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.

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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!

Pagod ka na ba?

“Napagtagumpayan ko na ito dati, ngayon pa ba ako susuko?”

We all have felt tired and downcast at times. Probably ngayon yung moment na yun para sayo. Season ito marahil na gusto mo nang isuko ang mga bagay na pinaghirapan mo mula noong una. Doubts may have crept upon and you begin to question your calling. Gusto mo nang umayaw.

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However there’s a voice telling you to remain strong, that help is on the way. Minsan pa, pinipilit mong kumapit sa pananampalatayang “napagtagumpayan ko na ito dati, ngayon pa ba ako susuko?” Totoo naman, kung babalikan mo naman ang naging spiritual walk mo, hindi naman nagkulang ang Panginoon; hindi ka naman iniwan o pinabayaan.

In times like these, we often run frantically searching for answers. Gusto natin madaliang solusyon sa kalungkutan, sa spiritual exhaustion and drought na nararanasan natin. Sa mga ganitong panahon na tayo’y nakakaramdam na tila pagod ka na at wala nang pag-asa, I would like to share a few insights on how to fight your battle kahit na wounded ka na. Hindi ito formula guaranteed to get you through but it might help you greatly just as it helped me and many others.

Be silent before the Lord.

To be silent means to not speak. Pero minsan, this may mean to just free your mind from all your worries. Hindi ka nga nagsasalita pero sa isip mo ang daming mga alalahanin ang naglalaro. What if ganito, what if ganyan? Yung tipong kapag binigyan ng microphone ang isip mo hindi ito matatapos nang kakasalita. Start with silence. Oftentimes, much of our worries come from the unnecessary noise around us, at dun tayo napapagod. So begin with shutting your mouth and your mind for a moment and let the noise of the world just die within your thoughts. Forget about your deadlines for a while. Kalimutan mo muna lahat ng problema mo nang sandali. You will be amazed how relaxing this will be.

Wait upon the Lord.

Ayaw natin na naghihintay. We want quick-fixes sa ating mga problema. Kung kulang, we want to be filled agad-agad. Waiting is a waste of time para sa atin. We selfishly thrive on instant gratification. Pero si Lord, hindi lang ang “bunga” ang concern Niya, He cares as well sa process. May mga pagkakataon na maaari namang tugunin ni Lord ang mga panalangin natin agad in His power pero He waits for the “kairos” time para sa lahat. Waiting is a virtue that develops our faith. Our faith is tested and strengthened when we have to wait for something for a longer time. Kaya we need to wait upon Him. As you remain silent before Him, wait upon Him. Wag kang mainip kung pakiramdam mo napakatagal – while you are waiting patiently upon Him, He is actually intently looking after you.

Listen unto the Lord.

Madalas kapag nananalangin tayo, we do much of the talking ‘di ba? Lord, pahingi po ng ganito, sana po ganyan… This time practice the lost art of listening. Listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit within you. However, you can only listen intently kapag silent ka before the Lord. Sabi nga ng librong nabasa ko, we can hardly hold on to what we never hear. So paano mo maiintindihan ang sinasabi ng Panginoon kung hindi ka naman talaga makikinig? Listen, and let Him do the talking.

God has already laid down His message to us in the Bible and yet God is never limited in His ways to communicate with His children, only we need to intently listen.

God speaks. Masyado lang kasi tayong masalita kaya hindi natin Siya madalas naririnig. You will be amazed sa mga paraan Niya kung paanong sumagot: through nature, through a song, through a memory na pinaalala Niya sayo, through a verse na nabasa mo sa Bible, or even through a person who just uttered something na naka-encourage sayo. This is of course not to be mistaken as over-spiritualizing things. God has already laid down His message to us in the Bible and yet God is never limited in His ways to communicate with His children, only we need to intently listen. Always confirm whatever you hear from Him in the context of His written Word.

Take rest in the Lord.

Nakakita ka na ba ng isang baby na natutulog? Di ba ang peaceful niyang tignan? Lalo na kung pinaghehele siya ng kanyang ama o ina, sobrang relaxing ng scenario. Imagine yourself to be a baby, at ang Panginoon ang iyong Ama na naghehele sayo. Will you be need anything, knowing that the Creator of heavens and earth carries you in His arms? Whatever message you have received in the Lord as you wait upon Him, take rest in that message. Panghawakan mo. Make it THE source of your strength. Ang sabi nga sa Psalms, God is an ever-present help in times of trouble. Kahit kapaguran man yan o pag-aalala, He is always present to give help. Find rest in Him and let Him fight your battles.

I would like to share a very familiar passage which has strengthened me just recently:

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

Find strength in the Lord. He is waiting for you, and is always ready to receive you. May you find rest and strength for your soul now, dear reader!

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