“The Unnoticed Plot Twist in the Story of the Prodigal Son”

Featured“The Unnoticed Plot Twist in the Story of the Prodigal Son”

 

“The son was prodigal indeed –  yet he wasn’t the only prodigal character in the story…”

 

The Prodigal Son (as we know it)

The parable of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-24) is one of Jesus’ most detailed parable, which generally pinpoints the Pharisees’ self-righteous character (as portrayed by the older brother) and God’s redemptive hand for His stiff-necked people (as portrayed by the younger brother).

It starts off with the younger son, asking for his share of his father’s inheritance (v. 12). He packed his bags and wandered off to a foreign country in order to live out his life to appease his worldly desires. When he had spent everything he had and a sever famine hit the land, he then began to be in need (v.14).

He became bankrupt, famished and wasted. In fact he was so hungry, he had second thoughts in consuming the food that was meant for pigs (v. 15 -16)

He came to his senses and went back to his father to admit his mistake and to apply as a hired servant in his father’s household.

The father took him back, forgave him and the rest was history.

When you first read the story, you’d find yourself relating to the younger brother –his egotistical personality, his conceited reliance on himself in wanting to live a life outside of his father’s guidance and his reckless behavior that led him to become bankrupt, broken and depressed.

We also saw his soft side – his humility in admitting his mess, his broken heart that led him to repentance and his bold decision to restore his relationship with his father by facing the consequences of his actions, even if it means losing his son-ship and be hired as a servant.

The son was prodigal indeed – his lavish lifestyle, his reckless decision making and wasteful spending.

Yet he wasn’t the only prodigal character in the story. Perhaps this other character was even more prodigal than the son!

Let’s continue on with the story, this time with more focus on the father.

 

The Prodigal Father

After a eureka moment, the prodigal son decided to go back home. Perhaps he rehearsed the perfect “accept-me” speech on his way back, over and over again. : “I have sinned against you. I am no longer worthy to be your son. Treat me as one of your servants.”

Perhaps he imagined countless scenarios of his father’s possible reaction when he sees him.

After a long voyage, he reached his father’s house.

Anxiety and fear filled  his heart, but he felt  as if he had  no choice but to muster up his strength and swallow his pride.

He advanced slowly so he that he had more time to memorize and practice the lines for his speech. As he grew closer to the front gate, he saw a familiar figure standing outside it.

 

It was his father.

 

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him.

His father waited day and night, knowing that his son would come back to his senses and return home.

The story doesn’t say how long he waited, it might have took him days, months or even years! – but the father waited.

Upon seeing his son from afar, the father felt compassion (v. 20).

I would like to define compassion as an uneasy feeling when you see someone in need, a churning in the stomach that goes beyond sympathy, which can only be solved by an immediate action.

The father didn’t get angry, he didn’t command his servants to lock the doors and not allow his son to come in – he felt genuine happiness and compassion upon seeing his son come back.

The father ran towards his son – he sprinted like never before and though it was a mile long, he showed no signs of slowing down.

His actions were very unlikely for someone who was very rich and had hundreds of hired servants.

He could have just ordered his servants to open the gates and let his son come in or he could have called a chariot to bring him to his son – but he didn’t.

 

“Compassion as an uneasy feeling when you see someone in need, a churning in the stomach that goes beyond sympathy, which can only be solved by an immediate action.”

 

Just feet away from his son, the father tackled his lost boy, embraced him and kissed him – with his clean, fresh, white robe, the father squeezed his muddy, pig-smelling, famine inflicted, bankrupt and wasted son as if there was no tomorrow.

The son was shook to the core and may have forgotten the “sorry speech” he practiced for days – he was probably crying out of shame, out of abandonment, out of desperation and hopelessness.

He didn’t want that moment to end – he just wanted to be inside the arms of his loving father.

But then it hit him, apologizing isn’t enough; he had to do something to pay back what he did to his father. The son still insisted to be treated as one of his father’s servants but the father did the opposite of his son’s request – the Father gave his son the best treatment despite of his son’s worst behavior. He gave him the best robe, the best pair of shoes, had the best calf roasted and threw the best “welcome back” party anyone could host.

And you may still sit there and ask why – why such a response from the father?

After everything his son did  to disappoint him, after all the disrespect and arrogance from his son – why?

He could have just hired him as one of their servants or could have given him a lecture entitled “I told you so.” But why? Why did the father choose to love and accept someone so reckless and undeserving.

Because the father loved his son prodigally.

 

“The father tackled his lost boy, embraced him and kissed him – with his clean, fresh, white robe, the father squeezed his muddy, pig-smelling, famine inflicted, bankrupt and wasted son as if there was no tomorrow.”

 

The Father excessively exercised redemption by reaching his hand to pull his son out of the mud and into his kingdom.

He lavishly poured out his grace to someone who deserves to be locked out because of his actions.

He extravagantly showed his affection by running towards his broken son, with the goal of restoring him back and reminding him that he’s still part of the family.

There’s nothing that the son could do in order to gain back his family title for he was a child of his father by birth, not by worth.

Re-read the story again and tell me who is more prodigal: the son or the Father?

 

“He was a child of his father by birth – not by worth.”

Here’s why you can’t be friends with everybody

FeaturedHere’s why you can’t be friends with everybody

Have you ever heard of someone who tried to become friends with everyone?

Even Jesus, during his time, was not able to do so. In fact, He just knew a handful of people who He regularly met with, invested a lot of time and effort and considered them as His friends.

His goal was not to please everyone around Him, rather, to please His Heavenly Father and accomplish the task that was set before Him.

Personally, there came a point in my life where I just wanted to get everybody’s approval – I longed for recognition and was hungry for applause. But then, instead of getting happier, I became depressed and ended up chasing after opinions everyone has of me.

I realized that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t be friends with everybody.

So don’t try it and don’t even think of becoming “Mr. / Ms. Congeniality”.

Not only is it impossible but it also is very deadly.

Let me break it down for you even further…

  1. It will burn you out

You will be drained emotionally AND physically.

As you accept every invitation you receive and join the coolest cliques to impress people and fit-in, you’ll begin to realize that all these things are nothing but hollow and temporary affairs. Believe me – you’ll get tired of it.

A famous quote from Will Smith writes:

 

“Too many people are buying things they can’t afford, with money that they don’t have… to impress people that they don’t like!”

 

‘Nuff said.

2.  It is unhealthy

1 Corinthians 15:33 writes “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character”.

No matter how strong your convictions are and no matter how firm you are in the faith, if you continue to hang out with friends that are not good influences to you, chances are, you’ll end up being like them – you’ll end up compromising your values in order to “fit-in” with theirs.

3. Quality over Quantity

I see a lot of people with thousands of friends on social media but if you ask them who their REAL, CLOSE friends are, it’d probably range from around 5-20 people.

Before I left the Philippines, I had hundreds of friends – friends from work, friends from church and friends from my former schools. We talked and hung out because we always saw and made time for each other. But when I left, only around 10 people (15 max) made time to communicate and catch up.

Having a lot of friends doesn’t mean you know each one in a deep way; people who have gazillions of friends may also have gazillions of shallow relationships.

The goal of (real) friendship is to attain real knowledge of another person, and knowledge takes a lot of time and effort.

4. Not everybody will believe your belief

Everyone has different beliefs and people expect you to respect that – and in your effort to convince them to take part of your convictions, you’ll end up having more enemies than friends at the end of your monologue.

I agree that a debate CAN be healthy among friends, but if your beliefs are compromised because of your friendship, then I suggest you really take some time to really consider continuing your relationship.

5. Beware of butt-hurts

The Urban Dictionary defines butt-hurt as overly or unjustifiably offended or resentful. Butt-hurt people do not know how to take jokes – they take everything you say at face value and take offense at even the slightest displeasure they have with you. Someone will always get offended REGARDLESS of what your say or do.

 

“The goal of (real) friendship is to attain real knowledge of another person, and knowledge takes a lot of time and effort.”

 

6. “Haters gonna hate”

Your daily dose of discouragements can all be found in the comments section – this has been proven and tested! Some people will focus on your mistakes rather than your accomplishments and keep a long list of your mistakes and imperfections. Yes, there will ALWAYS be disagreements and opposition and yes, there will ALWAYS be people who will hate you no matter what. So…

Why waste time impressing people who hate you when you can invest in people who desire to build you up?

  1. User-friendlies are rampant

“What will I gain out of this person?” – Some people choose their friends depending on how a person answers this question. Give them their desired answer and voila–instafriend!  I’m not saying that everybody has this mindset, but you have to be vigilant in knowing who your faithful friends are from the bogus bunch.

8. Your self-worth will diminish

Your worth will be dependent on your image – on how people see you and on how people perceive you in public. You will crave for likes on social media and grow anxious when no one responds to your posts. Your whole identity will be based on other people’s opinions – people you can never please and opinions you cannot meet.

 

“Why waste time impressing people who hate you when you can invest in people who desire to build you up?”

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Pleasing other people comes very natural to us because we are social beings, our natural tendency is to belong to a group and find a place in this world – and there’s nothing wrong with that!

However, if  your life’s mission is to be “friends” with everybody then that mission will remain unfulfilled because that is virtually  impossible, much less ideal.

You just CAN’T be friends with everybody.

I say all these from experience. I hope you avoid the hurt that comes from trying to please everyone. If you have been hurt from falling into this tendency, I’d like to leave you with advice that helped me rediscover my worth and purpose:

  1. Respect yourself

You are perfect and exceptional in your own little way because God wired us differently – we all have unique DNAs and unique personalities. Stop trying to fit in the world’s mold rather, fit in God’s. You are completely fine; there’s nothing’s wrong with you if people don’t like you back, they just simply don’t understand you. You don’t need to change into something or someone else in order to be accepted.

 

“Your whole identity will be based on other people’s opinions – people you can never please and opinions you cannot meet.”

 

2. Choose a side

You cannot be lukewarm/neutral all the time. You can’t stay in the gray area too long; eventually you’d have to choose a side, pick a team and fight for what’s right. If there are friendships you need to sever because they are wrong or unhealthy, then do so. You cannot carry on living a mediocre life by having no solid stance on what your convictions are – you have to choose a side!

Even God hates neutrality:

“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” – Revelation 3:16

So stand firm for what you believe in and don’t let anyone belittle your faith and belief.

3. Strive to be positive

In this world of negativity, you must motivate yourself to be positive. People will always have something to say against you – they would hate you, backstab you, gossip about you and even spread rumors about you. But I am hoping that all these negativity won’t discourage you, rather strengthen you as a person. You have to thank the haters for their criticisms – if it’s true, improve it, if it’s not, ignore it. You have to embrace your enemies and kill them with genuine love and kindness.

  1. Appreciate the people who love you for being you

Spend some time with people who love you for who you are – people you don’t need to impress, people who don’t need your pretenses and have seen you at your worst yet remained to be your friends. People who’ll accept you regardless of your past and regardless of what you can offer them – those are your real friends – find out who they are and treasure them forever.

Forget the shallow friendships – cultivate and deepen your relationship with people who love you the most.

 

“You have to thank the haters for their criticisms – if it’s true, improve it, if it’s not, ignore it.”

 

5. Remind yourself who you really need to please

Apostle Paul reminded the Galatian Church why he did what he did:

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

At the end of the day, your end goal is to bring a smile on the face of God – in spite of persecution, ridicule and rejection.

So don’t bother trying to please other people because people will let you down and disappoint you – but Jesus won’t:

“Never will I leave no will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

The greatest Person you can ever please is Jesus – He even calls us His friends (John 15:15).

So stop pretending and do what you do best – be yourself and aim to please the One who loves you the most.

The Quarter Life Crisis Survival Guide

The Quarter Life Crisis Survival Guide

The Quarter Life Crisis Survival Guide

(Specifically for those aged 24 – 28)

You might be in this stage of your life where you seem lost and feel like your life is headed nowhere–

…A season where you wake up depressed even after a good night’s rest.

…A phase where you easily get discouraged, at the same time overwhelmed at all the responsibilities you shoulder.

 

If you’re single (like me), you are in THAT chapter of your story where the idea of marriage looms like clouds before a heavy downpour. (or: where you expect the prince to meet his princess, or vice versa)

 

If you are experiencing all of these, you are not alone!

 

You are entering a stage commonly known as the “Quarter Life Crisis”.

 

It is a crisis that may be experienced in one’s twenties, involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life. (Collins Dictionary, 2016)

 

Although it is not a necessary stage one has to go through, many people claim to have trodden this murky life stage.

 

Given that it happens as one is nearing 25 years of age, you can expect when it can occur, but as to how it will take shape and form, you just have to find out!

 

If you fear you might go through this or are already in it, let me tell you something: there is a way you can emerge victorious.

 

Since you can’t prevent it, you might as well survive it, right?

 

So here’s a guide I came up with which I hope can help you guys/gals survive “The Quarter-Life Crisis”:

 

  1. List down all your fears

Your fear doesn’t have to be tangible – like fear of spiders or snakes – It could be the fear of getting hurt, fear of public speaking, fear of rejection, etc. Once you identify and define them, create a plan to either overcome or manage them! One of my fears, believe it or not, is engaging in small talks. I am socially awkward especially with people I just met and in order for me to conquer that fear, I have purposed to exert extra effort by going beyond small talks and dive into deep conversations. Face your fears and don’t let them hold you down!

  1. Determine what your passions are

Back in High School, I had this passion for editing and creating funny videos – I even had my own YouTube channel, but eventually I deactivated it. Now I’m back, doing travel vlogs and montages for fun! How about you? What do you love doing most? What are the things you are naturally good at and would never get tired of doing? Determine what they are and invest your time and money on enhancing them. Who knows? Discovering your passions might be a wake-up call for you to finally have a career-change.

  1. Create short and attainable goals

We set plans that are long term – like ‘I should be married by the age of 30’ or ‘I should have my first million at the age of 45’ – and there’s nothing wrong with that! However,  may I suggest that we also create targets that are short and attainable – preferably 1 year. These 1 year challenges are all over the internet – whether it be a reading plan, a financial savings guide or a workout routine – short-term plans are easy, achievable and realistic.

  1. Pursue that dream

What is that one thing you’ve always wanted to do ever since you were a child? “That dream” you thought was very impossible to accomplish might not be impossible after all! For me, “that dream” was to travel the whole world. I didn’t know how I was going to do it but I purposed in my heart that someday I would be able to. I didn’t allow my dreams to remain dreams, I had to do something about it – the rubber should hit the road! One of my top dream travel destinations was New York City, so I saved up for almost a year, planned a 5 day itinerary with my friends and just went there. My NYC experience was something that I wouldn’t trade for anything and my desire to travel became more motivating because I knew that my dreams were not that difficult to achieve.

  1. Stop sulking

Get up and stand up! Stop wasting your time being down and depressed all the time.  What if an Olympic runner who stumbles remains on the ground and begs to be pitied? A good runner would stand up and start running again.  Many people count on him to win and lying on the ground won’t get him anywhere. My friend, you still have a lot of things to accomplish– you’re not even halfway done – so better get up and start running.

  1. Shake up your daily routine

The reason why you think that your life is routinary is because it is! You work at the same old office, commute at the same old train and spend your weekends on the same old coffee shop. Start changing the small things in your daily routine – sleep on the opposite side of your bed, wake up extra early to jog or read a book, take a different route on your way to work and try out different cafes or restaurants during your days off. It’s okay to step out of familiarity every once in a while.

  1. Always look forward

This by far is my favorite secret weapon in surviving the quarter-life crisis – I always look forward. It doesn’t have to be major, you can look forward to: weekends, your payday, that package you ordered from Amazon, that movie you’ve always wanted to watch, that concert/party you’ve always wanted to go to, that game which will be released this summer, your long awaited holiday vacation, etc. Don’t let your hopes die down – always get excited and anticipate that better days will always come.

  1. Move On

Yes I know you were young once and have made stupid decisions that you can’t seem to let go of and sadly, you are currently facing the consequences of your actions. Nonetheless, holding on to your mistake won’t make you a better person; in fact, it pulls you down from becoming one. You have to let go and move on.  Doing so does not mean you tolerate your mistake; it only proves you learned from it and commit to never repeating the same mistake. Moving on isn’t easy and it never will be – some people take months or years to completely recover – but take the necessary steps in order for you to move forward. Don’t let your mistakes define you.

  1. Ask the Lord for guidance

It’s hard to live a life without meaning and purpose, that is why you need to ask the Lord for guidance and direction. You may often feel unusually tired and depressed because of this crisis but the Lord promises in His Word:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! – Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

All you need to do is trust in Him – trust in His timing, trust His heart and trust His plan for you – because no matter how many plans you come up with, it is the Lord’s plan that will prevail (Prov. 19:21).

Finally,

  1. Go out there

Now is the best time for you to get out there and do what you love doing. You are at your prime and you are at your best state! Meet new people, travel to another state or country, do something that scares you and never be afraid to get hurt. In my experience, 2017 was a real breakthrough for me – after almost 2 years of depression, loneliness and a major heartbreak, I decided to turn my life around and not allow sadness to take control over me. I invested my time, money and effort in doing what I love doing best – traveling, blogging and making videos. So stop worrying and stop regretting, these won’t add another hour in your life. Go out there and enjoy!

So there you have it! I hope my quick survival guide helped you in this journey.

Feel free to leave me a comment or a private message to share your #QuarterLifeJourney.

 

25% Complete

25% Complete

They call it the ‘quarter-life crisis’.

And as Wikipedia would perfectly describe it:

“It is a period of life ranging from twenties to thirties, in which a person begins to feel doubtful about their own lives, brought on by the stress of becoming an adult.”

Because you know, being an adult is IMPOSSIBLE.

It requires a lot of responsibility, a lot of commitment and a ton of effort in order to survive. I have my salary on my left and the monthly expenses on my right, I have to save up for my future family and retirement, I have to look for the right job and forcefully motivate myself to wake up each morning.

Well that’s a lot of to-do’s for someone who only has 25 years of experience on earth.

I can say that I already am in that moment in my life where I always question myself: Why do I even bother to get out of bed each morning? What motivates me to strive harder and perform better? How can I improve the life I have now? Where will I be in the next 5 years?

And honestly, those questions still don’t have answers.

I am in that stage where I feel like I’m driving without any direction or destination. I got so used to the routine that I don’t even know why I’m doing what I’m doing. I got so caught up in trying to become an adult that I don’t even know how to become one. I tend to worry for my future that I forgot the present stage I am in right now.

But you see, no one is an expert in living life. It’s a matter of trial and error. No one can say that he has perfected the art of existing or he has unlocked the code to a problem-free life.

Sorry to burst your bubble but sadly, fairy tale endings aren’t real. The guy doesn’t always get the girl, the employee doesn’t always get promoted and fairy godmothers can’t clean up our messes. We have responsibilities, we have problems and we have to deal with pain; that’s how life works.

For the past quarter of my life, I had my fair share of accomplishments and struggles. I have experienced how to love unconditionally and to love even when it doesn’t make sense. I have experienced countless rejections and moments where I was left all alone. I experienced what it was like to forget everything I got accustomed to and start anew. I experienced the cold and unusual feeling of stepping out of the boat and in to a land I know nothing about.

And to be honest with you, I’ve never felt so scared in my entire life.

But when it comes to independence, my migration experience has taught me a lot: Here I learned how to drive, how to pay bills, how to converse confidently in English and developed the ability to fight for my rights.

I realized how fast friends come and go and have acquired the skill in determining the real ones from the fake.

I recognized how important my family was for me and came to know them in a much deeper way.

Here, I unlocked my untapped potential in writing blogs and recording vlogs and turning my pain and struggle stories to God’s amazing story for the furtherance of His glory.

Here, I never would have realized that I would be so passionate and addicted to traveling and exploring places I have never been before.

It all started with a positive spirit and a heart that’s totally dependent on the Lord.

The Lord has been good and gracious to me, for He has allowed me to be joyful despite of everything that has happened to our family. I could have remained bitter and could have questioned His plan of moving us out of the Philippines, but then again I realized that everything He has allowed me to experience has a purpose.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Every pain, every struggle and every defeat has a purpose.

Every victory, every success and every happy occasion has a reason.

Whether good or bad, God had a lesson waiting for me at the end of each scenario.

To be honest with you, I am experiencing “The Quarter Life Crisis”, I struggle and worry about my future more than ever. But the Lord didn’t bring me this far just to leave me. And as I look back, my past 25 years has been a hell of a blast!

So I just wanna take this time to thank everyone who has been a part of my life. My own personal experience with you made me the kind of person that I am today.

I want to thank my family for always showing their love and support in all my endeavors and for keeping up with my bad decision making. hehe

And finally, to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has been faithful and gracious to me for the past 25 years. He has been always available especially when I needed Him most.

I am still a work in progress and I am still 25% complete (that is if I live till 100). So be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet!

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. – Philippians 1:6

So yeah, this is it! Im officially joining the quarter life group! Haha!

Happy birthday to me!

Here’s to more adventures, more travel, more blogs and more awesome experiences! 🙂

Why our Migration was the Best Worst Decision Ever: #SLMWMTIWB

Why our Migration was the Best Worst Decision Ever: #SLMWMTIWB

We were nomads.

We haven’t decided where we would settle down. We were torn between living in San Jose (Northern California) and Los Angeles (Southern California).

Our family struggled for weeks to decide on where to move. We weighed in the pros and cons, like Kurt’s school, the cost of living, the commute to work/school, etc.

Come to think of it, it was like starting from scratch all over again. I mean, why do we need to leave our comfortable life in San Jose, where we lived with our relatives? It was an advantage for us: No rent to pay and no responsibilities to think of.

But we weren’t called to move in the US to live a comfortable life; we were called to upgrade, we were called to improve our current situation. We were called to do great things and step out of our comfort zones. We were called to think out of the box, to strategize and work as one family. We were called to decide and to be firm in that decision.

Our decision was final and we decided to move to Los Angeles.

It was an emotional / financial rollercoaster for our family because there were a lot of factors we needed to consider, like where exactly in Los Angeles we would like to be in because the monthly price ranges differ per area, the proximity of Kurt’s school, etc.

So we came up with a strategy and decided to divide and conquer; mom and Kurt went ahead to LA to look for a 2-bedroom apartment, while Me and my dad stayed in San Jose to work and save up for the new place we were going to move in to.

On September 12, 2015, we finally moved to North Hollywood, where the Lord granted us a lovely 2-bedroom apartment at a very reasonable monthly price.

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Our first photo in our new apartment

September 12, 2015

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Me and Kurt’s Room

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Mom and Dad’s room

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The Living Room

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The Bathroom

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The Dining Area

The area was perfect! It was 5 minutes away from Kurt’s school, very accessible to trains/buses and the community wasn’t that noisy or cluttered.

Almost all of our furniture was either given/donated to us, so we didn’t have to worry in filling up our new apartment.

Our move wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for our tita Lorna, who helped us with the credit requirements / financial support that was needed for the apartment.

The De Guia family, who allowed us to stay in their humble home in San Jose for almost 6 months and for driving us all the way to North Hollywood

And to the Victa family, for adopting Mom and Kurt while they searched for an apartment.

#SLMWMTIWB

We had been through a lot of WOW (walking on water) moments where we had no choice but to step out of the boat, carrying nothing but His promises.

Yet, despite of everything that has happened, the Lord continues to prove Himself to us.

He has proven that He will go before us and will be with us till the end.

I am reminded of how Joshua must have felt when he was tasked to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land and succeed the leadership of Moses. He must have been overwhelmed by the journey he was about to take. He must’ve worried on how much burden this was for him. He must have weighed in the odds of them being killed by their enemies before reaching the Promised Land.

But God, thru Moses, spoke to Joshua saying:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you… The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

– Deuteronomy 31:5,8

You see, stepping out of the boat does not mean you already got your self together. You might still be heartbroken or recovering from a loss when God asks you to step out.

But that’s okay; no one’s ever ready to step out. That’s why we call it faith.

Hebrews 11:1 defines it as:

“[Faith] is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

FAITH means you jump off a cliff without knowing where you’ll be landing and HOPE means you are relying that there will be someone/something there to catch you.

Obeying Jesus and trusting Him was faith-stretching indeed! But because He was our hope, we were sure that no matter how strong the storm is, we will not be moved because we have anchored our faith in Him.

Months before I left the Philippines, I used the hashtag #SLMWMTIWB on my posts (it’s still searchable in Instagram by the way) to encourage everyone and to remind myself of the journey I will be taking on.

The hashtag means “Spirit Lead Me Where My Trust Is Without Borders”. This was taken from this famous worship song by Hillsong entitled Oceans.

The hashtag is a short prayer. A prayer for the Lord to lead me out of my comfort zone, to shake the boat to make me come out and to start living a faith-filled life.

A battlecry to enable me to trust Jesus; not only in the confines of my own boat, but also in the deep and vast ocean that is set before me.

I am here to encourage you, better yet, challenge you to step out of the boat.

Step out of your comfort zone. Step out of that routinary life you’ve been living. Step out of mediocracy and stop being too comfortable with your life right now.

Start walking on water, start doing what you love, start doing what God has designed you to do, start meeting new friends, start traveling and start doing something that scares you.

If you are looking for a sign, this is it.

Step out of the boat and start walking on water.

#SLMWMTIWB

P.S.

If you have a faith-stretching experience or if you have a story to tell regarding stepping out of your comfort zone, please please post it on Instagram and use the hashtag #SLMWMTIWB. I would love to see it!!

When holding on is no longer an option

When holding on is no longer an option

 

 

Let me tell you something: I didn’t doubt your love for her.

I know how much you’ve loved her and I know the efforts you have done.

I know the times you fought for her and struggled to keep the relationship alive.

I know that you had plans for her and that your intentions were pure.

I didn’t doubt that.

But now, the sad days have outnumbered the good days and you spend more time arguing on the phone than actually communicating.

You both feel trapped in this draining relationship and your values and sexual purity were compromised, you know deep inside that this relationship isn’t healthy anymore.

You start thinking of the investments: all your efforts, the times you spent together and the gifts you gave her will all be going to waste if you call the relationship off.

You make an excuse to still be in that relationship because you have been with that person for a long time and you are too afraid to tell her the truth. I mean, if that’s how you define “sacrificial love” then I can’t argue with that.

But let me give you another perspective: Have you tried considering of letting her go instead of holding on? Maybe holding on is longer an option?

 

Here’s some eye-opening tips for your consideration.

1. DON’T BE A HOPELESS ROMANTIC.

My friend, stop forcing yourself in to her life. Stop thinking that you won’t be able to find a girl like her or that she’ll be the last fish in the sea.

Stop depending on your goal of getting married before 29.

Stop thinking of the investments you made for her. Stop reminiscing on the things you’ve done together.

Just stop it!

Because if the basis of your relationship is primarily on the number of years you’ve been together, then you won’t EVER get out of it, even if it’s emotionally draining and unhealthy.

2. RE-EVALUATE YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Think about your relationship and ask yourself these questions:

Do you find joy in your relationship or is it more of a burden?

Is God present in your relationship?

Are there more laughter than tears?

Is she the person you wanna be with for the rest of your life?

If you answered NO to any of the questions above.

Then you already know what to do.

Don’t be a martyr; enduring an emotionally exhausting relationship does not make you a hero.

3. KNOW THAT MARRIAGE ISN’T THE SOLUTION

Just think about it, you are miserable in your relationship now and you aren’t even married yet, how much more if you guys are?  Marriage isn’t the solution to your problems. You won’t change when you’re married and she definitely won’t either. Choosing your life partner is not an easy task. You need to be very vigilant and wise with your choices. There are a lot of things to consider and you should be very picky. Don’t look for a “pwede na” girl. Look for a wife, not a girl friend.

If marriage is not the goal of your relationship then I don’t know what your purpose is for staying. If you don’t see her as the person you’re gonna spend the rest of your life with, please do both yourselves a favor and stop what you’re doing.

Save yourself while it is still early, carefully consider that the person you are in a relationship with now SHOULD be the wife you are planning to spend the rest of your life with.

4. LET GO AND LET GOD

Yes I know it sounds cliche and everything but yeah, let go and let God.

Please please please stop prolonging your agony. Stop prolonging the pain.

Stop waiting for the “right moment” to tell her the truth.

Yes there will be pain when you break up, but that pain is nothing compared to the pain you’ll be feeling when you marry the wrong person.

Stop asking for a sign! You’ll know it’s not from God when you feel a heavy and unexplainable burden inside your heart to continue on with the relationship.

If you say you trust God, this is the best time to practice it.

My friend, God loves you enough to tell you that the person you are in a relationship now is not the right person for you.

And how does He tell you, you may ask?

God uses people around you to speak to you; listen to their advice, ask for their opinion and give them the liberty to give you their 2 cents regarding your relationship.

He also uses a certain situation to wake you up and make you realize that your relationship isn’t the way He planned it out for you.

5 LOVE YOURSELF

After the breakup, take some time to focus on yourself more.

Try going on an adventure, explore new places and meet new people. Try out a new hobby and do something you are scared of doing.

Turn that pain into power. Don’t wallow in to self-pity and regret. You’ve had your fair share of learnings and that should be your motivation to improve.

Enjoy the time you have as a single person first before you commit in to another relationship. The worst thing to do is to embark on another relationship just to cover up the pain you had from the previous one (panakip-butas / rebound).

Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.

A better version of you should emerge out of this journey.

————————————————————————–

DISCLAIMER: This blog isn’t for everyone. THIS BLOG IS NOT FOR MARRIED COUPLES.

This blog is specifically for those who are in a committed relationship but are no longer happy, for those who had enough second chances in their relationship and for those who tried to make it work but ended up forcefully committing themselves in a dragging relationship.

Hope you could consider this blog as something that will cause you to think before you commit.

Remember, if marriage isn’t the goal of your relationship, you might as well stop what you’re doing and get out.

Why Our Migration Was The Best Worst Decision Ever: Genesis Part 1

Why Our Migration Was The Best Worst Decision Ever: Genesis Part 1

This will be your life now.

We arrived at the airport around 8PM (April 29) and were warmly greeted by our 2 uncles, whom we haven’t seen for years. They asked us about our flight and warned us of the jetlag we would be experiencing for the next few days.

It was my first time in the United States, and mind you, I was never used to going out of the country. The farthest place I have been to was Hong Kong, for four days! – I never pictured myself living in another country.

12345Our first photo in the US – April 29,2015

First thing I noticed upon arriving, was the cold weather that enveloped the entire city. It’s not your typical Baguio or Tagaytay cold; this type of cold has no air or breeze. It’s like being stuck inside a dry freezer. It’s hard to explain, but when you feel it, you’ll know what i’m talking about.They said that this wasn’t even the coldest yet, because winter has just ended and the month of April falls under Spring. (During this time, I had no idea of the seasons. All I knew was Wet and Dry season).

During the drive to our uncle’s home, I noticed how wide the roads were; there were 6 lanes in the freeway and never did our car stop for traffic. Lamplights illuminated the dark highway with an orange glow and the fog gave it a more chilling effect. (well, this was something I wasn’t used to seeing everyday)

I said to myself: “This will be your life now, Miko. Better get used to it.”

We arrived at our uncle’s house where we were warmly greeted by our relatives. The De Guia family agreed to let us stay in their place, until we found a place of our own – that means we needed to find a house that was close to Kurt’s school and look for a job that was both accessible and convenient for us all.

Their house has 2 rooms, but unfortunately both rooms were already occupied, so we stayed in their Living Room / Entertainment Room.

11054782_10205796671572583_8282987939815318616_nThe De Guia family 

The four of us squeezed ourselves inside that room for almost 6 months, but I ain’t complainin’! In fact, I was blessed to have relatives who have guided us and helped us while we were in the process of settling down.

Home is where your heart is.

With this experience, my concept of home changed. It was no longer confined and defined by being just a house, home is where your family is – where your heart is. It may be a room, it may be house or an apartment, it could be anything. It is your safe haven, an area that you can call your own; a place where you can run to for comfort, for joy and for fellowship. This was home and we didn’t mind living in a small space.

During our first months, we didn’t stress ourselves in to looking for a place, we were still in our tourist modes. Besides, it was our first time here in the US, so why not explore?

1239978_10205743541004352_6204092992539541005_n
San Francisco

11180638_10153351255997422_3514288732612231118_nGrand Canyon

11139385_10208330293483614_6571728358812524825_n.jpgUniversal Studios, Hollywood

We went to different places in the USA. We went to  San Francisco to see the famous Golden Gate Bridge, we visited Las Vegas and took a side trip to the Grand Canyon, we went up North to visit Hollywood and Los Angeles.

The places we went to really opened my mind to the reality of how small I was compared to the grandeur of each place I visited. I realized that I enjoyed the “little boat” that I was in too much, that I failed to see the vast ocean right in front of me. I basked in my comfort too much that I missed out on a lot of things in life. This only became possible when I started stepping out of the boat.

Jesus didn’t bring you this far just to leave you behind.

Weeks before I left the Philippines, I started using the hashtag #SLMWMTIWB (Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders). It was taken from the bridge of Oceans by Hillsong:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I won’t dive into this (get it? dive?) in detail because I will be saving it for another blog but the point of this hashtag was to remind myself Who called me out to walk on water – it was Jesus.  Jesus didn’t bring you this far just to leave you. He called you out because He wants you to walk with Him – to see that you are capable of NOTHING unless He gives you the power to do so.

Looking back, I can honestly say that without Jesus’ help, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.

Maybe I would still live in mediocracy and complacency.

Maybe I wouldn’t move.

Maybe I’d just enjoy seeing beautiful places through computer screens.

But thanks be to God, for He has called me out and hasn’t left me since.

BACK TO REALITY

After a month of touring, it was time to come back to reality –  we weren’t tourists but immigrants. We needed to look for a job and decide where we’d settle down. So I started looking for one and ended up being a Team Member in Target, which is one of the most popular department stores in the US.

I was assigned in Softlines, or the clothing section of the store. So all day, I folded clothes and placed them in the right hangers, I assisted customers whenever they needed help with sizes/colors, I manned the fitting room by counting how many items customers brought in and was also called in to be a cashier every once in a while.

11954737_10153566095557422_3547668996964906508_n

Target San Jose North Softlines Department

To tell you quite frankly, my ego was flushed down the drain – this job humbled me. Back in the Philippines, I personally interacted with clients from one of the biggest Pharmaceutical brands in our country. I saw celebrities almost every week and actually worked for THE top advertising agency during that time. I never imagined myself folding clothes for a living.

But you see, it’s different here in the States. Nobody actually cares who you were in your country. People here are equal. Nobody cares if you’re a janitor, a garbage man or a construction worker; they’ll respect you, no matter what color your collar is. Very rare are there instances of work discrimination because at the end of the day, everyone works just to get by.

The school where you graduated from in the Philippines has little or no credit at all when you start applying for jobs here. Employers here usually look for local experience + local education in order for them to hire you. So you really should start from the bottom, in order for you to reach the top.

Working at Target became one of the most memorable work experiences I had. It forced me to practice my English skills more (in a good way) and allowed me to witness the American culture first-hand.

I’m telling you – there’s no easy money here in the US. Everyone works their butts off to make a living; other people even work 2-3 jobs just to get by. The notion of OFWs living like Kings and Queens in a foreign land is a myth. People here earn in dollars and spend in dollars – so its technically the same. I salute every OFW and immigrant that are working multiple jobs in order to save and send money back home. You fight the loneliness plus fight the stress that your job is giving you. Your resiliency represents the Philippines very well. Good job!

Landing a job was the first step of my independence, but I still had a long way to go.

Our family still had to decide which school Kurt will go to and where we will settle down.

San Jose was a very great place; but there was something in Los Angeles that caught our attention.