How an Unfamiliar Door Shookt Me (In A Very Good Way)

In one of my previous blogs, I talked about the doors of life.

There are doors that we want to open but are kept closed. Doors that we force ourselves into, and doors that open up whether we like it or not.

Roughly 3 months ago, I took an unfamiliar door by teaching English to foreign university students.

There were questions, as always. Would I be effective? Do I really have what it takes?

But I took it as a challenge. An answered prayer. God wouldn’t give this – at such a perfect time – if it wasn’t for my good. So I said yes.

I wouldn’t get into details about my first day or the days that followed. But I would like to describe the whole experience using these words.

1. A scary yet fulfilling adventure

I’ve never been immersed to any other culture aside from my own. I am no K-Pop fan nor a J-Pop fanatic. I’ve never tried learning another language except some Spanish lessons back in college. But it’s true when they say that when you take a leap of faith into the unknown, the result can be rewarding. After eight weeks of being around and teaching Koreans and Japanese, talking to them, learning their culture, understanding how they think, how they feel, and how they interact, I started seeing each day as an adventure. Everyday, I go to school not knowing what to expect but I was excited. And tell you, it was the first time I felt good about Mondays. (!!) I looked forward to teaching even if I know it would be difficult. Cause the truth is, I was looking forward seeing my eager students learn even if it was difficult for them.

2. An eye opener

This is my favorite part. The part when teaching foreigners opened my eyes to many realities about this world. I had many discoveries about Korea and Japan, mostly about what the situation is in their countries when it comes to studying, getting a job, achieving their dreams, and so on. I saw many differences and similarities between them and Filipinos. But what amused me is that while I was teaching, I was also learning – not really about history but about thinking beyond. The question “why?” started to linger. There must be a good reason why everyone – Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese, (etc) – despite all obvious and subtle differences, are sharing the same planet, breathing the same air, and crossing paths with each other. There must be a reason why we have similarities and differences. On the other hand, I would like to think that no matter how diverse, people can agree on one thing and meet at one point..

3. Life-changing

And so I asked myself, “What could be that common point?” I remember seeing a cross tattoo on one of my students and while looking at it, the student immediately said the tattoo didn’t mean anything. I kept quiet and respected such remark. I don’t know, but at that moment, I felt something heavy in my heart. Was it sadness? Perhaps. As days passed, I wondered, “How many more?” And then it dawned on me: There was A LOT. So yes, it was life changing because it’s the first time I felt burdened about something.

4. A door that leads to another

Eight incredible weeks. Many learnings. New friends. Major realizations. One burden. All because of one door. So what’s next? I resolve to continue this path as far as teaching goes. I enjoyed every aspect of being an ESL teacher – facing the unknown, the diversity, and the respect that I received and developed towards the people I’ve met.

It couldn’t be any clearer: Each of us – regardless of race, achievement, language, faith, belief (or the lack of it) – need God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ.

And that is the only point where all of us could safely meet.

Where, when, and how? I don’t know.

But I’m sure the One who built the door and had let me in would take care of the little details..as always.

This door ain’t closing yet. It’s just leading me to the next.

If am to be honest, my heart is telling me to go forth and share the Good News to many nations, one student at a time.

Shookt! (Exactly.)

May God give me the courage to do so if this is His will.

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Are you Tired of the Morning Rush?

As I take the same route going to work everyday, I realize how mundane life can get.

People rush in the morning so they can reach their offices on time. Eight hours later, they go home, rushing still, eager to rest their tired bodies from a day’s work.

Sometimes I wonder how life would look like if we are doing random things instead of working.

What if instead of gaining, our focus is nailed on giving away?

What if instead of rushing, we take our time and feel every beat of our heart?

What if instead of taking the same route everyday, we wander and explore.. and share our whole being to the person we meet? We don’t search the internet to go to a place but instead we interact, ask questions, and connect face-to-face until we get to our destination.

What if this world knows no rush and we stand witness to the rising and setting of the sun every single day?

What if this world is different, much different from what we woke up to this morning?

To be honest, I don’t think any change that happens around us will make much difference. The world may look good the way we envision it to be..

But how about instead of hoping for a new world, we change how we think about the things we see?

In the midst of a morning rush, people strive to make a living. Some sell stuff on the streets and others find themselves waking up along the road, no roof under their heads. They make a living out of nothing. They wait for people to pass by so their stomachs can be fed. For them, the morning rush is a chance to survive.

As the sun sets, people go home to rest. But some are struggling to sleep, their stomachs aching, filled with air, and their mind wandering. We complain about a day of work, while they don’t even have enough energy to complain about their lives.

Is life mundane, after all?

Perhaps, if we keep on living inside our world.

There is so much to see. There is so much to thank for. There is so much to do.

There is more than just you.

It’s time to step outside our tiny little speck of a space and truly, madly, deeply live.

The world is vast. And the best thing about it? It will soon forget about us. So might as well live one heck of a life for others.

Who doesn’t know failure?

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. 1 John 5:4

Failures comes in many sizes. There are failures we faced that almost took away everything from us: our reputation, our confidence, our self-worth, and perhaps even the people who mattered in our lives.

And then there are defeats that continue to haunt us and pin us down until today.

Insecurities, pains of the past, every day frustrations, unmet expectations. Dreams that do not materialize, prayers left unanswered that lead us to many questions.

We feel defeated for many reasons. We deal with failures more than once in this life. There is no way to prevent them, I must say.

But one thing that was promised to us is that these failures, no matter how real and pentetrating they are in our lives, have been overcome.

So what does overcome exactly mean if we are still going through it?

Defeats have no power over us.

Ever since we put our faith in Jesus the Son of God, the pangs of failure – and even death itself, have been removed.

Thus we can face our every day trials and failures with HOPE. Because we know that these troubles are but temporary and the eternal life promised to us when we believed in Christ far outweighs them all.

We are already conquerors, because the God we believe in has overcome the world.

I was a victim of bullying when I was in highschool. I exeperienced a lot of rejections – both genders, and many hurtful words have been thrown at me. Most of the attacks have something to do with my physical traits. I wasn’t beautiful in their eyes and they wanted to insist that to me.

Every now and then, the shadow of these bullies creep in. It is hard for me to trust people at times. I feel that people always judge based on looks.

I may not have totally moved on from these insecurities.. but one thing I know, these attacks will not stop me from living a life for God.

I am willing to be brave knowing that God has won the fight for me.

Yes, we still feel the pain, the trials, the failures.

But the good news is, there’s more to this world. There is more for us when we put our confidence in Christ.

Failures don’t have power over us.

Hello, I am So Glad YOU Exist

This post is for you.

You who are in pain.

You who are faking a smile so just others would know you’re okay.

You who are actually okay, but feels otherwise.

You who cannot describe in words what you’re going through.

You who wants to keep your doors closed, afraid of letting others in.

You who are afraid (and tired) of being misunderstood.

You who thinks nobody is listening.

You who thinks nobody cares.

You who are thinking of quitting life.

Yes, this is for you.

You who are precious.

You who are strong.

You who can be nobody else but you.

You who has been destined to live.

You who are given a chance.

A day.

A moment.

A breath.

To live.

You who are loved by your Creator.

You who got me. Who got others at your back.

Who got a Savior by your side.

You are not alone.

You are worthy.

You matter.

And you know why you matter?

Because you exist.

And that, alone, is worth fighting for.

YOU are worth keeping YOU.

Don’t Let Fatigue Get in the Way of Worship

Contrary to popular belief, Christians do have limitations.

They commit mistakes.

They don’t always say nice words.

They get mad.

They reach their tipping point.

They sometimes want to be away from people.

They also forget to pray, often caused by one reason..

They get tired.

I get tired, too. Often. Whenever I face a hectic week filled with many activities, I panic. Or worse, I freeze.

In the middle of a moutainous to-do list, I drown. And the only thing that could save me, I’ve always thought, was sleep plus a week or two of just lying down, doing nothing.

Sadly, even praying or devoting time to read and meditate on God’s Word is overlooked.

This is when fatigue gets in the way of my worship.

My lack of energy superceded a heart that should be longing for God’s rest and arms instead of a comfy bed.

“I am tired, but I know I can overcome and gain strength by simply getting away from it all.”

All I need is a vacation.

Maybe I should just quit altogether.

Fatigue also tends to take our focus away from eternal things. Our attention gets glued to our present dilemma and the short-term solution that the world offers.

How often do we forget that our strength and hope comes from the Lord?

How often do we miss giving praises to Him in the midst of our worries and wearies?

How often does fatigue get in the way and make us forget about God and His promises?

“But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed.” Isaiah 40:31

If we know where to turn when our wrld gets crazy busy, we will find the rest we need. Not a temporary kind of rest, but one that fills us up with gratitude and hope.

One that fuels us to worship.

“They will rise on wings like eagles, they will run and not get weary, they will walk and not grow weak.”

I guess it’s OK to get tired, to feel fatigue, even.

But the crucial part of life, always, is how we respond to what’s in our plate.

Will we panic?

Will we shut the world out?

Will we drop everything and run away?

Or, will we say yes to God’s invitation? He said we can trust Him for help. He also said we will find our strength renewed in Him.

He promised that we will rise above our burdens like an eagle. He promised that we can continue walking and running and not grow weak.

What a beatiful promise, don’t you think?

Our frail bodies will get tired–yes, but God will make our core strong.

Strong enough to keep us alive for worship.