under the magnifying glass

watch me as i journey to another time and place...

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I'm saved by grace. I have nothing to boast except for the fact that I have the greatest Being on my side.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

struggles of the human heart and other matters...

This post is actually several days late. I had been planning to put this entry before my previously posted one, but for some strange reason, I couldn't finish it...probably because it wasn't time. And you know, it wasn't. But I think now, it is.

I was never confused about these kinds of things before. Frankly, in the past, I didn't even give a damn (pardon the language, but the word captures the idea) about God's ways and direction when it comes to love and relationships. Now...thoughts just keep going round and round as if they were put inside my mom's blender. I marvel really at God's timing, because had I been any younger when these thoughts began to invade my mind, I would have been totally helpless. But I've matured since then, and I think it's about time I've given serious thought to it. Why? Two main reasons. First of, I'm already, in a sense an adult (and I'm not saying that just because I turned 20 just last Saturday although it does make a big impact on me now), and though I haven't yet left the care of my parents, my own responsibility for my actions and decisions has increased. My world is eventually going to get bigger as it will eventually move from school to work, and from friendships to deeper relationships in a short span of time. Second of all, a number of people have been telling me stuff and asking me questions regarding this issue or issues related to it. Talking to these people has left me scratching my head several times and really pushed me to seek what it really is that God wants for each of us when it comes to love and relationships. So here I am now, spilling my own thoughts and talking to myself in the process. I actually find it odd that I should be writing on something like this, but...hey...I'm doing it. Who am I to debate with reality? Hehe...

I don't wanna wait in vain for your love...

Funny that when I started to write this blog entry, what was currently playing in Winamp was the song from Lion King titled, "I Just Can't Wait to Be King." And while I was thinking of what to say, I began to think about the words of this song in relation to the movie. Simba was young, adventurous, carefree, and curious. In other words, his character reflected the character of the typical young man or woman who just wants to live life without any problems and without any responsibilities. His philosophy of being king of the pride lands can be summed up in three words: "Me. Myself. Mine." He looked forward to the power of making decisions and of getting things his way. However, he failed to see one thing. He wasn't ready for that power...not until he knew how to use it in the way that it really was supposed to be used. It was only later on in his life when he fully understood the responsibility given to him by his own bloodline did he fully recognize the true worth of a king.

"Patience is a virtue." Micah once told me this while I was lined up to order food on our way home from Baguio after the youth camp. I told her that the woman in front of me cut ahead of me and couldn't make up her mind on what to order, while the woman behind me apparently got her order ahead of me because the guy behind the counter served her first behind me. Then I added bluntly, "I don't feel very virtuous." I look back at this short event with a chuckle, but it just goes to show how we can be so impatient at times wanting things to go our way. Usually, we see people getting something ahead of us even though we have been waiting much longer than they have. We see people in front of us with the particular something right in front of their eyes, but they can't seem to make up their mind what to do with it, while we stand behind them and say, "Oh for heaven's sake! Let me get that instead!" It seems unfair when we're made to wait...wait...wait...

But what happens if we don't wait? What would've happened if Mufasa told Simba, "You want to rule? Go right ahead!" We'd probably see a different ending to Lion King. Simba would have probably died then and there in the elephant graveyard, Scar would've been king, the whole movie would've been done in twenty minutes, and my parents would have probably demanded for their money back. In other words, rushing things when it's not yet time, when we're not yet ready physically, emotionally, and spiritually, will just lead to confusion of all sorts in our lives. People who get into relationships prematurely would probably not be eaten by hyenas...but they'll most likely be eaten by emotional heartbreaks and problems too hot to handle.

I wonder if I'm making sense here. Maybe I should just sum up what I'm really trying to say in two sentences: God wants you to wait until you're ready. He'll tell you when it's time and He'll make sure that everything will fall into place.

Humans are relational beings. I mean, that's why God gave Eve to Adam right? For companionship. So that he wouldn't be alone. So God definitely knows our need for companionship as well. He knows...we just need to trust Him...

Question to reflect on: Is he/she worth waiting for?

L1, L2, and L3?

Ls? How incredible is that?! Haha! Fortunately, I will not be talking about those particular Ls.\/ (^_^)\/ It just so happens that L is the starting letter for three particularly relevant words: Like, Lust, and Love. Hence, my use of L1, L2, and L3 in naming these three words.

Like: No doubt, every teenager falls on this particular stage: the liking stage. Of course, there's the "like", and then there's also the more controversial "like-like." I'm actually even wondering now if there's even such a thing as "like" to the third degree: "like-like-like." Possible, although using such a term sounds like an American stuttering: You know, it's like-like-like...
Funny, but I have hard time defining "like," probably because its meaning differs depending on the situation and the people involved. The words "attraction", "crush", "admiration", and "infatuation" come to mind. I think nowadays, though, "like" would be most synonymous to the definition: "I saw something in you that I liked, and I think it's drawing me to you into more than just a friendship." (If I got this wrong, drop me a comment...(n_n))
There's actually nothing wrong with liking anyone. It's a given. People will explain that it's hormones and the whole thing is biological, and bla-bla-bla... Liking someone is a natural thing. It's a God-given mechanism in all of us that's designed to move that first step into our marriage with His perfect choice for us. However, we should be aware that liking is only the first step in an actually long process. Liking someone doesn't assure that you'll end up with a certain person. It merely signals an attraction which should be given careful thought. As early as this stage, human emotions are already at play; even if one is only in the stage of liking another, there's already room for possessiveness, jealousy, and impatience among others. So I wouldn't even take this particular stage lightly.

Lust: Just very recently listened to a series of sermons by Josh Harris on lust. Josh defines lust as "wanting/craving for something that God has said 'no' to." If you read his book on lust titled Not Even a Hint, you'll see the same definition. (By the way, I recommend that you read this. Although I haven't finished it yet, it's worth the read.) He has lots of insights on the whole topic of lust, but I think I'll just focus on the definition and God's plan for physical/sexual intimacy.
Lust and love are always confused. Always. Actually, people don't even use the word lust because love is always used to substitute it. Ever saw a movie where the guy approaches the girl he likes and says, "You're mighty pretty. I lust you."? I can't say I have. It's always got to be substituted with love. I shake my head upon hearing the ever immortal line: "You're breaking up with me? I thought you loved me!" to which the proper response is, "No. I was just using you to satisfy lust." Sad. But nowadays, people probably can't even tell the difference anymore because of how the world's just distorted the very idea of what love is, giving the idea that if you are infatuated with this person, you can invite yourself to his/her physical body. In the same way, the world's given the idea that the human body is public property with an invisible sign that says "For Rent." Sad.
"It's a human problem," Josh says. "Not a guy problem." So how do you handle it? One answer: Flee sinful desires. Trying to fight lust is like trying to win a losing battle. It's hard enough not to view things with questionable content; why make the struggle tougher by viewing it just the same and claiming that it's not going to stay in your head because you're a Christian and that you can fight it? News flash! Christians fall for this sort of thing as well. It's a constant struggle people face as they go online, as they read magazines, as they watch movies, etc. Relying on God's strength to help you flee situations that may tempt you to lust is the best option...
Let me just give a deeper implication to how damaging lust can be. The consequences go beyond the physical: AIDS, pregnancy, STDs, etc. It goes beyond the emotional: sex = love formula, the giving of the heart away to someone other than God's intended choice, etc. It even reaches the spiritual: It can open doors that may damage our personal lives. God wants us to preserve ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually for only one person...that is, our life partner. No other. Period. (For other insights on this, I suggest that you listen to the sermon "Rescuing Sex" in www.covlife.org).

Love: Used and abused. The word love. I remember hearing a sermon about love once. According to the pastor, there are three definitions of love: eros (love based on physical attraction), love based on actions or deeds or conditional love, then there's agape or unconditional love. Somehow, I think I've tackled the two former ones already. I want to focus more on agape. Why? Because it's Jesus' love for us. Unconditional.
The foundation of every relationship should be a love that goes beyond "I love you for these certain characteristics only..." We'd be so dead if that's how Christ loved us. I believe that relationships will only stay strong if it's founded on love patterned according to Christ's love: "I love you for who you are." Christ loved us because it's His nature to love us. We didn't do anything to gain it. He freely gave it to us.
Love. It's really so sadly abused. In fact, it's so abused nowadays that the marriage vows are merely seen as a routine, and not as a pact between husband, wife, and God. It pisses me off when I see or hear two people pledging to be there for each other 'till death do us part...and then breaking up a couple of years later before remarrying a couple of months later. If the saying "'till death do us part" were really true, then people would be dying all over the place...
Romance. Kilig moments. Hearts and cupids. Love? I don't think so. Expressions/symbols of love maybe, but they do not define love. True definition of love? Jesus. Maybe if we understand more about His love, we'd be able to understand love between husband and wife a whole lot more.
Protect love. It's not just a word...it carries more weight than we realize...

Question to reflect on: Lord, is my relationship with a certain person(s) based on mere liking, lust, or the genuine love that You show?

To the readers of my blog: This is merely a regurgitation of thoughts in my mind. I cannot guarantee that what I've written here is 100% accurate. In fact, you don't need to agree because I'm not forcing you to. You can have your own opinions, your own thoughts, and they may contradict mine. No problem. I am merely writing this down hoping that it would hopefully help some people and even myself.


It's been some months now...and the Lord has given me strength. The struggles may still be there, but I'm so grateful to God that He speaks to me during those times...I guess it's true...It really shouldn't be by our power, but by the Lord's strength and Spirit.
But I have to give the credit to some people out there. You guys have encouraged me unknowingly to throw it away, and I have. I pray that it's gone for good.


Last Sunday, my family gathered around and proceeded to bless two people in my family: my Dad, because it was Father's Day and me, because I just celebrated my birthday. I guess I can only say that, after hearing what was said that night, I really just love my family. I wouldn't trade any of them for anything else in the world. In fact, if it weren't for them, I wouldn't be who I am today. So I'm truly grateful. I love you Mom, Pop, Kuya, Ate, Kuya Niks, and Nuel! I thank God for each of you.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

different? yeah i hope so...

"SET APART. That's you.
You don't labor for your own name.
The life you live is for His cause.
You bear the colors of the cross.
You are the REALITY of Jesus to this generation."

Thank you, Nikki, for this really inspiring and thought-provoking quote. You couldn't have timed it any better when you sent the text message to me.

To the faithful readers of my blog...I'm back! Yes, it has been more than a month since my last entry. A number of really important and newsworthy events have happened since the April 22 concert. I made several attempts to make an entry where I enumerate the different summer activities I spent with the fellow OWLS and with my family (overnights, trips around Baguio, gimmicks, youth camp, etc.). However, I found myself always struggling to get the right words out. They say that if you stop writing, you end up having difficulty trying to start again. I think this is why this particular entry is a product of five previous attempts to keep the flies away from my already decaying blog.

You might be wondering why I found Nikki's (or Monica, for those who are more familiar with her being called that) text message so thought-provoking. Two words: SET APART. Or, my own translation: BE DIFFERENT. Different in various aspects of life: how we react to our problems, how we talk and relate to others, how we respond to tempting and compromising situations, etc. In other words, being set apart reminds me that I am a Christian, and what I do should not equate itself to what the rest of the world does. And let's admit it. It is so darn difficult to live up to the saying "set apart." Why, the world is just so fond of luring young minds (and old minds, for that matter) into it's big ugly mouth of sinful living. I look around and realize that the thought of knowing Jesus doesn't immediately assure you that you're free from sinful living. I'll be honest. Christians are still so capable of engaging in pre-marital sex or other forms of sexual impurity. Christians are still capable of swearing. Christians are still capable of cheating, lying, gossiping, and slandering. Christians are still capable of prejudice. They are still capable of so many outward actions that can easily tarnish Christ's image in their lives. Why? Because it is our very nature. We are all sinners to begin with. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3:23)

But then...that's no excuse, when I think about it. Isn't our salvation in Christ, the righteousness that we have in Him, His Word, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit our own weapons in resisting the desires of our sinful nature? I believe they are, and when we go ahead and give in to our sinful nature, we neglect these weapons that the Lord gave us to keep from falling back to our old ways. The Lord has equipped us with everything that we need to pursue a life different from that of the world, but it won't help much if we don't even bother to use what he has given us.

In two days, I'll be leaving what is termed "the teenage years." I am no longer going to be a teenager on the 17th of June. I think back to the almost twenty years of my life and reflect: Lord, have I set myself apart? I know there were times when I did, and other times when I did not. Living a life "set apart" for Christ has and continues to be a struggle for me. Why? Because of my wanting to fit in with the crowd-- show them that I know how to have "fun," show them that "hindi ako others." Or because of the excuse, "He's doing it too, so why can't I?" But, hey! Are we getting the favor of men here in the first place? No, we're not. And I doubt that God's plan is for us to primarily get the favor of men in the first place. Our priority is God, not man. And yet...how easy it is for us to forget that...

I don't think being set apart is the same thing as being exclusive. Exclusivity connotes something negative: it's like saying you do something intentionally to stand out, and it's usually with an effort to gain a reputation. Being set apart, on the other hand, means "thinking of what Jesus would do," because we have been called to live our lives His way and not ours. In the end, being set apart doesn't mean standing out for ourselves, but rather, projecting more of Christ in us. He should be increasing and us, decreasing.

Having said all this, I have a goal now set for me. I want to be different. Set apart. May the Lord guide me.


My dear OWLS...things have not been easy since after the youth camp. We've had, and we will continue to have certain struggles in life. But rest assured that if God is for us, the world can do nothing against us. Absolutely NOTHING. As some of you continuously tell me that we'll go through this, I can honestly claim that now. We may not have the favor of men, but we have the favor of God. Just a thought that Mom shared to me: When you feel the attacks of the enemy, it can only mean one thing...he sees you as a threat. (I like how that sounds...^_^) So, at least we're reassured of one thing...we OWLS are giving the serpents a hard time.