Saturday, December 29, 2018

Struggle shapes our character. And character dictates what we will become.

I can't believe I'd not dropped even a single line here for a really long while (until two days earlier). It's been more than a year since I published a post. And, boy, how time seriously flies so swiftly. A year just went past me. Now 2018 is about to bid farewell soon. Very soon. Like in a couple of days!

For quite a while, I've been struggling with this thing they call 'adult-ing', which apparently happens naturally to all of us at one point in this life. I don't want to say I've been a victim so I rather say, "struggling". Because considering myself a 'victim' takes the responsibility off of me.

So, as I was saying, adult-ing's been going on for quite some time now to me, sneakily. Adult-ing can actually mean a lot of things for different people. Not necessarily all bad, just tough. Like for me, it doesn't mean I changed into someone completely new, leaving behind the bizarre person that I really am. I still love and do the things I used to love and do but just with more passion and expression now with some moments when there's less or totally none. (Still a walking contradiction, what's new?)

What happens is, I'm just adding more awesome and beneficial things to my list while simultaneously removing less significant pursuits. Like I still love writing in my journal, though I can't do it on a daily basis like before. I still maintain my blog pages, though they face oblivion time and time again. I'm still into wearing dresses most of the time, yet not to look cute or to be in, but for practical reasons. Well, mainly because one piece saves me from the hassle of mixing and matching and trying different ones on. Saves time. I can say I've become wiser. Not street smart, but hoping to get there. Adult-ing is tough in that it requires one to carefully consider their course of action. It requires one to keep letting go and moving on readily.

One thing that makes me struggle most with adult-ing is management of my life. What to keep and what to dispose. And I am not talking about physical clutters alone, but everything that influences my peace. Which means even the filtering of thoughts and feelings, and people and situation ― whoever and whatever brings positivity and negativity. Strict discipline is another. I've been training myself to live in such a way that there must not be anymore grumbling and blaming... No more excusing, just taking action. Anyway, I am completely left alone to deal with what decisions I make. So might as well really think things through and act accordingly.

I love the freedom of living alone, independently. Without being always conscious of anyone. All my life, I'd depended on others that I always fear coming up to a decision. At least, now it's only God's opinion that matter most to me. There will be less mistakes. Mistakes and stumbling were all because of my doing. And I acknowledge this fact without any excuse. I take responsibility.

Because of the struggle with adult-ing I get to love more the things that make me feel like a child again. Like simply trusting and not over thinking things. Because back then naivety was the norm and skepticism was nothing but a foreign language. It is a much better place to have nothing negative ― nothing to fear, not holding much opinion to be defensive about. At times, I wish I'd protected myself firmly from being corrupted by the world. In my contemplating, I often get to miss the childlike me and question whether I lost her or she's just hiding inside and waiting for me to show her off.

Being childlike gave me much freedom to do what I want to like writing whatever topic. Now, there is a pull from another direction that I need to add some content that will draw readers' interests. While another pull reminds me I am not writing for anyone, but that I just want to. It's always been my avenue for self-expression. Yeah, it doesn't have to be published for everyone to see. I can do the traditional paper and ink. True. And I do that. Perhaps, posting stuff in my online journal is my way to share me to whoever might find my thoughts interesting.

This is not me saying that adult-ing is bad. Or a curse. A person can be every person that they can be. They can be a mature person without losing their inner child. In the same way I appear to be a living contradiction, and it's all because I am not defined by just one side of who I truly am. And I live who I am. Every layers. I have always been true to my own person. Sadly, I learned it's not very acceptable. Too many people box things to their level of understanding and liking. Anything odd is to them not to waste time on. Weird how they say, "be yourself" yet they make someone feel the worst by being themselves ...for showing their true colors. Which makes it ever more clear to me why there is but one standard for morals ― the Word. Otherwise, whose judgment is really valid?

Whenever I find things a little more difficult to handle, I still get to this point of leaning to my tendency to dig and look for reasons why things have to be that hard. When things should've been simple. I tend to blame the irresponsibility of others. Wishing they had done better. Just wisdom always whisper, reminding me that I am only adding to the problem throwing blame and by sulking. Nothing gets solved. And it's not always that I am receptive to wisdom, if I am to be honest now. I somehow resist the sense and benefit of what it says and end up wasting precious times. Squandering minutes and hours. These are times I can clearly see how needy I am. That if God would let me be, then I'd only continue harming myself, and others in the long run.  

Truth is, I don't bite at terms being introduced here and there. Adult-ing is one of the terms I prefer not to give much fuzz about, actually. Except that, right now, I have this need to let out all that occupy my mind. I shall surely write about this "millennial" term and share what I really hold as truth about it that's based from the Word. For now, I just want to allow myself to dump whatever here and maybe in a few months, I'd go back and laugh at all the silliness I published. *sticks out tough*

Thursday, December 27, 2018

In order to make a difference you would have to somehow be different.

Since I started doing day shift, I've been needing help keeping myself awake while at work. It's seriously tough since I'm nocturnal, and I still often end up working night shift. Disadvantage of having complete freedom! For quite some time, I've been struggling with uncontrolled sleepiness. Understandably. This leads me to find helpful ways to keep me up and on my toes. My eyes kind of like live on their own, though, and want to drop whenever they feel like.

Playing movies on one corner of my screen has been somewhat helpful. Movies are not my frequent choice, however. Podcasts of Bible preachers and Virtual Bible have been my top preference. But, there are times when even my brain wants to shut off which makes me not understand anything. At certain times, I need something more intense to shake me awake. These are times I'd go for action movies. Or anything suspense. Never horror! Only, they distract me and get me jumping out of my seat every time. My dogs would usually get startled as I scream out of nowhere. Can't imagine how I actually look like reacting to fighting scenes. I should get cctv, maybe, to see myself. Hahaha

Then, I stumbled upon this Christian film, "I'm Not Ashamed". I'd not seen new ones since there aren't many of them until yesterday. I wasn't getting the plot at first since I was focused on what I was doing. So, I had to play it again. Twas the second time that I started understanding what it was presenting. And I'd say it's meaningful. The flick isn't really laudable like the mainstream ones. It does portray realities of this world and of each individuals and the challenges they face, though.

So, it's a story of a Christian teen, Rachel Joy Scott, who went to Columbine High School where she struggled with her faith trying to live in two worlds. She later realized it isn't possible. Indeed, a believer can only serve one master. She had to make a bold and firm choice to live her life for Jesus. It's not been easy for her. And it will never be easy for all those who truly want to serve Christ. There will always be this pull from the world. Humans have this innate need for acknowledgement and for being seen and accepted. To belong somewhere. However, when one chooses Christ, they are to embrace the fact that "they will be hated by the world." They can't be friends of God and friends with the world at the same time. The Bible already stated this truth.

Rachel's life moved me. She allowed God to use her. She didn't completely understand what God's purpose was but she willingly gave her remaining life (she was the first victim of the Columbine High School massacre and went to meet her maker on April 20, 1999) in obedience to Jesus' teachings. She walked the talk. She gave no excuse to herself not to obey what Jesus commanded. Particularly, the subjects of forgiveness and compassion. Her life is truly moving. At such young age (17), and having stayed shortly on Earth, she was able to touch lives. It's been her aim and goal and she fulfilled it. Of course, not without the help of God, I'd say. All she had to do was to obey. To live in step with the Spirit.

Such a worthwhile reminder for me. I still find myself hankering for approval and recognition from time to time. There is still this need shouting from within, "notice me", "appreciate me", "acknowledge me". And so I can undeniably relate to the struggle Rachel faced. To stand up for Christ is not trouble-free. It leads a believer and follower to deep heartache and distress. Not only because people will shut them out and ostracize them, but because a believer also has to do the same to their own selves as Jesus commanded, "deny yourself" (Matthew 16:24-26). If one is to say that they're a disciple of Christ, then they are to constantly counter their impulses. When it's easier to dislike another, a believer and follower has to give the red light to their feeling. They're not anymore living as slaves to the flesh's natural urges (see Galatians 5:17-21). Love and compassion becomes their trademark and moves them to serve others, even those who are unlovable. Especially the unlovable.

Her story could probably be not as inspiring to most except to the lives she touched personally. Those who she moved with her compassion and sincere concern. The society calls what she did martyrdom. Who will still do the same? Who wants to be excluded? To be treated like a nobody? To be taken advantage of and not retaliate? Secretly disliked and mocked? No one except those who Jesus called to Him. People He chose to represent Him to shine His light into this dark world. The world defines such choice (as what Rachel chose) as martyrdom, the Bible defines it as radical love. Unconditional, sacrificial, and selfless love. First for the Lord, and next for the neighbors. Christianity isn't about showing the world that one reads the Bible and speaks loudly about God and Jesus. It is living Jesus' commandments and following His ways. It's a lifestyle of denying self in order to conform to the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles no matter how difficult it gets. Even if it requires them to set their own selves and desires aside. Even if it means being abandoned by the ones we care for and love. Even if it means to be hated by people. Even if it means being enemy of the world.

Through Rachel's example, I am reminded that success and fulfillment can't be attained by being known and popular; or by doing what we love and gaining from it; or by being appreciated and loved by many; or by having more stuff; or by understanding why everything happens the way they do…or by however this world defines success and fulfillment. Living for the purposes of God and how He designed each one is the only way to experience real success and fulfillment without feeling empty and off course eventually. Following the ways of Jesus (and not the world's) is the means to have a meaningful life that never leads to futility. It protects people from disillusionment and disgruntlement by trying to chase after things and whatever in order to be happy. Everywhere we look, we see faces whose lives find no satisfaction even though they already have more than the basics. Even they seem to have it all together. Indeed, godliness with contentment is great gain. And this is attainable only when one receives Christ's peace which transcends all understanding. When one comes to abandonment of self and own understanding to completely trust, depend, and rely solely on the Lord. 

We don't need to be heroes to make a difference and to influence many. Just with the way we live our lives in love and in the ways of God on a daily already is the influence we can begin with to start a ripple effect. Every person around us have needs we can meet if only we give attention and time. One act of kindness can lead to some lasting impact. Don't aim to reach hundreds and thousands. Just reach one lost soul and plant hope in their heart. Trust that each individual reached will pay it forward, thus, keeping the ball running. That's the the only difference Jesus wants us to model.

And I know that each time God brings reminder and enlightenment, He is realigning His child to His methods and plans. What a way to prepare me for the year to come! 

Sharing some of the lines I like from the film (mostly by Rachel). Check them out if you will!

˙·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•●♥