Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘character’

Perfection From Imperfection

Imperfection irritates most of us. I’m sure, all of us have come to a point wondering why we’re imperfect, wishing we got the qualities that others have. But I believe there is a purpose to our imperfection.

It has been said that there are dangers to being perfect. It can make us arrogant, as if don’t need God and man. I’m sure you’d expect me to say that we are made imperfect so we would depend on God. Yes, that’s true. But more than that, I believe that in our imperfection, we are also taught to love others, as well.

I learned this in our prayer group, whom I always stay with every weekends. It’s not a perfect group, each of us have qualities that the other wouldn’t like. There are times that we would be offended to one another. But together we grew, and through each other, there are some qualities in our characters that have been sharpened or filled. When one needs help, like a prayer request or advice, the other would share a piece of wisdom that may be of help. Sometimes, a constructive criticism or rebuke can awaken us from flaws that we have. A word of encouragement brightens a part of ourselves that could be wearied. It’s like that some of us have a missing puzzle piece that only that other can fill.

I have heard of church fights and church splits so many times and the reason that I could hear is due to out of offense of their leaders or other churchmates. There are no perfect churches. Each of us is a broken jar. When we cast aside our bitterness and pride, we can see the value of each other and help mending the character of each other. Though we may be right at one point and the party that offended us are wrong, rebellion is a sign of pride. Instead of reacting in bitterness, why not pray for that person’s welfare? I believe, each of us needs to be covered in prayer, and it can uphold the character of the person we pray for and molds us to love others dispite of the offense done to us.

Never question God why we are made imperfect. In everything, there is a reason that only He understands. In time, we will know how this imperfection molds us to become better in love, humility, and righteousness.

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Rush to Comfort

Fridays. They’re always action packed. In order to get a bus ride home, I am forced to become a Lara Croft running around EDSA. If it is not as freaky as that, then it’s not a Friday.

IMG_0829[1] I would have this theory that it goes this way because people can’t wait to go home. My other theory is mall sale, which usually does not happen occasionally. So, I’d stick with my first theory. Every Friday, especially in rush hour, commuters fill the roadsides, even the no loading/unloading areas. A lot of those cars and buses move side by side slowly on the road. In Manila, commuters are willing to crowd and stand in a bus for two hours.

People are always in a rush. I wonder what causes us to race against one IMG_0832[1]another to get to a bus. A good seat? A ride home? I’m one of those guilty. I remember how I recalled a zombie scene in Resident Evil 4 when the ladies flocked and almost stuck themselves at the door of an MRT train that paused to give a ride. That was when there was no queue system yet. It was freaky. Like zombies, we can’t wait to rush in and gobble that good seat.

Come to think of it, what are we running after? After all, all of us will get a chance to ride or to sit. If our goal is to go home, we will go home. There are buses until late at night. A lot of reasons maybe, like not wasting time. We’re excited, I understand. But competing with another just for that ride is even more freaky. We’re too impatient to get a good ride. We have lost this sense of patience.

My mom, the calmest person in the world, would always tell me  to wait. This irritates me. But when we do, we still get to our destination. No reason to rush, she would remind me, unless it’s really urgent. Let me rephrase it, if there’s no urgent reason to go, then don’t rush.

We all get to where we need to go. Rush and impatience had been in our system for a long time. Can we blame the lagging system of transportation for this? I don’t think so. I guess, we all need to relearn how to be patient again. Besides, it keeps us away from road dangers. In the end, we all go home.

 

Work Refines Character

This is the rush hour season. It’s worst than cramming for your high school exams. You get loads of deadlines after deadlines. You have to finish special reports and year end reports or you’re dead. Welcome to the character crucible.

You end your work, get a good result, and air it on time. But usually, at the end of the day, when my eyes are half-closed, I realize I made grave mistakes: the epic failure of character realignment.

I admit I get tantrums. And like a kid I always demand my rights for my rights. But after the end of the day there was never any glory for no glorious character was exemplified. Just rights demanded for rights.

Work is good. It’s not the fault of work why I get tantrums. My reaction to pressure is a reflection of what I want.

And so I stay in the fire. And like gold, dross come out when heated into the intense flames. All I wanted was to come out pure. But am I ready for the removal of these dross?

I don’t need the excess dross yet all I thought they were a part of me. Would I oblige? I guess I still got a long way. Like gold, I am in a long purification process.

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Deafening the Political Word War

Noisy, crowded, brightly colored, and tense. That’s how I can describe a kick-off campaign rally. Yesterday, marked the beginning of the campaign season for this year’s elections. As mono-

People flood Plaza Miranda for the Team Pnoy Kick-Off Campaign

People flood Plaza Miranda for the Team Pnoy Kick-Off Campaign

colored groups poured into the rally site, so did the huge tarps and placards bearing the names of the senatoriables. It was a tense moment…maybe because of the atmosphere of the crowd hype then.

I was assigned to Team PNoy, the admin block. I felt like being drowned in a sea of yellow while the giant tarps tried to block our view.

All twelve candidates were given eight minutes to speak to the crowd. Some laid a glimpse of their platforms, some their dramatic life story, and some, as expected, gave their enemies some good bashing. One called the past administration as thieves, the other ranted on him being cheated in the past elections, and another emphasized on not to believe the “others” who were “pretending to ride with their platform”.

But during the days before the start of the kick-off campaigns, the word war between parties was already at bay. From “new opposition” claims to “racist” remarks, the media noted them all. Not one from both sides missed to answer the rant of the other.

It was sickening. The battle of politics has turned into a sour word war. And for me it’s a dirty game.

When I talked to a spokesperson of an election-regulating body in the Philippines, he mentioned that they cannot stop these parties or candidates from making personality-bashing at their campaign. Nothing in our law prohibits such campaigning. Besides, our constitution itself upholds the freedom of expression as we belong in a democratic country. He warned candidates to be mindful of such a campaign strategy. Not everyone buys it.

True enough, in all the five or more people we interviewed from the public, nobody likes the idea of personality bashing. All talk but no work, one of them says.

The dangers of negative communication. I wonder how far will such a war of words go.

It’s easy to criticize. It’s easy to show the ugly side of your enemy. It’s an effective way to make the crowd see you’re in the right standing while the other is not. But such a strategy is the downfall of both sides. Not only will his rival get a bruise from his words; the one who threw will get a bad score from the public.

Such a strategy is as immature as kids who fight back when being teased for having a bad hairdoo.

How desperate can one become just to get into power? This is how far we have gone in our brand of politicking. Aside from empty promises and dramatic stints, we’ve resolved to picking a fight through words and ego-lambasting. But by doing so, it does not uplift who a candidate really is. Besides, one should be campaigning for himself, not embarrassing another.

I just hope that the public would realize that words alone are not the basis for choosing the best candidate (or the “lesser evil” as someone called it). Words do not make up who are worth to lead this society. Besides, while it’s still election season, all voters must choose who are fit to execute the roles a government position demands. Does the personality of that candidate fit the role to be a senator, a congressman or a local government leader? Do they have the skill, wits and political will of a lawmaker and leader? Do they have the heart to lead the public through their unique roles in the government?

Those word wars can’t reveal the answers for those questions. I hope every candidate will just be honest in their works. No more personality-bashing, please. It’s time to prove integrity by works and character alone.

Darkening the Depth of Humanity in “Zero Dark Thirty”

While watching “Zero Dark Thirty”, it left me the impression that there’s no work and life balance in being a CIA agent. The tortures (which sparked controversy) and the manhunt operations seem to leave you with almost nothing but danger. Still, I find the film quite intriguing in a way, especially its main character.

Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenplay writer Mark Boal had complimented well to bring up together the unspoken cringes of history and humanity in this docu-drama film. The film, I find, is not solely on victory of an operation alone but on how history can never be founded solely not on the cold texts of words but from a silent litany of humanism that tries to be hidden in a harsh world.

While much points from this film is worthy of discussion, I’d like to focus on Maya’s character. Actress Jessica Chastain had pulled well such a character; the humanity of a woman covered beneath a steel-like character in order to prove herself in the tough world of men.

Maya is one tough CIA agent whose determination to get Osama Bin Laden (who has been code named as UBL) tend to show her as hard as she can be more than the men around her. The film seem to have emphasized her to be of a stronger personality even over her male superiors. While one played golf for a pastime in his office and the other passes a few minutes by talking idly on the phone, Maya is the one pictured as totally focused on the manhunt for the notorious leader of the Al-Qaeda group.

I find her character almost inhuman; her focus on her job gave her no time for a lovelife or even having friends. When she arrived late at a dinner in the before-then bombed Mariott Hotel in Islamabad because of delays over checkpoints, her colleague reminded her “We’re socializing; be social”. At the run of their conversation, she was asked if she had any friends at all; to which her silence marked “yes” as her reply.

Here is a woman who was willing to disregard feelings to make sure they would find what they was looking for. In her disappointment that no team was deployed at Rawal Pindi to search for the man linked to Bin Laden, she told her team, “I don’t really care if you guys get sleep or not”; even though the team leader told her that to look at such a place is dangerous and that how tired they were. She told the Navy Seals who were to pull off that operation that would be the death of the Al-Qaeda leader, “You’re gonna kill him for me.”

Yet, in the end she reveals herself as a woman, almost broken because of the cruelty of such an operation. No matter how she was bent and focused to make sure that the one she was looking for was found after more than a decade, she did not gave herself regards when the body was brought to their camp. Rather, she cried over the ordeal that was crushing her humanity within her from the beginning.

Maya, as she cried alone in the plane, must have not told anybody how heavy the weight of this manhunt operation had been on her. She lost colleagues and the few friends that she had, pushed away the balanced normal life anybody could have, while maintaining possessiveness on this mission. I just got lost on what pushed her to be almost obsessive in this mission for all those years. She could have left herself almost nothing just to make sure it’s done. I just wonder after all that manhunt ended, how her life would be after?

There’s humanity in every one of us. Whether one is a soldier or a terrorist, he’s still human. No matter how we make ourselves look tough or cold before the public, there is still the soft edge within us that make us human. We are not created to be emotionless as machines. Maya tried to disregard emotions as she focused on the strength of her mind. Although she got what she looking for, in the end, I believe she was never fulfilled at all.

We might have been totally focused in our tasks. It’s good to be determined, tough, and focused. But though being successful in what we’re doing, if we don’t have the most important things in life, there is never a balance. It has always been said that the most important things in life are unseen. The mind, the skill, and your career may be lost but yet recovered again. But love, friendship, hope, and peace are just some of the things that will forever stay…unless disregarded in vain.

The manhunt operation was a success. But if Maya had balanced herself with the friendship and love of the people around her she might have been a stronger woman from within. But I guess she had another secret for this  she did not want anyone to be weakened by revealing her weaknesses as a woman. Rather, in order to see this operation pull-off in success, she sacrificed herself much…for her country and for her people.

Reclaiming Destinies and Breaking the Waves

Twelve months. Twelve fruits. Twelve opportunities to undone me, mold me, and bring me closer to my real identity and destiny.

My 2012 was a year of shaking. The Lord was teaching me out of my stubborn self — to die from selfishness and to abide in Him fully. When my prophetic friend asked me what was the Lord’s promise for the past nine months, I was dumbfounded. All I could remember was the anguish and pain during those times. The emotional battles against the law and the lawmakers, the prayerful times shifted to complaints and mourning, my beauty nearly turning into ashes, my hope almost brought down to the cliff as I contemplated on resignation. I wanted to get out and give up. Yet, the Lord, who had other things in mind, held my sleeve as I let go of my grip. He had a promise, I’m sure He had — yet my ears were covered and my eyes blindfolded.

Yet, I faced 2013 with hope and expectation.

I still couldn’t remember what He was trying to say (and I haven’t even checked my old journal).  Yet, I clung on one word given to me almost two years ago: Romans 5:5, “…and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our heats through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

As I contemplating this verse a few months ago, the Lord led me to turn to verses 3 and 4. I never have this hope until: we rejoice in our sufferings, that it leads to perseverance (verse 3) and from perseverance, character, which leads into hope (verse 4)! I believe such is the word for me for this season. And such is the shaking I received.

Through these shakings, I realized a few more things at the beginning of this year, even though the nine months has been ended. Despite character flaws, I’m taught how to react in grace and love and confront with wisdom during dire situations. From my silent struggle against insecurities, I’m taught to reclaim the authority vested upon me as a co-heir in Christ. The most striking lesson that I’ve realized and am still learning (though it was said to me a number of times) is to worship him despite of the fire and testing that I pass through.

My friend told me that the shaking I’ve received (and will receive) are just part of His refinement. This is the time that I have to open my eyes and ears and recognize the Lord in ways I’m not used to. I don’t know what would that be. All I have to do is to ask Him. And see Him move in ways I won’t expect. I just need to open my eyes and my ears to recognize what He’s doing.

There are three kinds of people in the midst of struggles: one who gives up, one who shrugs his shoulder and get into that routinary “survival mode”, and one who wants to learn out of that struggle. The third one is the kind that grows. At this season, the nine month conception should be over. So, what I’ve experienced were just birth pangs. The full birth of one’s destiny is after the nine month period. But if not, that means I haven’t learned my lesson.

I just realized I’m just at the beginning of what He’s teaching me.

Get out of the boat and walk on water, he said. Goodness, that quite scared me. But should I be scared when I’m with the Silencer of the Waves? It’s a step towards acceleration. I need to get out of the box. And I need to ask the Lord ways on how to do that.

To ask the Lord on a daily basis is a way to die to myself. It will keep me from storing up pride as He breaks me with His tender love and awesome glory.

Then my friend gave me the a word that this year is the year of bearing fruit. Seeing in a vision a clock with twelve hours, it indicated that in every month I will bear fruit. But in order to bear fruit, I must learn a lesson. I must ask what the Lord is teaching me at this point of time. When the pruning and honing is over, a fruit will grow…but not only in one month. That means, I will undergo even more fire and testing twelve times!

I need to ask. I need to see. I need to know. Such are the things that I must learn. But most of all, I need to seek the Lord more. Only in Him I will find the answers I need. For He knows the plans for me. And I am claiming His perfect will and His best for my life.

I’m almost 28 years old. But this is not the end of my dreams. Who says life ends at 30? I believe I’m still a little child being disciplined and taught by the Great Father. Why should I copy to the normal trend of human life? The Lord has plans that are way out of my normal blueprint. All I have to do is just step out, walk on the waves, and hold the hand of the One who called my name. What are twelve months of pruning when I got One Great Dad to back me up! 🙂

The Wiles of the Heart

I was so disappointed with a person I liked. He never considered my considerations. I blamed him for wasting my emotions over his sweet nothings. But there was no agreement, there was nothing really between us. They were all assumptions; I hated myself for almost falling for him. But a friend reminded me: what’s my purpose for wanting to see him? I need to check my heart.

I realized I was selfishly wanting to feed my earthly desire. It was turning out to be a fatal attraction. I did not realize, my Father was protecting me.

I was reminded by my spiritual mother that the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). The world tells us to follow our hearts, but the Father tells us to follow His heart and His ways. The heart is so deceitful, for it is in our humanistic nature to be born with twisted desires (Matthew 15:18-19). Yet our own passions are so different from His desires for us. And yet His dreams for all of us are for our best, and our most of our passions and our dreams lead to the second best — or nothing at all.

I remembered how imperfect I am. Though I move with His Spirit, there are still so many issues of the heart that need to be addressed. With this, I have to die to myself again.

When I decided to surrender my emotions, I felt that a dark veil was removed from my eyes. My perspective changed. My heart renewed. I believe a part of His heart was poured into mine.

He made me see that my destiny is not as this world planned for me. This world just wanted me to take all, without asking the Father about it. It’s like being a rebel in a free world. But He reminded me that His plans for me are above that I dreams for myself. He loves surprises, I know. And I wondered how His dreams for me will be in His time. He’s teaching me to wait and to abide in Him as I do. When I do, there’s an ever greater blessing…and a big, pleasant surprise for me.

But in waiting, there’s pain. Pain because I’m tempted to be impatient. Pain because my flesh is battling with my renewed spirit.

And so I received revelation what my prayer means: Romans 5:3-5…”let me rejoice in my sufferings, so that it would produce in my endurance, then character, and then hope that will never put me to shame because of the love of the Father that has been poured into my heart through the Holy Spirit.” Such is the given Word for this season since last year.

To rejoice in my sufferings, I have to worship. There is real joy when I delight in the presence of my God. When His presence envelops me, these sufferings are nothing compared to His peace and steadfast love.

I remembered that it is a mandate, and a destiny, to bring His love and His kingdom down into this earth when I earnestly seek Him and call out to Him. In abundance, in trials and pain, His love and glory is above all…and we should rejoice in this truth.

So, what was I disappointed on? Oh, I almost forgot. The joy of leaning on His bosom and hearing His heartbeat filled with love just washed away the pain I had.

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