You Don’t Have To Be Interesting

At least not always. Interest can be subjective (what’s interesting for one may not be interesting for another) and is often temporary (what’s interesting now may not be interesting next year, or even tomorrow).

You do, however, have to be passionate.

The Insecurity Unmasked

I’ve written a few times about my struggle with insecurity (like my post on disliking my “program” like Ralph of Wreck-It-Ralph and my struggle to accept my dystonia). Well, I’m writing about it again. Insecurity gets the best of me when I let my guard down–when I think too much about how people will think of me (and make them as a source of my joy) or wish I have the things and experiences others have. When I read blogs of famous people or slowly-becoming famous people, I see the cool people they meet, events they attend to, clothes they wear (especially them fashion bloggers, a.k.a. Imelda Marcos’ disciples) and creative juices they have. Then I look at my life: the people I meet (almost the same everyday), the events I attend to (right now I shift from school to house to church), clothes I wear (I’ve run out of mix and match combinations with my available choices), and my “creative juices” (last month I thought about having my room painted white and my desk yellow. How’s that for “creative?”). I see monotonous repetition and ordinariness. Whenever a blank blog post is in front of me, I ask myself: “What interesting things can I write about today?” If I’ll be completely honest with myself (and I will), what that question really asks is this: “How can I be like other bloggers and post interesting stuff about my life to get more people to visit my blog, like my posts, and give me attention?” Narcissism at its finest. That’s why I could not blog the past few weeks. If I ask myself the first question, I couldn’t write anything because nothing “interesting” happened to me (well except for the fact that we moved to a new townhouse after 18 years of living in a small apartment unit).

The Turning Point

If God called you to do something for Him and you don’t do it, He’ll bug you until you make a choice about it. The past few weeks, God kept bugging me to blog. He knew (and I knew in my heart, too) that I could use my gift and love of writing to encourage others, inspire other people with His awesomeness, and just give Him the glory He deserves. Truth is, I always had the intention to write about meaningful things. God has been speaking to me the past few weeks in ways He hasn’t spoken to me ever in my life. He reminded me that He loves me with or without my performance, and that I should exert all my energy on knowing Him, loving Him, and loving others. He opened my eyes into seeing the needs of others and prioritizing them above my own (although I still falter at this point…a lot). He always, always whispers in my ear: “I’m your Father. I love you very much. Stay close to Me. I will never let you go.” Who wouldn’t fall in love with a God like that? Unfortunately for me, I focused my eyes on what I thought mattered: the things, activities, celebrities, clothes, and philosophies of this world. I needed to repent, and repent I did.

By asking myself “what interesting things can I write about today,” I am limiting myself to subjects that only a few can relate to. What if the things I find interesting don’t interest you (which is most likely the case)? God called me to write beyond interesting; He called me to write about my passions: Him, His Word, communication, intentional living, relationships, among others. I have a calling and a desire to experience an extraordinary God in my ordinary day-to-day activities and write about them. Earlier today, I accompanied my brother Josh to the hospital for a consultation and lab procedures because of his hoarse and recurring cough. I don’t really like going to hospitals even if they look and smell good because I don’t like seeing sick people. However, if you love someone, you’ll put their good above your own. My brother needed me, so I went.

After “stethoscoping” my brother, our pediatrician told us to have Joshua’s chest x-rayed and a CBC to check if he had either pneumonia or dengue. 😦 When she wrote down those two diagnoses, I felt nervous. For a while I somehow felt what it was like to be a mom. After having our laboratory papers verified, we headed to the radiology department. The procedure went quickly and easily. The CBC was the hard part…at least for me. If there’s one thing I hate next to a cockroach, it is a needle penetrating my skin–or anyone else’s skin. God had me watch my brother get his blood extracted, and I’m glad He did. Not only did it make me strong, but it made me feel closer to my brother because I was there with him. I hope he feels the same way too. (Chos ang drama)

Whenever you include God in the scenes of your life, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. The impossible becomes possible. That’s way more exciting to read about and learn from than “interesting things” like fashion updates, parties, concerts, and events. Now I’m not saying that those things are unimportant and not worth blogging about, nor am I criticizing bloggers in these fields. As a matter of fact, I patronize them! Most of them are really passionate about what they do. What I’m saying is that, even if you’re not involved in high-profile activities or wear the lastest fashion, you can tell a story that moves and inspires people simply because you are uniquely you and, if Jesus is in you, you are capable of doing the impossible. “Great and mighty things which you don’t know,” God says in Jeremiah 33:3, are within your reach.

The Challenge

I praise God for lifting me out of my insecurity. I had to make that choice, but He awakened me and gave me the strength to make that choice. He can help you do the same, too. Perhaps you are living in the shadow of the Interesting Things. You honestly think that your story, your idea, your song, your recipe, your choreography, your novel, your message, or whatever it is God called you to make, is not worth reading, knowing, listening, and enjoying because it’s not “interesting” enough. It won’t have too many downloads or hits on YouTube. The truth is, not everyone gets to have a chance on fame. Fame is not the goal. I learned my lesson the hard way. You see, I love attention. I received too much attention one weekend, that when the attention was gone the following week, I felt insecure. If we focus on our eyes on fame, we focus our eyes on people, and when we do, we are seeking to be disappointed because people disappoint us. However, if we focus our eyes on Jesus and work within His will–in the realm of the impossible–we find ourselves whole, fulfilled, and joyful. I also experience this. I am at my happiest state when I am right with Jesus, even if doing His will is uncomfortable at times.

Lately I’ve been reading a book entitled The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How To Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience by Carmine Gallo. Gallo praises the late Apple founder’s enthusiasm, energy, and passion for all things Apple not simply because they are his invention, but because his products make people’s lives better. Steve Jobs found fulfillment in making the world a better place. Today, we appreciate him for that. The very device I use to type this blog and publish it for the world to see is a 15-inch Macbook Pro. His passion for seeing other people’s lives dramatically improve with great products reaped great consequences not only for him, but for millions of people all over the world who work for or are adherents of the Mac, iTunes, iPhone, iPod, iPad, and the rest of Job’s brainchildren.

Here’s the challenge I have taken on myself which I now pass on to you: What’s your passion? If you have discovered it, fan its flames! If you have yet to find out what it is, don’t give up! Keep searching. Ask. Experiment. Collaborate. Fail. Get back up! If you think your story is too ordinary to be useful for inspiration, encouragement, and even life transformation, ask God to use it for His glory. Sometimes we take for granted the little things God tells us to do when in fact they are the very experiences that can significantly impact a life more than ten entries on events and giveaways. Perhaps you were finally able to forgive that friend of yours after years of bitterness and anger. Tell your story! Help others overcome unforgiveness! If one day, when you were bored, you decided to make a scrapbook of your life and realized that you had so many wonderful memories and learned a lot on life & love, tell us! Make the world a better place by helping people make sense and find beauty in the mundane things of life. For me, that is where extraordinariness really lies.

The next time I find myself asking, “What interesting things can I write about today,” I will step back, look up, and ask myself, “How can I make a difference in my world today? What am I passionate about?” Then I’ll go out there and work in the realm of the impossible with the power God has given me.

Now that’s interesting! May you do the same. 🙂

There’s No One I’d Rather Be Than Me

WARNING: This post contains statements which may not be suitable for innocent Wreck-It-Ralph audiences. Parental, spousal, whatever type of guidance is advised.

 

Have you ever wished you were designed differently as a person? Maybe if you had a different temperament or a different occupation at this stage of your life right now, you would be a happier and more fulfilled person?

Ralph of Wreck-It-Ralph did.

Ralph: good guy disguised as a bad guy

Disney’s latest animation delves into the occupation of Ralph as a wrecker in the arcade game, Fix It Felix Jr. and the loneliness that goes with it. With his abnormally gigantic fists, Ralph boxes bricks and windows of a condominium and throws bricks at Felix Jr. who is programmed to, surprise, surprise, fix Ralph’s wreckage with his magic hammer. Ralph’s job wouldn’t be so bad (and lonely) if it were not for the fact that after a game, when Felix receives his hard-earned medal, the citizens of the condo lift Ralph and throw him down the dump. That happens at every single game no matter what level the player (human, of course) reaches. Thus if 8 players play the game on average and each player reaches at least 3 levels (assuming all levels are successfully won), Felix gets 24 medals a day, and Ralph wrecks and gets thrown in the dump 24 times as well.

courtesy of Google Images

To make it even more lonely, when the arcade closes and the games are over, Ralph heads over to the brick dump, or garbage, and lives alone, while the condo’s citizens live with the very much praised and admired Felix Jr., who gets his daily servings of compliments and warm pies.

Provoked by his loneliness and the spiteful attitude of the condo citizens against him, Ralph vowed to win himself a medal just like Felix Jr. even if it meant breaking game protocol. In the games, it is impossible for the bad guys to win medals since they were reserved for good guys. Ralph had had enough of being a bad guy. He wanted to be good and win a medal. He wanted to be praised by the members of his game and served pies. He yearned to belong.

As I watched Ralph’s (literally) animated life unfold before my eyes last Sunday afternoon, I realized I shared his sentiments. It’s not the loneliness or the spiteful attitude of the people around me, because, by God’s grace, people treat me kindly.

It’s the fact that, once upon a time, I did not like the way I was “programmed.”

To answer the question I posed at the beginning of this post: Have you ever wished you were designed differently as a person?,

my answer would be a resounding “yes.”

After reading Beverly LaHaye’s book, The Spirit-Controlled Woman, I found out that God blessed me with the melancholic-sanguine temperament. Among my favorites of the descriptions of a MelSan person are: “one of the most gifted of all the temperament blends;” “usually does well in academia;” “she can sway an audience with her charm.” (In other words, a drama queen. Haha!) Although my temperament is blended with sanguine, which is extrovert, I am mainly a melancholic so I am still considered an introvert. Gifted as I may be, I easily get depressed because melancholics are wired to be so deeply emotional. We take our emotions and thoughts seriously. We think about our actions even after we’ve done them and worry if they’re not right or appropriate. Sanguines are our exact opposites. If a sanguine student recites the wrong answer in class, he won’t care (or at least dwell on) the embarrassment it caused. A melancholic, on the other hand, would slap himself (at least mentally) for answering so stupidly and would vow to never, ever do that again, or at least think twice before answering.

I used to hate the fact that I’m not as friendly as my sanguine family members and friends, such as my mom. She magnetizes people instantly–from the vendor at the wet market to the vice president of a company. At a party of her close friends or her own, she adds life, laughter, and camaraderie. When we hang out together, there are no dull moments–except maybe for the silence that ensues once our threader begins to thread our eyebrows; she sleeps, while I wince occasionally in pain.

My Mom is also one of the few people who never, ever gets insecure about their looks. She usually gets teased as fat, obese, and plump, but not once did I see my mom sulk, cry, or even frown. She responds with a smile and a witty remark while holding her portly tummy: “Dapat lang! Malaki investment ko diyan.” When I get called fat, I wish I could  also smile and reply wittily. In reality, I get sad. I get frustrated because I overate again the other day and went through a week without working out. Sometimes I don’t get sad at all because I know it’s not true, but sad or not, being called fat is a big deal to me. Well, was a big deal. (ngayon small deal nalang :D)

There came a stage in my life–a difficult and tearful stage, I must admit–when I disliked the temperament God gave me. I reasoned that it was the wheel behind my “inability” to allow myself to easily create deep bonds with people so that I’ll be part of their circles and not be left alone during lunchtime. Don’t get me wrong, people don’t intentionally avoid me or reject me; it’s just that, I’m the type of person who doesn’t push herself to be part of a group that doesn’t invite me in. In other words, I often lack initiative. I attributed that lack to my introverted temperament which in turn made me hate myself and my “program.” Just like Ralph wanted so badly to be “good,” I wanted to be an extrovert, more of a people person than an observant bystander.

As I sought the Lord and His will for me, He changed my heart of stone into a heart of flesh so that I may gratefully accept the program He made and gave for me.  According to LaHaye, falling into a black emotional hole is a negative tendency for melancholics, and the best way to avoid that tendency and turn it into a blessing is by practicing gratitude. Moment. By. Moment. “In everything give thanks,” God said in Philippians 4:13, “for it is the will of God through Christ Jesus concerning you.”  As I sought the Lord, He showed me one of the reasons why He prompted me to put up this site, The Lifeline: that I may list all the blessings that God sends my way and thank Him for them. This blog reminds me of Who my God is, what He has done, and what He continues to do in and through me–and overall, that leads me to discovering pure and lasting joy.  🙂

Wreck-It-Ralph made it to my top favorite movies of all time because it reminded me so much of my journey to accepting the way God programmed me. The way we are programmed–our ancestry, parents, genes, background, temperament, etc–cannot be changed. We can only accept it or reject it. Moreover, acceptance can either be grateful or spiteful. Just like Ralph, I choose grateful acceptance of my program. When Ralph failed to gratefully accept his program as “the bad guy,” one disaster upon another followed his tail, almost costing him his life (i.e., game over). The  times when I pretended to be someone I’m not were my most miserable and lonely experiences. Erasing gratitude out of the picture means erasing joy as well.

By my Father’s amazing grace, I have come to terms with my temperament and my body. At times I still struggle with conflicting emotions and insecurities, but my God gets me through them at the end of the day through prayer. How about you? Have you gratefully accepted the unchangeable program you’ve been endowed with? Have you come to terms with your negative tendencies and sought practical ways to turn them into blessings? The only way you can be happy the way you are is by realizing that the One who created you fashioned you so uniquely to serve a unique purpose. We stand equally before our Maker as persons and beings, but we stand differently as our selves. He loves you as much as He loves me, but He loves you differently. My needs are not met the same way yours are. I’m still baffled at those facts, but I am just grateful that I don’t have to worry about that because my God’s got me all covered!

I pray that if you haven’t gratefully accepted your program that one day, you will, just as Ralph and I did. Ralph affirmed his acceptance by wholeheartedly declaring what is called as “The Bad Guy Affirmation:”

“I am bad and that’s good. I will never be good and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”

I am Jenny, an imperfect MelSan, and that’s good. I may never be as extroverted as I wanted to be and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.

And there’s no one you should rather be but Y-O-U. 🙂

Mac’s lipsticks are fabulous
sans make-up after Insanity. O___O

How I Spent February 14, 2012 (and Why I’m Single, In Case You Wanna Know)

Most people would type ‘Valentine’s Day’ instead of February 14, 2012 on that title (which is the longest I have ever made in The Lifeline history). However, I decided to take a different approach. After having read various posts about V-Day on my Facebook wall, I realized that Valentine’s is the only worldwide celebration which you can call whatever way you wish, depending on your Facebook status (or where you spend your dinner). Unlike Christmas or Independence Day where a birth or death of a person, nation, or idea in history past is being celebrated, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, and love is a notion that has baffled humanity since…forever. And even that temporal adjective is equally baffling (and almost unreal to some people) because it is not bound by time! It’s one of the words we use to describe God, and even the idea of God cannot be fully grasped. February 14 can be called Single Awareness Day, an ordinary day, Cupid Independence Day (this one I made up) or however you wish to call it because you and I differ in our experiences of love. My experience of love is different than that of President Noynoy Aquino’s (who I assume spent his February 14 in utter, unadulterated happiness with his new found sweetheart). Because my second Tuesday of February 2012 was not spent in blissful romance or in doleful meditation, I just named it how Time would call it.

So how did I spend my February 14, 2012? Love still maneuvered its way in my roster of activities: from attending my Marketing class to my refusal to Dad’s offer to sing in his new videoke toy to my belting out of contemporary songs an hour later after lunch to scooping coffee-flavored ice cream to my mouth to singing more songs before dinner to watching the last 15 minutes of 50 First Dates to watching Father of the Bride for the first time with my father. I did not include the habitual things I did, but basically, these events comprised my ‘Valentine’s Day.’ Romance was nowhere to be found (except between my parents probably), but even they did not really take V-day as seriously as other couples I know, but they sure–we sure–did not miss out on what we were celebrating in the first place: love.

Dad showed his love for his gifted vocals by effortlessly singing his favorite tunes such as Sting’s “Englishman In New York” and Apo Hiking Society’s “Kumot At Unan” to GenY songs such as Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are.” His love for the gift of music brought out the concert king and queen in us as well. Mom showed her love for God by conducting a Bible study with my lola, our helper, Anne, and Anne’s friend. Josh expressed his love for diligence by answering his PACEs (school workbooks) while the rest of us sang. Like our father, James sang to his heart’s content; like his sister, he ate until his stomach waved the white flag.

How did you express your love (aside from your love of food), you may ask. This is the part where I begin explaining the reason behind my singleness. I am what society calls “single since birth.” If you fall under this category, you probably blamed nature for making you that way or Cupid for forgetting to hit you with the right arrow (or any arrow for that matter). While God may have really never planned to include marriage in your list of things to be while living on earth, He also gave you a choice. And that’s what I am attributing my singleness to. It’s my choice.

It was a choice greatly influenced by my loving parents who explained to me the downside of being involved in a romantic relationship while studying and the scar that came with it after the heartbreak (which almost always ensued). They warned me that they would be extremely disappointed if I chose to be more than friends with a boy. Fearing to lose their trust, I obeyed. The second influence that shaped my decision was my dreams for my career. I actually want to spend the next 9 or 10 years of my life being single, earning money, giving back to my parents, and enjoying my career (whatever that may be). The third and most important factor that influenced my decision was my commitment to God. About five years ago, I offered my whole life to Him–my time, wealth, brain, talents, my wants, dreams and desires including that of marriage. Well it took me a few years before I finally surrendered my romantic life to Him (that is, whether marriage is for me or not, I would still follow Him).  This commitment also included not to have sex outside of marriage (or even a first kiss outside the altar for that matter). That surrender, as releasing and joyous a surrender it might have been, was difficult. Difficult because I believed (and still believe) in marriage. I adore the whole idea of romance not just on a spiritual level, but also in a personal level. I desire to grow old with the man (aside from my Savior & my Daddy) who vowed to stay with me in sickness and in health, for rich or for poor, till death do us part (or whatever vow he will make to me because I like us to make our own). I want to pick out my wedding dress and organize my own wedding. In fact, lately, I am obsessing over prenup photo shoots and wedding photos and videos of different couples in wedding blogs & photography sites! And frankly, I want to experience pure and rightful sex with God’s choice guy (after all, sexual activity is the greatest form of pleasure for us homo sapiens).

There is another factor that influences my decision, and that is the fact that I have never been asked out or pursued by any guy (at least none that I liked back) . There have been mutual understandings, but no one attempted or dared to take the mutual understanding to a mutual standing on love. Could it be because God wants me to stay faithful to my commitment so He purposely keeps pursuing guys off my radar? Maybe, I don’t know. But I know what I’m capable of. I (think) can make a guy fall in love with me superficially. Some of my friends who asked me how many boyfriends I had in the past were surprised when I said, “Zero.” Such a human being, and a teenager for that matter, exists! they probably thought. When they asked why I was SSB (single-since-birth), I always replied:

“It’s my choice. I have a commitment.”

In my head I wanted to say, “Wala pang lalaking nakaka-abot sa level ko kaya; lahat bagsak,” but my heart overpowered my brain: “Say the truth. It is beautiful. Don’t be ashamed of it.” This was a rare moment when my heart did not deceive.

A friend of mine once asked me why I was SSB, and as usual, I replied what my heart told me to say. That time, however, I decided to throw back a question at my friend: (in Tagalog) “Why do pursue a relationship with a guy? What’s your purpose?” Her reply was probably molded by the hundreds of movies she has watched in the course of her lifetime. She said:

“I just want to be happy.”

So does this mean I (and other SSBs out there) are unhappy people? I am more than happy. I am joyful. Happiness depends on happenings so when the happenings are absent, so is happiness. Joy is present in Christ’s presence; wherever you find God’s presence in life, there you shall also find joy abound. Joy persists through trials, valleys, and life’s lows. Joy is a gift. It’s something only God can give because He does not break people’s hearts. As a line in a Christian children’s hymn goes, joy is the flag that I fly in the castle of my heart when the King is in residence there. And through this post, I hope I am letting the whole world know that, as cliche as it may sound, that there really is no love worth comparing to the love of my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. 🙂

I hope this month of love, you would discover True Love. Even in a broken world, I am glad to tell you that He exists. True Love is not just a philosophical idea or concept that you need to draw to yourself; you must choose to seek Him with all your heart. And when you do, you will find Him because He has been waiting for you. Jesus is more than just your one-day Valentine; He’s yours (and you’re His) forevermore. 😀

For all the SSBs out there, I leave you with these encouragements. Belated happy hearts day! 😀

On Delay & Learning It The Hard Way

If there’s one lesson I learned the hard way this week, it is this:

Do not delay doing the things that you can finish today.

What if paramedics stopped over in a convenience store to grab something to eat instead of heading straight to a car collision scene? What if a weather forecasting agency decided to announce a strong, impending typhoon a day before it wiped out a city? What if Jesus arrived one year late because He wanted more time to prepare for His hard life on earth? Delay does not travel alone. It carries with him uneventful or even downright painful consequences for the one who bears him and those who have been robbed of time opportunity because of him.

When you attach delay with obedience, it sounds even more awful because it equals a grave and serious sin. Delayed obedience is disobedience, my parents always tell me. I used to ask myself, “Why is this so? I mean, it’s not that I’m not going to do what I’ve been told to do.” As I grew older, I learned that obedience consists not only in doing what you have been told to do, but in doing what you have been told to do at the prescribed and desired time by the commander.

Sadly, even this post is a product of delay. Not that I really owe anyone an apology for not posting for 2 weeks since this is my blog, but I did not listen to my gut feeling when it told me to post an entry. A woman’s gut feeling is right 99% of the time (based on experience), but because I mishandled precious time, I “disobeyed” myself.

Another product of delay (that I am still working on and paying the price for) is a video for a special someone. Not a romantic special someone, but a blood-related special someone. Today I was having thoughts if I should even continue with the video, but then again, I thought, better late than never.

I may suffer from acute tardiness (delay’s alter ego), but I consider myself utterly blessed because I belong to a God Who does not delay. A God Whose timing is impeccable; He is neither early nor late, but arrives on the scene at the exact hour, minute, second, and nanosecond that He planned. He does not schedule His day or race against time, rather, time submits to His plans. He did not put me on hold when I cried out to Him for help. He did not think twice in sending His only begotten Son to earth when it was time for Him to go.

If my Father does not delay, why should I? I must learn to be a good steward of time–His time. And I will. I don’t promise perfection, but I do promise diligence & resistance to complacency. There are activities that can still work out even if they are delayed. You can still shed off excess weight by proper diet and exercise today even if you failed to do them in years past. Others, however, don’t share the same privilege.

Would a doctor still be needed if he is one minute short of meeting the victim–alive?

“You may delay, but time will not.”- Benjamin Franklin

PS: I want one of these! Serves as a reminder for procrastinating folks like me.

On Passion and True Love

When was the last time you saw a romantic movie that exemplifies true love? (those with vampires don’t count)

What is true love, anyway? Now I know man, for centuries, has attempted  to concretely define L-O-V-E, so I won’t join in my specie’s futility. I’ll change my question, then: What are the evidences of true love? What actions must be undertaken, characteristics be seen, and consequences result when true love truly is at work? Again, these questions I posed can generated hundreds of answers from many different perspectives. For now, I shall focus on a principle interrelated with love: passion.

During Bible class  in my senior year of high school, my teacher asked the class to give a word close to passion. My classmates and I answered similarly: “desire,” “dream,” “love.” With my head held high, I thought I fared well in the question and answer portion. But my teacher shook his head. He waited for us to cease fire before he said:

“Passion equals suffering.”

I did not know that. Suffering did not even cross my train of thought. My ignorance was probably to blame, and partly, the world’s distorted take on passion…and love. In many movies, to be “passionately in love” with somebody means that you and your “somebody”–single or married–are having sex at an all time high. Songs promote looking for “love,” or should I say, lust in clubs and parties, then after finding it, head straight to lovemaking. Where did suffering go? It need not go anywhere because it did not exist in the first place. It was pleasure who hogged the spotlight, numbing consciences and guilt because “love is not supposed to hurt.”  Well actually there is suffering–suffering painful consequences, that is. STDs, unplanned pregnancies, and broken marriages are some of the devastating consequences of momentary pleasures that were mistaken for “passionate love.”

What did my teacher mean when he said passion equaled suffering? When you are passionate about a sport, hobby, belief, or person, you are willing and committing to brave life’s storms, wildernesses, and mountaintops. When you are passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, you choose Greek yogurt with fruit over a cup of Ben & Jerry’s and momentarily endure the criticisms of your friends who are “living and enjoying life.”  There’s always a give and take, a drawing of the line between good and bad, better and best. It’s a line that I’ve been asked to draw today, and at first, I felt more inclined towards the bad. 😐

The command was quite simple, actually: fetch your brother from school. That was the task of our helper, but since she accompanied my grandmother to a shopping spree, I was the only remaining candidate at home to do the deed. Time was two in the afternoon, the weather, not too warm and sunny (in short, masarap matulog [perfect time for sleeping]). In my head, I crossed my arms and shook my head because I did not want to fetch my brother, but instead, wanted to sleep and continue reblogging posts in Tumblr (which I should be forgoing).

As my mind and heart struggled, I pondered on the many, many times I told my brother, “I love you.”  Most days were full of glee, humour, and thrill so saying “I love you” was uttered with ease. But how about this time when every inch of your being screams, “I DON’T WANT TO ACT IN LOVE?” “I love you” will fall on deaf ears.

More romantic movies should show scenes of boyfriends and husbands struggling with lust,  sexual temptation, or raising their voice in anger towards their female partners. The idea that feelings are the basis of true love should be antiquated. An others-first philosophy should replace the I-deserve-to-be-happy mantra. Pleasure must step down and turn over the microphone to priorities.

Thankfully, by God’s grace, my story did not end with the struggle. As always, God saw me through the struggle (although I complained, and I wish I didn’t). Eventually I obeyed my mother’s orders and fetched my brother from school. On my way to his school, I prayed for the strength and power to love and to “please my brother for his good, leading to edification” (Rom. 15:2). When I arrived in my brother’s school, the struggle ceased and my heart relaxed. I walked on the straight and narrow path once again. 🙂

Love does not automatically come with passion. Both–love and passion–must be decided and acted upon. You can have sex day in and day out and still not show true, passionate love. If we want to love, we must be prepared to be stretched, tested, and burned. That is why I look up to wives who stay by their unfaithful husbands; spouses who care for their bed-ridden other halves; teachers who exercise patience towards unproductive students; pastors who gently care for unlovable flock, and parents who continuously reach out to a prodigal child. They know what true love really means because they live it out every.single.day. They also challenge those of us, including me, who casually say “I love you” to people we see everyday–friends, relatives, and most especially, family–to love passionately. To suffer long. To do what is right, not what feels right.

If ever you’re looking for a movie on true love, I suggest you see this film. His love is the best love you will ever find. And if you seek it, surely you will find. Actually, He will find you. 🙂