Tag Archive | God

Why Is Stillness Scary?

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Exodus 14:14

When the sea is calm, it can be quite eerie.

A few months back, I went to my hometown with a good friend to visit some islands.

There were basically 4 people in a small fisherman boat – 2 boatmen, me and my friend. We left the port at 7 am and luckily, the sea was calm. So calm that about an hour into the sea, we suddenly felt something was quite different.

Everything was perfect – the wind was still, the place was quite, the boat is stable and it was glassy on water.

Psalm 107:29 – He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.

That stillness of the water scared me. There was no wind, there was no wave…just pure calmness.

And THAT freaked me out.

The same way I cannot stay still when something chaotic is happening to me. I need to do something, I need to solve the problem, I need to hurry. I have a lot of things on my mind that I worry too much. I forget the most important thing – to look at Jesus, put my worries in His hands and be STILL.

I am not saying that we actually don’t do anything and just lie down and wait. What we need is prayer – heartfelt prayer to God so He could open our eyes to what we should do – in His way, not our way.

Why is stillness scary?

Let’s face it – we are used to not being still. Personally, I get scared when everything is going so smoothly in my life because I would always think something is surely going to go wrong. What an awful way of thinking, right?

Then I learned that I should put all my worries to God and just put my TRUST in HIM.

Why are we scared to be still?

It must be because we lack faith. If we have more faith in the Lord, we won’t worry about such things. We fail to see the beauty and stillness that’s right in front of us because we are too busy thinking about what’s coming ahead.

In Mark 4:39-40, Jesus asked His disciples about being afraid of the turbulent:

And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

At that moment, I failed to appreciate the stillness of the sea because I lack faith. Because if I have sufficient faith, I know that Jesus will not let anything happen to me. After all, He can command the waves and the wind and they  would obey Him. After all, He has the authority over nature.

So the next time you are overwhelmed with worries and fears, remember Jesus when he rebuked the wind and sea. Remember Him as he asked, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

With Jesus, nothing is impossible. All we need is faith in Him.

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Lessons I Learned as a Child

The Story of the Purse

When I was in grade school, I would always go with my mother to the market, to the church and practically wherever she went.

mom-863050_1280One time when we were out to buy groceries, we passed by a bazaar and there I saw the most beautiful and feminine purse. It caught my eye and at that very moment I asked my mom to buy it for me. My mom didn’t buy it for me because she said it’s too small yet too expensive, and that I didn’t need it anyway.

All I could do was pout because my mother would get mad if I insisted. Then she told me that if I really wanted it so badly, I should save money to buy it.

So everyday, I would save the daily allowance I received from my mother for that purse. I would always check the store if they still had it and every time I saw it I would ask how much it was. I went there a couple of times that the owner almost never answered me because she knew I would never buy it anyway.

Until the day came that I ended up with the right amount. I went to the store and buy it! I couldn’t believe my eyes as the owner wrapped that little purse for me! I was so happy, I went home smiling.

The next day, I unwrapped the purse I bought, studied it carefully and went to look for some coins to try it out. I rummaged for my bag but I couldn’t even find a single coin.

So basically, I was left with an empty purse – not to mention that I couldn’t bring it to school because it was too small. The string was also too slim to carry all the weight of the coins (I didn’t have notes!).

After a few days of using it, I lost interest in it that I hid it in my closet.

Maybe children can sometimes easily lose their interest in their toys, or food or clothes. In retrospect, maybe I was just being a child back then.

Funny thing is, even until now I can still remember how that little purse looked like.

After several years, I guess I’m still that little child. I still end up wanting things I think I need or want. Once I got them, I lost interest in them so easily that it made me ask myself in several circumstances, “why did I even buy this?”

The Lessons

I can say that some of the lessons I learned from this as a kid is:
1. First, that if I want something, then I should get it myself and not to rely on anyone to get it for me.
2. I learned how to focus on my goal. When you learn to focus only on your goal, you’ll end up getting it.
3. A mother knows best. Learn to listen.
My mother was right after all. At that time, she knew that I didn’t need it but I could not see the reason behind it yet. She had a full-scale vision of things whereas mine was limited.

Most importantly, I learned that not everything I want can keep me happy. More often than not, fleeting wants masked as needs are just that – fleeting and hence short-lived.

Sometimes, we chase for things we think we need, only to realize later on that it was not what we really needed. We go for things that we want, only to overlook the fact that like my purse, the coins are far more important than the purse itself. What do I do with the purse if all my money is gone?

We must learn to seek and value more important things – those that we really need.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Matthew 6:33

 

What about you? Have you been wanting something lately?

Are You Ready For His Answer?

It’s funny when you pray and ask God for guidance. If you do and you ask for it wholeheartedly, prepare for His answer. It may not come in a way you’re expecting it. It is crucial then that when you ask for guidance, you open your heart, mind and soul for whatever is His will.

I just recently asked Him to guide me make a decision either to stay in the current job or pursue another one. You see, I was happy with my current job and I had all the reasons to love it- great pay, fewer workload, awesome and very caring boss, more time for family and friends and other time to do side jobs and most importantly I was enjoying what I was doing. I loved waking up in the morning and checking work and doing it. My disposition was always positive that I pitied people who hate Mondays because unlike them, I LOVE Mondays. I’m looking forward to working again.

I had no reason to leave my job except that I felt (and still feel) some emptiness. I just feel like there is something missing. I cannot explain it, but there’s that tiny whisper inside that says there’s something else out there.

Some people can hear God quite clearly. In my case, I’m probably deaf to His calls, or I need to work more on my relationship with Him. I just couldn’t figure things out.

Still I stayed because, like a relationship, everything’s going well and I had nothing to complain about. I’ve been in it for years and it is too hard for me to move on, I just don’t want to leave especially if I had no reason to.

So I prayed to him that if this is where he wanted me, I’d stay. In fact, I’m completely grateful to him because a lot of people wanted to have the job that I have. I told Him, however, that if he thinks there’s something else better for me, then He’d guide my heart and nudge me when it’s time.

Delayed Response
After several months of so many changes in the organization which eventually led to my previous boss  being reassigned to a different department, I’m now left with a lot of wrong people. It came to a point in where i said ‘I’ve had enough of this’. I’m not a quitter, I really am not but I know when it’s time to quit.

I realized that all the reasons I have for staying are now completely gone. I’ve been sleeping weirdly, I had no time to do errands, I hate clocking in to work, I hate everyday meetings, I don’t like having to work like a slave where I keep chasing impossible deadlines, I had no time for workout and I lost 6-8 lbs. My health is dropping, I’m getting more irritable and I think I’m down with depression. Almost all my hours are spent working.

It’s like waking up from the reality that I have all the right reasons to leave. God made it easier for me this time to make a decision, kind of like a no-brainer. and it’s not like I didn’t try to make it work. I did, but the happiness and contentment I once felt for my job were all gone.

Where Should I Go?
I initially considered that if this work would ask me a lot of things like time and health, then i might as well go to an office-based job where my boss would ask me the same things. At least I’d be working face to face with real people and be exposed in an open environment.

And then it hit me…

It’s not where my heart is. It’s not where i find my value. Going back to the corporate world is like chasing the end of the hamster’s wheel, eating a vomit, serving a master I once hated so much. My current job and the job that I want are like…two jellybeans with two different flavors. They taste different but they’re both jellybeans just the same.

I want protein bars! Those healthy ones, healthy for my spiritual growth.

That’s the only thing I know. I still had no idea where to go.

I also thought so much about living and working outside the country, experiencing the world and be with myself only. But then I thought, it does sound like a sugarcoated vomit? Like a master dressed in a different robe but still the very same master I once hated for being a slave-driver and greedy.

The Nudge
Then one day, for no reason at all, I found myself in a website for lay missionaries and actually realized I just downloaded the application form.

When I think about being a lay missionary, I thought about all the things I would lose. I’d have no income for two years, I’d have no connection to my friends and family, I’d be missing travels and weekend nights with friends, I’d lose my fair complexion and prpbably all the skin care products, I’d be exposed in a very different world.

That is soo scary and uncomfortable and not as secured. I’d be giving up the comforts of my home to serve and take care of people I do not know.

The main and probably ONLY advantage is: I’d be serving the boss whom I (and we all) should be serving – the Lord.

And that’s what makes it so much more appealing to me.

I’d be meeting people in the church, in a less developed community, talking with different kinds of people and testing my faith in struggling situations.

The Questions
What would happen to me in 2 years? Would it better me as a person? Would it bring me closer to God? Would it change my perspectives in life and serving the people?

I have no idea. All I know is THIS is the change I think I wanted. And my heart agrees with it.

I have a lot of fears and hesitations but I think if someone would ask me right here and now if I’d go with them in a far flung areas to be a missionary, my answer would be ‘when do we leave?’