticky paper at dun na namatay. (till death do us part, ika nga) ūüėÄ

Hindi ba’t ganun ang nais ng Panginoon sa atin? Hindi ba’t gusto Niya na iniisip natin kung ano ang magpapasaya sa Kaniya (Colossians 3:2)? Hindi ba natutuwa Siya sa tuwing inaalala natin Siya sa bawat sandali (Psalm 147:10-11)? Hindi ba’t umaapaw siya sa galak sa tuwing binabasa, hinihimay, at sinusunod natin ang Kaniyang Salita (Psalm 112:1)? Hindi ba’t nais Niya na kapag tayo ay inilarawan ng mga may kakilala sa atin, ang sasabihin nila:¬† “Ay si *insert name here*?” Grabe, sobrang close niyan sa Diyos. Isang kindat nalang, santo na siya. Sobrang masayahin at mapagmahal.”

Gusto ni God clingy tayo sa Kaniya.

Bakit?

Kasi karapatan Niya iyon dahil Siya ang tunay at kaisa-isang Diyos.

Kasi ginawa Niya tayo para sa Kaniya.

Kasi nauna Siyang maging clingy sa atin, kahit hindi pa natin Siya kinikilala o sinasamba–nung mga panahong patapon tayo dahil lugmok tayo sa ating mga kasalanan at hindi karapat-dapat isalba mula sa malagim na tadhana sa impyerno.

Diba Siya ang nagbigay sa atin ng ating mga pangangailangan para hindi tayo manghina at lagi tayong may lakas na ma-enjoy ang mundong ginawa Niya? Diba Siya ang nagpangakong hindi Niya tayo iiwan kahit anong mangyari? Hindi ba’t pinangakuan Niya rin tayong mga anak Niya na lahat ng bagay ay Kaniyang tinatrabaho para sa ating kabutihan dahil tinawag Niya tayo ayon sa Kaniyang layunin (Roma 8:28)? Hindi ba’t pinakita Niya ang lubus-lubusan Niyang pagmamahal nang mamatay Siya sa krus kasi ayaw Niyang danasin natin ang dinanas Niya? Hindi ba’t mahal pa rin Niya tayo ngayon dahil walang sawa Siya sa pagsasaayon ng ating buhay para makapiling natin Siya? Hindi ba’t pilit Niyang hinahabaan ang pasensya Niya dahil pasaway tayong lahat at nais Niya na lahat tayo ay makaranas ng masaganang buhay na walang hanggan?

Hindi ba?

Kung ang mga taong iiwan tayo, sasaktan o sinasaktan tayo (at vice versa), at hindi kailanman kayang tubusin  ang ating kaligtasan nagagawa natin maging clingy sa kanila, paano pa kaya ang Diyos, na inalay ang Kaniyang sariling buhay para lang makapiling Niya tayo habang buhay?

Mas madaling sabihin na gusto mong maging clingy sa Diyos kasi madalas, parang corny ang kalalabasan mo. Parang masyadong OA sa pagiging Kristiyano.

Eh diba ganon din naman ang pagiging clingy sa tao–corny at OA? Pero bakit madalas mas pinipili natin maging clingy sa tao kaysa sa Panginoon?

Hindi dahil mas masayang kasama ang tao at ang Diyos boring.

Hindi man natin tanggapin o mahirap aminin, makasarili tayo. Selfish. Puro ako ang iniisip. Puro pakabig.

Alam kong marami sa atin mahal na mahal ang ating mga kaibigan, pamilya, at kapwa tao. Pero minsan diba, hindi natin maiwasan na gustuhin silang makasama (o magnais na magkaroon ng kasama) para lang mapawi ang ATING  kalungkutan? Para sumaya TAYO? Para pag nag party AKO may pupunta? Para makumpleto AKO?

Ganun kasi ako minsan. Masakit at mahirap mang aminin, pero yung ang totoo. At sa tuwing nagiging clingy ako sa mga tao dahil sa mga dahilan na ito, matinding depresyon ang nararanasan ko. Kung hindi lang talaga sa awa at kapangyarihan ng Diyos sa akin, baka nagpakamatay na ako. Pero hindi ko gagawin iyon dahil alam ko na kung kanino ako kakapit at kung Sino ang nagmamahal sa akin. ūüôā

Pero ikaw na nagbabasa nito, baka iniisip mong bawiin ang sarili mong buhay kasi pakiramdam mo, walang nagmamahal sa iyo. Yung mga taong pinanghawakan mo, binitawan ka. Iniwan ka sa ere. Pinagsawaan ka.

Nagiging clingy sa tao kasi gusto natin na mayroong naghahanap at nagmamahal sa atin sa paraang nais natin. Alam mo, hindi mo mahahanap sa tao yan. Siguro pakiramdam mo lang nahanap mo na, pero sa matagalan, sasaktan ka niyan. Bibiguin ka niyan. Yung iba, talagang maitim ang puso at dudurugin nila ang puso mo. Lahat tayo guilty diyan. Isa lang ang hindi.

Siya si Hesu Kristo.

Bago mo pa Siya hanapin, nahanap ka na Niya. Tinatawag Niya Ng pangngalan mo. Love na love ka Niya. Hindi ka Niya bibiguin kahit na alam Niya (at alam mong) bibiguin mo Siya. Hindi Siya tulad ng tao na pag hindi ka na maganda o gwapo o hindi ka na Niya type, ipagpapalit ka Niya. Hindi ka Niya pagsasawaan at hindi Siya titigil sa paggawa sa iyo hangga’t ikaw ay buo at ganap.¬†Stick to one forever ang sistema Niya. Mas madikit pa sa Mighty Bond ang kapit Niya. Lalamunin muna ng langgam ang buwaya bago ka Niyang tuluyang iwan. Promise. Base yan sa mga pangako Niya,¬† pagkatao Niya, Salita Niya, sa personal kong karanasan¬† at sa mga karanasan ng milyung-milyong iba.

Kaya kung may isang taong kaki-clingan mo, aba, wag ng magpatumpik-tumpik pa: si Hesus ang kapitan, at wala nang iba! ūüôā

Nagaalinlangan ka? Subukan mo muna. Ayaw ka ka-agad, eh. Try-try din pag may time. Yung boypren/girlpren mo ngang walang pera madalas at mabaho ang utot nagawa mong kilalanin at mahalin, ang Diyos pa kaya? Besides, hindi ikaw ang gumawa ng first step. Siya yun. Ikaw na ang next.

So tanungin mo Siya,

“Ows, di nga po Lord, mahal Niyo po ako? Paramdam Niyo naman po sa akin, o, kasi di ko po gets. Hindi ko po feel. Ang sakit, Lord. Ang hirap mabuhay ng mag-isa.”

Ibuhos mo sa Kaniya. Kaya Niya yan.

Maging totoo ka sa Diyos. Be authentic. Be selfless. Be clingy to the One who will never give up on you.

Hindi ka Niya pakakawalan. ūüôā

It All Starts Here

“Jenny, you’re so selfish.”

OUCH.

To have your friend, bestfriend, girl/boyfriend, or spouse say that to you is hard enough, but to have God–your Creator, Savior, and Master, not to mention your Disciplinarian–say that to you is even harder.

It was a few weeks ago when I “heard” those words flash before my mind (yes, in my mind, because in case you haven’t heard, God doesn’t speak audibly anymore. At least not today). At first I found it so unreal because He said it at a time when I was actively serving Him in NxtGen (our church’s Sunday School) and Elevate (youth ministry), studying excellently in school, obeying my parents, and doing my best to be a good, Godly person. Not that the Lord was displeased with these tasks–He was well-pleased–but that there was something wrong in my heart. A stench reeked and irritated His long nose.

“But Lord, don’t¬† I almost always give my brothers the bigger part of the food when we divide it among us? Do You remember the time I gave my bread to the poor woman in the train station? And let’s not forget the time¬† I sacrificed my time to teach kids Your word….”

God kept silent. He hurt, but He remained quiet so that I could realize my stupidity without Him having to lift a finger. (Praise God for His grace and mercy!)  I realized my sin, eventually. It  took me a while to realize how foolish my thoughts were. What was I thinking?! Since when was radical and authentic Christianity about earning plus points so that you can offset your minuses?

So what was really wrong with me? Where did my error lie?

The problem lay my heart. Selfishness and pride corrupted it.

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart….” I think there was an important reason¬†Jesus mentioned this first among the four key areas of our love for God. The heart determines the direction our soul, mind, and strength (physical body) will take, the choices they will make as we dictate. If you set your heart to eat healthily, even if plates and bowls of junk food and cakes are set in front of you, chances are you will seat nearer to the salad bar (or leave the area if there is no “healthy” section). The heart requires Godly discipline in order¬†to follow the truth, otherwise, it will be deceived and go astray faster than you can say “evil” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Back to my selfishness and pride. (It still hurts to hear that) God pointed out to me that He did not completely own my heart. I did. I chose to serve Him in times I found convenient. Whenever I chanced to serve Him in an inconvenient setting, I complained. I only gave to the beggar in the MRT station whenever it was convenient for me, that is, I wasn’t too hungry or I had food to spare. I never actually stepped out of my way and actually bought the poor man or lady his or her own food and drink out of compassion.

God pointed out two particular areas where selfishness reigned most in my life:  free time and  thought life.

Growing up, I understood “free time” as “time to do whatever I want,¬†whenever I want.” As a ¬†child, I had tons of free time, and I usually spent those hours, weeks, and even months watching my favorite shows, eating bowls of peanuts, sometimes working out, and reading Nancy Drew. When I entered college, my free time decreased significantly, but whenever I had free time, I spent it by browsing the net, reading my favorite blogs, watching my favorite TV series and movies, cooking, and working out.

Whenever I would spend my free time lounging in the sofa browsing the Net, I would always–ALWAYS–feel the Holy Spirit nudge my heart and say, “Daughter, let’s talk. I want to teach you something awesome!” And I would say, “Okay, Lord, I planned that later at 4 PM. It’s only 1 PM; it’s¬†my Internet browsing time.” So an hour passes, and then another, until it’s time for my personal Bible study. So do I study God’s Word?

“Wait, Lord. I’m kinda sleepy. I’ll just take a nap. Get back to You later.”

Two hours later, I wake up. I eat dinner, watch TV for an hour, browse the Net (again), and about a few minutes before hitting the sheets, I read my Bible. More like skim through the pages. After finishing two or three chapters, I jump to my bed and in a few minutes, enter  Dreamland.

If I did poorly in putting God in the center of my free time, I did miserably in making Him Master over my thought life.

One of the downsides of having an analytical mind is, well, you tend to analyze everything–even the things you shouldn’t be analyzing. Things like, “I wonder if my crush thinks of me today?” or “How do my peers think of me? Do they think I’m cool?” SELFISH THOUGHTS! Me, myself, and I! The more I fed my mind self-ward thoughts, the more lawless I became. The Apostle Paul spoke of this when he wrote to the church in Rome:

“For the mind set on the flesh is¬†death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, ¬†because the mind set on the flesh is¬†hostile toward God;…¬†and those who are¬†in the flesh cannot please God.” -Romans 8:6,8 NASB

I really felt bad when God revealed my dark, filthy, and  selfish attitude to me. I was stubborn as a mule at first and persisted my way, until the weeks came when I felt miserable and depressed. I knew the only way out was to swallow the humility pill. It was the difficult foremost step to redemption, but it was better than going downhill in my sin.

And swallow I did.

That’s when I truly learned what being #selfless really means, how God wanted it to work.

“Have this attitude¬†in yourselves which was also in¬†Christ Jesus, ¬†who, although He¬†existed in the¬†form of God,¬†did not regard equality with God a thing to be¬†grasped, ¬†but¬†emptied Himself, taking the form of a¬†bond-servant,¬†and¬†being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man,¬†He humbled Himself by becoming¬†obedient to the point of death, even¬†death¬†on a cross.” – Philippians 2:5-8 NASB

The world’s idea of selflessness is this: Think of others, satisfy some of their needs, then address your own. Balance serving others and serving self.

Jesus’ way demands this: You don’t own yourself so you don’t call the shots. I do. I own every part of you and your life, even those things you call your “own.” You will serve on My terms because I know best, and because I love you. I lead, you follow.

Selflessness is about serving Jesus the way He wants to be served even if it inconveniences me. Selflessness is asking Jesus, “Lord, how do You want me to serve You today? How do You want me to use the time You lent me?” Selflessness is obeying Jesus as long as there is “today”–regardless.

Christ-centered selflessness is an impossible path to take in this day and age. Only God’s grace and power makes it possible. Honestly, I don’t like it. ¬†Jesus did not command me to like His commands, anyway. (But I like and love Him a lot) He commanded me to obey His commands and to trust Him to get me to where He promised–a land flowing with milk, honey, streets of gold, and an unlimited dose of His awesomeness. Also, because selfishness sucks. Ask any selfish person. Yes, ask yourself. When was the last time you didn’t think of anyone but yourself? Remember how bad you felt because you did not experience the happiness you expected?

I’ve had enough with living the suckish, miserable, self-centered life. Truth be told, I still struggle with selfishness. That’s why I set up this blog in the first place. To help those who struggle like I do. To team up with people who set their heart to love the LORD with their all and above all, and to follow Him at all costs.

Because only when we cease to live for self and start to live for Christ will we experience joy so deep, peace so surreal, grace so overwhelming, and love so unfailing.

It all starts here:

#selfless.