Eight o’clock in the evening, last day of the workweek, and I’m still stuck at my desk typing away numbers, while the office cleaner does his evening vacuum routine, dusting off tables and chairs of people he doesn’t even know. Not that I know them more, not quite, but I sure was halfway imagining them celebrating the weekend with families & loved ones at home or wherever social places they can find.  The green monster started to creep in. I was envious. I struggled to fight back the tears not just because I wanted to be brave and keep fighting, but partly because my sobbing wouldn’t really blend well with the sound of the vacuum cleaner that still rings behind.

You see even with crying, I seem to find the perfect place and time to do it. The very first minute when I learned my dad passed away, I didn’t break down right there and then. I held it up for four hours. In between, I had a shower, had my meal, had my morning devotion, went to work, waited till my boss was free that morning, went to his office and asked for an emergency leave, and finally burst into tears – right in my boss’ office.  Maybe because finally saying out loud, “I need to go home to bury my father”, finally felt too real and painful to muster.  Back to the current scenario, I broke down right after I closed the door upon reaching home.  That’s when I finally accepted that it’s alright to cry ‘coz even strong people do.

When people look up to you or seek your help whenever their strength fails, you start to think either of two things:

I’m stronger than them

I have to be strong for them.

Such thought or decision will not last very long. We pass through a season, one after the other. You will start to doubt yourself at one point, and this is where I am right now.

I remember having a conversation inside the lift with one of the building janitor. I found out he worked for 12 hours every day for six days. I realized then that that’s the amount of time I put in every single day too. The only difference is that I crunch numbers and he scrubs floors.  We both do an honest job, we try to be the best at it. If we trade places, would I be as good as him too? I don’t know. Perhaps. All I know and believe is, we get to be equipped to do the things we get to do, and we get better through the years.

One of my virtual coaches shared this exercise one day. He said, start to use the words “get to”, instead of “have to”.

“I get to work every day”  vs  “I have to work every day”

“I get to prepare my meals”  vs  “I have to prepare my meals”

“I get know and meet people”  vs  “I have to know and meet people”

‘I get to serve a ministry”  vs  “I have to serve a ministry”

See the contrast? A different mindset. A different way of looking at things.

Today is the weekend and tomorrow is another day on the battlefield. Surely it wouldn’t be easy because we didn’t choose the easy path. We chose this since we believe we’re made for something more, and we know that victory can only be as rewarding as the sacrifices made behind it.

Yes, there will be days when we’d feel like we’re at the end of the rope, but the consolation is, like everything else, it’s temporary.  As when we take laps in a pool, we breathe in, we breathe out, we swim, but we should take the time to bask in the sun too, and enjoy our favorite poolside drink. Be it a lemonade, a smoothie or a float, it’s worthy to remind ourselves to be grateful enough.  We’re still blessed as “We get to taste it”!

I know the feeling, and it’s absolute torture.

I grew up in a very religious environment: going to church every Sunday, going to a Catholic school, singing in a church choir, memorizing all prayers.  While all those were good and gave me a very solid training on discipline, the part of obedience though was motivated by fear.

When I was a kid my image of God was kind of like a punisher or even a dementor (if you’re a  harry potter fan you’d fear this creature).  So whenever I sinned, I felt so much guilt that I try o make up for it by accomplishing more, doing more, that I became almost like the perfect kid out there who’s got it all.  But,  who was I kidding right?

Inside I was broken. I hated myself and I envied everybody else who to me were close enough to be saints.  I feared God and his wrath so much that the scared me would either run away or crawl down a very deep pit of self-condemnation. Believe me, the place that I end up with was dark and lonely, even if that place only existed in my mind.

 

It wasn’t until my late twenties that the dark clouds in my horizon actually cleared. It’s like suffering from a cataract fro the longest time and finally able to see the world with its vibrant colors and distinct shapes.  and yes, it was beautiful, as it is today.

Now, the God I know is tender- hearted, forgiving, gracious and merciful. I want to say He fixed me but that would be an understatement.  He loved me and He loves me still. That’s all He did and still does.  When you have Someone like that, your response is no longer hiding and running away. It’s showing up and running towards. After all, who doesn’t want love or desperately need one?

It’s not anymore about what I think I deserve but what I’ve been freely given.  When I shifted my focus to this indispensable truth, I began to realize how my desire for worth was misplaced all these years.  I hungered for the world’s recognition and applause when God was filling me with so much more and all this time I took it for granted. Tell me about shortsightedness.

Of course, I still have my cracks and all, but it’s in these cracks where His love seeps through.  God can never fill your cup when it’s already full. So choose to stay in need of Him.

Last week I saw a video of a woman climbing a very large and tall tree. Reaching the top she muttered, “The world is very huge and we’re just but a tiny speck”. When you’re up there the tiny ones underneath becomes barely noticeable.  And when you come down everything and everyone one again becomes large.

Perspective.  When it changes, your attitude change and your take on the overall picture change. But to the One who made it all, you’re the same child He first breathed life into as the person that He’s looking at now. And it doesn’t really matter what you get to accomplish or achieve in this life, it’s how much love you put into it, and how much of that love was for Him.