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! ♥

Passing Time

I feel like I’m running out of time.

It’s not like my clocks are set to run faster than anyone else’s. Or that I live in the future, or the past, or whatever. As far as I know, I still live in the same time dimension as everyone else.

But I still feel like I’m running out of time, all the time.

Have you ever felt that way? Like days just pass by, and soon they’re weeks, and then months, and before you know it, the year is over. And you feel like the days pass by without leaving a mark, and sometimes I can’t even remember what happened at a certain time – as in I have a hard time recalling what I did last Tuesday, or last Saturday.

I hate it the most on weekends – when all of sudden, the weekend is ending, and I’m back to the daily grind. I feel sad because it’s another week, and it feels like everything’s the same even if in reality, it’s not. I mean, my job is anything but routinary. Or perhaps it’s not about the routine, but how things just seem so endless, and sometimes, pointless.

Thinking about all of that – how endless and pointless it all seems – makes me exhausted, to the point that I just want to stop, and stay in bed. The most I was excited about was doing nothing, and when faced with commitments outside, I get stressed out because again, I feel like I’m always running out of time. Like there isn’t enough time for me to do the things I need to do for my commitments…

…and yet I still have time to sleep in, to read, to lounge around and do things. I have time to do that, while finishing the things I said I finished.

Then I go through it all again, and I’m just tired, and all I want to do is sleep and rest.

But then there are those commitments.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I swear, this must be where personal crisis comes from.

Time stops for no one.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel this way, and I keep on pointing it to how I am still settling into my new role at work. But it’s not just that, isn’t it? I mean, work is work, and it can be endless, but it’s not always the reason why I feel these things. Perhaps it’s because I’m back to managing our household, and I’m not so used to doing it again (even if I should be, especially since I do it every year anyway). Things are changing and changing and I am so out of my comfort zone, and I feel like I cannot keep up, and sometimes I panic and I want to yell STOP, because I need time to orient myself.

At first I thought that I am afraid of running out of time, but really, I’m afraid of running out of time for myself. That’s the thing with being so used to having time for myself in the past years – I feel like I’m entitled to it, even when I should be spending a better part of my day working. The reality is, I am not running out of time for myself – it would only happen if I let it, and I always have a choice. No matter how busy or crazy things get, I still have a choice. I forget that sometimes. I need to draw clearer lines, build better boundaries and respect them. And I need to remember that things do end, even if they seem so endless when I’m in the midst of it. They always end (even if it means something else starts right after).

I think the thing I need to do is to make time for the things that matter to me. I need to figure out what they are, and fight to have time for it. I am not a slave to my circumstances, and like I said: I always have a choice. So I need to make a choice to make time for the people and the things that give me joy. I need to resist the urge to lie down and do nothing, avoid sleeping in so I can wake up earlier and have time to do something that I want to do. There is a time for rest, yes, and I recognize and honor that, but more than half the time I say I am tired and I need rest, it’s just me being lazy. I need to distinguish which is which, so I know when to surrender to rest, and to fight the laziness.

I need to carve time for these important things, because if I don’t, then no one will.

Stop hitting the panic button.

I need to learn to be still. I need to remember that all of this in my life is just a period, and there’s infinitely more things that will happen later on. This is just a drop in the ocean, and it’s really not worth panicking over.

Relax, self. It’s okay, it’s all good. You are not running out of time.

After all, I serve and love a God who is the Author of Time, and He loves me back. What am I so afraid of?

Lost in Transition

So I open my laptop today, after using it last night, and found myself staring at the stats of the Facebook page that I now handle for work. Then I thought, Cut it out, Tina. It’s Saturday.

This day a month ago was a Wednesday, and it was my first day at my new role at work. I wanted to blog about it, but things got really busy with our SFC Christian Life Program and then the Japan trip and then the transition at work that I couldn’t find the time, and now it’s just a month later that I am finally telling myself to sit down and write if I care for my sanity at all.

So hello, there, random blog readers. I missed writing. I missed a lot of things that I used to do before I jumped into this new role, namely slacking off. Or, I mean, doing all the other things I do. But yeah, slacking off, too, I guess. ^^

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t hate this at all. It’s a tad bit stressful, because many of the things I do are new to me and I’m scared of messing up and I like being in control but everything’s so unpredictable sometimes that I just want to scream in frustration, and that kind of makes it feel like I hate it. But I don’t. When things go right – and most of the times, they do – I feel very happy. And I like being challenged. It’s just when things happen fast and I have to deal with the stuff I need to do, then I remember all the free time I had before this, I feel like maybe I shouldn’t have agreed to this, that I shouldn’t have jumped.

But will I even be really happy if I didn’t jump? Won’t I regret knowing that I didn’t take this chance, simply because I didn’t want to be stressed?

So these are most of the thoughts that come into my mind in the past month. I tell myself to quit worrying, that it’s just work, and you don’t have to bring it home. Of course there are times when I had to take phone calls when I’m already out of the office, but it’s okay because I learn a lot about it. And it teaches me about necessary sacrifices. And it keeps me on my toes.

Some days, though, I just feel so tired.

“Of course you feel that way. You’re still in transition.”

One office friend told me that, when we happen to go into the office at the same time and I told her about this. She also told me, “The Lord is so good, He’s always watching over you.” And it was Truth. Because I really did pray for this, for change, for something new, and I knew for a fact that this was His plan that unfolded before my eyes. It’s just that I had this wrong expectation that when God’s plan unfolds before me, it will all be smooth sailing.

But hasn’t last year taught me that it’s not? Hasn’t my year of being brave told me that if anything, when God’s plan happens, it will always, always require me to hold on to Him a little more tighter?

Sometimes I think I expect too much of myself. Wait, scratch that – I do expect a lot from myself. I’m so scared of messing up sometimes, of disappointing the people, that I worry about everything to the nth power. But all of this is new to me, and different, and no one expects me to get it all right at at once – the one who expects that is just myself…and I shouldn’t listen to that. And I tell myself, over and over again, not to worry, because it’s useless, and don’t I know the One who has power over everything, and He’s got me? He’s always got me.

Funny how that could easily get lost in all the rush of the day.

In a way, I see this as a perfect exercise to choose joy, to take delight. Because again: Joy and delight are not happy feelings; they are choices to let love win. They are the choice to trust that love triumphant. Sometimes I don’t know what this love is, and then I remember that I know who Love is, and it’s God, and being joyful means trusting that God is always victorious. Always.

So this is what’s happening lately – transition.

Will you pray with me about this? :)