Tag Archives: love yourself

The Gift of Pause

I am grateful for this time to write to you. I have taken time off to rest today. For me writing leisurely is restful. Lately, I have been rushing through life and I have to stop myself from working too much because a good friend reminded me to: “Love yourself!”

Indeed. 🙂

So, I am taking this day to pause for a while. The work can wait. But our health cannot. It’s incredible the amount of unnecessary stress we place on our bodies. I can feel it in my aching bones and muscles crying out for a day of rest and more sleep.

These days, in the busyness of our lives, and many things taking much of our time, it is so easy to neglect ourselves. It’s so easy to skip a healthy breakfast because we need to get to the office on time, to sleep less because there’s work to be done, and to rush through life focused on our vision for the future but missing the present moment.

I have been guilty of these on many occasions. But it is awareness that wins half the battle. Today, I choose to be in the now — to intentionally slow down and enjoy the moment, to give myself the gift of pause and rest.

What is your body telling you today? Maybe it is time for you to take a much-needed break. Maybe it needs more sleep. Maybe it needs to recover from the pressures it has gone through. Maybe it needs to calm down and let go. Perhaps, it needs a little more sleep.

Ah sleep — a luxury most people in the workforce are longing for. This is also true for many parents, especially mothers, who have to juggle taking care of their kids and balancing their home and work life. How exactly do they do it?! I honor all the mothers out there who sacrifice a lot to take care of their families. I hope your loved ones can gift you a time of rest to recover and recuperate so you can love them more. I pray you will also take care of yourself.

As for me, I must confess that I have over-scheduled my life lately. As a single person I feel like I can do everything. But at what cost! I have to learn to say “no” more often. I am learning that I can’t do everything even if I wanted to do. I have to choose to do the things that have more impact in the long-term.

Have you fallen on the same trap like me? Life’s busyness is taking a toll on your health too? It’s time to pause and take a deep breath! Inhale deeply and exhale all the stresses away. Go home early today and take that much needed sleep.

We can learn a valuable lesson from nature. Even nature slumbers during winter. Farmers say that a soil that has not been rested does not produce much harvest. Even land needs to rest so that it can be more productive. We are human “beings” and not doings. It’s time to be human again and not machines.

I remember reading about a young CEO in India who died suddenly last year. He was only in his early 30’s. Many were surprised at his death because he looked physically fit and was known to go to the gym regularly. Doctors soon discovered the culprit for his untimely death. He only slept for 4 hours a day!

Like the unhealthy food we eat, sleep debt comes back to you with a vengeance. A new sleep study said that we need at least 7 hours of quality sleep a day to recover from a hard day’s work.

That used to be eight hours. We find even new sleep research is adjusting to this millennia’s work schedule! But I think between 7-8 hours is a good measure. At least not just four hours a day. Or you can observe your body and know how many hours it takes for you to feel well rested!

If a full sleep is not possible, nap time during the day will be most helpful. Most successful people were known to take naps throughout the day such as Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and John F. Kennedy to name a few. Shut-eye during the day helped them to be alert, creative, and more focused. It made a whole lot of difference amidst their busy schedule. And it helped them produce great work.

We DO need to rest. It is not optional.

Yes, there are people to be cared for, goals to be achieved, work to be done, and dreams to reach, but you wouldn’t reach them when you’re no longer here because you did not take care of yourself.

Plus, as I have experienced, patience and focus decrease dramatically the lesser you sleep. You love less when you are sleep-deprived. You become grumpy, prone to accidents and to making unhealthy decisions. I don’t think this is the way to live a meaningful life. You put yourself and others in danger when you lack sleep and drive, or perform tasks that need high concentration like surgery or involving heavy machinery.

If we can’t afford the luxury of a nap time, at least make time for a full sleep at the end of the day, or at the end of each work day if you’re working in a call center. I hope you will make time for rest because your loved ones need you. And because a happy and healthy life depends on it.

Sometimes, we try to do so much in one day. But slow is fast in the long run. Good things take time to be built and to grow. We need to rest to be inspired again.

Jesus invites us, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). God invites us to rest in Him.

Everything will be all right. You don’t have to do everything today. Do as much as you can. Give it your best shot. But at the end of the day, surrender it all to God who will take care of what you can no longer do.

Let’s make time today to rest our body, minds, and hearts.

Psalm 46:10-11 encourages us to, “Cease striving (be still) and know that I am God…The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.”

“Selah (Pause).”

Dear friend, rest well today.

P.S. If you need much needed rest for your spirit, I’d like to invite you to join us for a Soul Spa on September 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Here you will learn how to love yourself more in a healthy way and discover your purpose in life. There will also be  a watercolor painting session to restore your spirit and calm your soul. We only have 30 slots available. If you’d like to take a pause from your busy schedule, please do register here <Soul Spa > to reserve your seat. Till then, take care of yourself because you are precious to God. Love yourself! <3

 

 

How to Be Brave

I always find visiting a wake sobering. It puts life into its proper perspective. I’ve been to many wakes before including my dad’s but it doesn’t get any easier even if you knew it would happen eventually. Still I have hope because I know that life on earth as we know it may end, but love does not.

Last Friday, our beloved Tito Rey Ortega died. He was an orphan who built an orphanage, and started many ministries in the Light of Jesus family including Pag-Asa ng Pamilya Scholarship Foundation for the underprivileged youth; Grace to Be Born, a halfway house for unwed mothers; Tahanan ng Pagmamahal, a home for street children; Jeremiah Foundation, a safe place for abused girls; Jesus Christ Cares for Cancer, a ministry for cancer victims, and the Hail Mary ministry for lepers in Abra.

Tito Rey lived a full life filled with love and a generous heart. I truly believe he went straight to heaven having fulfilled his mission on earth. I imagine God welcoming him with a big, warm hug, saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23).

I am personally going to miss Tito Rey’s funny e-mails. Even in his sickness, he can crack a joke or two. His lightheartedness and full acceptance of the suffering he has been given inspires me.

He died to himself every day, so that others may live. I thank God for Tito Rey’s beautiful soul. I believe He is throwing a party just for him! Receive him Lord in your mercy, joy, and warm embrace.

In his life, Tito Rey taught me how to love. In his death, he is teaching me how to be brave.

Sometimes, I am a scaredy cat! There are things that I am still afraid of fully embracing, like diving fully into business, like falling in love, like getting out of my comfort zone. I guess I am afraid to be hurt or to feel pain, or to die. I realized that you could experience death not only physically, but also emotionally, and spiritually, and yes even socially when you experience rejection. Rejection is death. Sometimes we are afraid of being rejected that’s why we don’t even try to love.

My good friend Kirby, who wrote The Fired Up Life, told me recently, “Marj, fear is not compatible with love. It cannot share the same space.”

I held my breath for a moment, and wrote it on a tissue paper so I won’t forget.

Sometimes we give in to fear that’s why we fail to love.

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

What is more important than what you are afraid of?

I am hoping it is something that you love.

To overcome fear, you must make your love bigger.

If I let my fear of vulnerability or rejection get the better of me, I wouldn’t be able to share my heart with you, and I would have deprived you of what you could learn from my mistakes and failures.

If I remained afraid of what other people would think of me, I wouldn’t write nor speak, and I would have deprived you of insights that could help you live a full life. But I overcome the fear every time by thinking of you who read this. I don’t want my dreams to die with me because I want to give you the love that you deserve.

Our gifts are not ours. A gift is not a gift until it is given away. It is meant for others. So, next time you are afraid to share yourself, and I say this also to myself, make your love bigger than your fear!

Leaving you now with this gem of a song from Josh Groban simply called, “Brave.” I pray that you will reach out, stand out, step out, and find your reason to be brave.

Let’s live life fully and completely! And when the time comes for our own wake to take place, I hope we can all look back to a life well lived, without an urn of what-ifs. I pray we’ll live a full life spent loving God and others every day.

At the end of life, the only question that truly matters is: Did I love?

I believe Tito Rey’s answer was: Yes.

I hope we can say the same. <3

Pearls of Truth

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but rather of power and of love…   – 2 Timothy 1:7

“So do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

“There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear.” – 1 John 4:18

“Let love be your highest goal.” – 1 Corinthians 14:1

“Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life!” – Leo Buscaglia

PS. Do not be afraid to die. Be afraid of not loving. It is love that will endure beyond this life.

When You Feel Lost

I’ve been driving again, a skill I abandoned for the last 10 years. I once got a ticket for an unintentional error on the road, I just didn’t have time (made time) to renew my license until recently. And now we’re back. I know ten years! That’s another story for another time. 🙂

I feel better equipped now, at least mentally, to brave the challenging roads of Manila. The streets are no different, it’s still traffic in the city. But there are tools now that make life easier for newbie (again) motorists like me.

One of the well-loved and used tools I know now is Waze — the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Other drivers share real-time traffic and road information to help you get to your destination faster using roads less traveled.

I use Waze and Google Maps now when I need to go somewhere I have no idea how to get to. I once went to the north of Luzon, driving past a toll gate for the first time in my life. I was so nervous I had to back up on an expressway after entering the wrong side of  a diverging road. Thankfully there were no cars passing by then.

If I had pursued that wrong road, it would have been a point of no return for me. But I was pleasantly surprised to find Google Maps recalculating and recalibrating a new route for me that will take me to my destination via another way.

I love the app’s ability to reroute. In a way, you’re never lost. Because no matter how far you go off track, you can always go back to your destination through another way. It returns you to the right road.

I realized that “God’s Maps” works the same way in our lives.

Sometimes, we make wrong choices that gets us into  a bad road. Sometimes, out of ignorance or stubbornness, we follow the path that leads to heartache. Sometimes, in our pride, we want to do it our way and then we feel lost.

Where to go now? What to do with my life? Where do I go from here? Are the questions we ask ourselves when we we’re on a confusing road that seem to lead to nowhere or a dead end.

Thankfully, God’s Waze (ways) are not our ways. His ways are better than ours because He sees the whole picture. And God always has a way of getting us back on track. He has a plan B, C, D, and so much more! We just need to go back to him and follow him. His plans for us are never for woe. They are never meant to harm you, but they are plans to bring you the future that you hope for! (Jeremiah 29:11).

Maybe you feel like you’ve lost your way. Only return to God and he will reroute your life. He will make His good plans for you happen no matter how you feel your past is unredeemable or that you’ve wasted so much time. It’s never too late for God.

If you trust Him today and surrender your life, and follow His ways, you will get to your ultimate destination. He will have other ways to fulfill His purpose for your life. God is wise like that. 🙂

I know of no other place to get his GPS than to read the Bible. That’s our ultimate map to heaven right there. If you need a virtual app to have your daily devotional, you can try the Fantastic Life App, it gives you the daily readings of the day plus things you can reflect on. It’s fantastic! 🙂

Dear friend, take heart!

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it!’” (Isaiah 30:21)

Follow the Lord and you will not be lost. He is the Way. He’ll lead you back to the right path for you life. Follow God’s Waze today.

Pearl of Truth

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” — Isaiah 48:17

 

 

 

 

 

Get a Soul Spa!

Hello Soul Friend,

How are you today?

Are you happy?

Can you be happier?

We understand how you are feeling. We’ve been there before.

There was a time when we did not love the lives we were living. A time when we felt so broken in spirit that we wanted to stay under the covers and hide from the world. We did not love our selves and the choices we were making.

There was a time too when we dreaded going to work. We dragged our feet to work, to do a job that robbed us of joy. At times it was okay. But were not meant to be just okay. We knew there was something missing in our lives.

We felt restless and empty. Our spirits were telling us that we were not where we were supposed to be. We were sad because we were not being true to ourselves and fulfilling our purpose. Sometimes, we got depressed because we did not know how to love ourselves.

We felt broken, uneasy and empty. We felt restless and our spirits ached for better days. Sometimes, we could feel the pain physically, that gnawing pain of not knowing who we are and what we’re meant to do.

There’s nothing like that kind of pain to make you pay attention to what your soul is telling you — your soul that needs a breakthrough, your soul that wants to be genuinely happy.

At that time we didn’t even know how to begin to make the changes we wanted to do with our lives. We were so afraid to take risks. We were bogged down with the what-ifs. We analyzed to death before we made the move and took the next step.

But it doesn’t have to be excruciating that way. We can learn to love ourselves and discover our purpose in life.

Yes, there IS a better way. You can live the life you’ll love and love the person you’re closest to — You.

We are living the lives we are meant to live today and we want to help you live your best life too. Why? We believe every person deserves to be happy. And we want to help you find your happiness. You were not meant to drift in life. You were meant to thrive!

Will you allow us to show you a better way to live? The kind where you can’t wait to wake up in the morning and do the things you love doing, the things you were meant to do.

The kind of life where you can feel creative energy flowing through your veins, where you heart pumps hard, excited to start a new day. The kind of life where you love yourself and love your life. The kind where you live from the core of your being!

Yes, you can be happy. The question is: Do you want to be happy?

The truth is many people are like the walking dead. They do not know what to do with their lives. They suffer from low self-worth and low self-esteem. They have forgotten their value. They have forgotten how to dream.

Imagine yourself in your deathbed, nearing the end of your life. Will you regret the life you lived? Or will you die in peace knowing you learned how to love and fulfilled your mission in life? Will you exhale your last breath knowing you have given it your all?

Will the choices you are making today lead you to that life you can be proud of — a life of no regrets? Will you live the life you were meant to live?

We can help you find yourself again. We can help you help yourself and discover the life you were meant to live.

Now imagine seeing yourself the way God sees you. Imagine knowing what you were created to do. What kind of life will that be?

We imagine a life filled with hope, love and joy! We imagine you smiling more, living more, and loving more.

We know, because we are experiencing it today. We discovered our call and answered it. We want to help you discover your own unique mission in life too.

Would you allow us to help you get back on track so you can be on your way to the fullness of life God intended for you to live?

We want to give your soul a spa! We want you to feel better about yourself. We want to help you fall in love with your life again.

More than a relaxing physical massage, allow your self to go deeper to the root of your unhappiness.

Yes, you can be happy. Get yourself a Soul Spa!

Join us on September 2, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.,  and we’ll help you find your self and discover your passion in life again. We will give your soul a spa!

In this life-giving workshop, you will know the basics of loving yourself, which is foundational to creating the life you’ll love.

You will discover your purpose by learning how to craft a mission statement, in simple but powerful steps that will make things clearer for you. You’ll also paint the life you dream of having through a special painting session within the workshop.

All these life-changing tools for a very affordable workshop fee of only P1,500.00, inclusive of materials, with inspiring talks and activities that have the power to change your life.

But we have a problem! We can only accept 30 people.

We only have limited seats for this life-giving workshop! We only want an intimate group, which allows us to serve you more personally.

The good news is you can save yourself and your friend a seat now, before slots run out.

We guarantee you will have a renewing Soul Spa, or get your money back with our books included — Love Yourself as God Loves You and What’s Your Life’s Masterpiece? — free-of-charge!

That’s how much we believe in this life-giving workshop. We know how much it can help you.

If you register on or before August 15, 2017, you can avail of the early bird rate of only P1,250. You and your friend will be able to save P500.00 if you register together!

And if you are not satisfied with your Soul Spa, we will give you your money back without questions asked, and we’ll also give you copies of our books for free, worth P550. This is how much we believe in the power of this workshop to help you!

So don’t wait too long to start changing your life and loving yourself.

Do yourself a favor today and take the first step. We want to help you. Allow us to help you. We want to have you in our workshop!

We want you to be happy. We can help you find your happiness.

Join us at Soul Spa Workshop and create the life you were meant to live. Save a seat now for you and your friend.

For reservations and more information, you can email us today at soulspaworkshop@gmail.com. We are excited to have you join the workshop!

Love,

Your Soul Sisters

P.S. Sorry but we cannot accept walk-ins, as we need to prepare your materials beforehand. Do register early to reserve your seat!

Hang in there! Your best life is about to begin! Get yourself a Soul Spa on September 2, 2017.  Hope to see you there! <3

 

 

Finding Your Balance

In a popular coffee shop while writing this entry and there is so much noise 🙁 It is difficult to concentrate. But such is the cacophony of life. We encounter much noise in our lives every day too. There are lots of things vying for our attention, sometimes the essentials are sacrificed; the small stuff overwhelm the things that matter most. It is so easy to get distracted. It is so easy to miss the point.

The past few weeks have been really tiring for me. I have a full time job in an inspiring publications company. In the evenings, I meet with people, attend to freelance work and accomplish other tasks . On weekends, I give workshops and talks and sing  at the Feast. I also blog, copywrite for small businesses, coach others to write their books and edit some of them. Because of all these tasks, there are days that I find myself aching physically, my whole body literally hurts. My energy is depleted.

Please don’t get me wrong, I love my work and the things that I do. 🙂 There are days though when the spirit is willing but the body is weak. I need some rest. I need more sleep. I’m not married yet but I can just imagine mothers who need to attend to their family and children after work. How tired they must feel! Maybe that’s why the number one gift most mothers want on Mother’s Day is no other than sleep, according to a survey.

Out-of-balance and overwhelmed with a long to-do-list, I am reminded of what is written in Ecclesiastes 1:1 — “There is a time for everything. An appointed time under the heavens.” I felt God reminding me to go back to the basics, to know what’s important and what’s not, to let go of the unnecessary and to prioritize the essential.

Sometimes I forget that I am a human being and not a human doing. I forget that I am a daughter, a sister and a friend too.

Life can be very busy indeed with tasks and things to do. How do we manage it all without breaking down? I think the right question to ask ourselves would be, what are we busy with?  Do we have time for what’s truly important? How’s the state of our relationships? How is our relationship with God? With ourselves? With our loved ones?

I believe you also wear many hats.

Life is a constant challenge of finding your balance, juggling all the balls you hold in your hands. Maybe it’s your work, studies, membership in an organization, your time with family, colleagues and friends. When you don’t have balance in your life, you get over-fatigued, burned out, and sick emotionally, mentally and physically!

Here are some valuable tools that helped me manage my time, which I hope can help you also manage your life and restore your balance.

When you feel out of whack, you may feel there’s just too much going on and things are in a mess. Papers get piled on top of the other, the books are in disarray, clothes are left unwashed. You feel overwhelmed. The first thing to do is to put things in order. To remember again what goes on top of the list.

What are your priorities?

Identify your priorities. If the list is 100 items long, even 10 each day, then you’re not really prioritizing. For me, it helps to list three up to five priorities each day, those things that impact the important areas of my life — spiritual, emotional, financial, intellectual, and physical.

To help you identify which you should prioritize, here’s a clip that clearly illustrates what you should consider as your rock, pebble and sand.

Schedule and Plan Ahead

It helps to carve a time in your week, maybe an hour or two every Saturday or Sunday, to plan your week ahead. Schedule your rocks for the coming week. They should include your non-negotiables such as your weekly date with your loved ones, prayer/quiet time, hobbies  (doing something that you love to do, those activities that give you life and bring out the best in you). Schedule time for exercise, it can be as simple as walking for 30 minutes or running before going to the office or school.

Learn to Trust Others and Delegate Tasks

Trust and delegate things that other people can do, who can in fact do it better than you. Identify those things, which you cannot delegate, those things that you alone can do. For example, you cannot delegate being a wife, husband, sister, brother, daughter or best friend.

After scheduling your rocks, ask yourself these three questions developed by John Maxwell, which have been particularly helpful to me in making decisions. Maxwell shared that before deciding where to invest his time, he asks himself three important things. I got these questions from his book, Today Matters:

  1.  What is REQUIRED of me?

“Any realistic assessment of priorities in any area of life must start with a realistic assessment of what you must do. For you to be a good spouse or parent, what is required of you? To satisfy your employer, what must you do? If you lead others, then what must you personally do that cannot be delegated to anyone else? ”

These are the priorities we must make time for.

  1.  What gives me the greatest RETURN?

“As you progress in your career, you begin to discover that some activities yield a much higher return for the effort than others. After determining requirements, focus on choices with a high return on investment.”

I believe that relationships are the greatest investment of our time as well as responding to our calling or mission in life.

  1. What gives me the greatest REWARD?

“If you do only what you must, along with what is effective, then you will probably be highly productive. But you may not be content. I think it’s also important to consider what gives you personal satisfaction.”

We must also make time for joy, for the people and things that renew and recreate us, for the things that make us whole and balanced.

Someone once said, as we schedule our work, we must also schedule our rests.

We must make time for rest and play and not just work. We need to set time for our most important relationships because at the end of our lives, it’s our relationships that will matter most.

The Need for Focus

May I invite you now to think about your dreams? What is it that one thing that if you did it would make your 2016 unforgettable? What is your most valuable priority for this year? Allot 90 minutes of focused work to it once a day. Let that be one of your priorities.

Learn to say No to other things so that you can say yes to that one thing that God has called you to do. De-clutter your life. Let go of the unnecessary. Allot only a certain time to check your messages and newsfeed on Facebook. Social media can be a time waster if you don’t control your use of it.

Where does your Worth come from?

Sometimes we do too much because we want to prove ourselves. Sometimes we can’t say no because we want to please people and we want them to like us. We need to examine our hearts, the reason we do the things we do. Is it really what I want to do? Is it my passion? Or am I doing it so that others will accept me?

It is difficult and dangerous when we place our identity on the work that we do. I’ve realized that my identity is not dependent on my tasks and the roles that I play. Ask yourself, what if those things are taken away? Would you lose yourself, too? Even if those things are taken away, you can start again. Your worth is inherent. It is in you.

I used to have no identity of my own. I used to please others so that they wouldn’t leave me. I wanted to be accepted. I did not love myself. Until I realized by God’s grace, that my worth and my identity wasn’t based on outside circumstances. It is already in me. I am worthy simply because I am God’s child.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God, and such we are!” (1 John 3:1)

When I realized that I am God’s beloved and discovered my true identity in Him, I felt that my inner being was strengthened. I felt my identity was set on solid rock, that no outside circumstance could shake it. Knowing this, I feel relaxed, calm and peaceful. I can rest in this truth. It gives me a stress-free life because I don’t need to try hard to prove my worth. I am already worthy. And because I know I am worthy, I come from a place where I do things because I want to love, I want to give.

Learning to love myself by knowing my true identity in Christ, and coming from a place of love, I can give without expecting anything in return.

I know that you and I are capable of doing great things because we are made in the image and likeness of God who made the stars, the oceans, the Universe and all that’s in it. I am great because my God is great!

Take Care of Yourself

Sometimes we can attend to many people’s needs that we get depleted. It is important and essential that we also rest and replenish ourselves. Even batteries need to be recharged.

Each morning, we need to receive love so that we can give it away. In my experience, prayer in the morning recharges me. It sets the day. God loves me so that I have His love to give to others.

It’s so important to find time to rest. Please don’t wait to get sick to find time to rest. Make time for those hobbies that give you life, that re-create you again. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You did your best, now reward yourself and celebrate.

I realized that if I don’t take care of myself, I wouldn’t be able to take care of others. I would be resentful and I would be needy. But if I took care of myself by doing the essentials like eating healthy, getting that much needed sleep and exercise, I am able to give more of myself and I’d be happy doing it.

If I am happy about myself, I can share this happiness with others. But if I am filled with insecurities, I would project my insecurities to them. That’s why it’s so important to take care of yourself and to accept yourself, all of you, including your strengths and weaknesses. Do your best and then rest. Reward yourself too.

“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.” (Max Ehrmann)

Lastly, do not worry. Worry is the greatest time-waster. Nothing good ever happens when you worry. It just snowballs into fear and anxiety. Pray instead.

St. Paul counsels us: “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7

Friend, Love yourself and you’ll be able to love others better too!

Accept Your Weaknesses

It’s the time of the month once again. PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) keeps me on the edge of my seat. I feel easily irritated and a bit more sensitive. Back in the day when I hadn’t been aware of its symptoms, I often wondered why I would suddenly feel irritable for no reason at all. Maybe this is why some people call PMS, the “crazies,” how  hormonal changes can cause emotional disturbances in women. I used to deny that it happens but it is reality. Whether we like it or not, bodily changes that women undergo do have its effects. So when this time of the month comes around, it would be nice if we could put up a poster that says, Beware PMSing, Keep out of Danger! Hehe.

But seriously, I am sad because had I been aware of its effects on me before, I would have kept my emotions in check and there wouldn’t have been many casualties, or unnecessary hurts over little things because of these hormonal changes.

Brothers, when your wives or girlfriends have PMS, this is the time to be extra sensitive or more understanding with the women in your lives. Don’t worry ’cause it only lasts a few days, a week at most. So a few days before your wife gets her monthly visit is the time to be more loving and extra understanding. Believe me, it will save your relationship and avoid unnecessary fights. 😉

Fortunately, by God’s grace, I am more mature now, more aware of what happens to my body and my emotions during PMS time. Believe me or not, it keeps me on my knees. Because I don’t want to hurt people unnecessarily by sudden outbursts of emotions just because I feel a bit irritable. Such is my weakness. And I actually asked the Lord why women have to go through PMS or hormonal changes that make us unreasonable sometimes? I wished that God would take away this weakness of mine.

But it is this very PMS that keeps me close to God. It reminds me of what St. Paul said after having asked God to take away his own weakness three times but got this famous reply instead:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I realize now that my weakness keeps me dependent on the grace of God to be kind, to choose to hold back my tongue when I want to say things that I might regret later, to choose to love even when I don’t feel like doing so because I do not feel well. Only by God’s grace!

Indeed, my weakness is my saving grace because it keeps me close to the Lord and helps me to be like Him amidst suffering and pain. It gives me the opportunity to be more loving even when I don’t feel like doing so. But with God’s grace, all things are possible. This is the truth.

More on humility and the value of weakness

Last week, we talked about what humility is and what it is not. True humility is walking in the truth — the truth of who we really are. We acknowledge our strengths and are thankful for them because we know they come from a Source and that He deserves our deepest gratitude.

True humility does not only stop in acknowledging our strengths but also in accepting our many weaknesses. We should also be grateful for them because they keep our feet on the ground. They keep us humble. Proverbs 16:18 warns us, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Thank God for our weaknesses which protect us from pride.

When we are humble that’s when God’s grace abounds all the more.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” St. Paul learned to accept and even be glad for his weakness, realizing that it is when he is weak that he is strong, because it is then that Christ’s power rests on him. He received the grace he needed. His weakness made him depend on God and kept him close to the Lord. His weakness gave the space for God’s power to rest in Him. It is the cracks in our hearts and spirits that is the opening for God’s love to enter. Thank God for our weaknesses.

At this point, I want to give the page to someone who talks about the value of weakness/brokenness so beautifully, it deserves to be shared many times.

Here’s an excerpt from Bro. Marc Lopez’s book, Hit Your Life’s Reset Button: You Can Start Again Today.* I pray it blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

Guidepost 29: Live the Truth

“If you remain in my word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – Jesus Christ, John 8:32

“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth the perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.” – Vance Havner

There is a myth that in the 15th century, Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, who reigned during the Muromachi period of Japan, had a damaged tea bowl repaired. Japanese craftsmen ingeniously joined the broken pieces together by mixing powdered gold with lacquer resin. The results were astounding. The broken tea now appeared more beautiful than its broken state. This artistic ceramic repair technique is known as kintsugi or golden joinery.

None of us is spared from being broken. That is why we all have a personal identity. Deep negative feelings we have about ourselves result from painful experiences. It we hide it, we run the risk of making the damage worst. But if we accept it and surrender it to God “like the clay in the hand of the potter (Jeremiah 18:6),” God can restore us far more than we could ever ask of imagine.

Bo Sanchez, Catholic evangelist and author, explains, “We are all wounded. But wounds are necessary for His healing light to enter into our beings. Without wounds and failure and frustrations and defeats, there will be no opening for his brilliance to trickle in and invade our lives.”

Our brokenness allows God to replace our broken ceramic chips with gold!

Oftentimes we are reluctant to take our place, to step up, or to stand up and be counted. We feel unworthy to talk because our walk teeters. But in God’s hands, our brokenness blesses. Our pain allows us to listen, to understand, to empathize. Our shortcomings humble us and increase our reliance on Christ.

To live the truth means to acknowledge your brokenness. To accept your personal identity. To be aware of its influence in your life. And to know what it really is — your shadow. This means it will follow you for as long as you live on this side of heaven! In moments of partial light or darkness, you will see it. When you forget who you truly are, it appears. When “dark” circumstances tempt you to lose faith, it emerges. But you need not fear it, hide it or avoid it. Because it is simply what it is — a shadow. It isn’t you! When you press reset, when you bring it to the light, it disappears! (Ephesians 5:13)

To live the truth means to courageously take your place and be who you truly are — to live as a child of the light. (1 Thessalonians 5:5)

As you constantly live from your spiritual identity, you will see God’s grace working through you. The greater the surrender, the greater the results. On some occasions you will “walk on water.” From speaking to 10 people, you will preach to a crowd of 10,000. From a debtor, you will become a lender. You will be the head and no longer the tail. (Deuteronomy 28:12-13) If you are not careful, your shadow will sneak in and delude you into believing that you are “the light,” you are “the provider,” you are the “wisdom.”

Awareness of the truth of your brokenness will protect you from pride as St. Paul reminds us, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) So remember, you are not the light but the bearer of the Light. You are not the great one; you are the reminder of God’s greatness.

To live the truth means to acknowledge that you are complete, not because of you, your efforts, or your accomplishments but because of Christ. Apart from Him, you are nothing. (John 15:5)

Each time you forget who you are, press reset.

Proclaim the truth: I am God’ beloved, complete in Christ.

Take your place.

Courageously live the truth of who you are.

*Marc Lopez’s book, Hit Your Life’s Reset Button: You can start again today is available on Kerygma Books and Amazon.

Are you Humble?

This topic is close to my heart. I used to be really confused about what it means to be humble. Until one day God enlightened me through the wise words of my godmother, Sr. Rafaelie.  She said, “True humility is walking in the truth.”

Simply put, it’s being who you really are.

Recently, I was reminded of this again when I read Fr. Rudy Horst’s reflection on a Gospel reading. He also said that, “Humility rests on truth.”

“When Jesus teaches that ‘the one who humbles himself will be exalted,’ He does not say that the ones who shall be exalted are the ones who say they are ugly, not intelligent or uneducated when that is not the case.”

“People who deny their qualities are making God a liar because He gave them those qualities and they say they do not have them.”

I could not help but agree with Fr. Rudy. I realized that humility is not humiliation. Being humble is not about putting yourself down and thinking worse things about your self. It’s not about debasing yourself and ignoring your gifts. Rather, it is being true to them.

False humility is saying you are not talented, intelligent, or amazing, when the truth is you are. It is good to be reminded that to be truly humble is to be true to who you are.

But it does not end there. That’s just one part of the equation.

The crucial part of humility is acknowledging that the goodness, gifts and talents that you have actually comes from a Source. True humility is acknowledging the Source of the good that is in you.

What is the attitude then of a truly humble person?

Fr. Rudy continues, “The humble person will say or think: I am good-looking, thanks be to God who gave me my looks. I am bright, thanks be to God who gave me my intelligence. Humble people rejoice in their gifts because they see themselves truthfully as they are. They are great in the eyes of God.”

For me, the true model of humility is Mama Mary. When she learned that she was chosen from among all women in the world to be the mother of Jesus, she humbly accepted her precious role and she rejoiced in her Maker! Consider her Magnificat:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness. Behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:47-49).

True humility is rejoicing in the God who made you so wonderfully. Acknowledging the Source of the goodness that you possess is the mark of a truly humble person.

Here are things we can reflect on today:

Are you truly humble? Are you standing on the truth about yourself? Do you praise the One who gave you all the good that you have  – your gifts, roles, possessions, mission/purpose? Do you give credit where credit is due?

Pearl of Truth:

Realizing the good that we have been given, let us rejoice with humble hearts like Mama Mary did, “The Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is his Name!”

Our Prayer:

Dear God, help us to see ourselves the way you see us. May the good we find in ourselves turn to praise for You. Glory to You now and forever! Amen.

 

Dare to Dream

When I was young, I wanted to become an astronomer but this dream faded away like a comet gone too soon. Maybe you wanted to be one too? I feel you! Perhaps most dreamers always want to aim for the stars. 🙂  And there is nothing wrong with that. 🙂

Yet back on land, I realized that there are those dreams that do not die in our hearts, persistent as the sun, no matter how old we grow. These are the dreams we must pursue for they are aligned to our mission in life.

You will know these deepest dreams because you have the raw materials to make them come true — your passions, interests, talent, things that move you.

God has has planted beautiful dreams in your heart and has already given you what you need to fulfill them. Your job is to discover them by listening to those persistent directions in your life.

What is that dream that never goes away, the one that tugs at your heart? Maybe it is building your own business, having your own home, writing your own book? What is that one dream that if it happens this year would make you feel happy and fulfilled?

I have found it helpful in making my own dreams come true  to begin by thinking of the end in mind. What would you like to happen, to have, to be, nine months from now?

Identify that one big dream that you would want to accomplish this year. Share it with someone who will remind and support you in achieving this. Make your miracle happen by allotting at least 90 minutes a day to do it. Make it a priority. Have a plan and stick to it. Surrender your dream to the Lord in prayer and do your part.

And when challenges and doubts set in, remember Mama Mary. When she received the message that she would conceive a child, she wondered how it would come to be but she believed because she knew that God is faithful. Angel Gabriel revealed to her the secret to making dreams come true: “For there is nothing impossible with God,” (Luke 1:37).

I believe that our dreams are also children born of the Spirit, with God’s guidance and blessing, all things are possible. What are you waiting for? 🙂

Human Being vs. Human Doing

“God is concerned about YOU.” – Fr. Alex Balatbat

It was nice to see Fr. Alex again, it’s been over a month since he visited Feast Greenhills. It seemed like he lost weight and he did say, around eight pounds. He mentioned that he had hiked Mt. Batulao and followed Bro. Bo Sanchez’s advice to fruitify your breakfast and vegify your lunch.  [Eat fruits for breakfast and vegetables for lunch]

It was interesting to me that he mentioned about loving one’s self, because as you know this topic is a little bit close to my heart. I used to think loving one’s self was selfish. But I realized now as Fr. Alex said that the true meaning of loving yourself as God intended is all about stewardship.

“Stewardship is giving importance to what God has given you,” Fr. Alex said as he shared about taking care of his health. It affirmed in me again how important it was to take care of what we have been entrusted with — our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our gifts, our resources. To be a good and faithful steward of these gifts is our gift to God. To take care of what has been entrusted to us, our very selves, is practicing good stewardship.

Fr. Alex said that when we start to think we “own” our bodies, we start doing with it whatever we want but when we realize that we are only stewards entrusted with the temple of the Holy Spirit, we will start taking care of what has been given to us in trust.

What struck me too was when he said: “We are human BEINGS and not human DOINGS. God is concerned about you than what you do.

Are we busy serving and working that we forget about Him? Are we so busy with our ministry and business that we forget to pray?  Are we so busy that we are too tired to spend time with God alone and take care of our relationship with Him, to connect to the Source of our being.

God knows your heart’s desires but He is more concerned of who you are becoming (your character) on the road to making your dreams come true. Ultimately, it is your soul who will go to heaven and not your achievements. So, how are you?

When you get tired with all the striving and doing, remember you are a human being. Remember also what Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are burdened, and I will give you rest.

Maybe it’s about time you pause, take a walk or “have coffee” with the Lord and just be. God is concerned about you. May you find your rest in Him.

 

Moving Forward

“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:13-14)

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Two words stand out in this beautiful teaching from St. Paul that suggest for us two valuable actions for change: Forgetting what lies behind and reaching Forward to what lies ahead.

The past is over but sometimes we can find ourselves stuck in it. I understand that very much ‘cause I used to make it my home too. But one day, God made me realize that I had to leave the past behind, to let go and let Him heal it.

What should we forget and leave behind? Our past sins, memories and circumstances that hurt us, people who’ve caused us pain whom we need to surrender and forgive, our past regrets, mistakes and failures. Forward is where we are headed.

I remember someone say, we may not be there yet, those things we want to become, but thank God we’re not who we used to be. Thanks be to God who makes all things new!

We forget the past except for valuable lessons learned which would help us build a better future.

But where are we headed? Another key word in this verse is to press on toward the goal, in other words to move forward and Focus on where we are going. We are headed toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God. Where is that? We are headed towards heaven. What will lead us to heaven? Love. Who will lead us there? Jesus.

Today we are being made new. We are encouraged to leave the past behind because God’s plans for our future is filled with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11). Let us focus now on Him who will bring us there.

I am thankful that God is the God of new beginnings and that our future in His hands is good. From despairing to hopeful, God’s love transforms us to who He wants us to be. Let us Follow Him.

Heart Song: Israel Houghton’s Moving Forward