illusions, passions

Coming Full Circle


It’s 2017. It’s been 12 years since I started this blog and 4 years after I took a leave. Though the hiatus was long, I want to come clean by saying that  I didn’t really stop blogging. Within the last four years, I have created numerous blogs dabbling in fashion, relationships, dream projects, prose and poetry, and even Internet memes all in an attempt to find my own special place under the sun.

I took to the books and did what I was told–find your niche. The books say further that to do so, I must have an attractive platform with an engaging interface, and though I must say that I have managed some visually appealing blogs, none of them was met with success.

expectation

In hindsight, I must admit that I wrote for the wrong reasons. What topics are trending? Will my post meet SEO requirements? I posted lengthy content, but my heart was not in it.

Cyril Conolly was right when he said, “It is better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self.”

And so I’m back where I started. If you ever stumble across this blog and are diligent enough to scour through 12 years’ worth of post, forgive me for inconsistencies. Old posts are all in the past now, and just like the people who write them, ideas and opinion change although a part of their hearts remain the same.

I’m done meeting expectations. I’m tired of bending backwards to please an audience. Now I’m just writing for myself.

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illusions, passions

gonegaga is STILL in the city


Photo credit: godsgracefulness.com

I thought that in the next couple of months, I would have to create a new blog with the address gonegagainanothercity.wordpress.com. So when I finally got the much-awaited news last Saturday, my heart should have fallen. It should have been broken from the fall. None of this happened at all, and it’s God’s grace I must give this credit to.

I am still. I am still standing.

… stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:58

I’ve felt the tugging and the stretching within my heart within the last month before the final result of my application was out, but I had purposely pushed it aside, not wanting any “double-mindedness” as I stepped out in faith. Receiving the news was sad and disappointing, of course, because I really invested emotionally and spiritually in that dream. However, I was amazed that my reaction was only to shrug my shoulder twice and smiled (I videotaped it, in case you were wondering) even though it was a door closing. Right now, I still don’t understand it. God had placed that desire in me. I committed my plan to the Lord. I believed. I obeyed. I persevered. But you see, things don’t have to make sense. God is sovereign, and I choose to put my trust in Him alone. Was it a door closed for a season, and I just acted on my faith in the wrong time? Was it a door closed, and God’s telling me “I’m taking you there through a different door”? I DON’T KNOW. And there’s peace in knowing that I DON”T HAVE TO KNOW. As long as it’s God closing the door. If I had understood everything, then believing will not be an act of faith but just an investment. Because walking with the Lord requires faith… trust… and courage especially when God doesn’t make sense.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

So, looks like you’re stuck with me for a while, Roxas City. 🙂

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passions

I have built my ark


“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land–a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills.” ~ Deuteronomy 8:7

In early January, I listened to a message by Bishop TD Jakes called “This is Your Year to See The Vision.” I was encouraged by what he said: What you visualize will materialize in this season.
I have grown more intimate with God in the last couple of months, and I’m gradually beginning to understand what it means when they say that sometimes, you need to have the faith of a fool: to speak of rain in a season of drought, to talk about abundance in a period of lack, and to build an ark when the idea of flooding was still unheard of.
I built my ark six months ago, and in the last 40 days, have been floating  over the sea of decision-making, hoping, needing, and at times (more times than I’m prepared to admit), even confusion and doubt. Like Noah, I am now down to seven days, awaiting my dove with a freshly plucked olive leaf, or more aptly, a hibiscus flower in its beak.
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passions

Finding “suitable”


In my HR classes, I remind students that while recruitment means “finding the best candidates and encouraging them to apply for a job in your company,” selection has to be about “choosing–not the best applicant–but the most SUITABLE.” Why? The candidate who graduated with honors from a prestigious university may not even like the job or the organizational culture enough to stay. One poor hiring decision can cost the company an amount equivalent to 30% of an employee’s first-year earnings (Hacker 1997). What if you had to make a hundred poor choices? Are you willing to take that much risk?

Enough with the corporate talk. I know that’s not what you came here for. Still reeling from the aftershock of the Love Month activities, I have found that many young people, students especially, are so consumed by the idea that “Yes, I want to wait for God’s Best, but how do I know it’s him/her when I finally meet him/her?”

I wish so badly to be able to give them a precise answer, but well, I don’t have the authority to say, “He/She will be wearing a purple halo, and the moment you two meet, the halo will start flashing wildly, and the sky will open up to reveal the words ‘This is he/she.'”

As a single Christian woman, I have learned that a choice between someone who shares my love for God and someone who doesn’t should be an easy one. However, if you had to be shipwrecked into an island inhabited only by single Christian men, all having the same degree of passion for God (Sister, I know what you’re thinking. I have no idea where that place is. Or if such place exists. LOL), finding suitable would be equivalent to this: looking NOT for a needle in a haystack, but for that one special strand of hay in the haystack.

Sorry to disappoint, but really, I DON’T KNOW. What I do know is this: If you’re looking for just “someone,” you’ll get “anyone.”  Don’t go around looking for a husband like you’re shopping for a dress, saying, “I’ll know him when I see him.” Probably, if you had asked me about how I would know who God’s Best is for me, I’d be better-qualified to answer, because then, it would go back to my standards, which are just between me and God. Not even my best-est friends know. If you are a Kapamilya who’s into watching  Walang Hanggan, then maybe you can relate. (Remember when Katarina divulged the “signs” that she was looking for to Yaya Pearl, and Nathan fulfilled all these… without her knowing that her brother Tomas had overheard and communicated all these to Nathan?) What’s the point of setting standards when you’re leaving even a slight chance for someone (or even yourself) to manipulate these in order to accommodate someone who’s not right for you? Please don’t get me wrong. People dear to us mean well, and usually they’re the ones who worry too much about our being single (especially for us women) that they want to set us up with someone who they think is right for us, but sometimes, they’re not helping at all.

The Bible says,

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” – Genesis 2:18

Women, note that it says that we are wired to be “a helper suitable for him.” I’ve recently learned that its original Hebrew expression is ezer kenego, and the phrase “suitable for him” is neged, which literally translates to “answering to him.” As “a helper answering to” God’s Best For You, you are “suitable” when you complement–and are accountable to–each other. You balance and help each other out when your strong points can fill in the areas that he’s weak at, and vice versa.

I remember a preaching from T.D. Jakes wherein he said, “You shouldn’t say ‘I do’ when you don’t even know who ‘I’ is.” I believe this 101%. Some women rush into relationships, because they don’t want to be alone with themselves. Instead of fixating on “who God’s Best is” and “when he will show up,” why don’t we date ourselves first and find out, “Do I like ‘me’?”

More importantly, the surest way of finding Suitable is deepening the intimacy and closeness between yourself and God. After all, when we say “God’s Best,” it’s like when you listen to a playlist of your favorite band’s songs, point to one particular track, and say, “Ah, this is their best.” You know it’s their best, because you know the band so well, you know all the songs’ lyrics by heart. Don’t focus too much on your reward, but on the Rewarder. The deeper your relationship is with Him, the more sensitive you become to his voice when He finally says, “Daughter, siya na (it IS he).”

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passions, psychobabble

Productively Yours


Statistics say that the average person spends 45-62 minutes of each day waiting for something. That’s about 4.2% of the average lifespan. Right now, you may be waiting for a document to download, for your turn to use the bathroom, for a ride to arrive, or for the right person to come along. According to a study on the psychology of waiting, emotions normally dominate the process. The way we feel affects our attitude about the wait. The more unpleasant the experience seems for you, the more frustrating and the longer the waiting period seems. And that’s the reason why Eldar, the Enchanted Kingdom wizard, has a job. Time filled with something else, other than the realization that you’re waiting, gives us the perception of a shorter, quicker wait. Holding your place at the amusement park queue is one thing; now, waiting for a person, a.k.a. God’s Best, to come into your life is another story.

I wonder, how would a new concept of time change our culture of waiting? After all, waiting is a function of time. At the risk of sounding too naive, I will say what I know to be true: God’s timing is always perfect. He’s never a minute too early or too late. In Ecclesiastes 3:1, it says,

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

It clearly says that there is a right time for every single thing. As for love, it is written,

Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. – Song of Songs 2:7

This means that until it is God’s appointed time, we are not to force the issue or attempt to speed up the process. In my own walk with the Lord, I have come to learn that there are FOUR MAIN REASONS WHY GOD DOES NOT GIVE US WHAT WE WANT WHEN WE WANT IT:

  1. An area of sin. It’s either there is an area of sin in our lives that He wants us to address first or what we are asking for AT THIS TIME may cause us to stumble in our own walk with God. This leads us to the issue of
  2. Unpreparedness. Sometimes, we are asking for something we’re not yet ready for. For instance, some of us single women in the church may be praying for a husband when our actions show we’re not really ready to be a wife.
  3. God is using the waiting season to mold our character. One of my favorite Scriptures tells me that “the testing of your faith develops perseverance (James 1:3).” In the same way, as we wait for God’s Best,  we gain wisdom and patience along the way, and these are essential for playing the role of a godly wife or husband.
  4. It’s not His will for us. This is the part where you leave my blog. LOL. Kidding aside, it may not be what you want to hear, er, read about, but too often, we want to be with someone who is not even God’s Second Best.

No matter how far along we are in our waiting season, we are given a model of the right attitude to keep in James 5:7-9:

See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains… Be patient and stand firm… Don’t grumble…

In the meantime, here’s HOW TO BE PRODUCTIVE AS WE WAIT:

  1. Get closer to God. The closer we get to the Author of the Greatest Love Story Ever Told, the clearer the direction will be. He is your heart’s Designer, and He certainly knows how it works best. As He knows your innermost desires, you can be sure that He will never give you someone you will want to get rid of.
  2. Rethink your motives. Why are you in a hurry to get into a relationship? Or to get married? If you’re just looking for a savior, know that you’ve already got One. If you want a way out of a lonely, dreary life, well, newsflash… There are married people who are lonely, because they ended up rushing into marriage with the wrong persons.
  3. Guard against getting “corned beef” heart. I remember the lines to the Bachelor Girl song “Buses and Trains”: So I walked under a busI got hit by a train/Keep falling in love/Which is kinda the same/I’ve sunk out at sea/Crashed my car, gone insane/And it felt so good/I wanna do it again. Enough said. Even if you survive, you bring excess baggage from the experiences that will burden your God-destined spouse someday.
  4. Prepare for the role. For single ladies, it’s time to perfect your sinigang or maybe steak and potatoes. For more info, refer to Proverbs 31: 10-31, please. This blog entry is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long. Yes, even for me.

A final Word of encouragement:

Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. – Romans 8:25

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illusions, passions

My So-called Valentines


Manong Guard was smiling mischievously as he headed toward my desk.

 

“Ma’am, may nagpapabigay po. Ayaw pasabi kung sino.” (Ma’am, these are for you. The sender doesn’t want to say who it’s from.)

 

Flowers and cake. Cheesy, huh? Oh, but I remember how my heart and mind went on a marathon then, as if racing against each other. It reminded me so much of the time I received my first bouquet of roses from a three-year crush way back when iPads were science fiction.

 

Once the guard turned on his heels and walked away, I started to run down my mental list of desirable suspects.

 

My 5110 sounded the infamous ossicular-damaging “Special” Nokia alert tone. 1 message received:

 

“Did you get them? Hehehe.”

 

It was my little sister. Enough for my romantic-comedy-inspired ideas. No wonder Manong Guard was looking so amused. He knew my little sister who was still in college at the time. She went all the way to my office down south and back to the UP Diliman campus just so I could save face on Valentine’s Day.

 

The night before, in the apartment that we used to share in Makati, I was ranting and rambling on and on about how much pressure V-day is. How there was so much expectation placed on single girls to receive Valentines. (In hindsight, I can say now that the demands on girls in relationships is even heavier—the longer you are in a relationship, the more expensive and more “romantic” people anticipate your Valentine’s Day to be. Also, there is as much pressure on men, except that they can actually do something about it.)

 

“Absent na lang kaya ako?” (What if I just skip work tomorrow?) I asked rhetorically, as I was not as creative back then in dodging remarks, such as “I think this next one is yours. Mukhang mahal eh,” (‘cause it looks expensive). That a coworker would say as a delivery boy from the florist walks in, followed immediately by a disappointed “Oooh” after a pot of stargazer lilies glides proudly past me, stamens held high.

 

I realized that my sister took it upon herself to spare me from a situation which seemed to me then was a matter of… death and death.

 

It was déjà vu. When I was in college, my roommates and I, all single at the time, had been swapping stories about girls serenaded in classrooms by their boyfriends’ frat neophytes or being proposed to via messages spread over the Sunken Garden. Not wanting to feel too left out, we hatched an ingenious plan: Valentine’s Day Manito Manita (Christmas exchange of gifts, Filipino-style). Voila! Everybody gets flowers. Our wish list indicated what kind and color flowers we’d like to receive.

 

Fast forward to 2012… I am not expecting flowers this year. Rest assured, I haven’t turned into a heart-piñata-bashing, V-day-hating person. I have learned to be content and to have a genuine appreciation for the diverse ways we choose to express love, in and out of season.

 

Love, I have come to realize, is a choice. It’s a decision that you make, and the extent to which you stand by that decision is only as strong as the value that you place on it in your life. 1 Corinthians 13 says,

 

“Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking…”

 

I remember my past Valentines with fondness, and I smile, no, guffaw at the elaborate schemes I have crafted in the past to simulate to perfection how the day should be spent or evaded. It had always been about me. I had forgotten that a relationship is an equation, a statement consisting of two different expressions but of the same value.

 

To the man that God had intended for me to spend a lifetime’s worth of Valentine’s Days with, whoever and wherever you are, praise God for being generous with His wisdom. I’ve come to understand that we don’t have to speak exactly the same language of love. What matters is that we both are willing to speak the love language that each of us understands.

 

There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand:

how an eagle glides through the sky,

how a snake slithers on a rock,

how a ship navigates the ocean,

how a man loves a woman. (Proverbs 30: 18-19)

 

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illusions, passions, psychobabble

Shoes, love, neurosis


So I went shoe-shopping today, and I never thought I’d say this but God, I hate shopping! I mean, I hate shopping by myself! Not that it looked like Satan decided to do a general cleaning and emptied hell out into the mall. In fact, I believe I saw my first Christmas miracle today… there weren’t any queues. It’s just that shopping brings out my neuroses.

Now this is what I call killer shoes! (Photo from madaboutshoes.org)

In an old post called “From near misses to Mrs.”, I once wrote that finding and keeping Mr. Right is like shopping: If you don’t know what kind of shoes you’re looking for, you’ll come home either empty-handed or worse, with the wrong pair of shoes. I couldn’t have been more right. Here’s what happened:

  • Love at first site. – I know I’m always saying “Never take the first bus that comes along…” but today, I almost didn’t practice what I preach. I didn’t feel like moving around so much that I wanted to grab the first pair of foxy shoes I could get my hands on and take the first bus, er, trike that comes along. I know God’s working on my (im)patience–and He’s decided to do overtime work–but oftentimes, I’m in so much rush to get to the next item on my to-do list, to do my own thing, that I refuse to acknowledge there may be something better in store. Um, yes, I think I’m still talking about shoes.
  • De-feet-ing the purpose. – I saw this gorgeous and comfy (I can hardly believe I’m writing both adjectives in a sentence about shoes) pair of flats at the mall, and I did what a church friend suggested I should. I lay my hand on the pair, making sure my palm completely covers the price tag for fear that I would chicken out once I see the cost, and whispered “You’re mine… in Jesus’ name.” It was my size, too, but I realized “Whoops! I’m here to buy shoes for a formal event, and my flats, no matter how attractive, will be inappropriate. Unfortunately.” So I had to return it to its rightful place–back on the display shelf, where it can be seen by the next girl who’s out there in search of flats. Gorgeous flats. “Never take the first bus that comes along, especially if it’s not going where you’re going,” I keep repeating to my gal pals. Sometimes, even if it hurts, you have to get off the bus once you realize it’s not headed to your stop.
  • Perfect shoes, wrong dress. – In the end, I found the perfect shoes… one that doesn’t make me look like a hobbit on stilts. The moment I slipped my foot into it was a very Cinderella moment. The color was right. Even the fit was perfect. And then it happened… I realized it doesn’t go well with the dress I was out to buy shoes for. So, perfect doesn’t mean “right.” You have to figure out what you’ve got, so you’ll know what will go well with it and what won’t. Nah, I’m not so sure I’m talking about shoes. I told you, shoe shopping alone brings out my neuroses.

So I guess you know I came home empty-handed, and uh, yeah, I’ll live. Don’t you just hate it when you’re left with not much choice? Maybe I should just move to another city.

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