Monday, January 18, 2010

When God Speaks

When God's trying to catch your attention, when God speaks, there is nothing - literally - that will stop Him. Usually we are the thing that hinder Him, but even that, He can slice through it when He needs to.

I have one question for Him. One. He spoke to me three times. Three. And He spoke in parables, still, after two thousand years. Now I pray so that my heart can understand what I've heard.

The Beginning. On Friday's class, we talked about the values that we individually attach ourselves to, that our spirit is perked up by, and reviewed the purpose of our lives. Then, we thought about how what we have been doing needed change in order to walk towards that target. It was a stimulating discussion, and a pretty disturbing process, because there is a disparity in what I want people to remember me by and the way I live. I was perplexed. I asked God about my calling, how what I am doing right now, in regards to church and school, will lead to fulfilling His purpose, and what specifically it will be. One question that I have been asking for quite a while.

First answer. On Sunday, for some reason, the pastor brought a message about our calling. We have to be working hard on the field before God called us, because sloth will not get us anywhere, just like how Elijah found Elisha. Then, leave the past behind, and be immediate in answering God. God reminded me of how he has called me and how I have answered to Him immediately. You have left for Me, so stay with Me, even though there are other things that you want to do, there will be nothing more satisfying that being with Me.

Second answer. We were about to watch a chick flick movie, but we could not make it in time, so we ended up watching Book of Eli, though I had no idea what it was about, I was desperate to just watch anything. There, God spoke. Bring my Word, bring Me, to the rest of the world who needs Me, and I shall be with you, and no sword can go against you. Of course, Eli convicted me too. I should read the Bible to the point I memorized it back to back.

Third answer. A friend's call for help in the middle of the night, mere minutes before I slept. Thank God I caught it before I was done with my day. Giving her advice was like the Spirit giving me advice. The words that came out from me were the words that came out from Him, speaking to me. Give the church, give the people, another chance. Learn to love them the way I have loved you. I've died for them too, you know.

So yes, three parable-like answers. I have yet to know how my schooling will lead me there, or if what I want to do is what God wants me to do. But at least I know He will lead me to the target, and when I start stumbling around, He will catch me before I make the wrong turn.

Ask, and you shall receive. God is not afraid of your questions. He can answer them, and He knows even if you will be scared after hearing the answer, He can still capture your heart all over again. And when God speaks, you will hear. But only you can choose whether you want to listen. I pray that God will answer your questions and your heart will hear Him.

Friday, January 15, 2010

That Person

I am taking Substance Abuse, Alcohol, and Addiction class right now, and there was something that came to mind while I was doing my reading for the class.

Youths (and elderly, actually) have higher risk because of the higher level of needs. People these days are not as reserved when it comes to experimentation either. There are mixed social messages around youths in regards to drugs and alcohol. Well, I'm sure that these people know that these substances are not good for them, but they still take them nevertheless. I wonder what can be a universal protective factor (factors in their lives that decrease the likelihood of getting involved with these substances)?

I'm an experimenter; I like to try new things, random things, anything that comes my way, and in an extreme fashion (mostly good and sometimes bad for me). It's either all the way (unless I really dislike it), or none at all, so I've had my share of drinking too much and getting wasted, taking my first puff (which I discontinued because I hated the taste), and things that are less critical, like doing too much of something. That's my trait, I think.

Anyway, drugs are the only thing that I never touched in my life. Ok, I touched the stuff before, physically, but I never consumed or used any. My protective factor: my older brother, or more specifically, his trust and love for me. He told me once that it is okay if I want to try drugs, he understands that it is natural to be curious, but he explicitly states that if I ever want to take drugs, I must take it in his presence, so he can ensure that I don't hurt myself in any way (overdosed, irrational behaviors, etc.). And you know what? I kept that sentence of his real close to my heart, and knowing he trusts that I won't touch these stuff without him really helped. (Even though when I think about it now, he probably must be taking a huge risk, because if I did get interested in trying, he would be responsible for the ruin of my life; but I guess he knew me well).

That person in my life was my brother. I wonder, if youths experimenting with substances are lacking that person in their lives. I want to be that person in another person's life. Call it a friend, a mentor, or whatever. But wouldn't it be great if our presence in another's life is a protective factor against the things that bring destruction to that life?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lone Journey

I had a thought while I was doing my laundry today.

We glorify our unique calling in God, that noone else can take over the special task God has given us. It is as though we each have our own path to walk. Thinking of it through another perspective, our path will be a lonely one. It is a path wide enough only for one to walk on.

Sure, paths cross each other, and that's when we meet people from all over in our journey. But in the end, our path is only ours to walk; it is wide enough only for a single pedestrian. Perhaps that is why the desire to find a soul mate in our lives, for a soul mate has a path that is parallel to ours (or supposedly). The paths do not merge to become one, but at least they are parallel and we won't feel so lonely walking down the road.

Friends may have paths that are parallel as well... But their paths may be far from ours, and that may not be sufficient for many people, for this is a lone journey. One feels lonely easily. Perhaps God knows that, and that's why Jesus left us with the Holy Spirit to comfort, teach, and guide us when we feel alone.

I give thanks to the many paths that have crossed mine, for those encounters have made me who I am today. I want to learn to cherish the paths that are crossing mine right now, for one day they will be as precious as those that have passed.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Birthday 2010

My birthday came and went. Sometimes I wonder, what's the significance of celebrating another year that reminds you that you are a year closer to your death bed? Sure, I am thankful for being alive for another year, but every year when I look back, something feels... empty. Fulfilling but empty. It's the feeling of, okay, it's been an enjoyable year, but so what?

On a happier note, I received a tangible present from my brother (2nd birthday present he has ever given me, the first being a burnt CD with cool songs compiled), and it moved me to tears. That was probably a surprise I did not expect. Mind you, my family is really bad with surprises and presents. I buy my own present every year, directly or indirectly. So when things like that happen, it's not surprising that I am moved.

Surprises still move me, because I am not easily surprised, in a sense that my imagination and expectations are pretty difficult to beat. So when something surprised me, you know it's pretty good for the standard of the context of the surprise.

My birthday was another quiet one, and I like it that way. After all, birthdays are YOUR day. I like to spend my birthday with myself. Surprises can wait the day after, or it can happen the day before.

On new year's eve, my family and I went up to our rooftop to watch the firework display. It was an amazing sight, looking over Jakarta's horizon in the dark, with fireworks lighting up the sky. Everyone was celebrating the upcoming year with much zeal and gun powder. It was a great start to a birthday, for sure.

I look forward to the new year ahead. It will be a good, enjoyable year, just as they all have been. I do hope, however, when I look back to the year 2010, it won't feel empty. I hope that your year won't feel empty as well, as satisfying and fulfilling as it may get.