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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What do YOU Want in Life?

If someone walks up to you and asks you, what you TRULY want in life for YOURSELF alone that would GENUINELY make you HAPPY in LIFE and promises to give you that in a blink of an eye, right then and there, what would you tell him/her?

I know for sure, we are all different. I grew up living comfortably, thanks to my parents, but I did not get everything I wanted as a kid. I remember I wanted my own polly pocket, but never got one. I wanted a vtech laptop, but never got one. I think my parents gave us everything we needed and just about half of the things we wanted. Hence the saying, you can’t always get what you want.

Now, as a grown up, I am still quite confused as to what I really want in life, because it is complicated. Our wants vary because we each have our own priorities, people to please and our own life goals. Our wants become complicated because our priorities and goal change over time and then the people we want to please demand so much more than before.

But what if that someone asks you what you want for yourself? The people you love and all the people suffering all over the world will be provided for and be well taken care of, what would you say to this person?

I wanna list mine down because some experts say that your dreams and wishes have a greater possibility of coming true when you list them down.

  • A simple life. I want a life free from toxic, negative and greedy people, preferably in Batanes, or somewhere similar. I want to live in the country, near the beach. I want to build a nice artsy house, nothing fancy, just a little bit weird or odd looking because I’d be the one to design it with eclectic, Boho, artsy style, completely out of this world, weird and fun but still simple. I want fresh air, lots of light coming in through large windows, but with a darkroom somewhere inside it to develop my photos. I want secret passages or perhaps that good old book shelf in Scooby Doo that turns around and leads you to another room? Then my house would have lots of colors, art work, indigenous textile on walls, weird jars, weird furniture, aztec pillow cases etc.
  • I may probably want to delete my social media accounts, except for my blogs of course and probably just create an anonymous account where I can show my photos. I also wanna keep all my analog cameras and 1 digital camera.
  • I want to have a lifetime supply of fresh veggies and fruits. I don’t want to go full on organic, because TBH, I KENNAT, but it would be good to have days eating good food only. I also wanna find the perfect workout for my lazy ass, something that I would definitely love doing despite the pain, something that would make me physically strong on top of giving me rock hard abs! Pagbigyan na!
  • I want to work as a freelance artist, be my own boss, sell my work and live life to the fullest in rainbows with unicorns and all that shizz! Somehow I’m tired of being a corporate slave or maybe I’m just not meant to stay in one place for a long time. (OH NO! This calls for another blog post). I just want to work as a photographer/artist with a purpose and to contribute to the goodness of mankind. Meganon?! But that’s true and if that could pay for my BASIC needs, I’m good!
  • Then I want to be in love again and just love and get married, have kids and maybe home school them for some time. (I listened to the Mothers’ show one Friday and learned lots about home schooling these days). I wanna be a mother and dress up my kids and teach them stuff that they wouldn’t learn from school.
  • I want to travel, to always travel, collect photos, memories, cheap trinkets from all over the world and go on food trips, always!
  • I could live in simple, light vintage dresses, vintage shirts and shorts and bikinis LOL coz let’s be honest, I was never the heels and luxury bag kind of girl. My family and friends know this.
  • FAMILY TIME. ALWAYS!
  • Help those that have nowhere to go, especially the old people.
  • And thank God always for the love, happiness, inspiration, hope, mercy and understanding that He continues to bless us with!

And that’s it! All I want in 10 bullets! Just thinking about them make me giddy. If I could live my life this way, I would be happy, TRULY HAPPY.

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13 reasons why

Binge-watched the first season over the weekend. I don’t know why I did. Even though it was too painful to watch, I sat through it for 2 straight days not because I was hooked, but because I think it was relevant, especially to me.

As I got deeper into the series, I felt emotional and emotionless at the same time. I was overwhelmed yet completely numbed by the issues they portrayed. It showed how cruel and traumatic the world can be, even if that world revolves in only high school.

These issues they tackled in the show are very sensitive and hard to understand why they’re happening, but they should be eye-opening and should help us be more critical of our thoughts, words and actions. They should also help us be more wary of how these 3 things can hurt someone and permanently damage them to the core.

I’ve been reading on how to not give a fuck about difficulties, challenges, problems and all that shizzz, and the author, Mark Manson helped me see a different side to facing the reality of how cruel life can be. Just about a chapter into the book, I began to appreciate the fact that we can really change our perspective towards these obstacles that will pop up into our lives, whether we like it or not.

13 Reasons Why is just a show, but everything it is about is REAL and it is happening NOW and that is what all of us should take a closer look on. The characters may be too young to be involved in such horrible situations, but they shouldn’t be brushed off. These issues are more than just high school problems. We have to understand that these things can damage kids and their lives permanently.

What’s in it for us though is the fact that awareness of these delicate issues can help prevent further and future damage to real individuals, to families, to our neighborhoods, to our world.

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Life in Freedom

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Life with courage is a life in freedom.

There are many words to define freedom and courage isn’t one of them, but if you wanna simplify the vast concept that is freedom, you’d most likely realize that huge part of it is brought about by courage. Now, I’m more confused.

Today, we celebrate Philippine’s 120th Independence Day.

When I hear that phrase, I always picture this humongous UFO hovering slowly over the sky and Will Smith on his yard looking at it like it was going to be his last day on earth. It creeps me out every time, but setting that feeling aside, I know that it is one of the iconic films of courage of our lifetime.

When you go 120 years back, ALL of the people we consider heroes today had extraordinary courage which, I should say was a major weapon against our colonists.

So maybe now you get why there is such an analogy between FREEDOM and COURAGE.

If you put it in a more contemporary setting, we could say that life lived with courage is a life in freedom. If you choose to brave heartache, failure, disappointment and all the negative but completely normal life stuff, then you choose to live freely as well.

The question is, do you? Do you choose to live your life courageously?

There are things that I want to change in my life that requires a whole lot of courage. I want to be able to face life as if it can never harm me or bring me down, even if it can and it will.

I want to be able to let go of the past, of the fears that only I inflict on myself to allow myself to open up to new people, to new possibilities.

I want to be able to do have the courage to do what I love even if it means taking a risky leap of faith.

I want to be able to express myself even if not everyone would agree with me.

I want to be brave enough to make a difference in the world even if it would seem impossible.

I want to be brave enough to do as I please without allowing the words of others easily pierce through me.

I want to be free from all these fears and live my life the way I want to, without hurting anyone, and without allowing people who hurt me to also take out the flame in me. This is my life. I will live it more courageously!

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Every Blessing is a Gising!

Gotchar attention, didn’t I?

I didn’t mean to write that on purpose. I am just beaming with positive energy at the moment and I couldn’t get my fingers to type the expression correctly.

I love this saying. I used to hear that from Ogie Diaz on their morning show day in and day out and it made me smile every time because it did make sense, and it still does!

Every gising is a blessing!” only means “Every waking day is a blessing!“.

There aren’t a lot of good things happening in the world today as Toni’s husband, Paul said in one of her interviews (particularly on Bianca’s PBT show), “Life has its way of putting you down“.

Yesterday, I wasn’t in a very good position as I couldn’t really get to one of my targets ever since I started working for this current company, and it’s hard especially since I’m letting myself and those around me down.

What’s tougher is that some of those I count on in times like this, whom I have also constantly supported in their lowest points couldn’t do the same for me. It hurt me a lot, although I have to understand that they too are going through a lot.

Anyway, I went home all down and mad as bad vibes were apparently unleashed all in one day and that day was yesterday.

I woke up not feeling any better. I was looking for a way to turn things around and in prayer, I have found my solace. Thank God. -> always!

I am also grateful for Bianca Gonzalez-Intal‘s “Paano Ba ‘To?!“, which is sort of a mini online show to help those in need of solicited advice. Sort of like the Joe the Mango show of our times, except that this one goes beyond love problems.

If you have seen her series of interviews with these amazing people, good on ya! If not, you HAVE to!

So I have seen most if not all of her PBT videos, but the first and the topic I could relate to the most was this:

So, how to deal with difficult or toxic people as per Piolo Pascual himself? Putting yourself in the person’s shoes, do the sandwich technique, pray for the person and forget about pride raw. How to do all those things po?

Another favorite from this series is her interview with Anthony Pangilinan:

I loved this because I love learning from counselors, career advisers, life coaches etc. They have all these techniques that are applicable to businesses and life in general.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from this 7-minute interview is “Never separate the word purpose from opportunity” which Anthony quoted from Peter Drucker, the father of management. Any opportunity that isn’t connected with your purpose is considered a DISTRACTION. Cool eh?

and I know I should also include her interview with Karen Davila but I’m way past my fresh grad years and I could relate more to the concern of Mr. Kulang sa Kumpiyansa, a.k.a her interview with Iza Calzado.

I like her tips which I really have figured out before, but I just don’t always do:

  1. Always bring something to the table and must keep up with the times. – contribute to the conversation
  2. Everyone makes mistakes. – this one I have not really figured out yet, but thanks to Iza for reminding us.

So that’s it! I guess you could tell by my PBT choices how old I am, with the concerns I am focusing more on. Haha!

Oh, this just in, I also love her interview with Atom Araullo, a.k.a. the eternal question: Practical Job or Dream Job?

And his advice? I know I have heard this one before, ehem ehem paging NIN!!

Have a stable job to support your passion!” and lots of other things like “finding your passion in the job that you have” –which may not be as applicable to my line of work, but what the heck, it’s still pretty true.

P.S. this just made me realize, I’m still lucky I have a day job to support my passion and for me to be able to still do what I love on the side. 🙂

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xoxo,

mars2