The Year of the Brave

At the stroke of midnight on 2013, I posted this on my different social media accounts: Happy new year everyone! 2013 is the year of the brave!

One of my online friends asked me, What do you mean by “year of the brave”? Well, friend, here’s your answer.

In 2012, I decided to choose a word for my year in hopes of battling my quarter-life emptiness that hit me a few days into the year. I chose a word because I was honestly grasping at straws, and I want my life to point to some kind of direction. I chose love not because I was desperate to have a word, any word — in fact, I had a lot of choices, but it was love that jumped out at me and I stuck to it, and tried to live it out. They say a word is a powerful thing and it can change a lot. Perhaps they were right, because when I look back at 2012, I think it was filled with love, coming from expected and unexpected places. And like I said in my recap post, I think 2012 was the year where I learned so much about love (and trust, and heart, and all that).

When December rolled around, I started thinking of a word that I will claim for 2013. I was toying on the word trust, because I also learned so much about it in 2012, so why not just take that and run away with it, right?

But there was another word that kept poking at me, that kept dancing around the edges, stepping across the line and looking at me boldly, as if daring me to declare it as my word. I resisted at first. To be brutally honest, I was scared of that word. It was an ironic reaction, given that the word is essentially the opposite of being scared, but I. Was. Scared. Absolutely terrified.

I was letting my fears get ahead of me. But at the same time, I felt that I could not deny the hold that the word had on me. After everything that happened in 2012, after all the lessons I learned, I felt that I would be cheating myself if I chose another word. I felt that I would be taking the easy way out, and I didn’t want that. 2012 was a good year, and I felt that 2013 will be a good one, too. But I have to stand up and claim it. I have to be intentional about it.

So with a pounding heart and shaky knees and the air full of smoke from all the fireworks, I stood up on December 31, and declared: 2013 is the year of the brave.

My word for 2013 is COURAGE.

2013: Courage


“Courage, it’s me. Do not be afraid.”

Also known as: Seeing God in the rain

I know I said I’d blog more, but I didn’t. But now I am, so yay!

Last week, we experienced another one of those super heavy rains that was caused indirectly by a typhoon, directly by an increasingly weird weather system here in the country because of global warming (so they say). It was the second time that it happened in this rainy season, but the difference this time around was I was still at home when the deluge of rain hit. I also just recovered from a 48-hour bug that rendered me sleeping all weekend and a mother of all headaches caused by an ear infection. As if that wasn’t enough, I was also worried about all the things I need to prepare for my upcoming pilgrimage, and being stuck at home for another day is not really the best way I see myself preparing.

So naturally, I was semi-freaking out that Tuesday because of so many things. Funny how I always freak out before settling down for my daily prayers. Of course, the Gospel just had something for me that day:

As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.

Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.

But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

(Matthew 14:22-27)

Stress on this, please?

 But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

It’s funny how often I forget that even the rains come from God. And even if it is a deluge of rains or caused by global warming, or brought by a typhoon, it is still from Him, and He is infinitely more powerful than any of that. And even in all that hardship and destruction and wet feet and commuting pains, God is in all of that. And because of that, there really is no reason to be afraid.

Taking a step further, if God is all-knowing, all-seeing and just basically in control of everything, then I can imagine Him saying that to me all the time, in every uncertainty in life: Courage, it’s Me. Don’t be afraid.

Like last week, when I’m having all these weird sick feeling after recovering from the weekend, and I know I can’t be sick because I’m flying to Europe soon. I’m scared and worried. Courage, it’s Me. Don’t be afraid.

Or when I am worried with the things I’m leaving for my two-week trip. I don’t know how to handle everything. Courage, it’s Me. Don’t be afraid.

Or when I am faced with the possibility of something BIG, something I have never encountered in my quarter-life existence, a possibility of something I’ve been praying for for the longest time, but the very thought of it scares me silly that I just want to run and hide. Courage, it’s Me. Do not be afraid.

So why should I be afraid when everywhere I turn, there is God? And no matter how bad everything is, no matter how undesirable the circumstance, and even if it is a good and new and exciting thing, He assures me that He is in every little thing that surrounds me, and because of that, I have no reason to fear? God is bigger and stronger and more powerful than anything else in this world, and yet He chooses to comfort  me and remind me that it is Him and there is no reason to be afraid — I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel loved and humbled at the same time.

Take heart. It’s Him. Do not be afraid. :)

Pero enseguida Jesús les dijo: “Tengan ánimo, soy Yo; no teman.” (Mateo 14:27, nblh)