Understanding a Young Professional

 

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Indeed, August is understanding – understanding the will of God, understanding yourself and others. πŸ™‚

At my age of 31, I can say I have been through all seasons when it comes to job opportunities in search for the one that God says as “the right one.” These decisions aren’t easy to make because I also need to value what my spouse thinks on what is best for us both.

These seasons brought me to short term employments, some even lasted for just a week, some brought me to a standstill for a long while and some lasted for a couple of years. I always seek God’s counsel on these matters because let’s admit it, giving up a job and hopping on to the next is crucial.

We all need money to survive. Getting rich, however, is a different story and something I do not fully support. Money is the root of all evil if it becomes your god and your life revolves around it. This includes anything that makes you “great” as well. It will destroy this hierarchy of priorities mandated by God:

  1. GOD
  2. Spouse
  3. Children/Family
  4. Career
  5. Ministry

How? When we don’t find the right answers to these questions:

  • When was the last time you opened and read your bible consistently?
  • When was the last time you took a quiet time, prayed, and made it a habit?
  • Do you have enough time for your spouse on a regular basis?
  • How about for your children?
  • When did you last visit your parents or talked to them?
  • How about your siblings? When did you last check up on them?
  • When was the last time you attended church? 

We’ve always been reminded to never place any idols before God and that anyone who disobeys will face the consequences:

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,…” – Exodus 20:3-5

Are our possessions our god? Are our finances our god? Are our careers our god? Are our achievements our god? Are our children our god? Is our ministry our god?

If we fail in even one of the things I have mentioned above, we know that we are guilty. We always have to be on our guard because the enemy is always in the corner prowling around looking for that next victim to deceive. Everything may seem to be smooth sailing but little did we know that we are already heading towards destruction. If everything is going smoothly in our lives, we should already wonder.

“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

There may not be any external atrocities happening on the outside but the enemy is already going for the most vulnerable spot inside you – your heart and your soul.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23

As the adage goes, “A river that is quiet usually has looming falls at the end of it.”

Your heart and your soul may have remained placid but they were not given the opportunity to build a shield which is the armor of God and strengthen your faith.

The Whole Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” – Ephesians 6:10-18

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5

Don’t be tempted to get that next promotion or for that next “big thing” to add to your resume or attach at the end of your name right away. Don’t be tempted to sign that 6-digit salary or the millions that you’re being asked to take without confirming the responsibilities attached to it. Don’t be tempted to say “yes” to any promise of a better life other than the gift of salvation.

No, don’t be tempted with these things. That next promotion might be a temptation to spend less time with your spouse and family or a temptation to sacrifice your own health and wellness. That 6-digit salary might tempt you to drown yourself in the physical pleasures of this world which equate to even more worldly temptation. That promise of a better life might be masked in the form of easy money and the black market.

Review your priorities instead (single or married), ask for God’s leading, seek His counsel, and pray for discernment towards the right path.

If you will ask me why, then consider the following:

  1. Why is quality time with God important? The Scripture will guard your heart against any temptation. This will prepare you for any trial you’ll go through. Thus, it is the #1 priority.
  2. Why is quality time with the spouse important? Marriage is a holy matrimony, it is also a room for the enemy to attack you or your spouse with temptations. Communication is important between a married couple. If you are too tired to even ask what went on in your spouse’s day, it might be too late when you realize your spouse is drifting away from you and eventually leads to a divorce.
  3. Why is it important to spend time with your kids? Your kids will only be young once. They will appreciate the time you’ve spent with them more than the toys or gadgets you gifted them when they grow older. The percentage of depressed teens are getting higher every year. You don’t want them to end up growing up a teenage rebel or being with the wrong group of friends just because their parents are always “absent.” It is as important to your child that you become his/her first best friend other than just being a parent.
  4. Why should you not place money as the top priority? Money is the root of all evil. It sparks jealousy, greed, selfishness, death, among all other negative things.

I am not a licensed counselor but I have learned these nuggets of wisdom from mentors who went through the same thing and shared their experiences, combined with my own personal experience as well as knowledge lifted from my graduate study which is special education.

You might add that they are all a case-to-case basis but consider this verse:

“What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.” -Ecclesiastes 3:15

If you are to ask me why, this might suffice as an answer:

“And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear Him.” – Ecclesiastes 3:14

Going back to all those career shifts, I can say that I have met wonderful people who have touched my life. I’ve learned a great deal of wisdom from them and formed a special bond through the memories and experiences we’ve shared which I am forever grateful.

On the one hand, I have touched their lives as well one way or the other and continue to influence as they add me on social media, check out my profiles or read my blog articles (oh, it’s you). πŸ˜€

I never viewed it as a waste of time, this shifting of careers, though it brought me to a slight and temporary instability in my priorities, marriage, finances, etc. as seasons change.

But no, I remained steadfast because I am clinging to a Rock and I know I have a God who is forever faithful. I viewed these instead as a time of GREAT TESTING.

How? It is only in times of drought and famine that your faith in God is truly tested. It will answer the question “how far are you willing to trust God with your whole life?”

So much of this testing didn’t test my character alone but it also built the foundations of my marriage and refined the characters of the people around me too. They, too, have learned to rely on God along the way.

I have always relied in the TRUTH that God is the ONLY ONE who provides for all our needs from finances to material things; who gives us a career; who provides our salaries; who closes one door of opportunity and opens another; who keeps things steady though everything may be shaky; who keeps my marriage intact; who binds the relationships I have with others; and who reminds me of my priorities.

What matters is we stayed obedient to His instructions, obeyed His laws, and pursued His will and plans for our lives all throughout.

As I write this journal entry, all I can ever see are the lives of those great people recounted in the bible who withstood all trials because of their unwavering faith even to the point of death: Daniel; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; David; Joseph; Job; among many others.

They say it takes fire to yield a beautiful sword ready for battle. Without fire, the sword will be blunt – ineffective and of no use. Yet it also takes the time to forge a sword. It takes effort and a great force to yield it. On the other hand, too much heat will cause it to melt.

As a young professional, you’ll receive so much of this fire which could either destroy you or mold you. Choose, however, to consult God’s plans over your life more than being dissuaded by what this world expects and wants from you.

Do not break away from the vine, cling to it. Let God use the fire to mold you for a better purpose. But never let the enemy use it to consume you and head for destruction.

In the end, it is important to keep in mind that even when you have to close a hundred doors and open a thousand, it still is God who decides what is the best door to keep open. You’ll never really know in which seasons will God forge you to become one of His mightiest swords. But, learn to trust Him instead. πŸ™‚

Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

As my spiritual mentor and Victory group leader said with her life verse and God’s promise:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

❀

For this article, here’s a video from Hillsong that’s one of my all-time favorite Christian songs:

freelancer

Be Protected as a Freelancer

(Photo credit: StockSnap)

Since I have given you opportunities about doing remote work, teleworking, telecommuting including freelancing, I believe it is also my responsibility to provide a list of websites from my research on how to protect yourself should you decide to be a freelancer aside from having your full-time job.

I found these articles very helpful. But just in case I encounter similar problems in one of my (future) freelancing stints, I believe I would need to sit-in in one of the Torts and Damages classes of my brother-in-law who is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines (Diliman) College of Law. πŸ˜€ He used to work as a company lawyer for Baker and Mckenzie, a multi-national law firm, and it would indeed be a privilege to learn from him given the opportunity. πŸ™‚

The following are the articles which you could read if you are a freelancer or just planning to become one:

However, if you’ve already experienced any drawback from your freelancing stint though you did the right thing, took the necessary steps, and followed the agreement, don’t be discouraged but take this verse by heart:

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.” – Hebrews 4:13

Just pray, let go, and let God take the lead from there. The battle is not yours anymore but His to take. Be fearful of God and not of men – let God be the judge and be the one to give justice. πŸ™‚

#Goal

 

Dahil kahit sira ang aking laptop, wala pa ring nakapigil sa akin na mag-sulat sa blog lalo na’t ilang araw na akong natengga sa pagsusulat ayan na’t puro drafts sila at kahit pa tinatyaga ko ang mabagal na pag-type nito sa aking phone. πŸ˜‰

Madalas kong maalala ang nabasa ko sa libro ni Pr. Joey patungkol sa buhay mag-asawa sa libro nyang pinamagatang “The One Thing That Saved My Marriage.”Β  This was what he shared about remembering an incident where he learned that one lesson that changed their lives as a couple:

We were visiting a church in snow-covered Washington, DC. Though it happened in 1988, I can still remember the moment vividly in my mind. The pastor said, “At the end of your life, you will find yourself in a hospital bed somewhere and the people surrounding your bed will not be your business partners and associates; they will be your wife and children. The saddest day of your life is when you look into her eyes and both of you realize that you did not love her and your children the way you should have.”

Kung interesado kayong mabasa ito, married or not, you can download this sa website nya (joeybonifacio.com) and you just have to subscribe and look for the book in the e-books bar section.

Parang tulad din ng sinabi ni Pr. Dennis sa seminar on careers sa Singles’ Getaway noong 2012 kung saan ako nagkaroon ng altar call. This was about his wife noong ito ay nagbabalak i-pursue ang pagme-medisina para maging doktor at pinapili nya kung buhay may asawa o pagdo-doktor pipiliin nya. He told his wife na kaya ba syang damayan ng kanyang medical career sa mga gabing naiiyak o nalulungkot sya dahil sa isang problema. His wife chose to prioritize him and the family.

I met my husband nasa katapusan na ako ng masteral ko. Ngunit pinili kong unahin ang pag-aasawa thus we got married kahit ‘di ko pa tapos MA ko. Now I jokingly asked my husband, “Hon kung matapos ko MA ko and pursue my PhD, papayagan mo ba ako?”

He seriously answered/asked: “Wala ka na panahon ‘nun sa amin ng mga anak mo. May gusto ka bang patunayan sa sarili mo, Hon?”

And I was silent. Smiled. Then laughed. It was really a joke.

Oo, tama sya. Para saan pa nga ba ang pag-pursue of “greater” things when God wanted us to be content with what we have taking into consideration things that really matter – if you are married, it is your spouse and family. When we claim for greater things then it also means greater responsibilities which as we all know requires these – more time, more effort, and more resources. I guess we never really can have the best of both worlds thus we have to choose and prioritize. Ngunit sa mata ng Dios, what comes after Him if you are married is not your career but your spouse.

Tama sila Pastor na sa pagtanda mo o kapag ikaw ay naaksidente o nasa ospital, it is not going to be your co-workers, your friends or your boss who will be there to stay with you 24/7. Lahat ng iyong kaibigan ay magkakaroon din ng mga sarili nilang pamilya ganun din mga kapatid at kamaganak at ang mga ka-close mo sa trabaho ay magre-resign din ‘di kalaunan.

Though it is nice to get achievements, it will become of no use when you get home and you have nobody to share it with who is there with you cheering you all the way from start to finish. There is a possibility though that your spouse will leave this world sooner which would prove that indeed, things of this world are only temporary.

Yet this will prove too that because life is short and everything is temporary, it is a must we give the necessary kind of love to the significant other that God has appointed to us if it is our calling to be married.

Maybe the best question we should ask ourselves now is to whom or to what are we investing most of our time now here on Earth? Are we using it to forge meaningful relationships living out the greatest commandment of God which is loving someone with a Christ-like attitude and preparing for life in eternity or we are just living the life within this world and conforming to its patterns?

Isa sa mga goals ko ang mabuhay ng simple, working to live and not living to work. I need money for survival and yet I rely on God for the rest of my needs. If we are getting everything we need and want thru our own efforts then we would become lukewarm in our faith thinking we don’t need Him to supply our needs.

Now this is contrary to what God wants from us dahil ang gusto lang Nya is for us to seek Him with all our hearts. ‘Yun at ‘yun lang kung tutuusin ang only goal natin in this world dapat.

With this in mind, I contemplated about not finishing my masteral. I prayed real hard about it and got an instruction from God to finish it in His perfect time. Plano kong mag-shift ng courses noong college at itong Special Education na course sana lilipatan ko. But I was advised na ituloy ko na lang undergraduate course ko and i-pursue na lang as master’s degree ang Special Education kung plano ko mag-aral ulit.

Matagal na panahon na ang lumipas pero hindi pa rin ako makausad sa masteral thesis ko to the point na tinanong na ako ng Kuya ko kung ito ba talaga gusto ko. Sabi ko oo, dahil gusto ko tumulong sa mga batang may kapansanan o special needs. Nararamdaman ko na dun malapit ang puso ko. Kung ‘yun daw ang purpose ko ‘di na kailangan ng master’s degree dahil marami namang paraan para tulungan sila.

Sagot ko naman hindi lang kasi ‘yun. Plano ko magtayo ng isang Special Education school at magiging maganda credibility ng school na ito kung alam ng mga magulang na ang may-ari ng school ay may alam sa Special Education. Plano ko rin maging hands on sa school na ito kaya dapat may alam ako sa Special Education, training at experience nang sa gayon masubaybayan at magabayan ko rin ang mga SpEd teachers na magtuturo sa aking school.

At hindi lang dito nagtatapos ang layunin ko dahil kasabay ng school ay plano ko magtayo ng isang foundation/therapy center na mangangalaga ng libre sa mga batang may kapansanan ngunit kapos para makakuha ng sapat na serbisyo sa kanilang mga needs doon muna sa aking hometown sa Bulan, Sorsogon sa Bicol region. Alam ko na sa mga plano na ito, malaking effort, mahabang panahon at malaking pondo kailangan kong bunuin.

Ito ay isa lamang sa mga long-term goals ko kahit pa ngayong ako’y may asawa na. At palagay ko magpapatuloy ito hanggang sa pagtanda ko. Alam ko malapit ang puso ng Dios sa mga bata at alam ko rin na ang Special Education ay isa sa mga paraan ng Dios para matulungan ang mga batang nabuhay ng may kapansanan. I know the Lord sees the challenges, the frustration and the pain that these kids, who are innocent, go through pati ng mga magulang nila. Ngunit sa kabila ng lahat ng ito, ito rin naging reminder ko:

“Many are the plans of man, but it is the Lord’s purpose that will prevail. (Proverbs 19:21)”

Sa ngayon patuloy akong nananalangin for the Lord’s instructions, guidance and provision. And yet I have faith na saan man ako dalhin ng Dios kahit pa sobrang kabaligtaran sa mga plano at pinapangarap ko ang mangyari, buo tiwala ko na it is for my own good at ‘di lang para sa akin, kundi para na rin sa asawa ko at sa mga magiging anak namin. Nagtitiwala ako na hindi man matupad itong pangarap ko in my lifetime, I have hope na nariyan ang opportunity na ang magiging anak ko ang posibleng mag-sakatuparan at tumupad ng mga pangarap na ito kung ito ay alinsunod sa will ng Panginoon at kung ito rin ang kanyang calling o misyon.

Sa ngayon, binigay sa akin ng Dios ang asawa ko. This means that whatever happens, sya ang pangalawa sa priority ko after ni God.

Ikaw kapatid, anong mga plano mo sa buhay ang inaalay mo sa Dios na bigyan ka ng gabay? Continue praying, God hears and answers. πŸ™‚

“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

You Just Have To Learn How To Say “NO”

Red, Hot Chili

Red, Hot Chili

This red, hot chili reminded me of this word – NO. Some people like it, some don’t. And for most people whom I have offered this to who really, really hate chili, they just stood their ground and firmly said “NO” no matter how many times I have asked them to try it. (Well, I can really be VERY persuasive sometimes.) πŸ˜‰

[You just have to learn how to say “NO.”]

My eldest sister used to tell me this way, way back when I was younger – my teenage years. Now, I found myself saying this to myself again and again.

Say β€œNO” to a job that does not make you any better anymore – forced to work beyond what you can handle, compassion is absent, profit is the main target and offering minimum wages.

Know when your rights are violated. We tend to reason and equate this to how Christ has suffered for us – that we, too, should suffer the same.Β  Yes and no. Yes, we should be brave enough to withstand any challenge. Β But no, learn to know when it is not healthy for you anymore. You have to think more of yourself at this point and look after your own welfare. Not because you are selfish but because you cannot give your best if you are not at your best. Quality versus quantity. How can you help others when you are struggling to even help yourself?

Say β€œNO” to a relationship wherein the other half requires you to meet his/her demands that are not supposed to be given at the point of your relationship (not yet married).

When a relationship brings you nothing but heartache, tears, doubts, lies, rage, contempt and more sins, it is time to let go. Mishaps in relationships are a given. Pain in love is inevitable. Yet with all things, they should always be in a state of balance. Never is there a thing such as pure and absolute happiness and just that. Neither should there be anything such as pain and sadness all the time.

Say β€œNO” to an addiction/craving that brings you nothing but wasted money, effort, time and a cursing heart.

It is time to give it up if it makes you feel bad as a person, if it makes you feel less of a person, if it makes you pose more questions of self-doubt than self-fulfilment and satisfaction. Β Idolatry is one of the worst sins ever committed. You are not aware you are doing more harm than good to yourself with your decision to stick through it, making excuses for it.

Easy for me to say, that is what you are going to say. πŸ™‚

I do get you.

We value our jobs because we need money to survive. But here is what I have to say too. There are a lot of better opportunities out there. You have better chances of letting God make you to who He wants you to be out there than where you are now. Who am I to say this? Let’s say I just learned it from experience and from the habit that I will let go rather than complain how I hate my job, how it is making me unhappy, unfulfilled, and let the world know about it. If you don’t want to let it go, learn to love it and be professional.

It’s hard to let go of someone you have learned to love and shared so many memories with, sad and happy. It is hard to let go of a companion whom you were used to spending most of your time with. It is hard to move on. Yes, maybe that is the reason why you don’t want to let go. It is the fear of facing the pain, the loss and the burden of carrying bittersweet memories. I know because I went through the same. But you were crying everyday, you are always in a state of doubt, in a state of unsettling situations, complicated compromises – if you still insist on keeping the relationship, ask yourself these questions:

1. How secure is my future with my significant other going to be like?

2. What future will my children and grandchildren have if I opted to stay?

3. How long until I reach my breaking point? And when that happens, is it already too late to change my mind?

4. What consequences do I have to go through and bear?

Addiction is a bad habit magnified to a thousand. When it strikes, it kills, it destructs. It developed because it nurtures the gratification it gives us – a sense of temporary high. But the question is, in every addiction, what else did it give you aside from that temporary high? None. Because again, as I have said earlier, when it strikes, it kills, it destructs until you are left sapped out. Empty – inside and out.

I am leaving you with not so many choices, am I not? Yes, because that is my intent in writing this piece – you just have to say β€œNO” to anything and everything that takes the GOOD out of you.

I am not a preacher, I hate public speaking nor am I good at it. I am no counselor – I am just a concerned individual. I am not perfect – I have made more mistakes and sins in my past than most of you ever did. And lastly, I am no God – I do not know everything.

I just intend to share. Because I have learned to say β€œNO.” You still have a choice. You still have your free will.

Which should go second or be in accordance to God’s will. Seek Him first and obey. He knows better than any of us, anyway. In fact, He knows what is best for us. Pray earnestly, pray hardest. Then, you’ll have the courage to say “NO” when the right time comes for you to say it. πŸ™‚