Sentimental: Who Am I?

I am down with my usual migraine attack (on its 5th day now) but this time accompanied by a high fever and eczema too. Whew! Kind of difficult to manage when every illness you have bolted in altogether. Though I have taken medicines yesterday, my husband nurse and the doctor at the university infirmary advised me to take a 3-5 days of bed rest for my follow up check up on Monday – limit physical activity. While in bed, I thought about writing something.

Speaking of my husband though, I appreciate him for his nonchalance. That is one thing I wanted to learn from him – how to maintain a worry-free attitude despite the disarray or when things have gone awry. I am, on the other hand, the exact opposite – I worry about everything! 😀  But through time, I have learned to control my worries and I’ll share how in the succeeding paragraphs.

I know there came in your life wherein you have never felt good enough – as a spouse, as a child, as a parent, as a student, as an employee, as a friend, as a relative, and ultimately as a person.

As a Christian teacher, I have learned that it is even more important to speak life than to criticize students. We might never know, we are already crushing the dreams of a young spirit because of the negativity. Though trials produce resiliency, positive reinforcement is still best. The world is already complicated enough, mainly because we, humans, made it to be that way.

Every person is different. Just like how every seed grows to be a different plant. Every plant has its own tender and loving care requirements. Yet all plants need sunshine, they all need light.

When I was a grade school student, I had my first taste of disappointment when I didn’t win as president of the student council and I was reprimanded during campaign along with the rest of my running mates for being late in Math class for just a few minutes and we weren’t allowed to enter the classroom. I took it as my responsibility to take the blame being the running President and seeing your peers crying out of shame was enough to make your heart broken to pieces.

When I was in high school, I had another major disappointment when I only graduated as “special mention”  in class after consistently being in the top 3 honors list from 1st year until 3rd year but failed to meet the criteria for the extra curricular activities which comprised a huge percentage of the final grade among other issues. One of my high school best friends suffered the same fate. We were advised by our parents to never receive the award during the graduation ceremony though our names were called because they said that we do not deserve it but we were there.

When I was in college, I wasn’t able to finish my thesis on time because I wasn’t assigned the right adviser from our concentration. After submitting my first draft, I got it back only to see red marks written everywhere and the one thing that was retained in me was this comment, “How did you reach this far if you don’t know how to make a research paper? This is not the work of a UP student!”  I thought, maybe I should also ask my former professors why they passed me in all my other subjects if I am undeserving to be in UP. Little did I know that is how that professor motivates her students – all of us, if not, most of us in that class received the same exact comments as I later found out from classmates.

Then I worked, a dream job it was. But disappointment once again arose. The mission and vision of the workplace weren’t met because one of the figures of authority behaved otherwise. I was the recipient of that unprofessional behavior and many have seen it. It happened a couple of times. I stayed and chose to keep quiet. But after praying about it, I had to let the job go.

So these were all hang ups of the past which I am sure most of us have experienced one way or the other. Others may have gone through even worse than all these and if given the chance, they are very much entitled to unleash their grievances as far as this world is concerned. But unfortunately, as much as we want to shake them off, they are already embedded in who we are.

All those years I have struggled with the need to impress, to meet expectations, to be perfect, to excel always and to prove myself to people. I suffered from anger and resentment boiling in me and the need to take revenge and retaliate is so strong. I blamed life for bringing me people who did nothing but criticize me for my weaknesses and only that and went beyond in criticizing who I am personally without even the slightest hint of who I really am and what I can do. This resentment and anger included some issues in other areas of my life too which I will not share due to their sensitivity. I really thought I was the unluckiest person alive back then.

For 27 years I have battled with insecurity, the by product of low self esteem and poor self image and self worth – the mentality that “I am never good enough.”  Failures, wrong decisions and disappointments became the stronghold that corrupted my entire being until it led me to a major depression – the breaking point as they say.

Depression robs you of the beauty of life. It makes life look bleak, bland and distorted. It affects your every decision and it just kills life itself.

No, I do not easily give up. I did arrive to that breaking point on the verge of quitting everything but I still fought hard against it.

I had two options: let the darkness corrupt me and become those people who plagued others or themselves with it OR choose to search for the light, the hope.

The opportunity came for the latter – I was given HOPE.

The greatest moment of my life was when I was born again through my faith. Why? It’s because when I found out who I was in Christ, that was the greatest and the best thing that I have heard about myself for 27 years.

It was on that day when I surrendered myself to Christ that ALL chains got loose – I was set FREE.

The moment already came for me to look at things in a very different perspective – a total paradigm shift. It wasn’t everything I hoped for BUT it is exactly what I NEEDED which no one else could give me except God.

This HOPE taught me even more than what I have learned in the academe or even from life itself. It taught me how to patiently wait for the right opportunities and how to patiently endure every set back. It taught me that there is a time for everything. It taught me to decline job offers and business opportunities that could’ve made me rich in wealth and possessions. It taught me to pass up on chances of earning titles that would have given me some sort of self-entitlement and self-fulfillment. It taught me to weigh options, sacrifice if I must. All of these if they will, in the end, forfeit my soul. 

It taught me to choose God’s will over mine. It taught me to rely on God’s plans than rely on my own understanding of the circumstances around me. It taught me to relinquish control and allow God to take over. It taught me that GRACE is a gift freely given even if undeserving. It taught me how to love others even when they do not deserve it too. It taught me to find joy, peace and contentment even when darkness, chaos and bitterness are all around. It taught me how to let go of the past and forgive. 

It taught me what true humility is all about. It taught me to be grateful always. It taught me that simplicity matters most in life. It taught me to look outwardly and consider what others are going through as well. It taught me that if there is a void that the atrocities of life have caused in me either by wrong choices or by fate, no one and nothing can fill it up except God.

I found this hope in Christ alone and I find strength in the Word every day which is my guide in this life – not any textbook, novel or company brochure.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” – Hebrews 11:1

Faith did not make my life free from criticism, condemnation, trials and suffering. Yet it gave me a way to view life beyond that – salvation in eternity.

I still find myself in situations I have stated in the first part of this article. But this time, I hear and watch them with a smile – they don’t know (yet) but now I understand. I have learned to understand that they, too, are still in the darkness driven perhaps by the need to compete, to be the best and to meet expectations dealing with insecurities and personal struggles too or to instil exactly what they went through to the next in line because they are still belonging to this world and its standards. I have learned to understand first where they are coming from and why they are that way.

There are times the past comes all rushing back, it haunts. Another disappointment will ruffle your feathers. The need to lash out and punish calls. But I choose LIFE. I will speak LIFE.

Because Christ has given me LIFE. He, alone, gave me LIGHT. It is my duty as His follower to use that light so others can walk in and with Him too despite the darkness around them.

Ah, yes. Them.

One day, they will be brought out in the light too. They will break standards, cultural traditions and not conform to this world wherever they may be and whatever they may be doing. They will choose to fight for faith and spread light when hope seems dim. That was the reason I was smiling because I was praying for them silently and I am claiming it all in the Mighty Name of Jesus who made it possible for me too. 🙂

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

P.S.

It’s been 3 years now since I got saved and when things don’t go the way I’ve expected them to be, I have this bookmark to remind me of who I am. I thank the sister in Christ who gave this when she facilitated a talk during my baptism of the Holy Spirit. I have carried it with me since then. The last verse listed is my life verse. 🙂

What matters – who I am in Christ. 🙂

Oh and yes, one new thing I have learned too from our couples’ bible study vgroup 2 Sundays ago (thanks Tito Tony and Tita Len for the wisdom) – the boiling water concept. If you put eggs in boiling water, they become hard. But if you put the potato in it, it becomes soft. I choose to be a potato – a couch potato. Kidding. *wink* 

Seriously, it only means that when life and circumstances knock you down, don’t bear any grudge and don’t be hard on yourself and on others. Instead, let it soften you, let it refine you and let it make you better. Be a better potato, I mean, a better man/woman. 😉

Last but not the least, reach out to God then God will send His people (spiritual family) to help usher you out of the ordeal. I am praying over your struggles too, my dear reader and brother/sister in Christ. ❤

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