Emptying Our Hands

Conquer is my word for 2017. I got it from a song that pierced through my heart one Sunday at church:

In all things, we know that we are more than Conquerors.

I have always associated a certain year with a word that would be its banner all throughout its course. It’s like a theme for something that I would like to achieve or something that I would like to be. There are a number of things I wanted to face and win over this year: fear, doubt, laziness (haha yep), new adventures, excellence, stewardship, love, and letting go.

Lately, I’ve been really bugged by the idea of letting go. The Lord has been speaking to me about it because of ze emotional being that I always am.

Our February series at church is about Radical Love and we are discussing the Book of Jonah. If you don’t know the story, let me give a quick gist:

There was this prophet named Jonah and the Lord has commanded him to go to Nineveh so that the people there will know the love that the Lord has for them. Now, Jonah didn’t want to go because the people in Nineveh are unrighteous people and he felt that they didn’t deserve grace. Think of the Lord wanting Jonah to go to Fairview but instead he pushed his way to Parañaque – complete opposite. He didn’t want to obey.

But the Lord has His ways, He has caused Jonah to be thrown out to the ocean just so he can be swallowed by the-appointed-great-fish so he could be brought to where he needs to go in the first place. Jonah stayed three days in the stomach of the fish and when he was vomited out, voila, he was already in Nineveh.

We are so like Jonah: stubborn, disobedient, impatient, self-centered. When we hear the Lord speaks and His Word is clear but we don’t want what He’s saying, we have a tendency to shut Him off, drift away, and make our own path. We are creatures seeking for what we feel is easy to do. We have become enslaved by what we feel so much that logic has gone out to the island of Somewhere Else.

And like Jonah, we have plans. These plans are not necessarily bad, but sometimes, it doesn’t align to what the Lord has initially planned out for us. Our plans may be good but that of the Lord’s is best and perfect; yet, we fail to see it. But then, the Lord would never ever give up on us that even if we go the wrong way, He will not make us succeed being in the wrong path. He will cause discipline, if it needs be; tough love, if it needs be.

The hope in the Book of Jonah was the fact that Jonah came to his senses. He admitted what he was running away from and the truth that no matter where he goes, no matter where he hides, he will get found. Jonah recognized his shortcomings. Jonah acknowledged that his self-will is his own idol. Jonah resolved to finally obey in the end.

Letting go is conceding. Letting go is opening and emptying our hands from all the good things that we possess and placing them to the Hands of the Almighty – trusting that our faith in Him to make all things beautiful is never void. It ain’t gonna be easy, though Letting go hurts.

We encounter different seasons of letting go in our lives: maybe it’s about our favorite toy when we were kids; or maybe it’s about our bestest friends in our adolescent years; maybe it’s about that one argument that we so wanted to win from; maybe it’s about that dream job that we wanted ourselves to land on; maybe it’s about a broken passion, or maybe a broken heart. Letting go is losing hold, releasing grip, allowing space to be present in between us and the ones that we value. It has never been easy.

If I were to be honest, there’s this one area of my life where I am struggling to let go of again because feelings and logic doesn’t seem to go hand in hand. This already happened long before, I’m bargaining with the Lord if, you know, He could somehow allow this particular thing that I wanted. And boy, was I repeating history. The Heart has always been the greatest deceiver of all time. It’s amazing how we compromise so we can satisfy the desires of our unguarded hearts.

The best is yet to come.

We know this assurance like the back of our hands. Good is only good. Good will never be the best. We have to fully believe that the only way to get the best in this lifetime is if we are willing to wait and let go of all the good. It sux, yes. But if we placed our faith to the Big Guy, we will see that everything happened because we needed this journey to build our character. It will take all the struggle in letting go’s in order to learn how to warmly welcome this fragile thing called graceful surrender.

It’s gonna be scary but it is also gonna be worth it.

***

On other Letting Go episodes of my life, it has taken me forever but I am now decided that I will be leaving the blog. This has been my home for almost six years and it’s now time to go. I will be writing more about this on my last entry that I’ll be posting soon. After all, I hate leaving without saying goodbye.

Until then,

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Press On, 2014

After all the fireworks, the sparklers, the never ending jumps and shouts in a glee chorus greeting of Happy New Year’s, we are now here — all of us are given another shot in this Life to write whatever we wish, we plan, we pray for and intend to do with our own Jar of Chances this 2014. I hope we can make the most out of our hearts and our hands and create something fragile and beautiful that we would be able to look back and tell ourselves, “Finally, I made it. It’s worth the try. It’s worth the pain. It’s worth the experience.”

2013 was a very special year for me. There were a lot of beyond great things I learned as Life grabbed me by the shoulders and bang me on the door of This Is What Surprise Looks Like. I almost lost my breath under the water of pressure, panic, worry and I Don’t Know Why All Of These Things Are Happening Right Now. It was all so surreal that it led me to different kinds of emotions which, sometimes, are all at one point at the same time. There was a time where I am in extreme level of calmness until five minutes later I’m boiling in extreme level of disappointment mixed with anger and all those rants teenagers do (and I’m not a teenager anymore hahaha).

Back then, I don’t understand everything that’s happening to me, I begged God to help me love where I am and what I do. And I thank Him because He never left my side during the days of my drama, my stubbornness, my ugly words and ugly thoughts, my impatience, my grumbles. I thank Him because He sustained me, pushed me and believed in me when what’s ahead of me is just some bleak reflection of confusion. Because yes, in 2013, I got some really dark periods because I chose to look at Life on the wrong side of the lens. There were no regrets, though, because all of the actions I took, the emotions I felt, the mistakes I did — they were mine, I own them. It’s just an amazing journey of grace that throughout all of it, you can end victorious. That although there were goodbyes and endings and some painful and sad fractions, there were also excitement and new beginnings and gratitude and hope. 2013 made me weak but God made me strong. It was the year He showered me a lot of Courage which I gladly bathe myself into.

My word for 2013 was Conquer. I don’t have an idea how I got into that word but as I’m looking back to how the past year turned out, I really did – by God’s grace – #conquered a lot of things and also got to taste the word #alive so much because 2013 left me breathless in a (mix of) good (and overwhelming) way:

  • I rode an airplane (first time!!!) going to Bacolod to conduct Voter Education workshops;
  • Conducted Voter Education workshops with different organizational partners;
  • Learned and appreciated Administrative and Messengerial skills;
  • Attitude of Gratitude never lets the joy of any person on empty;
  • Attended the Global Discipleship Congress 2013 at our church;
  • Watched The Script’s concert (!!!);
  • Helped insolid Research Projects;
  • Joined the March against Pork Barrel;
  • Witnessed Nick Vujicic’s Unstoppable Faith – Live;
  • Got a blogpost featured in a favorite OPM band’s Facebook page;
  • Resigned from my first official job I came to love (this needed me to overdose on Insane Courage pills);
  • Got accepted in my second job which I am starting to love;
  • Rocked (haha) my short hair for a year (I’ll grow it long this 2014);
  • Pursued some healthy exercise called Running and joined events which led me to meet Coach Rio (such an inspiring gentleman) and some other people who loves to keep an active lifestyle (I hope I can do it again this year);
  • Attended my very first Better Story Project workshop and got to meet Isabel Garcia (!!!) and Julianne (!!!) and other beautiful ladies (I’ll do it again this year haha);
  • Started writing my very first fiction which happens to be a Novel;
  • Wrote lyrics for a friend’s melody composition – I was energized, I did the writing less than six hours haha;
  • Have my hair colored in Medium Blonde, Level 7 in one random Saturday before my birthday;
  • Met new friends who are all awesomely special;
  • Met with old friends who are all wonderfully treasured.

The list can go on. I tried my best to keep every bullet simple even when most of it got its own glorious story behind how it happened.

For the year 2014, my word would be: Press(ing) On. This would be a year of Perseverance, of pursuing things with so much brave and faith in my heart. There are a lot of things I still wanna do and I pray that I could muster up courage again and do things that could make me feel my heart on my sleeve. It is a new blank page of Hope, of gazing at beauty and be awe-inspired by Life and what it can still slap in our faces with its promise that: Everything happens for a reason. Trust the struggle. Enjoy the moment. Keep pressing on!