What the BIG GUY TRULY wants for our lives and other things I learned about faith

You know, I’ve been on this train ride to nowhere for the longest time. I don’t know why I chose a train for this metaphor though. It could be 4×4 Jeep or a mustang for all I care, but that’s not the point. I’ve been lost in life for what seems like forever and I’ve been going on and on about how it feels like an eternal quarter life crisis, and I don’t know how to get back on track or perhaps which path to choose in order to get to where I need to be.

Ya ever felt like this at one point in your life? Good for those who never did. I for one, feel really, really stuck in this monumental crisis since I entered my twenties and I’ve been praying for answers or guidance, buying self help and inspirational books, talking to friends about it, however, I just keep on making the wrong decisions over and over.

Then I came across this book that has been sitting on my shelf for over a few months. It was dusty yet I was drawn to it more than a fly could ever be drawn to a poop on the street. Okay that’s not a good comparison, but you get what I mean. I never felt the need to read it until over a few days ago. It’s John Ortberg‘s “WHAT IS GOD’S WILL FOR MY LIFE?“. I got it in one of the bookstores here in Cebu that sells religious and inspirational books, OMFLIT.

I think I only needed to read the first few pages before I had the clarity I needed all this time. This book opened up my eyes as well as my mind to see the bigger picture that a lot of us fail to see.

You wanna know what the real answer to the question: What does God want for my life is? It’s this: God’s primary will for your life is not the circumstances you inhabit; it’s the person you become.  – Could I emphasize that more?

They say life is made of up of the choices that we make and in making these decisions, we face challenges, anxiety and responsibility which are all important ingredients for us to grow and mature, and that is what God’s will for our lives. He wants us to grow into mature individuals and to liken His image. Simple isn’t it? It all boils down to the basic rule of God.

It said in the book that it doesn’t matter who we marry, where to send our kids to school, which job to choose. We think very shallow and narrow this way. We fail to widen our perspective. Again, it’s not about the circumstances. God has given us FREE WILL (which btw is also one of the most basic things and foundation of our religion that we all learned in grade school!), and He did so we CAN MAKE the decisions for ourselves. If you ask for a sign from God, it’s as if you’re putting Him in charge of your life. It’s as if He is making the decision for us. What you want to do is to trust that whatever you decide for yourself, He will be there to go through it with you.

I remember this particular conversation I had with Dr. Dy, the only doctor that I can talk to about religion, among our many conversations on life. He said that in certain circumstances that we cannot decide for ourselves anymore and we eventually leave it up to Him, which a lot of us do, saying, “Lord Kayo na po ang bahala.“, doesn’t that give Him the power to decide for us? Then where is free will in that? Of course it’s different if you have decided on it and you’re surrendering to God whatever comes after that crucial moment in your life, saying “Kayo na po ang bahala!” and it’s different when you say it with an intention to actually wait for Him to say, “Sige anak, choose Payless noodles over Lucky Me Pancit Canton.” – Ang babaw pala naman ng pinagdadasal. Yan tayo eh! Kidding aside, it really got me thinking, THAT IS WEIRDLY AND CONFUSINGLY TRUE, ISN’T IT??!!!!!!!!

To cut it short, He wants us to decide for us. He wants us to make all the decisions, right or wrong, because either way, we LEARN and GROW.

The moment I read the first chapter, it felt as if my mind opened into a whole new world. It’s as if I’ve been living small when I could have been seeing it in this perspective all along. Then again, it’s never too late.

BIG PICTURE.

This was constantly brought up in my conversations with Doc. You know ever since I talked to him about faith and religion, it’s as if I’ve been able to open the closed doors in my mind.

He once told me that when we human beings don’t see things in a bigger picture. We are all so focused on being successful that sometimes, our only goal in life is to actually get that triwizard cup at the end of the maze and then what? Sit on your golden throne in glory? Sorry for the Harry Potter reference. Big fan here. So anyway, when we are faced with challenges, we fail to see that ALL (as in LAHAT haha) that’s happening in your life is a piece of the puzzle that when put together, becomes the big picture that is God’s plan for each one of us, like way before we were born.

I’ve also been reading Mark Manson‘s, “The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck“. In chapter 3, which happens to be my favorite because it’s the one I could relate to the most, “YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL“. He said that he finds it contradictory that we are part of a culture that wants to make us believe that we are ALL destined to be extraordinary. If that’s so, if everyone is EXTRAORDINARY then who the f*ck is EXTRAORDINARY still?! It’s as if to say that when everyone wants an aisle seat on a plane, then all our planes should have completely aisle seats alone. Anyway, my hands are itching to write about this on a different entry because I’m getting out of point here, but see, most of the time, we fail to see the bigger picture of things.

So anyway, here are some things this MD friend told me that got me thinking and pondering:

  1. It’s okay to question God – not in the way that You question His being or that you blame Him for the bad things that happen in your life, but on things that you want clarity with. Perhaps you want to know the reason behind you being put in a certain situation. Maybe you want to know what good will Cancer bring into your life.
  2. Does committing suicide give you a ticket straight to hell? – If this is so, then God must not be a merciful and forgiving God after all. Isn’t true that He died on the cross to save us all? So, are those who committed crimes and were not sorry for them or are those who killed themselves exempted?
  3. Is everything on the Bible true? – It has been passed on from generation to generation, are you sure that 101% of the book is translated correctly?
  4. BIG PICTURE – When you see the bigger picture of life, you see your purpose in this world and it wouldn’t matter if you die rich and successful or the opposite, what matters in the end isn’t the mundane problems we are all currently facing. It’s what comes after this life and how prepared you are for it today.

I know these all sound confusing, and you may have your own opinion on these things. I myself am not sure I can wrap my brain around all these, but to quote Dr. Dy, “the moment we finally get to understand the vast infinity that is God, then He wouldn’t be God anymore“. We are humans and our brains, although powerful can never be at par with God’s. We are never meant to understand everything about God, that’s why we only have our faith to rely on in this world. 🙂

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How I think I’m able to manage my depression

I don’t think I have been vocal about my mental health issues on this blog. I may have been writing stuff on my struggles, but not once did I ever admit that I am depressed.

Back in college when we tackled mental health in Psychiatric Nursing, it was not a secret that most people don’t seek for medical attention for conditions concerning the psychological functioning of the brain. It used to be a taboo in our society and seeking for psychistric help will not make a good impression on others especially if you have a reputation to protect.

But long are those days when we cannot speak about depression and more broadly, mental health. I graduated in college in 2011. 7 years later, here I am, braving the online world and openly admitting that I have been through depression myself and still not sure if I have overcome it or continuing to battle it.

One thing anyone should know about depression is that it is as serious as cancer and it affects our bodies just the same as cancer cripples the lungs, bone, liver etc. It is an illness and it should be treated with professional help.

Over the period of 7 years, from 2011 to the present, I witnessed people go through depression. I have friends who have come to me and tell me they’re depressed. I have read news on people committing suicide because of depression. I myself became depressed which may have been due to what I can call the eternal quarter life crisis.

To add to a directionless life I was treading, there was social media. Of course, there are other much profound causes of depression such as problems at work, with partners, with finances, with bullies, but If I could name 1 major factor that leads to depression “these days”, I would definitely say, SOCIAL MEDIA.

People seeing their peers having the time of their lives mislead their brains into thinking that they have it all and that they are living THE life, and that one wrong action no one should ever do, but they do still, is to COMPARE.

That, my friends is one simple recipe for disaster. I know this because I’ve been there and I have definitely done that.

Good thing though, we now have evolved into a society that embraces negativity in such a way that helps motivate and encourage positivity despite these struggles. We have accepted depression as a serious condition that we should also give as much attention as we give to those with toothache or cancer. We have also learned to recognize symptoms of depression and how to extend support to those who need it. And as many as those celebrities who have come forward to admit that they have been sexually harrassed, or who have come out of the closet to say that they have HIV or are gay, are those who have also bravely come into the light to say that they have been battling or battled depression.

One good thing that this coming out into the open resulted to is that more and more have been aware. More have been encouraged, more have been helped, and more are inspired to do the same.

So even though I am going through a lot of these issues myself, I won’t let them overpower me. I want to fight it just as much as we want to fight poverty, injustice, and all things evil. I want to keep fighting for my friends who are also going through the same thing. I want to keep fighting because this world has still so much good in it. I want to keep fighting because I have family and friends who love me deeply and I have a God who empowers me and holds my hand tightly through it all.

I have not sought for any professional help mainly because of financial reasons, but should I find someone who can charge reasonably, I would definitely go for it! Although over the past years, I have learned to cope and get by through prayer.

Our brain is such a powerful tool. Many have achieved and invented remarkable things that have been put to good use because of it, but sadly there have also been downsides to having such an organ, but it isn’t a secret that we are in control of it and we can make it work to our advantage.

I know I have a long way to go to overcome this, but what works for me now is PRAYER. Some may not think that this can help, but here I am still, never giving up, because I believe in a God of overflowing mercy, kindness and love and that is where I hold on to. Apart from reading self help books and articles, talking to really great friends like JANNINA, who has a brain of a genius, at the end of day, I talk to Him alone. I know that He is out there, and He won’t give up on me.

And that is how I am able to manage my depression and I’m proud of how far I have come since.

Hope this helps and lights up something you can hold on to! If you are suffering from depression, there are hotlines in the country that you can call. There are Psychiatrists in the country that you can trust to help you. You are not alone in this fight. You can get through this and remember to count all your blessings and love yourself. Life is beautiful and we have a God whom you can ALWAYS count on. Never give up!

Xoxo,


Screwball

I did it! I screwed my life over again.

Earlier today, as I was lugging 2 boxes of promotional materials down four flights of stairs from our apartment, I was thinking, is this what God wants me to do in life? Is this the life I’ve chosen?

Funny how I always get these thoughts clouding my mind whenever I am alone on a stairway. Could that be any more dramatic?

I mean, if I were to choose, I would always go for getting surprise-attacked by a bunch of zombies on a dark fire exit rather than having any of these depressing thoughts.

Well anyway, I’m here. This is the life that was laid out for me. So in between waking up in the middle of the night and tossing and turning in bed, I pray that I get to live this life the way I want to and the way God has planned.

Just needed to let out some of these thoughts in my head because they’re getting way out of hand. There’s a lot more coming, but I’d rather keep these rants short.

I’m so tired of screwing up. God please help me get to where I need to be.

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Life Lately / 12

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Gone were the days when I could write as often and as much as I can. At the moment, I am squeezing this teeny tiny time to write not because I have something spectacularly interesting to say, but only because my hands are itching to!

I used to always have all the time in the world to do whatever I want and I missed that since there is only so little that I could do with the free time I have off work (a.k.a. training). I couldn’t afford to slack nor to sleep longer than 4 hours, not even to go online  (yeah well not totally true), but just the same, I couldn’t do most of what a couch potato me has been doing for most of the time last year. I don’t even have the time to check my emails.

Today, all I want is time to relax, yet every time I think of getting a quick nap, I panic at the possibility that I could sleep through most of the day, therefore wasting time I should have spared for studying.

For this weekend, my goal is to completely memorize all 14 drugs in our division’s medication portfolio including their marketing communication and FAQ’s for our revalida on Wednesday.

I’m having doubts I can smoothly pass that test, but what the heck, I have something more to show them and I’m going to do what it takes to do that. Or not.

Lately, I’ve been having second thoughts, hearing mentors subtly and indirectly point out reasons why “I” cannot or should not go through with the training. I feel like I have made them lose their confidence in me and so they are somehow trying to discourage me by saying things such as “you have impressed no one with your awkwardness and dulling brain, therefore someone has been forced to take you instead of the other way around.” and “You have this weekend to think if this is the right job for you. You may back out if you don’t feel like being in this line of work and we won’t take it against you.” while looking directly at me.

Harsh. I know, but like what one of them also said, they might be actually doing me a favor.

I don’t think I can get those words out of my mind, nevertheless, I’m still determined to continue, (thanks to the encouraging words of my friend, Jan). I just want to believe in the fact that I am still here because God allowed for it to happen, this is where He led me to, where I should really be as I have prayed for ever so deeply; and so I trust that this is where He wants me to be.

I’m not happy with my performance as well, but with God’s grace, I hope I could do so much better especially on the final tests. I want this underdog to emerge a winner all for the glory of Him.

This is just one of the mountains I have yet to conquer. All for the glory of God!

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

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Creative Block and Renewal

The latter part of my 2016 was so jam-packed, I forgot what RELAX even means anymore.

Seriously though, it was so chaotic that I even missed putting up a review for our host in HK during the 14-day period Airbnb provides for their users, which bothers me terribly, but will probably just save that for a separate post.

So going back, when all the trips, adventures and all the holiday hoopla finally died down, I realized my body must have missed bumming around, writing, playing with watercolors, brushes, GIMP and all that shizz. That’s because for the last 5 days (January 1st not included), I have been doing nothing but catching up on some blogging and tenenenenen…

Designing!

Yeah, well, no biggie right? Well, it is for me!

You see, there were times when I silently panic because I thought I’m losing touch with meee artsy soul. It gets worse because sometimes I feel like I don’t want anything to do with art altogether. Could it be what they call the dreaded Creative Block? I’m not so sure about that, but fortunately, I realized soon enough that I could never ever get tired of ART.

ART is one of the things on earth that makes me feel alive. When God brought me to life, He must have breathed a multitude of rainbows, unicorns and stars into me, much like the sparkly stuff you vomit on Snapchat, except that it’s the other way around. On a serious note, we all grew up surrounded by our Father’s majestic creations and I with my papa’s work, his passion and creativity, so I blame it all on those why art definitely runs through my veins now, and why I know I could never ever get tired of it.

So after climbing mountains, doing touristy stuff in a foreign land, downing heaps of Christmas sweets and then washing tons of holiday dishes, not to mention partying with the girlfriends and then mourning for a grandfather 2 days after, my body must have snapped because my hand just involuntarily grabbed a brush and started creating art once again!

If that was indeed creative block that I went through, then I’m glad I snapped out of it, all thanks to the inspiration I found throughout my [mis]adventures!

I looked it up and found out that creative block can be resolved by a change in the environment or a break from the routine, facts that aren’t new to us, and techniques that are undeniably effective. Two of the tips designer and writer, Tom May listed were (see the entire list HERE):

  • Don’t be afraid to step away
    • Completely open briefs can be the worst for causing creative block. Try to distance yourself from the project; take a break and come back to it with a clear head.
  • Look in unlikely places
    • Go and do something else entirely. You’d be amazed at where new ideas are hiding out. They’re often where you would least expect them to be.

He also mentioned exploring other creative disciplines which is why it would be helpful to have a hobby outside of your hobby (LOL), in my case, Photography.

I may have babbled more than I have to, again so before this goes entirely out of hand, I leave you with some of the stuff I have been doing lately to release the already overflowing creative juices I gratefully gained in the past months or so.

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This was my favorite line from the latest Disney film, Moana, which reminded me so much of my own grandmother. I also made this for me to keep in mind that God is always with us. 🙂

Also made this odd-looking (and definitely one-of-a-kind) dreamcatcher for the bestie!

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I must say that my year ended with a bang and even though it was overwhelming, I couldn’t have wished for anything better because it reignited my love for ART in more ways than one. Now, I’m back, feeling renewed and more than inspired to CREATE again, to spread optimism and of course God’s love through ART.

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