Wednesday, March 02, 2011

How many ticks do you need to do at a time?

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]? (Mt 6:25-27, NIV 2011)

That was a question asked by a psychiatrist to a clock who had a nervous breakdown.

At church last Sunday the Gospel was about not worrying. Fr Richard began his homily by a witty anecdote about a clock who was new and had had a nervous breakdown because he worried about the ticks and tocks he had to make in his lifetime. Tick tock for every second. That would be two for a second, 120 for a minute and so on and so forth. The thought of having to tick so many times in his lifetime overwhelmed him and this eventually led him to worry and not to function as a clock anymore.

He went to see a psychiatrist to whom he recounted his worries and the doctor asked the same question above. How many ticks do you need at a time? The clock answered: ONE. The doctor said so just focus on one tick at a time. The clock then went home happy.

Fr Richard reminds that it's not that we shouldn't make plans for the future but to not let worry get in the way of living our lives.


Since I learned of the word worrywart, I have assigned it to myself. I have been a worrier all my life, sometimes if not always poring over trivial matters. I run myself down with every worry, almost like a hypochondriac of worries only to be relieved that not even one third, if none, of my worries would ever materialize.

I have tried to limit my worrying to a bare minimum but sometimes I still go down that road especially when I'm unsure of myself. I look to these verses in Matthew to give me strength and I feel God reassure me that He will take care of me and that I should not worry my head silly over things HE has control over.

I think it is very human to worry because we want to control what happens to our lives. But to what extent can worry help us to achieve our goals? At the start, it can prompt you to act so that the worry disappears. But it is problematic when we stop at worrying, when worrying becomes an obsession and we lose sleep over what we worry about - what to eat, what to cook, where to get this and that, how to achieve this, etc. And it becomes a vicious cycle of doubt, worry, unbelief in one's self, feeling overwhelmed, non-action. Sometimes, when worry becomes too much, instead of acting, we stop. We stop because we tell ourselves that what we do will not matter anyway.

I'm reminded by another story that Boots told me of how her dad told her mom not to cram into a crowded train. Sometimes, God has something better in store for us and it's just up to us to let go of our worries. Another train came past and it was empty and her parents were able to sit comfortably.

Another witty comment from a friend, Luige said: IF you have a problem, then remove the problem. It seemed like a really practical solution.

So, what is the point of worrying when we have a Father who promises to provide for us and all our needs. And how many of us have lengthened our lives with worrying? At best, it serves to shorten it by making us lose precious time poring over our worries and stressing us and causing us sickness.

Which brings me to my final point: The King's Speech. Watching this movie is again another Godsent as God's message for me is to write about not worrying. King George VI stammered because of his many fears. He had to struggle with the unbelief in himself and not believing that he would be king some day. There was a part in the movie where his wife, Elizabeth, said tick-tock. This reminded me of Father's homily and an affirmation that we should live for every tick and not get ahead of ourselves, worrying about tomorrow. Tomorrow may not even come.

So, instead of worrying, live for the moment for it may never come again.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The greatest obstacle to man is his unbelief in himself

That was a quote I learned in French class today.

Today, I will talk about the discipline of believing in one's self and putting the right amount of time and energy to what you believe to be worthwhile.

I chanced upon Gemma Hayes, a world-renowned Irish singer, two Saturdays ago as I lay in bed recovering from sickness. I was looking around Google when she showed up. I was happy to watch because I love acoustic music. During her interview before the start of her concert she was asked how she came by her music and where she drew inspiration. She replied that you have to be in the act of songwriting to have a breakthrough song. She said you can't wait for inspiration to come while doing nothing.

This brings me back to my title that the greatest obstacle to man is his own unbelief in himself. I was just listening to Lady Gaga's Born this Way and it said that God does not make mistakes and for whatever you believe yourself to be, you are who you are because you are special and are meant to do something in this world. You just have to believe in yourself.

Few and far between really believe they can make it in the world. Some act tough, some put on facades and others accept their weakness and it is in that acceptance of limitations that sets you free from the expectations of others. Others blame other people for what they can or cannot achieve. But what about if you don't expect anything from yourself? That is the obstacle. That unbelief is best hidden somewhere where achievement can't be infected by it.

We often downplay our skills, we play coy or have false humility for fear of what other people would say. I would like to quote a verse from the Bible from Matthew 5:15 that asks why we should hide a lamp under a bowl.

15 (A)No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house.

And so we are all called to be a light to others. That light is inherent in each one of us because God made us so. And it is up to us to show it or to hide it. But rest assured, the light exists.

It is quite uncanny how God helps me to write my Tuesday notes because He sends people to give me messages that have the same theme.

Tonight, my mamu called and said that we should celebrate our similarities and our goal to achieve the common good. She sang a song "You are beautiful, you are loved, you are forgiven by the mercy of God". We are alike in that we all have the light of God in us but we are different in that each light is unique and serves to light the paths of others on the same journey as us. Let us celebrate our likeness of light. And let our combined light be a beacon to a world sometimes enveloped by darkness. One of which is the unbelief that we truly matter in this world.

To quote Lady Gaga through Boots "I'm beautiful in my way, 'Cause God makes no mistakes I'm on the right track, baby I was born this way, Don't hide yourself in regret, Just love yourself and you're set, I'm on the right track, baby, I was born this way".

Let your light shine.

The second part of the discipline is to have enough fuel to keep the light. If you don't feed a fire charcoal or wood, it dies. The same is true with our passions and our lights. We have to continuously put time and energy into the things that are worthwhile to us whether a cause or a charity or a craft. Whatever it may be, what is important is that we use that light to lighten the roads ahead, whether ours or others, whether solitary or in unison.

So, keep at that craft. Put in the midnight oil. Someday, it will all come to fore, what those late nights of work or discernment mean.

Feed your passion so that one day you will reap its fruits.

Believe in yourself.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

in the mood ... for love

Today marks the start of rehearsals for the choir concerts of John 23. One of the songs to be sung is In the mood by the Andrews sisters. I was supposed to write about just that when Boots said to write about love or beauty. Hmm. I thought what a great idea since Valentine's was just two days ago and love is an eternal topic that can be discussed at any time.

Last Sunday, the Singles for Christ girls had another Princess Diaries. One of the talks is about how God loves us and that He desires to pursue us as He has been doing since our birth. The heart of a woman is fashioned after God's and the basic desires of women are: to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure and to unveil beauty.

From the talk, women want to be pursued and to be wanted. And we want to share in a great adventure because we are relational beings. But women shouldn't be copycats of each other or be like somebody because being yourself is enough. Just BE it said, you don't have to strive because being you is special enough. The third desire is to unveil the beauty that is inherent in each woman. God created us in His image and likeness and He does not create ugly people - inside or outside. And both have equal weight. We are called to be beautiful spiritually and physically. How do we unveil this beauty you ask? Simple. Use your beauty, inside or outside to inspire others. And use that beauty to also bring out the beauty in each woman. Use that beauty to attract people to God. But you must believe you have that beauty because no amount of praises will let you believe what you do not believe in yourself.

God created us beautiful beings. Women were the crowning glory of creation. He saw something missing. The world is incomplete without women.

The desires planted in our hearts is paralleled by the men's desires to fight a battle, to live out a great adventure and to rescue a beauty. But if you are not inclined for that, we have a God that calls out to us, pursuing us everyday of our lives and providing for our needs. A God that wants to share in our adventure and a God who is beauty himself wanting to unveil that same beauty in each of us.

So this month of February is not just bringing us in the mood for love and receiving love but also gearing us towards unveiling that beauty that is inherent in us. It doesn't have to be February though to let somebody feel they are loved and that they are beautiful.

So for you: the crowning glory of Creation - You are loved and you are beautiful. Be. Believe. Love.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

expectant faith

Have you ever wanted something so bad? Have you prayed for it? Have you thought of not praying for it because you know you won't get it? Or were you so sure you would get it even if you didn't ask for it?

Which one are you?

In many of the talks I have heard, whether in the Couples for Christ community or in the Light of Jesus Community, from Bo, from the priests, we are taught to seek, knock and ask God for the things we want to receive. It's a simple as asking and knowing that it's yours once you've asked.

But do you have doubts? Are you unsure whether God will grant it to you?

Ask yourself, would God want me to have this? If it is good for you, why not?

We are taught to have expectant faith - the sort of faith that already claims the promises that God will us - plans to prosper us, not to do us harm and give us a good future (Jeremiah 29:11).

This verse has been a mainstay in my life ever since it was introduced to me in 2005 by a good friend at the ILO. I was so worried about getting a job or keeping a job in a land so far away that would help me be independent as well as help my family. And Tita Virgie gave me this verse and I stuck in on my wall. I looked at it daily and it comforted me that God would grant the desires of my heart to be able to have a job to help my family. And He did grant it.

Every year since 2005, on my birthday, God has given me a career improvement. If not a promotion, a step increase on my salary. And I continue to claim that He will give me blessings not just on my birthday but every day of my life.

I remember praying to be like my best friend Jam. She was able to provide for her family ever since she graduated from college. I wished I could do the same for my family. And I saw the letter I wrote to my mom telling her how much I wanted to help our family. And God knowing the desires of my heart, has given me a job that allows me to help my family until today. It is a great blessing.

It brings tears to my eyes to know that God is one step ahead of our needs - that even before asking, it is already given to us. Just the same, it's still nice to be asked. Maybe that's what God just wants - to be asked so He knows He is important to us.

"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? (New International Version (©1984)) - Luke 11:11

And who among us is worthy? Compared to God and His perfectness, we cannot dare to measure up. But in Luke, God again reassures us that as children of the One Father, He will only give us what is good for us and not what will harm us.

So, I encourage you to have expectant faith. To claim what is yours by the right of God's goodness. To know that all of us are worthy of His goodness and blessings, whoever and whatever we are. We are His beloved children.

Seek and ye shall find, ask and it shall be given unto thee.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

precious shower and pee-ay

my most favourite part of the house is, apart from the kitchen, the bathroom. i've seen a lot of anecdotes about the bathroom or the toilet like "if you treat me nicely, i won't tell of what i've seen". it's funny but the bathroom has been a place of solace for me, where i can shut out the world and just be. it's the place i go to cry, to pray, to listen to my thoughts. i love taking showers and baths and i love to listen to the therapeutic pitter patter of the water. it reminds me of rain and the calm it gives me.

today was a very hectic day both at work and at home. i had plenty chores to do and a lot of cooking as well. i did everything at one time and i know it would leave me depleted but i thought i should get everything out of the way so i can sit quietly. one thing after the other and it's just now that i get to write. i got my epiphany while i was in the shower. i got my idea to write about how important it is to be alone with one's thought and to find that place that lets you think. for me - it's the bathroom. i love to go to the toilet so much, my monicker became pee-ay. when i was in college, my icon for my name was a toilet. such was my affinity, if not nature's call to commune in what the philippines call "the rest room". indeed, one can find rest in the bathroom, whether natural or emotional. it's a place of release, where you can be yourself. just let it all out figuratively and otherwise.

the shower left me fresh physically and prepared me mentally for my tasks at hand.

when i was under the "rain", i also thought of the more than showerlike floods brought on by torrential rains in queensland. my office roommate is from there and her mum's place is threatened to flood. i remember when typhoon ondoy hit the philippines and left many people stranded, homeless and lifeless. the showers of nature serves as a wake-up call much like a shower wakes you up from sleep. natural disasters are uncontrollable. it is also unpredictable. only so much can be done to prepare. but one can still prepare.

how can one prepare for the deluge of nature and life?

one way is to embrace it. much like the shower i took, i let it envelop me as it washed away the dirt and fatigue of my body. the deluge of life can be momentary or drawn out. it depends on you. the flood serves to wash away the unnecessary and let's you think what is really important in life. after ondoy hit the philippines, many people were left with the bare essentials. they managed and some did not want for what they do not have but was thankful for another chance at life. floods also clear away nature's landscape, making way for the new.

another is to reflect. what caused the deluge, how can it be prevented? how much should i invest in rebuilding? is it worth it? how has it affected me? how can i move on?

the final is to act. after embracing the deluge of life, reflect and learn and then act. now that the deluge is over, what is left to pick up? what is there to throw away? how will you move on?

what deluge are you experiencing now?