Enough

When we accept our shortcomings, or the fact that we cannot be perfect, it’s a path to setting expectations– for other people and most especially ourselves. However, in a world with so much competition, so many badges and titles out there to earn, we can’t help but get lost in the rat race. There’s a desire to be the best not just professionally but even at home or in relationships . At least from my end, I did want to be the best in everything. It’s where I hinged my value then as a person. I’d take criticism at work personally and spend hours too many slaving to finish everything. (But since it’s work, it never ends. That’s just how it is. They won’t need us employees when work actually ends.)

It was a dangerous place for me to be in, wanting to prove my worth in every aspect of life. We don’t even have to as we were already made with worth. All of Creation, everything, was created by words except for one. God dirtied His hands to form man and breathed life into us.

Then the Lord God took some soil from the ground and formed a man* out of it; he breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live. -Genesis 2:7

It’s a blessing to have people in our lives– people we love and love us as much — who understand that everyone’s a work in progress. It is only through acknowledging that any role we are gunning for (or already have) will never feel sufficient that we allow the Source of all things to empower us and continuously fill us. He’d remind us we need not be promoted to feel special. That we need not be in a romantic relationship for us to feel loved. That we can and should rest on the 7th day as He made this for us and it doesn’t lessen our value. He didn’t need to rest. But even that He blessed us with.

Labels on earth are temporal, as they are material and can get banal; You won’t always be the Employee of the Year. They’re historical, as belonging to the past; You’d be something to someone only in this life.

Not to say that accolades are bad. Just that we don’t have to kill ourselves over something just so we can say we’re the best. In the end, if getting there only made us miserable, have other parts of our life falter and sent our principles down the drain

what’s the trophy for?

Does the trophy symbolize the joy of the process? The surprise that your silent excellence was noticed? Or does it symbolize everything we had to compromise?

I wanted to be best everything. The problem is the world has limited resources to fill a void of self-worth. Only the Source of all things that which never runs out can fill that void. We may have felt that we’ve given everything but it didn’t seem to be enough. Relationships, career, solving problems of society or our friend’s. It’s futile. It’s like wanting to fill their cup with  wine from a bottle that has a hole on the side. Our worth is and always will be from the One who made us. It’s not a one time big time. It’s everyday that I need to return to Him who made me so I won’t forget, or on days after I forget.

The good thing about finding worth in Christ is He’s *The One* who could have a say on what I really am; Not other people. He made me, saved me, looks after me every waking hour and when I sleep, searches the deepest trenches where I hide, gives me grace in every step I commit to take with Him. He’s my Maker, Father and Keeper. I can be called many things. But above all, loved by God. And He loves *you*, too. Immensely. More than anyone can ever. You don’t have to be the best in everything. You’re enough.

good things

My 2015 self giving some advice

*Genesis 2:7 The Hebrew words for “man” and “ground” have similar sounds.

 

 

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Celebrate

Some people throw parties to celebrate. While I, uhm, make play lists. I’m just so happy (ASDFGHJKL!!!!) that a close friend of mine dropped by Church. The power of prayer was evident.

Dear Kath,

I’m glad He’s in your life now and you’re in Him. God isn’t going to stop seeking you and your loved ones. I know you like music like me, if not more. So here’s a sample of the songs contemporary Christian artists have written. And because you asked about the songs.

Here’s to friendship, love and faith. ❤

Love,
Joy
_______________________________

Whichever may be more convenient. 🙂

Play list for Kath on Spotify
Play list for Kath on YouTube

    1. All this Time – Britt Nicole
      I felt love, I felt Your grace
      You stole my heart that day
      Lyrics | Video 
    2. Not for a Moment (After All)
      And every step every breath you are there
      Every tear, every cry, every prayer
      In my hurt, at my worst
      Lyrics | Video 
    3. All I Ever Needed – AJ Michalka
      Cause all I need is waiting in your arms
      A place to hang my heart, where I am known at last
      You’re the one true thing I have
      Lyrics | Video

    4. Touch the Sky – Hillsong
      Come sweep me up in Your love again
      And my soul will dance
      On the wings of forever
      Lyrics | Video

    5. Where You Are – Hillsong Young and Free
      I lived heart on a wire, hand in the fire for so long
      But You’ve shown me better,  new kind of love
      Lyrics | Video

    6. Alive – Hillsong Young and Free
      I was lost with a broken heart
      You picked me up, now I’m set apart
      From the ash I am born again
      Forever safe in the Saviour’s hands
      Lyrics | Video

 

Midweek(ish) Music: Victorious

The feeling of being forgiven, accepted, loved; feeling secured in His love and no one else’s, feeling free from fear and our past, feeling good enough to deserve such big love that doesn’t ask. Even after living sinfully. Even after hurting Him. Only through Him that all this is possible. Sounds too good to be true?

Sometimes this Love seems too good to be true. Like “What’s the catch, God?” Or “I’m sure You’ll tire of me, God.” Or “Why do You even bother with me? I’m not all that.” But we are. You are. Why else would He come and die for us on the cross and forgive all our trespasses? Right. He could have not bothered and just walked away from us. But He didn’t.

The same God we forgot, will be the same God who will seek us to the deepest trenches and save us. He will envelope you with love so undeniable you will have no choice but to run back to Him. Your doubts that He can’t hear you anymore, He will disprove. The fear that you have hurt Him too much and have fallen out of love with Him, He will woo you like never before. With Him, we will come out victorious.

 

Disclaimer: This play list is not meant to be an OST for every after sinning. But may this help you if ever you are still in the self-made cell that you’re not worth His time anymore. The guilt/sadness you feel is part of godly sorrow (or real repentance) in which change and being saved follow. You’re on the right path.

His Desires are Greater than Mine

At some point, I thought I got what I wanted. But somehow it didn’t feel right. I can exhaust myself to go after my heart’s desire and it’s possible for me to actually get it. I realized though that if it’s not part of His plans for me, the #AchievementUnlocked won’t sit well in my heart. I learn to trust Him more and more everyday that there are greater things that He will slowly unfold before my eyes, amazing things beyond my imagination that He is preparing me for every day. The growing pains is a must. The anxiety with every test of my old ways is required. How else can I outgrow something if I don’t intently get out of it and say “Nah.”

Being in Christ isn’t easy. But it is the best place I can ever be. Most welcoming arms. The warmest hugs. Most at peace. Most consoling. The company in which I have found myself most joyful no matter how heavy my heart is. Most reassuring that everything will turn out for the better.  That He’s got this. That He’s got me.

When things get overwhelming, my go-to verse is Matthew 11:30. “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” When things seem hard it could be 1) I’m subscribing to unrealistic standards. Most often mine. 2) I’m believing lies the enemy tries to put in my head or 3) I’m doubting that God can come through.

But He can and always will.

He’s been revealing Himself through the people I love who now have Him in their lives, people I care about who tear up when they talk about God, loved ones who in their own ways hold on to God like never before. He’s been proving over and over again that I can go through anything, spirit unscathed, through Him.

Dear self,

If you find yourself in yet another difficult situation, know that hours/days/weeks ago from this post He held you through a very tough time. That when the old convenient ways of feeling okay were tempting, you held back and He held you closer.

What are you craving for?

When I first tried home made ice cream, all the Cornettos and Magnums never tasted at par after that. They tasted artificial and I see the justification in the difference in price. Php99 for a scoop is worth it.

Back from a Singapore trip, I had withdrawals and kept eating random stuff in huge amounts which I thought were the ones I craved for. It was insatiable. I was getting frustrated at the new habit. After a week and finding myself consuming too much coffee, I realized it was the high amount of caffeine my body was looking for because of the cups of kopi I had in SG. I have to take my coffee black now, it’s the closest to the dose in kopi. And yet caffeine content is just one part of it. Kopi is still kopi.

image
The culprit

I have shared how performance was my idol and small g god for many years, unconsciously. I strived to be a good student, employee, daughter, friend, girlfriend. It never felt enough and I’d spiral into feeling worthless. I’d get anxiety attacks when I get into a fight with my best friend. I’d crumble when a relationship ends. Being good in the roles I play was the cornerstone of my life. When the roles weren’t A-OK, I’d see myself in such a dark, difficult and dead-end looking stage in my life.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

He’ll meet us where we are
My self-worth was a house on sand. It’s not easy to let go of something I was used to even though it hasn’t been healthy. When I had to let it go because counter-intuitively, my relationships in general were suffering with how toxic I was with my being something, I started to see that life wasn’t about me being the best whatever anyone can have. I will always have my shortcomings, I will fail people and people will fail me. When I had no one else to turn to and felt like I had no one to care for or care about me, that’s where He met me and proved otherwise.

Slowly, He showed me that my value is not in those things but in the fact that I can go home and Someone loves me no matter how well or how bad I did that day. He just loves me. It’s my prayer every day that He will be the only one I seek. It’s so easy to fall for the tangible pleasures on Earth given our human nature.

He loves us immensely and intimately
At nights I’d feel really bad, He gives me the grace next morning to feel well rested and loved. Times I struggle with something I have to let go of, He gives an impression to me that there’s something better than this, that He wants me to grow closer to Him. Times I over think my actions towards people, He speaks to me and clearly says “Take care of her.” On a day where I can easily succumb to being exhausted and scared, He gives me the grace to still have a good laugh, still have flash backs of good times with a friend who’s far, still dance in the street like a kid, still happily volunteer in Church and serve Him. He turned my day around.

God isn’t beyond the skies, He’s close to us. He’s in us. He can whisper and not need to shout like The Enemy who launches lies upon lies in our head. He’s in You the moment you accept Him.

His love is infinite
It’s okay to like having a good career, well-managed finances, healthy relationships.  But if we have His infinite love in the center of all our finite goals and wants, that’s when everything will fall into its right place. Having God alone in the center stage of our lives is the only amazing set up we’ll ever need. Forget the choir, the drums and guitar, the lights. Have His Word, Wisdom, Love– have Him– guide you in every aspect of your life.

I’m praying for you right now that everything starts feeling right, for peace to settle in your heart no matter the circumstance. I pray for the cravings to stop. That we continuously seek God for He is more than enough. In Jesus’ name.

Myths and Facts

“Why do bad things happen to good people? Maybe He doesn’t love us.”

When I learned a loved one had diabetes, I blamed God. I didn’t turn away completely but I was resentful and saw His love as a fluke. When my then 2 y.o. sister got hit by a friend using my scooter on my 14th birthday, I blamed God and questioned His love. In college, when important people hurt me and/or left, I doubted I’m worth anyone’s love. Through the years I just kept inching away from God’s love. When things would get tough at home or work, especially work, I’d take on things on my own. The fire exit was a good friend. Needless to say I got burnt out in all the jobs I had.

I was quick to blame Him in the seemingly bad things because I failed to understand. Come to think of it though, why was I blaming a lifestyle disease on God? Why was I blaming my classmate’s failure to hit the brakes soon enough on God? Why did I equate deceit of a best friend as a mirror of His love? At worst, I was even blind to the good things that came out of it. I learned to appreciate people in my life more because of those things above.

We conjure misconceptions or off impressions mainly because we don’t understand. How I understand His love now is He works through people and circumstance. Even people who outright refuse His love, He is working on their lives, to become good parents, friends, excellent employees, siblings.

I didn’t transfer to Miriam from the State U because He didn’t love me. It’s Him working on my heart full of pride. My value as a person then was based on how good my grades were, how smarter I thought of myself compared to other people. My units from UP overshot the maximum allowable in MC and I wasn’t eligible for Latin honors. It was still Him working on me and my misplaced self-worth on grades. I exceeded by one unit. One. Can’t be a coincidence. Nothing is.

Awesome people I met along the way. L-R: Kath from UP (friend of 11 years),
Iris from Miriam (friend of 7 years), UP Baguio Debate, MC Debate

How hard I was on myself translated even in the debate org and jobs I had after graduating. He had to prune me for years. It was only last year when I almost lost my best friend over something at work that I realized there are more important things than getting things done. Being able to love a person despite difficult times and letting God guide me in things I do, these are more important. 

It’s funny how it was easier for me to believe Steve Jobs when he said it will all make sense afterwards, that we connect the dots backwards, than me to believe God’s promises and love.

But I believe now. And that’s a fact.