Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Recognize blessings ― find beauty in the camouflage, humor in tragedy, and love in the midst of strife

“May we be strengthened with the understanding that being blessed does not mean 
that we shall always be spared all the disappointments and difficulties of life.” 

Blessing. What does it mean, really? For most people, anything can only be called a blessing when it's of benefit to them. When it brings them happiness and pleasant feeling. Something that makes them smile. Something that they've always wanted to have in their life and suddenly it's granted. But then, usually it ceases to be a blessing when it entails with it difficulties later on or when it becomes to them nettlesome. The way people define blessing is in accordance to how something satiates them. What they, at one time, consider a blessing can eventually turn into something they resent almost instantaneously. A job they were once deeply thankful for (or even considered an answered prayer). A friend who they thought understands their innermost thoughts and feelings. An object they couldn't drop during the first few days twas given to them. Just to name a few. They're all considered blessings until something goes wrong. Until those things cease to keep them satisfied.

This is the reason why it's hard for people to be grateful. They can easily find reasons to be dissatisfied. Almost anything can affect their view of something. And it all comes down to FEELINGS. The way they take things, situations, or even humans is totally influenced by how things (or people) are keeping them pleased. Can't tell for certain (JUST YET...allow me to think more...) whether it's feelings that cause ungratefulness or it's the other way around. Are people unhappy because they aren't grateful... or ...they are ungrateful because they can't be happy"?

In most cases, the latter "seems" to be the more appropriate answer. Well, if I am to consider my topic, then it could, indeed, be the culprit. Because people base everything on whether it benefits them or not and that's the only time they can be grateful. But only until such time. Only until they lost the very reason why they are grateful. Then, something's not anymore a blessing to enjoy. Eventually, they start to complain, to say nasty things, to be upset...to figure out how to discard from their life what was once a blessing. A sad scenario.

But if you come to think of it, a grateful heart will never stop finding reasons to be grateful. To find benefit from anything. To find beauty in all things whether it be good or bad. A grateful person will always see good in even the most inconvenient situation, in a despicable person, in a frustrating object. Now, I can, without doubt, say it all boils down to ATTITUDE. It is ungratefulness that causes unhappiness. When a person feels entitled, then there is no room for appreciating whatever. Nothing can ever be a blessing.

The world's definition of blessing is anything favorable. Anything gratifying. It feeds the ego. The self. One definition I found is this..........

"a beneficial thing for which one is grateful; something that brings well-being."

I guess that's why there's this thing called BLESSING IN DISGUISE. Because a thing, a situation, a person cannot be considered a blessing when it's not advantageous (to them). When we hear the word BLESSING, it has a tone of something desirable and delightful. The world (the majority) often dictates how to define a thing. And it's based on how something serves the SELF. What they don't see are the blessings that come with brokenness and tears. The strength that gets developed in one's character through unpleasant situations. The spiritual fruit that grows in each individual when they go through storms. There are blessings even in the worst circumstance. Just people need spiritual eyes to see them.

There are so many people living discontent and disconsolate because they want things to serve them well. They depend on whatever outside of themselves for pleasure. Not knowing that when they have peace within, when the attitude of their heart is right, they can live in gratitude, which then will usher them to a life of boundless joy. 

Someone who became an inspiration to me (who I met only start of this year) once said this, "it is not the place that will adjust to us, it is us who will adjust to the place." Am not really a whiner. But there are things I cannot tolerate. One (of the few ok, ok, "untold") is small spaces. End of the last month (April), I helped two of my friends move in to their new room. When I saw the area, I wasn't able to hold myself and said remarks that had a tone of gripe. To which this friend answered "the line". Tamed me. And I simply conceded. True and wise. We (come on, admit it it's not just me) often yield to pointing at the unappealing and then bellyache. Because we want things to suit us to our comfort. We use things for our gratification. Then dump them when to us they become a millstone around our necks. Sadly, we do that even in our relationships. 

In this generation where we are offered umpteen things to get a thrill out of, it's harder to be satisfied. Things can easily be ditched. Or we end up hoarding things because once we lost our amusement in one thing, we turn to a new one. There is almost nothing that we keep anymore only because there will always be something new. New gadget, new trend, new opportunities, new set of people................... name it. The NEW becomes something we use to compare to what we already have, which we cannot anymore value all because they don't serve us the way we want. At least, not anymore. They once did, but heck everything has become replaceable! 

But, let's not forget that everything is a blessing. Because regardless of how we say we earned what are in our possession, the truth remains, we own nothing and everything is just grace from God. We deserve none. And the more we don't deserve a thing because we barely even maintain the value of anything given to us. Just listen to your prayers. To your words. Do you say thank you more than you grouse? Do you see the beauty in all things? Or do you more often highlight what's wrong around? 

In the book of Jeremiah, the writer describes a blessed man and compared it to a tree planted by the stream......
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in Him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

It's interesting to note that a man remains blessed even under the scorching heat of the sun and even in the season of drought BECAUSE he trusts the Lord. He, in fact, flourishes and remains fruitful. A man doesn't need to rely on what could be a blessing to be blessed. He doesn't need anything outside of himself to feel blessed. He is blessed simply by What or Who he already have in his life (IF he truly have Him in his life)―God.

Here's more......

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, 
because when he has stood the test, 
he will receive the crown of life 
that God has promised to those who love Him.”
James 1:12

Evidently, the way we tend to think of blessings is far different from how we ought to in God's perspective. We commonly think of blessings (only) in the form of good health, financial wealth, fun friends, travel, promotion, incentives..........and other such tangible things. Rarely (almost not) do we associate trials as a blessing. But God blesses people with Him. And through Him they receive every kind of blessings that can never be taken away by anyone or anything in this world. Blessings in which the reward does not end when the world fades away. The material or worldly blessings we luxuriate in are temporary while the spiritual blessings made available to us by God through Jesus Christ encompass both material and immaterial things, not to mention time and eternity.

If you ask me, I've not yet come to a point when I can say EVERYTHING is a blessing. But, am working on my consciousness to have my spiritual eyes always open to see the blessing in all things that come my way because surely, God allows things to happen for the good. That includes the things I whimper about. *sticks out tongue*

 ".....when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." [James 1:2]

One last addition....the word BLESSING, was translated from two Greek words and one word is Makarios which means happiness. ^_^ ...so, Blessings be yours, people!

“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; 
but let us have patience and we soon shall see them 
in proper figures.”
Joseph Addison

Friday, May 5, 2017

Love me for my flaws, fine. But never dare allow them to hurt you.

“People use the word 'love' a lot of different ways. Take me, for instance. I am often heard saying that I love my mom and dad. I am also often heard saying that I love pizza. 

What am I saying when I say I love my mom and dad? I'm saying that I care about them. I'm saying that I love spending time with them and that I talk to them every chance I get. I'm saying that if they needed me, I would do every humanly possible to help them. I'm saying that I always want what's best for them. 
What am I saying when I say I love pizza? Am I saying that I care deeply about pizza? Am I saying that I have a relationship with pizza? Am I saying that if pizza had a problem, I would be there for the pizza? (What? Not enough pepperoni? I'll be right there!) 

Of course not. When I say I love pizza, I'm just saying that I enjoy eating pizza until I don't want any more pizza. Once I'm tired of the pizza, I don't care what happens to the rest of it. I'll throw it away. I'll feed it to the dog. I'll stick it in the back of the refrigerator until it gets all green and moldy. It doesn't matter to me anymore. 

These are two very different definition of the word 'love'. 

It gets confusing when people start talking about love, and especially about loving you. Which way do these people love you? Do they want what is best for you, or do they just want you around because it is good for them, and they don't really care what happens to you? 

Next time someone looks deeply into your eyes and says 'I love you', look very deeply right back and say, 'Would that be pizza love, or the real thing?'” 

~ Mary Beth Bonacci ~

Because of the endless ways people describe love   based on how they give it, or how they want to receive it there is no more one standard to distinguish real one from something that simply feeds a need. And each person has countless undefined needs longing to be met. So many end up taking whatever satisfies what current need one feels should be attended first. Then, this becomes their definition of love. "I need appreciation." "I need attention." "I need this and that and that and that...."  and the list of needs goes on...........

There is certainly nothing wrong asking for our needs to be attended. But, once it becomes our basis for weighing whether we are being loved or not, then we selfishly control how a person should express or give love. We end up implementing unspoken rules which when not met, become what we use against the person in subject. It would be fair to simply say, long as no deliberate wrong is done to me, then the love of the person is not to be questioned. Bottom line is, not one person fully understands how God wants love to be demonstrated. That's all. We base it on whether we are gratified or dismayed. Unreliable scale.

There is this idea put into a book called, "The Five Love Languages".  The intention of the author (from my perspective, sure you have your own, too) is to help couples understand their own love language against their partners'. This way, they can understand how the other person wishes to be loved and their own expression of love. What problem I found is when we use this as a gauge whether the other is exerting effort to love us in the way we wanted to be loved. When we start imposing on another how we want to be loved. It's totally opposite what the Bible teaches, "love does not insist its own way" (1 Corinthians 13:5).  The Bible only tells us to be selfless. How "it is much better to give than to receive."  Because Jesus didn't face the sufferings looking at us and asking Himself whether He should continue going through such suffering since people didn't look like they're gonna love Him in the way He wants (even deserves).  But, it's certainly of a huge benefit if we use the book to just remind ourselves that our loved ones love differently than we do. Go ahead and learn, just never impose.

I still hold that love is a decision. A decision of the one loving. Whether they get the love they want back or not, they choose to love regardless. One question we all should ask ourselves before even entering a relationship is if we are willing to give love in spite whatever we might not appreciate about and receive from our love objects. We can't go on blurting out the words, "I love you" without understanding what are its implications or meaning. I came to understand that the reason we all keep on getting disappointed is not that our loved ones don't really love us. It's more of, we just don't accept the way they are loving us, which differ from one person to another. We have a picture in mind of what love should be.

Of course, there are people who love in a damaging way. I won't deny this. And this is the very reason why a great number of people are broken. These people love in a harmful way because they are not really loving but investing. They're giving, and so they are imposing returns. Worse, they foist what could gratify them, not anymore considering the welfare of the other. They think because they're feeling deeply for another, it's love. When it could only actually be nothing but INFATUATION. A strong one. And this is where the decision comes in. Are we going to continue loving a person and commit to understanding them, though we are hurting? Such is what is called, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
While unconditional love is something that comes out naturally there is no need for internal deliberation whether you'll continue loving or not there still will come a point when a decision has to be made against the loved object for the sake of harmony and peace (especially inner peace) when they are being destructive. Because none of us deserves to suffer a kind of cruelty done by a self-seeking person. It will be so draining. We can always love from a distance. A relationship should be beneficial to both parties. It's looking after each other's welfare and promoting each one's. Of all the SIGNS we must look for, it is whether the relationship is making us better individuals or destroying us. This is the measure we should be using. Selfish? No. Because we are to be cultivators of one another. And if we are broken, then we will keep breaking each other. As they say, "hurt people hurt people."   

As love is a decision, it is solely our obligation to ourselves whether we are gonna choose to love anyone or set them free.....instead of making them liable to our own decision. We must never tell anyone "I did this and that for you so ..." Well, not everyone really says this (verbally) but from their acts it's what they're really communicating. We should give people the freedom to either return the love the way they love or simply refuse the offer. And not try to fashion anyone according to our liking just because we want them, but not completely.......when we like only parts of them. We can't try and make anyone fit into our mold. If we love a certain way, we can't expect the same from another. Let them be who and how they are. That is one way of loving selflessly.

It saves us exhaustive emotional drain if we simply put the responsibility on our own selves whether to subject ourselves to a kind of suffering or reject it. Not a wise thing to keep someone and do blame game later on. There is no need to keep a person like an object because we feel deeply for them. We can love them all we want without owning them, but we must not say we love them and at the same time resent who they are. That's so irreconcilable.

“People like to say love is unconditional, but it's not. And even if it was unconditional, it's still never free. There's always an expectation attached. They always want something in return. Like they want you to be happy or whatever and that makes you automatically responsible for their happiness because they won't be happy unless you are ... I just don't want that responsibility.”
Katja Millay ~

Enough of my musing.... 

˙·٠•●♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♥●•٠·˙˙·٠•●♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♥●•٠·˙˙·٠•●♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♥●•٠·˙˙·٠•●♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♥●•٠·˙˙·٠•●♥

A Love with a promise of permanence.

"...if any hear MY voice and open the door,  I will come into their house and eat with them,  and they will eat with ME." ...

˙·٠•●♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♥●•٠·˙˙·٠•●♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♥●•٠·˙˙·٠•●♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♥●•٠·˙˙·٠•●♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♥●•٠·˙˙·٠•●♥