God · Life · Relationships

I write because You exist

Michael Faudet and his troll of a one-liner

Nice going, Faudet.

I write because you exist.

Isn’t it embarrassing to admit that the second you finished reading this sentence, you only thought of just one person. And at that very moment, his/her name personified the “you” of this one-liner, and you hated it?

You hated it because you get reminded of why you’d rather write about something and someone more valuable (in every season), but instead, you’re stuck with writing about this very thing or person you’d rather not write about. And you hate it ’cause you can’t help it.

I may or may not have felt the same thing.

Regardless of how much this relates to me, I’d like to establish that this does happen, and may in fact be happening right now among the people you know.

What to do in this situation, then?

First, admit to God what you feel.

If this made you forsake your First Love, acknowledge that for some time, you have allowed yourself to drift away from God. Repent.

Ask God to remind you again of the victory He has made possible because of what He has done.

Then humbly ask why this had to happen.

If you do not get an answer, rest on the fact that God remains sovereign.

Declare that it is possible to be okay again, even though you do not know how long it will take for you to heal.

Believe that God sees your desire to get back up again, for Him to be your First Love again, and He will honor that.

To everyone who has been feeling hopeless with their (lack of) improvement, a huge chunk of this post will attempt to help us how to respond in a way that is hopefully pleasing to the Lover of our soul. Feel free to use it as your template as you write your own version. 🙂

 

Because you exist

I write because you exist.

I write because you made me feel things.

I write because you made me believe in things.
I write because you made me listen to songs I didn’t imagine I’d be listening to. (I think Taylor Swift’s Back to December is our song. Maroon 5’s Just a Feeling became my anthem. It’s impossible for me not to think about you when Spotify teases me with The Script’s Nothing.)

I write because you made me laugh at jokes I find corny.

I write because you made me appreciate the mundane things that I usually take for granted.

I write because you have convinced me that I have a way with choosing the people I share my life with me.

I write because you left me feeling proud that I am involved with you.

But writing about and because of you is too exhausting already.

I’d resort to writing when I see you, but can’t (or choose not to) talk to you.

I’d resort to writing when I remember you and everything that has happened.

I’d resort to writing when I’d learn about how well you were doing (and the fact that I didn’t get to contribute at all to how well you’re doing).

Eventually, I have come to realize that these are all just my selfishness getting the better of me. Because…why does it always have to be anybody’s fault but mine?

Now, I resolve to stop channeling all my efforts into something that will not contribute to being the best version of myself. I am a huge advocate of time and effort spent wisely. But lately, I keep blaming other things and other people for everything crappy that has happened to me. And so I write.

Most especially because of you.

I claim that I write because this, and that.

But in the process, I forget that ultimately, I write because I am.

I write because I am a writer. A writer with the skills to communicate how awesome it has been to be able to have the privilege of knowing Jesus. A writer who has a way with words that relay comfort for the saddest, love for the most unloved, refreshment for the stressed, assurance for the worried. A writer who has been written about, 2000 years ago, by the Greatest Writer Himself.

And the puny writer’s narratives about this Greatest Writer are nothing compared to the Writer’s narratives, both written and unwritten.

And yet the puny writer continues to write about unnecessary things and people. Pity.

 

I write because I am

Recently, I have been putting so much effort into writing about something and someone unnecessary that I forgot why I have been called to write in the first place.

So now, I resolve to write because I am. By God’s sufficient grace, I will write because He has called me to write.

To write about God’s love, despite my being unworthy to be loved.

To write about God’s strength, despite my weaknesses and limitations.

To write about God’s acceptance, despite all the reasons to reject me.

To write about God’s salvation, despite my hopeless situation.

To write about God’s mercy, despite the punishments I should be convicted of.

To write about God’s sovereignty, despite this crazy, wicked world.

To write about God’s redemption, despite how ugly I have become.

To write about who God is, when that’s the last thing I’d want to do.

Here we go.

 

Because You exist

I wrote because I am weak.

I wrote because I get tired easily.

I wrote because my limitations overpower me.

But now, I will write because You are strong and able.

I wrote because I compared myself to others.

I wrote because I can never be like him.

I wrote because I can never be like her.

But now, I will write because You are my security.

I wrote because I’d fall short.

I wrote because I unnecessarily do too much.

I wrote because I’d get frustrated at how long it has been taking me to become functional again.

But now, I will write because You remind me that I am Your work in progress.

I wrote because I tend to harbor unforgiveness.

I wrote because I still nurse the bitterness caused by everything that has happened.

But I have been forgiven much, and I seldom forget that.

So now, by God’s grace, I will write because I have been forgiven much (and those who have been forgiven much, forgive much).

I wrote because I loved and was loved.

I wrote because I eventually got confused about what love means.

I wrote because I felt like I lost a lot because this “love” messed up.

So now, I will write because You are the definition of Love.

I wrote because he said “I love you”.

I wrote because I responded with an “I love you too”.

But our I love you’s have eventually wrecked us both.

So now, I will write because Your “I love you” has always been enough.

I wrote because I have been broken.

I wrote because I broke people.

I wrote because I wanted to get even.

But now, I will write because You heal and You restore.

I have been writing about how I can’t do it, how I have been broken, how I felt unloved, how I got rejected,

My, how foolish of me to forget that You can do it, You restore the broken, You love the unloved, You accept the rejected.

 

Now, I want to write because You exist.

I want to write simply because You exist.

Not because of some other reason.

Not because of some other person.

I want to write because of who You are.

I will write because of who You are.

And who You are is worth writing about.

Family · God · Life · Relationships

Why I won’t say I love you on National ILY Day

National “I love you” day

If not for the countless I love you’s in my news feed, I would’ve missed that today is NATIONAL ‘I LOVE YOU’ DAY!!!!

My, how am I this forgetful!! One of the most important days ever and my memory fails me again!

Just kidding, I don’t really care if it’s National ILY day today or not. In my mind, I find the idea rubbish. I mean, why does it really have to take the calendar (or the pressure of their Facebook news feed) to force people to say I love you?

Although, maybe it might not be that rubbish at all. Because now, I am finally coerced — or encouraged to finish this post that I’ve written months ago.

Here you go.

You are “Pwede na”

Pwede na.

This is a recurring joke that after you graduate, you are “pwede na”.

Meaning, “not quite, but more or less acceptable”. For the purpose of this post, I will be referring to the term “pwede na” to mean a person who is already widely accepted to start considering entering into a relationship.

People who have transitioned from being a student to being a college graduate (and eventually, a young professional) will understand this. When other people refer to them as “pwede na”, they definitely understand what that entails. Coincidentally, I fit the the description of “pwede na”, if it means having graduated 2 years ago and applying everything I’ve learned from school in the workplace now (which, as petty as it may sound, signifies the end of my season as a student).

Being someone who has been constantly referred to as “pwede na”, I can personally say that this comes with discomfort. For one, I’ve never really been a fan of unnecessary labels such as “pwede na” because I don’t see the point. I don’t think it’s pressuring or degrading, I just don’t see why said label has to exist. Maybe you think otherwise, maybe you think I’m too uptight, and you may enlighten me on this but for the record, this is something I’m very confused about, so please bear with me.

Lately, I’ve discovered something interesting.

I found out that people actually assume that I am knowledgeable when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex. They’d tend to ask my opinions about crushes, dating, and relationships. It’s not really something that I ask to know more about. And I have no clue on where they got the idea that I am Ms. Know-it-All when it comes to dating and relationships.

I don’t know if it comes with age, but people seem to think that because I’m “pwede na”, it’s perfectly okay for them to tell me who their crushes are. Or maybe because they treat me as their older sister already. It’s probably the latter. But the bottomline is, at times, I won’t even care, unless you have a crush on my siblings or my friends, then we may have a problem. (Ok, working on that. Being more compassionate — ongoing)

This is the usual scenario. Guy likes a certain girl. But because he doesn’t want to “awaken love until it so desires”, because he want to “guard” his heart, he decides to settle with just being “friends” with girl. He thinks, “I text my friends, so I’ll text Girl”. He justifies, “Girl is my friend. I better make sure she has eaten her dinner already”.

For one, I know that there’s nothing wrong with being friends with the opposite sex. If you’re a guy and you see the need to be friends with a girl, the Bible will not explicitly tell you that you’re sinning against God.

But, I mean, are you kidding me?

Do not awaken love until it so desires

Just a disclaimer, I do not claim to be an expert on love and relationships. In fact, I believe that I am quite the opposite. The following insights are just based on my very limited knowledge on the subject and is very reflective of my personality and behavior when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex. Hence, expect that what will follow are musings of a novice, so to speak.

Do not awaken love until it so desires. 

You can bet that this verse will always find its way in every discussion about love and relationships.  And interestingly, this has also been continuously repeated all across the book of Song of Songs.

Honestly, I have probably read Song of Songs completely only for a few times, not because I find it uninteresting, but because I would usually feel uncomfortable reading it.

But in the very few times that I’ve read Song of Songs, I realized that I’ve always liked this particular verse mainly for this reason: IT IS DIRECT TO THE POINT.

Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up,
    until the time is ripe—and you’re ready (Song of Songs 2:7, MSG)

[Do] not stir up or awaken love
    until it pleases (Song of Songs 2:7, ESV)

…not to awaken love until the time is right. (Song of Songs 2:7, NLT)

 

To be clear, this is not to say that I hate going on an adventure with God as I dive into what a certain verse really means. But verses like the one I cited above, verses that cut to the core because of its utter straightforwardness, verses like that really excite me!

Ok, sometimes they don’t, especially when those verses are supposed to tear down my pride. But generally, as much as I fancy studying “cryptic” verses, I also do enjoy unambiguous verses.

Your thought process are transitioning from “Hhhmmmm” to “What in the world is this girl talking about?!”. Please bear with me.

Maybe it will be better if we see it this way.

I see Song of Songs 2:7 as a caution, an all-or-nothing motion. Do not awaken love until God desires. Do not awaken the created if the Creator doesn’t want for it to be awakened yet. Do not disturb what is supposed to be sleeping.

Basically, respect what God has established. In simple terms, BACK OFF.

Ultimately, it will still boil down to who God is. And who He is is LOVE. Without God displaying to us what love is about, we will never even understand it in the first place.

 

Champion of Song of Songs 2:7

Before (or, okay fine, even at present), I would think that I have mastered Song of Songs 2:7 already.

My arrogant self would always remind God of how “flawless” I am and if there were a “Song of Songs 2:7 Awards Night”, I would’ve probably bagged 23 awards, one for every year of my existence. I even thought of suggesting to the world’s most prestigious dictionary-drafting bodies to include my name as synonymous to purity. And I have actually been invited to speak at various seminars to talk about guarding-of-heart.

Okay I made those last two up. But seeing that I was able to write those lines means that my (sometimes, okay, most-of-the-time) crooked mind is capable of coming up with such awful thoughts. And of course, because God is such a loving Father, He didn’t let my arrogance and cockiness pass. I was making ugly what he originally intended to be beautiful and naturally, He had to remove it from me.

I remember a conversation with one of my older brothers about the thought of a guy informing me of his intention to court me. And little did I know, I was in for one of the most pride-shattering rebukes I’ve ever had in my life.

 

Kuya R: Is there some dude I should be worried about? (Of course, being the big brother that he is, he has to ask this of his sister who just recently graduated from college)

Me: Of course, there isn’t! → notice that hint of cockiness. Go figure.

Kuya R: What if, right now, this certain someone whom you like decides to lay down his intentions of pursuing you?

Me: That’s impossible, kuya! I’m sure he’s not financially stable yet.

Kuya: No! If he’s already willing to lay down his life for you the way Jesus did, you bet he’s already ready.

Looking back, I now realize how dumb my answer was. But, okay, in my defense, I knew it really wasn’t just about financial stability, and my kuya understood that. Of course, I know that he is aware that I am a smart (although self-proclaimed) young lady who knows that being rich isn’t everything, and that a variety of (more important) factors should be considered too.

(Ladies, think of a man who is rich but is still annoyingly immature and selfish. Men, think of a “Miss Independent” woman who walks like a boss and talks like a boss but is a spoiled brat and a constant nagger at the same time? Cringe-worthy, right?)

(Okay, I know. There is that arrogance that is becoming evident again as I defend myself. So I’m gonna stop here and continue on with my point.)

Basically, I know that my Kuya has given me the benefit of the doubt, that in no way am I that shallow to think of financial stability as the sole factor in determining a spouse. But he also saw where I was going with my far from impressive answer, hence the need to shoot said answer with this rebuke: “He is ready when, by God’s grace, he understands what it means to lay down his life for you, the way Jesus did”.

Boom.

I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t think of it that way. I used to think that it’s all about acquiring desirable values and rejecting horrible characteristics. I used to be convinced that if a person is already at this decent level of maturity, then he’s okay. Hindi pala ganun. I realized that, if I pursued that kind of logic and used these reasons as my basis, I’d probably be doomed.

But by God’s grace, I’m beginning to understand that ultimately, when someone is already willing to lay down his life for another person, everything else follows. When someone already understands what it means to be Christ-like and actually possesses a genuine desire to become just like Jesus, then he/she probably understands what the implications of a laid down life are.

Again, I am not an expert at this, and I probably don’t know what I’m talking about, so correct me if I’m wrong.

But this is what I think:

Laying down your life for someone means recognizing the other person’s worth and putting the other person’s needs over yours. (And addressing the other person’s needs is a delight rather than a burden)

Laying down your life for someone means being the person who will remind the other person of God’s love, faithfulness, and goodness every day. (And not ever getting tired of reminding, especially when the other person forgets.)

Laying down your life for someone means focusing all your energy into helping the other person become the person God wants him/her to be. (And choosing to be used by God in any way possible just so the other person gets to fulfill the calling that God has for him/her)

Laying down your life for someone means acknowledging the fact that only by Jesus can he/she be complete, and if it means dying to yourself so the other person can live out the plans God has for him/her, you’d willingly step aside.

I heard from one mentor, “My husband will always be number 2 next to God. And he is very much okay with that, because that is how it’s supposed to be”. And I agree.

Very much like what Jesus did, setting the standard on how to lay down one’s life by dying on the Cross for our sins because it meant being with us forever, making possible what we can never accomplish on our own: eternal life with Him.

He decided to lay down His life for me 2000 years ago, even if He knew that it would still take me 14 years of existence before I finally understand His love and say Yes to a life with Him.

This is why, I think, Jesus is and will always be the perfect example of how pursuing should be.

Plus pogi points for you, man!

To the man God has prepared for me, please know that whoever you are, I am convinced that you are the most awesome man I will ever have the pleasure of meeting.

Because although you haven’t really deployed your strategies of wooing me yet, you already are garnering pogi points from me this early. How do you even do that! Haha!

I know that because God is wise, He wouldn’t allow you to make a decision to pursue me when God clearly doesn’t want love between us to be awakened yet. Although, if you still managed to pull off a decision which eill eventually turn out to be stupid, I am thankful that God is a gracious and merciful God who will enable you to get back on track if you let Him (after painful, painful rebuking….so please, let’s think twice before disobeying God.). And, when you have allowed God to strip you off of your pride, I know that you will eventually figure out the right response. Finally, I just know that when God asks you, “Do you love Maine?” and you answer with “I will lay down my life for her”, you know what you are talking about. Of course, you can expect that everything I just said that is addressed to you will be applicable to me too. 🙂

It seems that you understand Song of Songs 2:7 quite clearly, and I know that that is only possible because of God’s wisdom.

So for that, I am grateful.

Thank you, for choosing not to pursue me yet. (because, maybe, you understand that the “pwede na” of other people doesn’t necessarily mean an “okay, go ahead” for God.)

Thank you, for understanding that “until it so desires” means so much more than finally receiving your diploma or landing a job after graduation or finally getting your beard to grow handsomely. That it means so much more than securing financial stability. That it means so much more than being able to go past the “youth” phase. That it means so much more than being able to finally attend events for singles. That it means so much more than learning how to drive a car.

Thank you, because you know better. 🙂

Thank you for loving God so much, that you are trusting Him when He tells you that He knows when the right time is to awaken love. You trust Him, because He authored love in the first place.

Finally, thank you for your desire to honor the current season God has placed the both of us in.

My prayer is that every day, we will always be convinced that because God, the author of the most wonderful love story ever written, is the same writer of our love story, we will delight in Him now and even more when we finally figure out that we are made for each other. 🙂

No “I love you” on National ILY Day

I recently had a conversation with my brother (who is seeing someone special right now) about how I am in awe of the people around me who are currently in a relationship.

I admitted to him that with the current state of my heart right now, I am not yet ready to say I love you, even though I see its tempting advantages.

I’ve seen how an “I love you” can turn an intense fight to an exchange of sweet messages. I’ve seen how an “I love you” drastically heals anxiety and stress. I’ve seen how an “I love you” can silence the nagger. I’ve seen how an “I love you” can make a singko less painful. I’ve seen how an “I love you” can make everything better.

But tragically, I’ve also seen how an I love you can eventually destroy a relationship, especially if those involved do not know what they are talking about in the first place.

This is probably why I am choosing not to say I love you, even though admittedly, there were situations that called for the release of these three heavy words.

Because the love that is genuine and eternal is the kind that is patient, is kind, is not proud, does not boast, is not arrogant or rude, does not insist on its own way, is not irritable or resentful, does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

This is the love that we all need, the life-laying kind. The kind that Jesus has shown years and years ago and continues to show until now.

And I am not ready to offer this kind of love to a man, and eventually say Yes to a lifetime with him. At least not yet.

I’m not yet ready to tell someone that by God’s grace, I will love him in the way Jesus loves him, while walking hand in hand as we do life together. Because at my present state, I still can’t reconcile how that is possible.

Until then, I choose to save my I love you. I will choose to refuse to say I love you today, on National ‘I love you’ Day, up until the day when I finally understand what it really means. You should too. Because if we don’t, if we keep using “I love you” loosely, it’s going to mess us up tremendously.