40 Ways to Fail

Allow me to share with you this interesting, convicting and I must say timely article for everyone to read. Author Mark O. Wilson said, “Over the years, I’ve seen lots of articles on how to succeed, but never one on how to be a failure. Thus, I’ve composed the following list….”

Note: Bold statements are the ones that struck me the most. 🙂

1. Focus on all the reasons why it won’t work.

2. Don’t bother praying.

3. Intend to begin, but don’t start.

4. Stop proceeding at the first speed bump.

5. Facing backwards, try to recreate the past.

6. Whine and complain often.

7. Fear making an investment.

8. Put in only what is required.

9. Be a self-centered pig. 😐

10. Find someone to blame.

11. List a dozen good excuses, and use them all.

12. Absorb and reflect negativity.

13. Ignore wise counsel.

14. Hoard.

15. Manipulate people for personal gain.

16. Belittle yourself and others.

17. Fail to write down your goals and dreams.

18. Major on the minors and minor on the majors.

19. Don’t prioritize your use of time.

20. Don’t budget your money.

21. Live humorlessly.

22. Over-react when someone disappoints you.

23. Carry grudges and bear resentments.

24. Fail to plan ahead.

25. Never learn from mistakes.

26. Make mountains out of molehills.

27. Maintain an over-inflated opinion of yourself.

28. Strive to win every argument.

29. Refuse to grow.

30. Shrink back from committing yourself, saying “no” to everything.

31. Over-commit yourself, saying “yes” to everything.

32. Be a fault finder and gossip.

33. Be less than truthful.

34. Expect to fail.

35. Keep waiting for your ship to come in.

36. Disregard integrity and morality.

37. Always play it safe.

38. Throw temper tantrums.

39. Don’t finish the work.

40. Forget to say “thank you.”

Quite a number of bold statements for me. 🙂

Reprinted with permission from The Wesleyan Church’s Department of Communications. Visit their website: Wesleyan Life Online

Confessions Of A Glutton In Denial

Just like Goldilocks, I’ve had enough of porridge. Time to walk out in the woods. © Life.com

I have a confession to make: I am a glutton. Yeah, you heard that right. According to my colleague Dictionary, I eat and drink (but more of eat) excessively and voraciously. When you see me, I bet you’re going to say what everyone tells me when I tell them of my bulges: “You’re NOT FAT!” Okay, maybe I’m not (but I did gain 10 pounds last year! @_@). I’m not saying I’m fat; I’m saying that my love for food has taken a wrong turn–I gradually idolized food. In other words, I loved food more than I loved God.

At about this time last year, I was a health chick–disciplined and in perfect shape. I faithfully and accurately monitored every single calorie-filled bite that entered my mouth and utilized the energy it gave me through exercise. Actually, all my other habits were in line–studying, sleeping, meditating and writing. Discipline was my middle name. My planner dictated my actions and not the other way around. I was the adamant member of the family who rejected the white bread served at breakfast on a Saturday after I consumed all the wheat bread during school days. Even while watching TV when I’m supposed to relax, I lifted weights and performed a hundred or more crunches. For about five months I sustained this healthy, disciplined and self-controlled lifestyle (with God’s help, of course). Actually, all the power I had to fulfill these “hard things” came from God. I read and meditated on verses everyday and would even skip some TV shows just to have my quiet time with Him.

Then college came. As much as I would like to blame college per se for my degradation, I wouldn’t and couldn’t because I’m sick of playing the blame game. It’s my fault. I failed. I let my guard down. I thought I can easily say “NO” to the second temptation of buying that delicious, chocolate-filled bread from a favorite bakery of mine in Shang (a mall near my school) after trying it once. (NOTE: I am not against eating so-called “unhealthy” foods, but I do believe that I should limit my intake of such meals because they contain ingredients that may prove detrimental to my health in the long run) Some thoughts are just plain wrong and should be thrown out of the window. I found myself indulging in the delicious pastries almost every week. Soon, my other habits followed suit. I slept late, missed out on daily quiet times, watched more TV and movie premieres, exercised less and ditched writing. It was a slow, painful (emotionally, spiritually and even physically) and devastating ride downhill. Not a good picture. Far from my dream destination of toned muscles, a flat, chiseled stomach, fair skin tone under my eyes (not black) and DISCIPLINE.

Over the past few months, I’ve cried a lot over this issue of mine. Usually I asked forgiveness from my Father, vowed to never overeat and not exercise again, then perform the whole cycle all over again. Again and again I sin and gain more weight, baggage and awful consequences. I realized that I’ve been dwelling cozily in the place I thought I escaped: my comfort zone. All along I thought I was already stepping outside my comfort zone by loving others when I didn’t feel like it or holding my temper when I wanted to shout at people. Of course they were all done outside my comfort zones; but once I finished them and saw the chocolate cookies smirking at me from the table, I stepped back in the zone. (I became so intimate with food I imagined them performing human actions. Weird.)

This morning, God spoke to me through these verses:

“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Since I did not have much time to write my thoughts on paper, I just memorized them.  I did not realize until now (well actually fifteen minutes ago) that God was telling me to GET OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE THIS INSTANT! The thing about God is that He does not like working in comfort zones. These places limit the dreams and visions He has for His kids. Comfort zones produce the world’s greatest losers. Where does God work then? Ever heard of a battlefield? He wants His authentic children-slash-warriors to bear arms, fill themselves with His Spirit and fight with His power, grace and love. The reason people lose their battles is that they fight them unarmed and unauthorized by the General i.e., Christ. I’m actually speaking to myself here and slapping my cheeks hard. Okay the last clause, not really. As the verses above said, whoever does not produce good fruit will be cut down and incinerated. I don’t find burning very appealing, do you?

I already asked God for forgiveness–for the nth time–but this time, I have to partner it with action. True repentance is evidenced by actions spurned out of love. As our senior pastor, Peter Tan-chi, said at the afternoon service last Sunday,

“If you really love Jesus, you would not have a hard time obeying Him.”

Amen.

Please do pray for me. The battle rages. The enemy shudders at my sudden dependence on God and resolution to combat his attacks with God’s Spirit, power and Sword (the Bible), but resolutions have to be backed up by correct A-C-T-I-O-N-S.

I want to end with this song by Toby Mac entitled “Get Back Up.”

I may be knocked down, but not out forever!

Rebelutionizing The World: A Review on Do Hard Things

Where have all the adolescents gone? Apparently, the 21st century earth is replete with teenagers, or kids who matured physically but still retained their childish mentalities. Gone were the days where one had to memorize a book from cover to cover—literally—in order to fulfill a course requirement. No wonder men like Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabini and Marcelo H. Del Pilar were apt and equipped enough to face the daunting task of liberating the Philippines from Spanish tyranny. Gone were the days were young women cared for their sick relatives and other people as a profession and in the process, educated themselves on proper medical care.  We owe what we know much of nursing, piety and blood donation (the American Red Cross) thanks to Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa and Clara Barton respectively. Do these people have a secret weapon or formula that enabled them to do hard things during their teenage years? 21st century authors Alex and Brett Harris discovered the answer to that question and plainly explained the answer, as well as several crucial insights relating to it, in their book entitled Do Hard Things. Although the book was mainly written for teenagers, Do Hard Things also reaches out to adults who desire to live above the world’s low expectations. Albeit the accessible knowledge and the vast amount of strength present teenagers have in their hands, many of them still fail to maximize their full potentials and leave a mark in the lives of the people around them. According to the authors, many teenagers today are unfortunately blinded by what culture expects of them—expectations that are shallow, less risky and offers quick yet unsatisfying rewards.  A “good”, average teenager is one that gets good grades in school and is not involved in drug abuse, alcohol or premarital sex, but his life is not exactly productive. If he’s not doing schoolwork, eating or hanging out with friends, he’s either sleeping or wandering around a popular social networking or gaming site. Six years of teenage life is mostly spent on nothing but a routine of all these activities. The Harris brothers (did I mention they are twins?) provided several similar examples of low expectations and their consequences in their 12-chaptered book. Although the authors dwelled on teaching, inspiring and describing do hard things and the “rebelutionary life” instead of pointing out specific how-to’s and action steps, they made their point loudly and clearly: Don’t waste your teenage years on a boring cycle. Start doing hard things.

Alex Harris and Brett Harris, now twenty-two, launched a blog called “The Rebelution” last August 2005 when they were only sixteen. The website was widely accepted by teenagers from all over the world, and to date, receives about 32 million hits. Two years later, the brothers published their best-selling book Do Hard Things and its follow-up book, Start Here. Today, The Rebelution is a campaign and a movement aimed at helping teenagers all over the world to rebel against worldly expectations. Their movement spread even in the small Philippine archipelago as they featured Filipino “rebelutionaries” in the book and The Rebelution website.

The book consists of parts 1, 2 and 3 having 4, 5 and 3 chapters respectively. Part 1: Rethinking The Teen Years laid the foundations of the book and introduced radical questions that will get a reader off the edge of his seat and keep him reading until the last page. It also explains the concept of the word “rebelution,” which is an amalgamation of “rebellion” and “revolution.” Harris and Harris also introduced a myth responsible for the decline of good quality in adolescent (now called “teenager”) life. Following Part 1 is, of course, Part 2 which dealt with the Five Kinds of Hard. Being the part that took up the most number of chapters had a reason because it was in these five chapters where the authors discussed stepping out of one’s comfort zone in order to accomplish hard things. This part, which takes up the most number of chapters, also illustrates certain hard things one can accomplish in spite having few financial resources and social connections and other limiting factors. “Small hard things” such as obeying and honoring your parents, singing in church and helping your younger brother in his homework are activities that do not pay off immediately, but will surely do at the right time as long as they are combined with faithfulness and diligence.  For whatever type of hard thing a person can do, complacency is the number one enemy. A Bits and Pieces line frighteningly paints complacency like this: “Like water, complacent people follow the easiest course—downhill.” (2008, p.92) So now you know what to do if you want to break your crown and come tumbling after it.

Part 3 heightened the inspiration as the Harris brothers takes you into the present, Rebelution scene happening in every area of the world. Stories of teenagers stepping outside their comfort zones creates an itch in one’s heart to turn from zero to heros. What’s more amazing (at least for me) was the story of a Filipina rebelutionary who is doing God’s work down south. Amazing how two Japanese-American authors from the United States are connected to a fellow adolescent here in the Philippines!

The appendix, Do Hard Things, The Gospel and You, relates the foundation the brothers have for their beliefs and reasons for penning Do Hard Things. In the Christian world, this section can be likened to a “Gospel tract.” The book may have a Christian tone—for it was in fact written from the perspective of two Christian men—but it does not mean that the principles it holds would be invalidated by other beliefs.

In all my sixteen years and eight months of existence, I have never encountered a book written by teenagers (or adolescents for that matter) that impacted my life and inspired me to be the teenager God designed me to be save Do Hard Things. I agree with all of the principles and invaluable insights the brothers mentioned in their book because they do not contradict any moral, spiritual or legal laws. Also, I appreciate the Harris brothers for opting a down-to-earth yet profound style of writing. In so doing, I saw their desire to share truth with the world without any malicious desire to feel over and above their fellow adolescents.

The book has achieved its purpose to get teens from here to there—from living a shallow and boring teenage life to experiencing the best and most meaningful life and getting to help others at the same time. Practicality, usability and timeliness—kudos to the book for passing these tests with flying colors. The authors back then had fewer experiences than an average forty-something year old who writes books for teenagers, so Alex and Brett still have a lot of lessons to discover along the way. Then again, one does not have to abuse drug use in order to validate its probity.  If you are an adult who’s about to bawl because the reality of your adulthood sunk in just now, you just found the secret to living the exciting life you once dreamt about. You may not have the full advantage of robust health or time (or both), but you do have hope because God is not finished with you yet. As for us teenagers, the call to join the rebelution is incessant for there is yet so much goals left to accomplish; so many dreams to be materialized; so many lives to be saved. Souls are at stake. A war against the world and her low expectations is being waged against us. In the end, only the genuine rebelutionaries will remain. Will you?

Heaven's Grocery Store

I want to share a poem I found on a website called Imag-e-nation. Read it and be encouraged! 🙂

I was walking down life’s highway a long time ago.
One day I saw a sign that read “Heaven’s Grocery Store”.
As I got a little closer, the door came open wide.
When I came to myself, I was standing just inside.

I saw a host of angels.  They were standing everywhere.
One handed me a basket and said, “My child, please shop with care”.
Everything a Christian needed was in that Grocery Store.
All you couldn’t carry, you could come back the next day for.

First, I got some PATIENCE; LOVE was in the very same row.
Further down was UNDERSTANDING, you needed it wherever you go.
I got a box or two of WISDOM, a bag or two of FAITH.
I just couldn’t miss the HOLY SPIRIT, for He was all over the place!

I stopped to get some STRENGTH and COURAGE to help me run this race.
By then my basket was getting full but…I remembered I needed some GRACE!
I didn’t forget SALVATION, for SALVATION was free.
So I tried to get enough of that to save both you and me.

Then I started up to the counter to pay my grocery bill,
for I thought I had everything to do my Master’s will.
As I wind up the aisle I saw PRAYER and I just had to put that in.
For I knew when I stepped outside, I would run right into sin.

PEACE and JOY were plentiful; they were on the last shelf.
SONGS and PRAISES were hanging near, so I just helped myself.
Then I said to the angel, “How much do I owe?”
He just smiled and said, “Just take them everywhere you go.”

Again I smiled at him and said, “How much do I owe?”
He smiled again and said,
“My child, JESUS PAID YOUR BILL A LONG TIME AGO!”

Be Careful What You Wish For

Two days ago  (Wednesday) was one of my best school nights. Dad brought me to school; I did not have to sweat like a furnace going to school and at the same time, I can save the money (the very few money) I should use for transportation. Although I ate lunch alone that afternoon because I was ashamed of opening my lunchbox inside a fastfood (and not buying any of their food), I ate happily and contentedly. Late afternoon, I attended a symposium and managed to rest–again, peacefully–thanks to the monotonous lullabies of men and women in  corporate suits and the 24-degree Centigrade temperature. Ah, life was good for me that day, but the goodness had not stopped there. In the evening, I met with my Mom and together, we went shopping! She bought me a pair of brogues (my first!) and lingerie. (it was something like this, the BROGUES)

We had another successful and fun mom-and-daughter date which consisted of an eat-all-you-can salad dinner plus two other dishes and two cups of topped with Baby Ruth chunks and Smores respectively. Of course it wouldn’t be complete without us going home in our silver, 4-wheeled carriage with the queen’s knight in shining armour driving it. It was amazing. Until I got home and slept.

We arrived late–around 11:30–so by the time I got to bed, it was already 12:30 (I’m the usual type of girl who usually takes at least an hour to get ready for…almost anything). My class the following day was scheduled at 7:30 which meant I had to wake up at 5:15, which meant I would undermine my health because I will lack sleep. That I hated.

I really wished to attend my morning class even though that was the subject I sucked the most at: Math. Actually, the lessons we had were quite easy and our professor was female and very courteous, but it’s the schedule I hated. So I did what any child of God would do: run to Daddy with arms open wide and a wish that he/she knows the answer to, but for some reason she still tells Daddy. (I felt like this kid below, tugging God’s heavenly clothes)

I appealed to God.”Lord, please, ayoko na pong pumasok bukas.” (Lord, please, I don’t want to go to class tomorrow). I disliked attending class the next day because I will lack sleep. As I prayed that prayer, the most clever idea entered my mind. grins

The only way I would wake up early was if my phone alarmed. So if it didn’t, I would sleep long.

If anyone asked why I woke up late, I could just tell them, “My phone did not ring.” This is totally true.

So I wished upon a God–a real One. “Lord, I will wake up when you want me to.” That means my body will dictate the time I wake up and not my cell phone.

A deceitful wish, that’s what I would like to call it. Thankfully, God is not Zeus who would probably throw lightning bolts at me or send me straight to Tartarus in Hades for wishing such a thing. It’s not really that bad, but when you look closer, you can see my motives: ny selfishness and irresponsibility. I realized that sometimes, God would give you what you want even if it will do you harm because He wants you to learn your lesson the hard way.

The following morning (Thursday), my body woke me up at 8 AM. I was half asleep when I saw the clock; that time, I stupidly concluded my first class was at 10:30. The next time I opened my eyes it was 8:30. After three seconds of deep thinking, I jumped out of bed and hurried to the bathroom. But later, I realized (I’m having lots of realizations lately) that I was not going to make it to my morning class, so why hurry? My next class won’t start until 1:30. However, I promised my science groupmates I would arrive at 10:30 to finish our project. Again, I did something at the wrong time. I arrived at school at exactly 11:30, an hour late. 😐

While you were reading my experience, you probably thought I was such a baby for making ‘small’ matters look incredibly bad. The truth is simple; you can’t modify  it. Sin is sin no matter how small. I was clearly at the wrong and I knew it, but I chose to stick to it. I used God to my advantage so that I could “rightfully blame” Him if I wake up late. Now that’s something I should not have done. I tell you, don’t do it! Don’t play games with God. He’s a fun Person, but that’s not His idea of clean fun.

I wish I was more careful for what I wished for…

because as it turned out,

I got it.

And it wasn’t good.