Not my Season

This is not my season.

This is how I try to describe what I have been feeling recently. Amidst all the victories and joyful testimonies of people around me, I find myself sulking over the seemingly “barrenness” of my life. I am on a plateau of emotions, of activity and of spirituality.

Not my Season.png

I am tempted to say that I am waiting for that next “emotional wind” to carry me to a place of joy but I am certain that life is not like that. Trends or any tangibles must not define us. Our happiness must not be dependent on the latest craze or any momentary reason. It must come from within us.

Are you in the same rut too?

If we share the same sentiments, join me in unraveling the painful reality of our situation.

A short story

There was a time when I found myself wading in the mud of depressing emotions. I confided to a friend and I was advised to thoroughly assess my situation in writing, but I have to do it with full honesty. This is because there are times we are not being honest with ourselves because we don’t want to face the ugliness of our situation. We’d rather feel sad and depressed than face our darkest realities.

So I wrote down on a journal all the things that are bothering me that time. At first I felt uneasy. I really don’t know how to begin. Yet, clinging to the “rule” that I must be honest, things started to unfold. As I write down all my angst and my pain, my fear and doubts and all my questions, slowly my pain subsides.

It was not magical, but spiritual. God has been with me as I unload my emotions. It was more like a prayer sans the pretension and formalities. It was a heartbreaking moment with me and my Creator only that the heartbreaking part was also a healing session.

At first I was afraid to write down all my pain and questions, especially my angst, thinking that it is too unchristian to harbor such bitterness in the presence of the Almighty. But then I was reminded, God knows the depths of my heart whether or not I present my case before Him. He is not offended by our honesty. There is no amount of mess that can overwhelm Him.

The ugly reality

Now that I am on the same situation again, I tried to search within me. Why am I sad? Why am I too anxious over things I can’t even understand? Why am I constantly telling myself again that it is not my season? Here are the things that I have discovered. And perhaps, in one way or another, these are true to your situation too. Brace yourself!

  • I have been putting extra burden on myself with an unhealthy view of people around me. Instead of celebrating their victories, I tend to look on them with envy and bitterness. I hate to admit I often think of myself as ‘can-do-all’ person, and whenever I realize that I cannot and others step up for my incapacity, I sulk.
  • I try to catch up with other people’s pace. I want to prove myself. I still have episodes when I regret over my past mistakes and rehearse what should have happened if I pursued the path other than what I am taking right now. I think of my “what ifs” and wonder how it would be different from now.
  • I have also been harboring discouragement over what’s happening with my life and ministry lately. It seems that I no longer can deliver well compared before. My mind wanders; I am often worried about how time runs too fast and I can’t cope up. The weight of all the tasks I have carelessly accepted before are all dawning on me now.
  • I feel too incapacitated to help others, as I myself am drained of words to encourage them. Though before I felt like I was called to be an encourager to people who are in pain, now it seems like I am kicked off the encouragement department.
  • I know the importance of rest, but I often take rest days to catch up with things I cannot do when I am at work. This is no rest at all, but just a diversion from the usual routine, yet same amount of activity. No wonder I still feel tired even after weekends.
  • I lie to myself. I convince myself that I am still alright when in fact I am not just bruised but broken. And when people care less about me because they look at me as strong, I become upset. Sometimes, I feel pretentious, but I can’t help myself being such.
  • You may add your own self-assessment of your situation. Be brutally honest. It would be painful, but it would be great experience, promise!

A testimony

You may believe me or not, but honestly as I am writing this, I felt a bit relieved. My problems did not magically disappear but at least, the heaviness somewhat wore off. This is actually different from how I write blogs before, but it pays to do something different once in a while.

Perhaps the period where we are right now, if you are emotionally wounded like me, is a testament that in a Christian’s life, not all the time is bliss. This is life telling us that as Jesus faced difficult times while on earth, we should not expect less. However, the encouragement at the end of the day is to “take heart, I [Jesus] have overcome the world”. While we may face day to day realities of anxiety and unexplainable sadness, Jesus got us covered with love and grace. We are not forgotten, we are not forsaken. At least this truth is more than a consolation and a soothing balm for our wounded soul. This truth is our hope.

If you are reading this and we happen to be on the same boat, join me in praying that joy may overtake us very soon. Keep the faith aflame!

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Rhetorical Questions

If you are in the midst of trouble right now, always remember: God wants you to depend on Him.

When I first entered Children’s Ministry, I thought it is very easy. I thought I just have to learn how to keep children from roaming around whenever classes are going on, giving them pieces of paper to draw their favorite Bible characters or scenarios, make them listen to their teacher, listening to their (sometimes) silly stories, etc. Pero mali pala. Children’s Ministry is not just about playing with children nor keeping them in an area where they could not disturb others. Children’s Ministry, just like others, is meant to transform lives — not just the children themselves, but their families and communities as well. Nakapanghihinayang nga lang kasi natutunan ko ang prinsipyong ito after so many frustrations (at hanggang ngayon, hindi pa rin ako tinatantanan ng mga ito!)

Marami-rami na rin akong pinagdaanan with regards to Children’s Ministry, and I almost broke out. Madalas kong tinatanong sa sarili ko kung worthy nga ba ako sa gawaing ito. The work is too noble for me, and I have a lot of doubts reagrding my competence. Maraming experiences na ang pinagdaanan ko sa naturang gawain. And most of these experieces, hindi ko malilimutan yung mga painful, yung mga frustrating. And these experiences gave birth to my questions:

Why does God allow His workers fell neglected?

Why does God alllow HIs workers suffer nights with tears?

Though I prayed hard about the task God gave me, why does it end a failure? (Of course in my own perspective)

Why is it a life dedicated to His service is full of struggles? Isn’t that God promised an abundant and happy life?

Why is it that some people have no appreciation, nor didn’t even recognize my efforts in the ministry? (Wala lang, nakakapanghina lang kasi kung hindi ka pinapansin di ba? But I don’t have bitterness within me, I’m just asking…)

At ang pinakahuli at pinakaimportante kong tanong sa lahat:

Is a dedicated heart enough to continue serving through ministry?

Well, with all these questions in mind, I’ve realized how foolish and childish am I with regards to knowledge about God. Para ko na ring sinabi na hindi God si God. Para na rin pala akong nag-deny na may pinaniniwalaan akong Diyos.

These questions in my mind are but rhetorical. “Napakagaling ni Lord!”, I told myself. Ako na rin mismo ang sumagot sa sarili kong mga tanong. Then I remembered a very familiar story. One that I often relate with my students nang maging teacher na ako sa Children’s Ministry — the story of JOB.

God wants me to endure tears, pain and anguish, not because He just wants me to, but rather because He wants me to see how wonderful and awesome His love is.

Kung si Job nga, inspite of his righteousness, was allowed by God to suffer nights with tears, pain and anguish, ako pa kaya? Who am I compared with Job? Pero sa kabila ng lahat ng paghihirap niya, he received the crown of his perseverance sa piling ni Lord. Likewise, God wants me to endure tears, pain and anguish, not because He just wants me to, but rather because He wants me to see how wonderful and awesome His love is. Truly, His ways are so incomprehensible, and His works, ah! AWESOME…

“And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
how faint the whisper we hear of him!
Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”
Job 26: 14

Essence: If you are in the midst of trouble right now, always remember: God wants you to depend on Him. Kung wala kang trouble, you would probably tell yourself: “I do not need God!” But thanks be to God, because He wants us to depend on Him.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5: 7