Understanding a Young Professional

 

2017-08-01-14-52-07.jpg

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:

Advertisements
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™‚

We Just Don’t Know

I was in the middle of washing dishes when a thought moved me to a realization, moved me to tears that moved me to declare God’s Greatness.

And the only thing I could blurt was: “How could I be so negative about everything just because what has happened or what is happening are not what I have expected?”

I have learned that working abroad and leaving your family behind is not an option for every couple. I believe this is the reason why more emphasis on this is given nowadays to every young couple. And though I have learned this now, it somehow gave me an opportunity to regard couples who have already made this decision in a negative way thinking why they made that decision or why did God allow them to make that decision – which is wrong.

Because by doing so I was judging them unknowingly. It was only today that the Spirit led me to God’s answers. A gentle tugging of the heart that led to once and again and as always – humility.

My fiance grew up in this set up. I do not know how it was for him as he never shared anything to me about this and I don’t want to be the first to ask him. Guys never share emotional stuff on a regular basis compared to the ladies. πŸ˜‰

But I did feel the lack that he feels. Especially when as a future husband now, we got to talk things about priorities and me wanting my children to grow up in a setup wherein both of us are physically present advising him that their parents’ case is different than ours. And I cannot tell if I hurt him in one of those conversations touching one deep wound or scar.

And yet this is where God proved to be so faithful in His promises. When I met my fiance, he did not fulfill the requirements that our church asks in choosing a Godly man for a partner. But like I shared previously, my fiance believes in God, goes to church but did not go thru the “legalities”Β  of the church to be saved or like how I was saved.

I prayed to God about this in the Prayer and Fasting 2014. And when we became a couple, I have made my decision without a doubt. But little did I know that this little “technical issue” could be used by the enemy to deceive me with his lies.

And yet I also believed that God allowed it to happen so I could be tested. A lot of conflicts came to the point that I always tell him it is because he is not yet that devoted that is why we are having these conflicts. And yet God would always rebuke me to the point of utmost humility that it is actually I who have so little faith.

This verse was His reminder:

“Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” – Galatians 2:16

Daily Devotion

Daily Devotion

And also this:

“Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.” – Romans 14:1

Then I told my fiance once that as my future husband he will be the spiritual leader of our family – a concept that he had a hard time grasping as he didn’t know how because this was not the kind of family he came from.

And yet God was so faithful. For though my fiance’s Dad is so far away from them and he gets to visit the family for a short period of time once a year, God still made sure he will fulfill his role as the spiritual leader of his family.

Yes, no oceans are wide enough and no land is ever far enough for God’s love and His promises to be fulfilled, which was the realization that I had just now.

My fiance shared to me that two of his dad’s best coworkers were here in the Philippines for a visit and requested they all have dinner with them. He told me that these two are the ones that his Dad are closest with at work and gets to share a lot of things with. And what I heard next from my fiance came as a surprise to me:

“They told me and Buds that my Dad would always tell them that they reminded him of his sons back home as they are our age. But what made me cry is when they told us that our Dad would tell them everything about us and how hard it is to live without your family.”

And it was also this that I cried. For I believe those two work buddies were actually angels sent by God to accompany my fiance’s Dad all throughout the different seasons that he is in away from home. God honored the sacrifice and yet it could also be so that God’s plans will be completed. For it was also through them that my fiance’s Dad exemplified the role as the spiritual leader of his family. For he would request my fiance to download podcasts during church service and the movies that he selected that has something to do with faith. My fiance gets to hear those podcasts and gets to download the movies and he gets to watch it too.

One of those two buddies also happen to have a fiance who is a SpEd teacher in California. The same as the field I am specializing right now and most definitely will be my future career too. πŸ™‚

You wouldn’t believe me, but I know you would just like I did when my fiance told me what were the names of the two best buddies of his Dad at work – Job and Revelation. πŸ˜‰

I have long held on to the fact that nothing is ever a coincidence with God may it be good or bad in our own knowledge and interpretation. And I believe it is in this faith that God made me see how true He is in His promises. I read the book of Revelation and it all came as a promise of an assured hope.

I held on to my relationship with my fiance though times would come that we are sure we could not see the light anymore and we are sure that we are becoming totally exactly the opposite that God wanted us to become – totally undeserving of His mercy and forgiveness.Β  And yet God stayed faithful and true to His promise in these times of vulnerability and “nakedness.” By prayers, forgiveness and faith, my fiance and I held on to our commitment as an act of honoring God, His unwavering love and His faithfulness.

It is in this relationship that I was brought closer to God. It is in this relationship that I sought Him with all my heart. And it is in this relationship that I was more in tune with the Spirit, the bible verses became more meaningful to me and I can apply what I am learning from the Scripture. It was thru his mom that I got my first ever Our Daily Bread devotional which feeds my spiritual hunger daily and it is thru my fiance’s Dad that I got hold of the Spikenard Magdalena perfume which prompted me to read more about it learning more Godly wisdom in the process.

In short, it is in this relationship that I am learning more of God and His love every single breathing moment that I make each day.

It’s just that, I didn’t know – at first. And I used to have so little faith. πŸ˜‰

“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9

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™‚