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.