September 13, 2017 / 21:39 PM
A part of me has always been ashamed of my emotions. When you grow up with a heart like mine, your expectations of love and understanding of grace limit your actual communion with it. As a young girl, I let my heart do the leading. I allowed my emotions to control my response to situations – hastily and recklessly. I gave without demanding anything in return, I loved without asking for permission, I forgave without hearing an apology. For years, I treated these attributes as a form of shameful weakness – that is until I rediscovered the character(s) of my God.
Jesus wept. (John 11:35)
Christ was emotional. The fierce and inexhaustible force, which holds the world and carries my heart, wept. He felt pain – just like you and me. Yes, pain, the soul-crushing type which keeps me up at night. God, in His splendor and majesty, chose to strip off His divinity to be human. He did not exhibit pride nor apathy to protect Himself from the possibility of rejection, fear, and sadness. He was not above it.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3)
Living here on earth enabled Him to personally commune with His people. He embraced human emotions to fully understand and empathize with man – yet He did not sin. He is not detached to my recurring reality, and that is infinitely comforting. We serve a God who is tender and compassionate. We serve a relational God who reaches out and does not wait for me to get myself together and face Him with joy. He humbles Himself and shares in my grief because He Himself faced it.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7)
The next time you feel that vulnerability is a curse – that it needs to be avoided at all costs – remember the big blessing of emotions: sharing in something bold and beautiful with your Creator. This is to love you, to know you, to be with you. This is the love, which finds you and me, a love fully devoid of selfishness and pride which unfailingly embraces our rebellion. This is love within reach. This is love which waits to be noticed, to be received. This is His love – the emotional kind, the God kind.
By His wounds, we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
“God could, had He pleased, have been incarnate in a man of iron nerves, the Stoic sort who lets no sigh escape Him. Of His great humility He chose to be incarnate in a man of delicate sensibilities who wept at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane. Otherwise we should have missed the great lesson that it is by his will alone that a man is good or bad, and that feelings are not, in themselves, of any importance. We should also have missed that all important help of knowing that He faced all that the weakest of us face, has shared not only the strength of our nature but every weakness of it except sin. If He had been incarnate in a man of immense natural courage, that would have been for many of us almost the same as His not being incarnate at all.”
C.S. Lewis (Letters of the Faith Through the Seasons)
August 14, 2017 / 22:23 PM
If you’re reading this as a single man or woman who feels strongly about a relationship – even marriage – you’re not the only one. I’ve been single for as long as I can remember. Most days, I don’t mind the wait, but as much as I love learning about the Lord on my own, I eagerly wait for the day when I can grow in faith with my partner.
Friend, I want to affirm you and let you know it’s okay to be faith-filled..and still be lonely. When my lonely gets too loud, I tell myself it’s alright. This is human – as human as anyone can get. If people invalidate your desire and say you lack faith because “you are not satisfied in the Lord,” talk to someone else. Your desire is God-designed – God created Eve for Adam as a helpmate – in the same way that others have the equally blessed gift of singleness. But then, this isn’t an excuse to waste this fulfilling albeit tiring season. You eventually get to a point when you understand its purpose. This is exactly when you allow His faithful plans to unfold.
Read: Single, Faithful, and Not Waiting
- Make peace with your past.
The most liberating feeling is knowing your shortcomings, asking atonement for them, and making way for God to renew you. I’m pretty sure we all have had (almost) relationships and “cheap” imitations of love we want to keep in the farthest corners of our minds – or even pray into non-existence – but wounds often arise when these aren’t properly dealt with. Before you can genuinely be content with the season you’re in, make peace with the people you’ve hurt, make peace with God, and make peace with yourself. God can trace away all the murky, sad parts of you you’re afraid to show others – if you let Him. Let these chains (of hurt and self-loathing) be broken.
You will no longer remember the shame of your youth. (Isaiah 54:4)
Guard your heart, you’ve probably heard that – and if you’re in a Christian environment, endless amount of times. But, do you guard your contentment? The simple act of binge-watching Koreanovelas or romantic comedies makes any woman want the fairytale-type-of-love fast. Personally, I watch vlogs from itsjudyslife every single day. When I get really lonely, I cry myself to sleep because I don’t have what they have. (I’m not exaggerating.) I’m not telling you to stop watching these shows, I have no intention of doing so too, but take caution in what holds your heart and mind captive.
Months ago, I deleted a playlist with sad love songs I listened to when I wanted to indulge in my sadness. Rather, I pray and redirect my thoughts to higher things. Stop romanticizing your sadness, and know what triggers it.
- Learn from your relationships.
And no, not from romantic ones. How do you treat those you have nothing to gain from? Are you creating new relationships and nurturing old ones? Are you plugged in a solid community that helps you grow or are you too busy engaging in futile acts like gossip to belong to one? How you treat those around you will eventually be how you treat your partner.
For women, do you affirm the men around you? Do you push them towards Christlikeness? For men, do you treat women with respect and protect them? Do you let their unique femininity radiate? Regardless of your “intentions,” kindness doesn’t go unnoticed.
- Passively wait, actively serve.
Are you pursuing your best, the Lord? Do you make time for Him? Are you delighting in Him and His precepts, or do you simply make Him an afterthought? There is so much that God can boldly use us for – to reach out and mentor someone younger than us, to be part of any ministry in Church, and to let people know about God in whatever way we can. This season is a great gift; may we offer our waiting to the Lord.
An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world – how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:34-35)
Being in a relationship is a beautiful, life-giving thing but honor your singleness, and make peace with it. Don’t make a (romantic) relationship your goal. Be open to possibilities, and allow this season to bear glorious things within you. If you’re single, good, it means you have uninterrupted time to learn about life without compromising your plans – because you have another person in the equation. It is a wonderfully grave responsibility, after all. Do the things you’re afraid of – trek a mountain, learn a new language, go on your first solo trip – and love life without anticipating that someone falls in love with you in the process.
Work on your person, and continue to fall in love with your kind of beautiful. Let time transform you. Lay down your expectations on the feet of Christ. I tell you, every day you wait on God’s plan is a gift to your spouse.
July 23, 2017 / 00:27 AM
In Dua Lipa’s New Rules MV, you see a group of beautiful women – with mascara-dripped faces and blinding highlight – “supporting” one another (emotionally) in a singsong, theatrical production. As of writing, it has 33M views – pretty sure because many can relate. Let me tell you something, it’s everything I want to tell my friends who settle.
Now I’m standing back from it, I finally see the pattern/ I never learn/ But my love, he doesn’t love me, so I tell myself I do
Now, don’t get me wrong…I’ve been there, and my closest friends can attest to that (with my desperate text messages at 3AM all in CAPS LOCK – because FEELINGS). Having said that, I’ve also met and comforted way too many heartbroken women who have felt abandoned. Sometimes, we persist to stay in situations that don’t benefit us but we’re too caught up in the person, in the feeling that we need to be reminded that, really, we don’t need to. This may be a part of life but that’s it; don’t let it become your life. Let this be your salvation: love doesn’t need to be complicated. If you’re trying too hard, there may be something wrong.
- Ladies, you are not just somebody’s “afterthought.”
You are not a chance lost *cough Jollibee TVC cough,* you are, first and foremost, a choice. Stay away from boys who only seek your presence when it’s convenient. Never compromise your standards to fit someone in the picture. If you have different beliefs, if you’re running towards opposite directions, it’s time to be firm and stand your ground.
- Never act on your emotions when you’re lonely.
I’ve been there. 12AM messages left “seen” you immediately regret until the wee hours of the morning. (Girl, sayang ‘yung skin care mo, itulog mo na lang ‘yan – ikagaganda mo pa!) It’s okay to be lonely, but how do you respond to it? If you think you’ll find a good man on some hook-up app or in a bar, please reconsider. I know the attention is so enthralling, and you hunger for it, but there is so much on the line. I say this all the time but lead your heart before it leads you.
- Handle your expectations.
Correct me if I’m wrong but so many of our deepest hurts come from unmet expectations. Before we put the “blame” on the other party…kayo ba talaga or is it just a M(alabong) U(sapan)? If a guy can’t bravely put himself to lay it out then you have every right to ask for clarity.
- You don’t have to work for anybody’s attention.
A good man won’t stop at anything if he really likes you. You are worth pursuing. Call me old-fashioned but it is the man’s job to initiate.Take this (and everything else I say, really) with a grain of salt. If you end up second-guessing your words and actions again and again – almost to the point of crippling self-doubt and self-loathing – it’s time to stop and evaluate your circumstances.
“A woman in her glory, a woman of beauty, is a woman who is not striving to become beautiful or worthy or enough. She knows in her quiet center where God dwells that He finds her beautiful, has deemed her worthy, and in Him, she is enough. In fact, the only thing getting in the way of our being fully captivating and enjoyed is our striving. This is why we must keep asking. Ask Jesus to show you your beauty. Ask Him what He thinks of you as a woman. His words to us let us rest and unveil our beauty.”
(Stasi and John Eldredge, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of A Woman’s Soul)
Bottom line, if you’re settling for cheap imitations of love, you are doing yourself a disservice. Honor your heart, and give yourself the respect you deserve. Simple lang ‘yan, if you can’t give your best friend the “love” you have now, then why would you allow yourself to be in that situation? Ipaglaban mo naman ang sarili mo.
The road to love, the real and God kind, is filled with detours but trust that taking the road less travelled – to wait and make honorable decisions you can be proud of – frees you from unnecessary hurt and drama. Give your energy to something more worth your time. Surround yourself with people who you can be accountable to and who could lovingly rebuke you when you’re making problematic decisions.
From one struggling woman to another, you are beautiful and so is your heart. Guard it for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23). Believe me when I say there is glorious love stored up for you that won’t make you doubt yourself. It is unrelenting and true. Don’t settle for anything else.
Read: Maximizing Your Season of Singleness
If you had the opportunity to talk to a younger you, what would you tell her about love? Leave your answers in the comments below! ❤️
July 04, 2017 / 18:00 PM
We were created for exceptionally great things – because we were designed by an even greater God. But more often than not, the pathway to greatness involves terrible first drafts, overexposed photographs, lifeless audition reels, and the list continues. Unfortunately, a lot of these don’t even get to see the light of day because human as we are, we become consumed by fear – fear of soul-crushing rejections, of sharp critique, and unmet expectations. This is not only the case for the artist, but for the believer.
It took me two listless years to create She Makes Him Known, my personal faith and beauty blog targeted towards women (high schoolers to young adults). After graduating from university, entering the workforce overwhelmed me. I prioritized my corporate, full-time job in a TV station, which led me to sacrifice many things including my passion for blogging.
To the core of my being and the depths of my heart, I already knew what I wanted to do. I had this grand vision I held on to for the longest time yet I was too afraid to move. A huge part of me felt as if this passion of mine – churning out organic content on a public platform – was not from God…and it needed to be forgotten. Looking back now, this thought was a product of exhaustion and fear.
Having a 9-hour job from Monday to Friday is not easy. It’s completely acceptable to go home after a long day’s work and settle – but it easily breeds unhappiness and discontent; after all, we’re created to create. Well, I published my blog a year ago, and the world is still moving. It also happens to be one of the best decisions of my life. I learned so late that I can work and still be passionate about other things and intentionally make time for it. It is a commitment, which reaps love and growth. Loving the journey and owning the process – disappointments, detours, and breakthroughs – allow me to devote more time and space for it.
My season of waiting and discernment was not for naught. I discovered that God was purifying my intentions and allowing me to live out virtues and ideas I knew to be good but barely had a grasp on. He was also placing the right people in my life to keep reaffirming this dream.
Have you ever felt that way? Where you become emotionally, mentally, and spiritually paralyzed because you don’t know if you should act on an inherently good desire? You echo the same sentiments again and again, “Is it God who placed this in my heart?”
What are things you are called to do which God is clearly impressing upon you which you’ve given up on? This may be your dormant dream to continue further studies after university. It may be your desire to lead a Bible study group in church. It can even be your hope to have a family of your own. Whatever your hope and dream, God will glorify Himself in the process – most of the time, in your deepest struggles.
Stop making excuses – even using God’s name to mask your fear – and move. More often than not, when we’re wary and waiting on God and His will to be revealed to us, we’re asked to step out in boldness and faith. Some of the greatest breakthroughs in my life come from a stubborn heart, humbled by God, immersed in the uncomfortable.
Discern God’s timing. It may be a resounding “yes” in your heart but a “not yet” from Him – sometimes, it may even be a “no.” Regardless, to seek Him – through constant prayer, Bible reading, and fellowship – is the answer in itself. Wade in uncertainty, and revel in possibilities knowing that the hands who hold the world laid out this path for you. God is such an intentional God; He knows exactly what He’s doing for your story. He doesn’t waste a day, and He won’t waste you.
No matter the mess, God will faithfully bless the work of your hands. Go beyond yourself, and see what the world needs. Lay the weight of perfection, and make room for grace to fill in the gaps. For every dream, I ask, “Where does God fit into the picture?” when I should be declaring, “God, You are here. Lead me.” We will be wasting time if we searched for His concrete, specific will. I am learning day by day to trust in the path, knowing He is near.
In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
This article originally appeared on YesHEis.
June 10, 2017 / 20:17 PM
At the beginning of the week, I was a wretched mess.
I found myself alone inside the chapel of my Church wrestling with Jesus, crying out, echoing the same sentiments again and again, desperately yearning for better circumstances. I welcomed fear and anxiety to dwell deep within the crevices of my heart. With an empty pack of tissue in hand and muffled sobs, I left, and I was perplexed to find that pain turned into peace and doubt into clarity. His silence spoke volumes to my rebellious soul – more than His words ever could.
Christ continues to purify my understanding of His character time and time again. In soul-shattering moments, He reveals another layer, which I can only fully take in through reaching a new level of (spiritual and emotional) maturity. The pursuit may take moments, days, and even seasons to gloriously unfold but when it does, I am renewed, I am transformed.
Yet, I find myself in a standstill. If it takes an (almost) quarter-life crisis, a broken heart (then), an endless list of rejections (and so on…) to fully and courageously grow into my being, where is God in my unremarkable days?
Read: Jon Bloom, God Is at Work in Your Unremarkable Days via Desiring God
Where is God in moments I could so easily forget – while waiting for the train to board, while getting a sandwich from the nearest convenience store, while walking home? How does God move in instants of stillness and familiarity? Well, I find my God to be the same – as compassionate, as insurmountable, as infallible as He has always been. I learn to trust the silence by moving, by seeking. These become opportunities for unrelenting grace to cover me with humble purpose as I slowly and clumsily make my way towards His unending truth and goodness. At the end of the day, His presence is the gift, His goodness is the wonder in itself.
You see, Christ cannot always offer powerful breakthroughs and discoveries. Growth does not end when our emotions and our passions do. Genuine faith does not anchor itself to something as completely ephemeral as emotions. I want to spend more time taking in the normalcy of every day without expecting tiny miracles along the way. I want to find God where I am, exactly where He chooses to reveal Himself to me – in the now.
“There is no substitute for being alone with God. If you don’t have time, you need to quit something to make room. Skip a meal. Cancel a meeting. End some regular commitment. There is literally nothing more important you could do today.
Could anything be more important than meeting with the One who decides if you live through this day? Could anything be better? How can we not make time to be with the Maker of time? What plans do you have today that you think so important that you would race past the Creator to get to them?”