Family · God · Life · Relationships

You weren’t before, but you are now.

In my defense

I think this is the first time that I will be blogging to defend myself.

I blog to remember. I blog to share. Very rarely do I blog about my vulnerabilities, but I still do, because the ultimate mandate of my blog is to show people that even with my mistakes and weaknesses, God is glorified.

I never thought I’d come to a point where I have to blog to explain myself.

I have been occupied with a lot of things lately, mostly with work and school. I have always wanted to explain myself regarding this particular area but the drive to get this over with wasn’t that strong. Because if it were, I would’ve probably finished this the minute I realized that I needed to do this. The demands of work and school shouldn’t have been an excuse, because I had lots of idle times (in a jeepney, while walking, etc) which I didn’t really utilize (unlike before, much of the writings here in this blog were products of my idle times). Probably because I just know that this will require me to admit (again) that I am vulnerable and capable of weakness, and I didn’t like that, which is why I stalled.

But I just know that I need to do this.

I hate explaining, but I will do my best to explain, because the receiving end of this explanation is worth it. You will get my point at the end of this post.

Not a skeptic

I wouldn’t describe myself as a radical skeptic, but there are certain things that I find worth questioning.

For example, I don’t believe that bacon is the best thing in the world. Those who think otherwise have never experienced the goodness that is found in cheese (but if they have indeed tasted cheese already, yet they remain unimpressed, I think there might be something wrong with their heads).

The continuous increase in the number of people who are still engrossed with AlDub is something I still don’t understand.

It baffles me why there are those who find dancing in a crowd full of sweaty people fun. It confuses me even more why they’d prefer dancing to Tiesto on speakers in full volume on a rainy night over a soft bed, a nice cup of tea, and a good book.

And, as a necessary prelude to my defense statement, I have always been wary about people wanting to be friends with me.

Okay, maybe a skeptic

I am an overthinker. And I am gullible.

I tend to be boring to most. (But a few select people find me bearable. Buti nalang!)

I also hate not knowing, so if it’s possible to know the reason/s behind a person’s actions or why a situation happened, you bet you’d find me probing into any piece of information I have that will help me reach a conclusion, and eventually, satisfy my desire of finally knowing why.

And, okay, to make this easier, I’ll now start admitting that maybe I actually am a skeptic. And most of the time, I tend to be suspicious of why people choose to talk to me or to befriend me.

I’m known to many people as an introvert, a person who generally hates being in a crowd. Although I cringe at the sight of many people, I am capable of talking to and hanging out with selected people .

These are only few of the reasons why it blows my mind that there are actually people who want to be friends with me. I wouldn’t even want to be friends with me. (Although, I need you to spare me your “Oh stop it! You are awesome!” attempts to make me think otherwise. I’m not fishing for compliments. I am fully aware that I can be the most boring person you will ever meet if I’m not comfortable with you. So I really won’t believe you if you tell me that I’m not. So save it. Haha.)

But, apparently, there are people crazy enough to want to be friends with me. Most of them are ladies.

It is necessary for me to establish the above truths first before I formally start explaining why I find it difficult to befriend guys.

What is it with me and XYs?

I’d understand your distrustful outlook with guys if you only had sisters. But you have 2 brothers!

Me: Easy. My brothers had a 23-year headstart. And it’s not like they have a choice. Whether they like it or not, they need to put up with me.

It is easy for you to remain friends with your highschool friends and it has been 6 years since you left highschool. And you find them awesome! How is that possible?

Me: They wouldn’t be using the word “easy” to describe their friendship with me. I am probably one of the most difficult people they have ever gotten the misfortune to handle. But you’re right, I have awesome brothers in my HS friends. Although it took them more than 10 years to realize that they are actually capable of loving an annoying brat like me.

Those are just 2 of the many questions people would throw at me regarding my preference to keep my circle of friends guy-free. Some valid, some utterly judgmental, some pointless. But they all have one thing in common: They all have forced me to think about why the opposite sex makes me want to roll my eyes on a regular basis.

In my limited interaction with guys, I found some interesting generalizations. Now before you guys stage a “Down with Charmaine!” protest against me, I want to emphasize that these are just generalizations which may or may not be factual. These are only based on my modest observations (which are, again, very limited because hello, I couldn’t even last an hour alone with a guy other than my 2 brothers). –> Or could I? 🙂 (Isaiah 43:18)

  • I found guys to be less patient than girls. (Proven untrue by my Kuya, who is one of the most patient people I know. Wait okay, so  Kuya’s not counted? Let me get back to you, then.)
  • Guys almost always have a hidden agenda in befriending girls who are way out of their circles. (Again, hasty generalization. Pls don’t kill me.)
  • In my (sometimes unfair and unforgiving) opinion, guys only talk to girls for 3 reasons: 1) They think you’re pretty/they like you; 2) They think your sister/friend is pretty and; 3) They need to know where they can get the readings for next week/when the deadline for your paper in class is.

Basically, I have hints of skepticism in me and only few people have managed (or were allowed) to penetrate the wall I’ve carefully constructed. And not many of them are guys. Either I don’t allow them to, or they give up too easily (I can be very masungit if I’m really uncomfortable around you). It’s usually the former.

A lot has changed since I became a Christian in 2007. I’ve had well-meaning kuyas who rebuke my stubbornness by patiently explaining to me why I need to have guy friends. But I only understood their point recently. It has been 3 years since I’ve loosened up my game face. Although I can humbly say that by God’s grace, I am improving.

What have I learned so far?

Sometimes I still don’t see the point of being friends with guys.

But the men God has so wisely placed in my life keep disproving the qualms of the skeptic in me.

Let me start my conclusion by admitting this: This isn’t really my defense statement. Not anymore.

At least that’s what I think now. I initially wanted this post to be the supplementary argument to my “In my defense” plea.

But in the process of writing this, I realized that I really have been stalling for quite some time now. I have this tendency of asking questions about stuff so I’d know more about stuff. But if the questions are about me, I’d always be quick to deviate.

I hate questions about me, because these would force me to really think about how to explain the answer I have arrived at to people who may not be as patient as my God and my family. God knows that in my heart, I never really abandoned my love for astronomy. My family understands why I have acquired a distaste for meat. My friends are aware that I’m not really interested in politics despite having obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science.

But to explain all these to another person who I haven’t known for years? To explain all these to a person whose level of patience is different from my family’s and old friends’? To explain all these without being judged? To explain all these (while wide-eyed and excited) to a person, only to find out that your explanation isn’t worth his/her time after all?

These are what makes it difficult for me to explain.

This is what a friend is

I want to define what a friend is for me, but this is getting too long already and I can feel my laziness kicking in. To compensate, let me just leave these here:

I believe you are a friend when you do not force me to change my eating habits. (I’m a vegetarian, please don’t flaunt that grilled steak in front of me or things might get ugly)

I believe you are a friend when you see the importance of being away from each other at times. (I appreciate it when we spend time, but there will be times that we need to back off of each other, and that should be okay.)

I believe you are a friend when you allow yourself to be used by God to show me that although I am a work in progress, His grace is sufficient.

I believe you are a friend when you remind me of who God is and who He can be in our lives.

I believe you are a friend when you value the same things I value.

I believe you are a friend when we are unafraid to disagree with each other. (This means that we are not afraid to challenge each other’s ideas, leading eventually to educating the other and showing the other person what he or she might have missed.)

I believe you are a friend when you do not let my stubbornness pass. 

I believe you are a friend when you do not tolerate my sins.

I believe you are a friend when I am the second person (the first Person would be?) you talk to when there’s something wrong with me, or when I did or said something wrong. (Be it something between my front teeth, a harsh comment on a situation, or an unfair treatment to another person. Please inform me if I’m wrong.)

I believe you are a friend when you let me do for you the items preceding this.

Finally, I believe that you are a friend when, despite my idiosyncrasies, you choose to stay with me, because instead of seeing Charmaine, you see God’s love and redemption transforming a seemingly hopeless case. And because that is such a beautiful thing to see, that in itself draws you near. (Bonus na lang yung realization na medyo interesting din pala ako hehe).

So to conclude this already long text, let me end with this:

You are worth explaining to, and I’m sorry I made you think you weren’t.

Yes, you are my friend. You weren’t before, but you are now.

God · Life · Relationships

To you, my love

For the past months, I’ve seen a lot of people ignore what the wise teacher has cautioned us to remember in Ecclesiastes 3 (“There is a time for everything…”). I’ve seen people set aside the gravity found in the warning of Song of Songs 2:7. I’ve seen people pour out themselves to another person while forgetting the importance of seasons, thereby dishonoring the respective seasons God has intended for them. And it breaks my heart to be able to witness such painful sight when people would choose to ignore the glaring signs that God has already placed.

So for everyone who finds it difficult to let go, to get back up, and to start becoming whole again, let me help you begin.

My hope is that although we will never find it easy to succumb to God’s discipline, we will rest on the fact that because God is a loving Father who works for the good of those who love Him, we can never go wrong when we say Yes to Him.

So, feel free to use the template below as you start your process of letting go and letting God. First step, of course, must be to admit that more than your heart being broken, you have broken the heart of your First Love. Only then will you be able to mean every word in this letter below. Make this very personal. It’ll probably do you good if you keep a box of tissue by your side as you write your own version, just in case. 🙂

Finally, may you be reminded that grace is sufficient. When God sees your desire to honor Him, well, let’s just say you can never be prepared on what he will do in and through you.

 

Dear my love,

(I’ve probably pounded the backspace key a few hundred times before I finally settled with the first line of this letter.)

I am still in love with you.

Or in love with the feeling of being in love. Or in love with what used to be. Or in love with the memories. Or in love with the idea of what could have been.

Sheepishly, I am acknowledging that yes, still is the word.

I seem to have forgotten what “I love you” means since I think I have been using it loosely lately. Because if I knew myself, I wouldn’t be loving something which (or someone who) isn’t sold out to dedicate its (or his) life so that I’d get to be the person God wants me to be. I wouldn’t be pouring out all my effort to something which (or someone who) isn’t committed to remind me of who my First Love is and should be. So, the only sensible recourse is to let go. But, I wasn’t sensible. I still am not, so I decided to stall. I stalled because the thought of letting you go scares me for two reasons:

  1. I have gotten used to having you around. If I let you go, what will be left of and with me?
  2. If to let you go is option 1, the alternative option presented to me is supposedly better, but it’s going to hurt. And, who wants to be hurt, right?

I’m ashamed to admit that if I was asked to let you go 2 years ago, I would’ve immediately said “YES!”. But now, I am seriously having a hard time. I didn’t expect it to be this difficult, but it is, and now I’m being dragged by the severity of the consequences.

I don’t want to be healed just because I want to get even. I don’t want to move on just because I see that you’re not even going through what I’m going through right now. I don’t want to use the numerous times that I’ve been hurt by you to be my motivation in forgetting you. The best motivation should be God.

Because God is better. Because God can love more. Because God, compared to anything and anyone, will always outweigh anything and anyone. I want to forget you. I need to forget you. For good.

Because to forget you is what’s wise. To forget you is what’s going to please my God. To forget you is what will spare me from further damage. To forget you is to be reminded that I am and will always be complete when I am most satisfied in Him. To forget you is to remember that there exists True unconditional Love that I desperately need, and that can only be provided by One Person. I need to remember things that are more worthy so I can forget things that shouldn’t even have been occupying my mind in the first place. This is also because I know that my memory sucks, but for some reason, it annoyingly works perfectly when thoughts involve you. So I should forget you, so I can remember more.

I need to forget you so I can remember God’s love more. I need to forget you so I can remember more often the times that He has saved me when I couldn’t save myself. I need to forget you so I can remember my identity in Christ more. I need to forget you so I can remember that I wasn’t saved to waste my time experimenting in my season.

Or if God and I have been feeling very brave lately, I can just boldly say, “I don’t need to forget. I’m victorious anyway!”. But I’m not brave. Not yet. So I’m okay with forgetting for now. But one day, I know that I can do better than forget. Because in the same way that God has been victorious over death, He can enable me to be victorious over this.

My love, I am still in love with you. I still wonder how my life would be if I choose you over anything and anyone else. I get this feeling in my tummy as my mind flirts with the idea of you staying with me. There are even times that I’d find myself longing to hear you call me “my love” again.

But I need to stop. I need to stop loving you.

Because if I don’t…

… if I keep on loving to hear your voice, I’d keep missing the still and gentle voice of my Father.

… if I keep longing to reside in your heart, I’d keep breaking the beautiful heart of the Lover of my soul.

… if I keep wanting your hand gripping mine, I’d keep shunning away the hand of my Savior.

… if I keep my emotions get the better of me, I’d keep depriving God of His well-deserved right to rule over my life that He died for.

You have been and still are driving me crazy, day and night. But this has got to stop.

 

Love,

Me