Advent

This may be the first Christmas season where I can hardly feel the spirit. Normally, I would be up to my ears buying gifts, preparing for parties, and all that at this time…but this year, I’m not. I haven’t shopped for any gifts at all, I missed thre nights of Simbang Gabi, and inside I’m really just counting down to the holiday break, because gosh darn it, I really need this break.

It seems like in the past weeks, all I’ve been doing was waiting. Waiting for the weekend, waiting for the time I can go home, waiting for a meeting, waiting for an event, waiting for the holiday break, waiting for things to end. As if all those waiting wasn’t enough, now I’m waiting even some more to hear some feedback for some important things, which has kept me very, very antsy in the past days, so much that there has been a heavy feeling in my heart that I have been fighting off if I want to get things done.

I’m not really a stranger to waiting. Romantically, I have been waiting for a huge chunk of my life, and I am still waiting. I wait a lot in lines in banks, or tricycle terminals, and all that. I should be used to that, but whenever I am faced with a new kind of waiting, it seems like I do not know how wait again. I want things to happen my way, and I want them now. If not now, then as soon as possible.

I kind of hate that it has to happen now, when it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.

But then again, liturgically speaking, it’s not the Christmas season yet. We’re still smack in the middle of Advent. And Advent means a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the coming of Jesus. Yes, it is joyful, but it is more of a joyful expectation, where the coming of our Savior is so close but at the same time, it feels so far.

And so we wait.

And wait.

And it’s so frustrating.

Sometimes I get so caught up with all my worries and I don’t sit still, and I worry so much. I lost count at how many times I repeated this to myself: Stop worrying. You already prayed for it, and God has heard you.

But like I said, sometimes I want some things so much, and I want them now.

Be patient, my good friend, previous manager, and sort-of mentor told me the other day when I talked to him about what was happening to me recently. I was thisclose to panicking, and I was feeling so pressured and so scared that I wouldn’t get what I want. But he calmed my fears and repeated:  Be firm, be nice, be humble, and be patient. It will all work out fine.

What did I write last year? With God, no waiting is ever wasted.

This may be God’s way of letting me understand what Advent really means, and to prepare me for Christmas in a whole new way.

And so I wait.

I ask for the grace to sit still, and for the courage to be patient. Jesus is on His way, and everything will work out fine. God has always been faithful, and He will be faithful, and I believe He has heard my prayer and He will only give me what is best.

So I wait.

ขอบคุณ กรุงเทพฯ!

My first international trip was about 10 years ago, before my dad went to Saipan for work. We set off to Bangkok, Thailand that summer before junior year in college, which was a lot of firsts that I unfortunately wasn’t able to document. I never got to blog about it in my old blogs because I didn’t know what to say, nor what to write about, partly because there was a time that I was a bit of a brat back then. :P

But I remember one time while we were there, I told my dad that I wanted to go back, and that I wanted to travel more and he said that it’s a good place to visit with friends. I remember planning a trip mentally with my college friends but that never materialized, and Bangkok didn’t become a priority destination for me…

…until some book club friends brought up the topic of an Indochina backpacking trip. And of course I said yes.

So last October, after lots of planning, booking hotels, and grabbing really cheap airfares for a trip, some book club friends and I set off to our first international trip together, to Bangkok, Thailand (and later, Siem Reap, Cambodia). I was excited, mostly because of the company and the idea of traveling again before the year ends. I was excited about the place, but it has been so long since I was last there that I could hardly remember anything, except that I knew I wanted to eat everywhere instead of restaurants, because I didn’t get a chance to do that on my first time.

Sawasdee-kha, Bangkok!

Batch 1: All sleepy and eye-baggy, but ready to go to Bangkok! (Delayed flight, boo!)
Batch 1: All sleepy and eye-baggy, but ready to go to Bangkok!

Continue reading ขอบคุณ กรุงเทพฯ!

Things I Forget

Sometime around last week, I started to feel this tiny little worry because my word for 2015 hasn’t found me yet.

Delight, my 2014 word found me perhaps a little around this time last year, but it felt a little obvious given everything that happened in 2013. Courage, my 2013 word found me sometime in December, I think, but I think I knew it before I finally acknowledged that word (because I was scared of it). And now, we’re about 5 weeks away from 2015, and I was coming up with nothing and I was worried.

But then there was no room for worry because the last few weeks at work were very tough ones – as in really tough – and a part of me wonders why these things had to happen on the year when I said I’d be joyful, and not on the year when I said I’d be courageous. I am supposed to be done with having to live courage all over again — it’s the year of joy, joy, joy. Why am I wrestling with fear again?

I know, I know – joy is a kind of courage, it’s not just happiness, and courage is a choice, blah, blah, blah. I know that. Except knowing and living it out are two different things and there was a huge part of me in the past few weeks that keep on resisting to what I was doing, and what I should do, and there’s this loud part of me that just wants to quit. Because it’s hard. Because it’s not fun. Because I don’t think I can do this. Because I don’t want this. Because I didn’t ask for this.

I’m trying to recall where all the guts I had from last year went. I called myself brave last year because I did things I never thought I could do. Did they disappear when I decided to take delight this year? I hope not. Or maybe I wasn’t really brave then, but you know, faking it the entire time? I hope not, too.

I remember something I learned when I started working for my current company, about how we get called to certain levels of faith. When we reach a certain point, we get to start from zero again not because we’re back to square one, but because we’re at a new level, and we need to level up with the faith points. Or joy points. Or courage points. Those kinds of things. While I was reflecting and listening to the community events I attended this weekend, I realized that maybe I am at a new level of courage, and that is why I am scared out of my wits.

Over the weekend, though, I learned that courage isn’t really what drives away fear. Which makes sense, because I always thought brave people are people full of fear who still decide to go for it, anyway. What I completely forgot – because I let my fears ruled me in the last two, three weeks – is this: love drives away fear.

How could I forget that? Perfect love. Okay, sure, my love isn’t perfect, but I am loved by a perfect God…so why am I so afraid? I know I am capable of love…so again, why am I so afraid?

It’s so simple, but I know it’s going to be hard, too, especially since I tend to fall away and worry and lately I seem to be so overwhelmed with so many things. I forget so easily, and I get distracted by so many things, and before we know it, I am back to the worrying and wanting to get out…and then today I was reminded of two things (among others):

Surrender control. Seek His will.

You see, it’s really not about what I want. It has never been that. It’s always been what God wants, what His will is. I know that I will find His will in my deepest desires, but I will only know what those deep desires if I seek His will. And part of seeking His will is surrendering all of my control. The more I try to control, the more frustrated I will get, and the more fearful I will become.

I forget so easily.

I’ve been restless in the past days because everything felt hard, so hard, and all I wanted to do was quit. But earlier today, as the people in the Catchfire 2014 conference sang Refiner’s Fire, and I leaned onto my dad, I started to cry because I realized what I forgot: my heart’s one desire is to be holy, set apart for you my Master, ready to do Your will.

I forget so easily.

It’s Monday again tomorrow, and I am already bracing myself for another tough week. God never promised that it will be easy, but He promised that He will never ever leave us. He will never ever leave me. Hasn’t He been faithful all my life – why would He be less faithful now?

Here’s to a victorious week ahead. :) Pray with me?

Oh my strength, I will sing Thy praises!
Thou o Lord are a shield to me!
Oh my King, though the battle rages,
I look with victory on my enemies.
Praise you Lord, mighty King of Zion! ♥

m4s0n501

take delight

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