Day 6 – “Passing” Through Difficulties

For today, I just want to share this message…

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“This too shall pass” used to be my mantra whenever faced with difficulty. It is like medication to me, some drug I ingest to feel better about my situation. Problem is, I have abused this line. I tell it to myself over and over ’til it feels true. It turned out to be a defense mechanism, a dependable excuse. Receiving the message above got me thinking; Is that courage? 

My heart answered no. I’ve realized that aside from looking past my situation, I usually do nothing else. Mostly, I just wait for the situation to fizzle or  for the focus to be deflected somewhere else. I only wish for more days to pass ’til that horrible chapter is over. Often, I just harden my exterior and pretend to be in control  because in time, all things are bound to be okay.  Forgotten, even. Looking back, I was merely slacking. I was nothing but cowardly. And foolish.

I think it’s okay to use the transience of things in order to look past the gravity of a problem, but we have to be careful not to get stuck on the idea. As for my past, I’ve only been reliant to the line. My looking-beyond-the present-attitude removed me from the need to solve my problems at the moment they’re happening. I should have gotten more from those experiences than just memories or tales to tell. However, I protected myself too much and made myself believe that problems just blow over and disappear. I only waited, and waited for the next season to arrive.

All along, my faith was in the wrong. I only had faith in time and how it heals all wounds. I lacked faith on how God is fixing things for me, and how much faith the Lord had in me to resolve any problem. I only took the mantra literally. I only wanted the short cuts and the make-beliefs. I should have worked on the way I respond to “hard” times. I shouldn’t have worried that much but prayed more instead. I shouldn’t have allowed problems to just pass me by; I should have disciplined myself out of each rut. I shouldn’t have given up or ran away, I could have held on and learned more from the painful experiences. I shouldn’t have feared where I was and realized sooner that God would pull me through any storm and would bless me wherever I am. I shouldn’t have wished for the problem to pass suddenly, but for the problem to transform how I see life. I should have known that changing my perspective spells the difference between getting desperate and healing.  All these “I should haves…”

Oh well. I know better now. No more empty “This too shall pass” lines for me.

On the Million People March

It’s a wonderful—glorious, to be more apt—time to be in the Philippines right now. Imagine what one simple march can achieve. Imagine the clarity of collective voices. Imagine the strength of the common folk. Imagine changing Philippine governance and politics. Imagine being the catalyst to making it happen. Imagine staring Rizal in the face, telling him, “I’m a hero too.”

Imagine all that. 

Where are you headed for this Monday? Make Luneta your destination!

Too bad I won’t be a part of the Million People March! But in my head, I’m there, arm-in-arm with all the Filipinos who long for change. I’m hoping against hope that this much needed act stays true to its purpose and be rid of any selfish publicity stunt. I hope important” people respect it and take their personal agendas or dramas elsewhere. 

Day 5 – On Emotional Control

Verse To Ponder On For Today: 

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” - Ephesians 4: 26-27

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This message was electronically-generated and then sent to my email after subscribing to www.alldevotion.com. Nothing fancy for this website, just some words provided daily to remind people across the globe about God’s love. And people like me, who desperately need God’s guidance in life, can definitely feel blessed through it. I find it very helpful—for it is encouraging yet challenging at the same time. 

For today, my message is about learning to control emotions. No message could have been better tailored for me than this. My inability to handle emotions well is exactly  where my hell comes from! I consider anger to be my greatest enemy and my fragile temper has gotten me in very difficult situations too. I easily and usually feel outraged or maddened by even the pettiest of things. Like changes in weather, or choice of clothes, or questions from my mother. I often turn into a ball of fury and remain that way for hours and hours. Keeping myself calm and composed on the outside is probable,  but  hell could be breaking loose within me too!

I’ve been this way since I could remember. Unfortunately, it’s the kind of vice that runs in our family. We have all had ample practice in getting angry and we have gotten good at it. To be honest, I used to think I can’t form lasting friendships or relations with others because of all the anger and hatred my heart had contained in the past.  Why risk hurting anyone else, right? I felt locked up, trapped by my own feelings and reactions.

But God had other plans for me. I believe He didn’t design me to be the girl who stayed angry. He made it His mission to keep reminding me of how awful and miserable the scrooge’s life is. He consistently intervenes whenever I appear to be headed down that pitiful path. My prayer is that I learn to be consistent in my ways and that my entire family be transformed by His saving grace.

We must all remember that the Bible tells us to be slow in anger, to be the master of our emotions and not the other way around. It instructs us to guard our hearts and keep our feelings in check all the time. Though God wants the best for us, He never imposed that we strictly follow His commandments. He gifted us with free will, gave us the ability to choose what we think is best. We can thrash talk. We can bitch out. We can curse. We can have emotional breakdowns. We can opt for anger instead of calm. We can take injustice to our own hands rather than waiting on lawful judgment. We can practice hate in place of love. We can always go our own way regardless of what God thinks. The choice is ours. It’s always ours. In the end, though, my hope is for our choices to result in rest and peace. Not further destruction!

 As for me, I’m choosing to battle it out with anger and all the negative stuff that comes with it. I would always be enticed to get angry, to hurt people especially the ones I love, to commit more sins… but I declare in God’s name that my emotions will be put in order and my rage will be overcome. After all, what can’t my God do? All things through Him are possible.

Day 4 – Mirrored

Verses To Ponder On For Today: 

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” – James 1:-22-25

Mirroring

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Do you like who you see in the mirror?  Or do you wish her gone?

These are the questions I had to answer in penning this post. My answer? A definite NO!  

I’ve gossiped. Was pompous. Took offense quickly. Gave in to anger and temper tantrums. Disrespected and misjudged others. Lacked discipline and will. Procrastinated. Neglected reading the Word. I’ve faltered plenty of times the past week. And the list of my wrongs probably exceed what I still remember! Fact is, I’ve badly fallen short in living up to what the Christian life entails.

And I was an  epic failure, actually.

I knew attempting the Christian way of life would be excruciating. I knew there would be days of wanting to go back to my comfort zone, my usual ways, the carelessness of being… I knew I could backslide. But knowing these is tantamount to nothing. Unconsciously, I’ve allowed myself some free pass to continue sinning. Just because things like these happen. Just because it can be expected. 

I’m saddened by all this. I feel embarrassed , a lot. It’s like facing the mirror and hating to see the person staring back. I have been pretending to confront my demons and my shortcomings. But I’ve been living only in literal verses, mere words. Not life.  What then is faith without action? I abhor the pretentious person in the mirror! How I hope she disappears after merely feeling guilty and sorry. Then, it would be like nothing happened. Wouldn’t that be nice? Wouldn’t that be easy? 

Unfortunately, transformations don’t operate magically that way. No short cuts. 

I have to man up and face the unwanted reflections in front of me. This person with her human issues. This person with her flaws and ignorances and inadequacies. I can’t just deject her and pretend she’s gonna get better if left alone; that the duality in action and in thought can heal us both. I must forgive her to forgive me.  She has to be accepted, not  neglected or shrugged. I have to appreciate her desire to change, if I dare to move on and tread forward in knowing Christ.

In the end, I am my reflection, with different hues; and I can change what I see and who I am. Won’t be easy, but it’s Christ-possible. I’m Christ-possible.  I long for the day when all my reflections honor God.

Day 3 – Take Heart, Anxious One

Verses To Ponder On For Today: 

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” – Matthew 6:27 

“Cast your anxiety on God because He cares for you” – 1 Peter 5:7

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I guess many of my friends are on the bumpy side of the road right now.  I’m concluding this based on the many  emotionally-charged and negative posts they share on Facebook and Twitter. Bad things are happening to good people I know. And honestly, I’m not doing any better myself! Not at all.

Believe me, I know despair, even lived there for quite a while, and learned enough to say that it was just that—desperate, depressing, demeaning. And very painful. I’ve learned many things the hard way, my way, all thanks to foolish pride and pessimism! My friends can attest to this for sure.

It is only now, in my displacement in a foreign land where I have to start from the very bottom again, that I can be upfront courageous and say this:

Tough situations are the best opportunities to see God’s goodness in our lives. It is during our lows that we feel His presence the most. It is also the best chance to glorify Him.

Fact is, problems get worse but they also blow over; feelings get intense then fade suddenly; and circumstances get heavy but change eventually. Nothing stays the same, all things come to pass, and the way we see difficulty can be changed too. Hard situations don’t have to mean more hardship, we can shift perspectives. We can unburden our hearts in prayer and seek God’s calm. We can choose to know where we stand and not give in to desperation. We can always cast our pains unto the Lord and lean on His strength.

It maybe hard to see God in times of adversity but never forget that He is constantly on our side, rooting for us to choose joy—not anger, anxiety or pride—despite life’s seemingly unbelievable and insurmountable challenges.

To people in difficult situations, keep heart. God won’t put you, us, in places you can’t grow and in situations you can’t handle. So now that the road is bumpy, just do what you can and lift what you can’t handle to the Lord. He knows where your hell comes from and He wants you out of it, rid of it. Never forget where your deliverance is. In His hands.  How else can we move on without His grace or His help?

I would rather have hard times with God than be downright hopeless and playing brave all on my own. I would rather know Him in my distress than rebuke and blame Him for all that’s worrisome or wrong in my life. I would rather cling to His promises of abundance, of love, of peace, than live in fear or worry day by day. Cause really, what’s the point in stressing myself out any further?

Smile! There’s hope in The Lord. =)

Day 2- The Littlest of Faith

Verse To Ponder On For Today:

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17: 20

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A few days ago I told a friend to worry not about her plight. It is the kind of hell that steals your joy and strips away your focus, your direction, leaving nothing of your peace within. And such a pit isn’t acceptable in her life right now. Her present season in life cannot afford any distraction. It’s grind time, the testing period, the last quarter in prepping up for her future career’s biggest battle.

Since I’m empty-handed myself, I couldn’t help her with what she needed. Imagine an instance when an important person comes to you because you were her last strand of hope. And I couldn’t be of aid. That broke me, my letting her down in this difficult season of life for her.

Resigned to my being useless, I tried to cheer her on instead. That is all I’m capable of doing anyway! I told her that God will come through for her, that even on the last minute she will be blessed. That she has to cling on to Him and His promises for her.

Time went by and despite our efforts to think of plans to solve the problem, all we had were disappointments. We tried asking for favors and we received a lot of turn downs. Seeking help doesn’t necessarily come with a ‘yes’, especially when big favors are at stake. We knew that and understood.

But as the no’s piled up, and the deadline quickly approached, she got more and more anxious and though I tried to speak of hope to encourage her, I knew deep down that I had my own fears. What if God doesn’t come through for her on this dilemma? What if we have doubted His power so much that we won’t be listened to? What if all I professed about Him fall flat on my face? What if I was only pompous in my desire to practice faith? I had those sorts of creeps and was growing restless too. We kind of knew that given the time pressure, we were headed towards more despair in the end. It was almost to be expected, almost the sad destination for our little faith.

Through all the negatives, my friend and I pushed, prayed and believed against our uncertainties. On the brink of giving up, just before failure gobbled us up, God delivered. He came out swinging, actually. He moved and used unexpected people to rescue her. And my weakling of a self was freed from the guilt of having been a poor last resort for this precious friend of mine. Indeed, awesome is our God. He is way beyond our worries and the things that cloud our minds and trouble our hearts.

Thank you, Lord.

Day 1- To Courage

Hello there!

I am Caitlin and this blog is created to account my road to courage. At present, I am someone wandering and struggling to find my place in the world. I am broken in ways a many but I intend, and will, break free from the confines that limit me. In this blog, I will post ordinary things from my ordinary life in the hope of seeing life extra-ordinarily.

Wild Flower

Feel free to follow and tag along my journey.

To changing the present. To finding silver linings. =) To maybe, hopefully, honoring God.