The water percolated.
And so the flowers bloom.
The lessons percolated.
And so wisdom grows.
The water percolated.
And so the flowers bloom.
The lessons percolated.
And so wisdom grows.
There was never a hint of fear as David aimed his sling at Goliath’s forehead. The stone penetrated into the giant’s forehead which caused him to fall down. David then took the giant’s sword and cut off Goliath’s head.
How did David got the courage to do this? To think, he was not a member of the king’s army. He was there because he was asked by his father to bring food for his brothers who were there for forty days to fight with the king’s army. The battle lasted that long as no one would want to face the giant for the fear of being killed.
David kept on asking the men as to what the reward may be if ever someone would kill the giant, until the king heard him. The king discouraged him because he was young and inexperienced. But David boldly related to the king how he killed lions and bears just to protect his sheep. Saul then approved that David would face the giant.
David faced the giant without sword and armor for it were too heavy for him to carry and he was not used to it. He boldly declared that when it is God’s will to deliver the enemy unto his people’s hands it requires no sword or spear. Eventually, he defeated Goliath.
Is David’s story applicable to the modern times? Absolutely.
May we be able to slay all the giants that challenge us along the way.
“Smoke gets in my eyes,” my friend told me unabashedly as she wiped the tears away from her eyes. If we were grilling, I would have accepted that truth easily. But we were not. We were in the living room and not in the kitchen. It took minutes for my boggled mind to compose. Then I slowly realized the depth of what she was going through emotionally. Her pains just struck her somewhere and cause ‘smoke’ to get in her eyes.
How many times this situation happens to me too. A painful thought just flash before my mind, then ‘smoke gets in my eyes’. I am just thankful this happens seldom in my life now, except when I am in church with my mind, body and soul. ‘Smoke gets in my eyes’ easily.
How often do I used to escape to the comfort room or in my bedroom when I sense ‘smoke is getting in my eyes.’ The ‘smoke’ triggers are negative criticisms, backbiting, scolding, humiliating words and all kinds of negativeness thrown my way. But life is the school of hard knocks. The more you are beaten, the stronger you become. The more you rise, the more you gain wisdom.
I have beaten my ‘smoke’ triggers by expanding my mind, expanding my world and accepting everything to be just as it is. For many great teachers passed this way: Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha. After them the world still remains, full of pain and shame. BUT once a person has the WILL to follow their every teaching, that person becomes FREE. So why focus on the world outside that I have no control over when the world inside could be saved if I just WANT to? And by directing that inner world into the light, the world outside benefits from it in subtle ways. ‘Smoke’ triggers are then beaten slowly.
May you would be able to beat your ‘smoke’ triggers too.
I was taken off-guard the moment they entered one by one. I knew I was not supposed to stare at people while inside. I should have my full focus on the purpose of my coming here. But by their looks, inside the place of worship, seemed not to coincide at all.
They were a group of young people, four to be exact, probably eighteen years old and above. They wore shorts and shirts appropriate only for the beach. Slowly they entered the church while the choir sang the Gloria. They settled at the pew in the front row right behind the choir.
By their looks one could say they are not local Parishioners. I was just a kind of shock why they have to make such a dramatic entrance with how they look. My friend who sat in front of me whispered to his wife asking who they were. His wife just shrugged her shoulders and signaled at him to be quiet.
Okay. We were inside of the church attending the holy mass. We were not supposed to judge nor criticize anyone. But here is my take:
The church is a place of worship, therefore, a place of respect too. The church does not stand for its Parishioners. It stands for God. We could talk to God or pray to God anywhere, anytime. But when we CHOOSE to WORSHIP God inside the church attending a HOLY MASS, we must be aware of our every act and make ourselves presentable before God. It is our responsibility to not make the little ones stumble because of our actions. We could not simply say, “It’s the problem of the people why they judge or criticize me, when in fact I just go there to attend the mass. I have clear intentions.” If you have clear intentions, why not make yourself ‘presentable‘? If you have clear intentions, you could have chosen to sit at the rear end pews where people hardly notices you. There, you could pray and worship without being conscious of how oddly you look inside this place.
Other churches have signage at their entrance directing people to attend mass or enter the church in proper attire. This signage specifically states as to what attire are acceptable and what are not. Our local church does not have it. I suppose, it is only on the prerogative of the Parish priest.
After the mass, I waited for my husband outside. He is a choir member, and it is their job to keep the instruments in their proper place after being used. When he joined me, he said those young people were the students of the choir’s music teacher. This teacher came from the other island adjacent to ours. He said they were there because they visited one local beach the day before.
For me, it was still not an excuse why they have to show up with their beach attire. They could have covered themselves with scarf or whatever that would not show any disrespect for the holy mass and the people in there.
Whoever we are, wherever we go, we carry our faith with us. In these days of restless travels, we must always be aware if we have imprinted a pleasant impression on the place we are about to leave. We must not leave it to people to understand us, we must also understand the people in the places we visit. And it is much, much better to leave a GOOD example to strangers who would soon forget our face, but would never forget how we made them feel.
My plea to the Millennials out there: Please do NOT stretch the rules of the church to fit in with your lifestyle.
Are you the Sun?
Are you the Moon?
Are you a Star?
Are you a Light Bulb?
Are you a Flashlight?
Are you a Spotlight?
Are you a Candle?
Are you a Matchstick?
As for me, I may have some characteristics of each one, if not all of the above. But I feel I am closely related with the moon. As I have these phases.
What kind of light are YOU?
Would you want to become a motivator, a life coach, an online guru, a spiritual adviser, or a self-made millionaire?
I ask that question unto myself. For a change, I took a peek at Weekly Discover, and the challenge for the week is Radical Authenticity; that is, being authentic deep within. Stuff like, what you feel, how you feel, what you do with what you feel. It’s that moment when you want to get a mirror and interview that person you see in it. Well, that is exactly what I do, minus the mirror. The question above is what this person has to answer.
If you have seen my Gravatar before, it was filled with words like a content marketer, spiritual writer and virtual professional. Where did I get these ideas? From my mentor. (I hope he won’t read this). There was nothing wrong with what he taught us by the way. It was just that I felt I was not what he was molding me to be. Yes, I learned stuff, most especially the technical ones. I learned mindset. I was awakened from my slumber. My life began to take a new direction.
But then later, I discovered, what I do now is what I had long wished to do but didn’t. My mentor shook my shoulders and said, hey, do what you love to do. You do this. And I said, okay, I will do what I love to do; and I will do what you suggest of me. Many of my classmates did it. I did not. I was stuck in ‘what I love to do.’
So then, I changed my Gravatar description into something that fits me well. I just want to be ME. But, it is kind of misleading when you describe yourself to be, Just Me. Thus, I put in words that might perhaps express a truth about me.
Aiming to be the best version of me might be a hype. As for me, I could say, it is timely and perhaps, a bit of coincidence? I have been through a ‘lot’ for a decade now. Great thinkers and inspirers did motivate me to claim back my life. And I slowly feel the freedom from bondage for being able to look at things without emotional attachments. It feels great to see my value does not depend on other people. It is liberating to be connected with people, yet not a slave to them.
However, my freedom is faced with another challenge: not being enough. True, I have not achieved what others may have achieved–fame, wealth, worry-free life. If I achieved these things, would I be good enough? Am I not good enough? Perhaps, the difference lies in our perspective of life. There are times when I daydream of fame, of wealth, of a worry-free life. But then, a part of me just does not cooperate. I am so poor in visualizing myself in these areas. Having those things might be fun. Yet something is holding me back.
As I have stated above, I have a mentor. But I get tired of listening to ‘do this and do that in order to achieve this and that.’I do not have anything against coaches and mentors. Back in school days, I was many times a teacher’s pet due to my obedience and loyalty.
Now, things have changed. A certain force is holding me back. I could not clearly fathom what is it, yet its voice seems to tell me, ‘Just do this. Trust me. All would be well.’ Well, I keep on doing what I feel I love to be doing. Though a voice at the back of my mind says, ‘Hey let’s do what _____ tells us to do. You want to get rich and have much freedom remember? A dilemma, yes.
But that girl in the mirror says, ‘Why would you worry about things that are not supposedly for you? If something is not given to you, it does not mean you are not worth it, or you have not done enough in order for you to achieve that thing. Just let others shine where they are supposed to be. And you, little one, just bloom where you are planted. What matters is the now. What you do in the now. Do your best in the now. Be your best in the now. You are creating in the now every brushstroke that would paint a whole canvass in the days to come.’
Need I say more? Actually, what the girl in the mirror says is not that clear to me. From her words I could not foresee myself what would I be in the future. But who cares? I offer my future in the loving hands of my God. It is faith that tells me, my God would only want the best for me. So, I let go. What will be, will be.
Gone are the days of flattery. Gone are the days when someone says, “What a nice cap you got there, John.” Or, “What a great dress Mary!” When we were a child, we think and reason like a child. Now that we are grown, we think and reason like a grown up. Unlike a child who takes delight in flattery or little appreciation, we value now on a deeper level what has been given to us. We value life. We value our self. And we put much value in it, when we do our best to improve our current self into the best self that we can be. How? Here are the ways:
These suggestions may sound simple. Yet it may take years to master it. When done daily, it becomes a habit, a habit that would become a natural part of you sooner. Do not lose heart though, when at times you may fall back, it is just normal. Just start again and again and again. Your self is with you along the way. So is God.
People tend to act mostly out of filling a void deep within them, failing to realize what are they. This void could be out of greed, jealousy, insecurity, deeper need for connection and the like. Whatever they are, they are the prompts that push people how to operate their life on a daily basis.
One time there was this employee sent to our workplace to do the auditing. She acted a little nice and even invited me to have lunch with her on several occasions. She had questions about my personal life which I answered in all honesty. I was not the type who impresses people by empty verbosity. And I once believed people could be trusted when you give your trust to them. ( I learned the hard way that this principle does not apply to everyone.) People are just people with all their weaknesses and strengths. Some come in our lives to help, some come to destroy for selfish interest, thinking by doing so they are filling that void within themselves.
The day came when this person showed her real intentions. We engaged into a kind of argument over a minor issue regarding work, which was not really an issue. Before she pulled out of the branch, we had a meeting. It went well, and we all thought what transpired between us was already patched up. The bomb exploded when she reported to the main office. Everything I told her, she manipulated to be used against me. What was funny was that when the boss called, she did not talk about the problems with our workplace that needed much attention. She tackled the issue between me and that person without asking for my side of the story.
See? Our world suffered because we do not care to listen to the other side of the story. We are so good in selective perception. We only want to see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe. I was not scolded though; but was given reminders of how to treat others as if I were a naughty child who grabbed an ice cream from another child. For a fact: I was already twelve years in the company (meeting clients maybe for the thousandth time and none of whom complained about my attitude, or even had issues with my office mates) while she was barely two; I was forty, she was in early twenties. I am not trying to cleanse myself; for I could never blot out all the imperfections in me. Only God can wipe me clean and make myself whiter than snow. I am just trying to show the qualities in us that needed much attention for improvement.
Even Jesus was crucified out of envy. It were the high priests who plotted that he would be arrested out of their self-interests. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus out of selfish interest. Do we need to wonder why people keep on betraying us? Do we need to wonder why friends, even families have the nerve to betray us?
This is what we need to delve within ourselves. We do not have the control of everything. We can only control ourselves. Thus, I love this prayer Of Jabez from 1 Chronicles 4:10
Lord, bless me and bless me indeed. Enlarge my territory, let Your hand be with me, and keep me away from evil, that I may not cause pain.
We are into relationships. The best that we can put into the relationship is our best self. When we are at our best, most of the best comes to us. And when people find that there is that certain ‘best’ in us, they would never let us go; except perhaps when they have issues within themselves, that what they see are only their needs and failed to recognize others. They are too busy filling the void within.
Thus, we need to fully realize who we are, that at the end of the day, we are able to smile, look up and say, “Thank you God, I made someone smile today.”
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
If those words of the Psalmist are addressed to me, it would go like this:
Nezel will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; And in whatever Nezel does, Nezel prospers.
Wow! Too good to be true. And I so love especially those last five words. Because this is what we, humans, are after in this world of ours. Whatever undertaking we pursue, we all want to prosper in it. For that is what we are. Even weeds grow in little cracks of the ground. How much more humans, who have powerful minds and souls that are connected to the Source directly? What if it will actually happen? That we are bound to prosper? It would, when we do plant our roots by the stream of water–that is, constantly connecting with the Source of all goodness and prosperity.
How to constantly connect with the streams of Living Water?
These are God’s version of wifi connection. No bills to pay. No need for batteries or electricity to be always turned on. He just asks for a willing heart and mind to be connected. Great! Right?
Now, try to use this verse with your name and experience that wow feeling. Fill in the blanks with your name, close your eyes and see it as actually happening. Then tell me how does it feel.
____________ will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; And in whatever _________ does, ________ prospers.