So yesterday, I finally gave in to the hype and watched the classic Beauty and the Beast. I love the story of Beauty and the Beast because it teaches us the lesson of not looking in the outer appearance to see the worth and beauty of a person but to look for the beauty within. Stories like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Prince, where the famous line “what is essential is invisible to the eyes” came from, are just examples of the tools that strengthened my mindset that physical appearance is not important.
As I was watching how the love story between Belle and Beast progress in the movie, specially in the part where they are singing “Something There”, I can’t help but wonder, is this really what true love is? Does it really start with nothing (or disgust in the case of Belle) and then you will discover a small part of a person’s character that you’ll find beautiful and slowly it will grow into something more until you will see nothing but the beauty of the character of the person? Or isn’t it something that starts with physical attraction like a beautiful smile or eyes, and then you will feel your stomach flutters and heart beats faster than usual whenever you’re around that person you feel attracted to?
Though I always say that character is more important for me than physical appearance, I think I still prefer the second type of love story. I want my future love story to start with physical attraction and later on I will also discover his beauty within. I’m holding on to the truth that God is gracious to give me a man with a godly character whom I also find physically attractive. I want a prince through and through so maybe for now, I’ve decided not to settle for a prince clothed in a beast’s clothing but to wait for that prince who’s a valiant knight in noble steed. 😅
I actually don’t know what to share for this post. But thanks to the interesting lunch conversation I had with my office yesterday, I now have an idea what to write.
Lunch time with officemates is one the things I look forward to everyday, lately. I praise God that He restored my relationships with the people in the office that I am now enjoying the time I spent with them. So yesterday, we were having our usual meal time chat and out of the blue, we ended up talking about love life and dating apps like Tinder. And then another officemate shared about her experience in using Tinder, which also made me confess that I also tried installing and exploring the app before. I told them that I installed the app out of curiosity and also because my friends and I were talking about. After a few swipes to the right and a number of swipes to the left, I concluded that Tinder will never work for me. Because one, I am judgmental and all that when it comes to display pictures; and two, I’m not interested in starting a random chat with a stranger. So in the end, I deleted my account and uninstalled the app in my phone.
When I shared this incident to my officemates, one of them was surprised that I have tried Tinder. Knowing my preference and standards, they have never suspected me that I will install Tinder in my phone.
Anyway, so at the end of our lunchbreak, we ended up installing Tinder in our phones for some demo. After a few swipes, I decided to uninstall the app again because I really find it scary talking to random strangers.
This question is quite related to my previous post in my letter to my past, present and future self. My previous letter was addressed to my 15-year old self. I was in 4th year high school back then. So for this challenge, let me go back a year earlier to have a conversation with my 14-year old self in my 3rd year in high school. I actually don’t know what to say to my younger self because I can’t remember anymore what my issues are back then. So let me try again…
“Hey, Cary! I saw that. I know what, or perhaps who, are you looking at from this window.”
“Who are you?!”
“It doesn’t matter but I know you’re staring at that guy with the blue shoes. Maybe you’re also secretly praying that you’ll share the same ride on your way back home, later.”
“How did you know that?”
“Well, been there, done that. I’m sorry to tell you but what you’re hoping for will never gonna happen, and that’s okay.”
“What about our prom next year? Isn’t he going to ask me to dance?”
“Duh, as if you care about dancing.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I don’t.”
“But don’t worry, you’ll not end up in the all-girls section next year. Your cool adviser will find a partner for you. Anyway, that’s not the reason why I came all the way back to this distant past and bring some news about your prom. I came here to tell you a very important message and I hope you will listen carefully.
I know you’re now starting to get anxious and feel that you don’t seem to fit in. Maybe you also feel weird that you don’t have that someone you can call a best friend. It’s okay. You’ll get by with a little help from your close friends. You are a strong girl so you won’t need a constant somebody to lean on especially in this current chapter of your life. Just cherish the happy moments with your high school friends because that will be the only thing that will hold you together, later in life. Don’t also feel bad that no one is romantically pursuing you right now. You will thank God later for that because it will spare you from a lot of heartaches.”
“Who says that I want to be in a relationship right now?! My priority is my studies. I’m too young for that!”
“I know. But believe me, later you’ll feel envious of your classmates who have secret admirers and you will feel insecure and unloved. So you have to keep this in mind: you are beautiful and you are loved. So stay bubbly and carefree as you are.”
“Thanks, I think I need that. Though I still don’t understand what you are saying.”
“Later you will understand. Sorry, I have to go. You will hear again from me, soon.”
I only have two verses in mind when it comes to my spiritual beliefs and my relationships. The first one is 1 Timothy 5:1-2,which is my guiding principle for cultivating godly relationships in general, and the second one is 2 Corinthians 6:14, which is my guiding principle for romantic relationships.
On godly relationships
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. (1 Timothy 5:1:2)
When it comes to dealing with other people, I always try to follow this framework based on the verse above:
Older men – treat them with respect as with my father Younger men – treat them as brothers, with absolute purity. Older women – honor them like my own mother Younger women – treat them as if they are my own sister.
My only problem with this framework is that the verse says nothing about how should I treat men of my own age range, and I’m really struggling in this area. I really don’t know how to relate with them so my natural tendency is to have nothing to do with them altogether. 😧But then lately, God taught me that I should not reject friendships with the opposite sex altogether. With the right and pure motives and clear boundaries, being friends with guys, especially with my brothers in Christ, can be a beautiful thing as they can help me understand more the dynamics between men and women.
On romantic relationships
I’ve been taught early in my Christian life that when it comes to choosing a romantic partner, I only have one rule to consider, and that is:
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
This means he should be a Christian, and that is, he is fully committed and submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ. I know how hard it is to be romantically attracted to someone who doesn’t meet this standard but God was so gracious that He enabled me to uphold it. So now, having this standard makes it easier for me to identify who are those I can consider to have romantic business with. ☺
Listened to this song again after some long, long time. I used to love this song for its melody but now I love it for its lyrics.
Wildflower Lyrics (Skylark)
She’s faced the hardest times you could imagine And many times her eyes fought back the tears And when her youthful world was about to fall in Each time her slender shoulders bore the weight of all her fears And a sorrow no one hears Still rings in midnight silence in her ears
Let her cry, for she’s a lady (She’s a lady) Let her dream, for she’s a child (Child) Let the rain fall down upon her She’s a free and gentle flower growing wild
And if by chance that I should hold her (If by chance that I should hold her) Let me hold her for a time (Let me hold her for a time) And if allowed just one possession I would pick her from the garden to be mine (I would pick her from the garden to be mine)
Mm-mm-mm, mm-mm Be careful how you touch her, for she’ll awaken And sleep’s the only freedom that she knows And when you walk into her eyes, you won’t believe The way she’s always payin’ for a debt she never owed And a silent wind still blows That only she can hear, and so she goes
Let her cry, for she’s a lady Let her dream, for she’s a child Let the rain fall down upon her She’s a free and gentle flower growing wild
Let her cry, for she’s a lady (She’s a lady) Let her dream, for she’s a child Let the rain fall down upon her She’s a free and gentle flower growing wild She’s a flower growing wild She’s free
A. W. Tozer once wrote, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply.” God has a mission for your life and mine. But before we can carry out that mission, we will often go through the boot camp of adversity. If this is where you find yourself today, ask God to give you His grace to walk through this time with you. He promised He would never leave or forsake us.
I’ve been taught that following Jesus is costly. I’ve always known this in theory because Jesus himself said this to His disciples a lot of times.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37)
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. (Luke 14:26, 33)
I said I’ve known all of these in theory but for the longest time, I failed to realize is that these very same words from Jesus also apply to me. I always tell Jesus that there’s nothing else I want in my life but to follow Him all the way, but now that He’s asking me to give up my whole life for Him, then why am I relenting?
I’ve been praying for fruitfulness in my personal ministry for a long time now but it seems that nothing is really happening. Yes, there is fruit but not the much fruit He had promised. So I was asking, ‘God, what’s wrong with my motive and my strategy?’ Then last Saturday God answered me during our usual DIPF. God told me that if I really want to achieve a different result this time, I need to totally change my lifestyle. I can’t live my life in the same way I had it before.
As if God wants to make His point clear to me, He confirmed the direction that He wants me to take during my quiet time yesterday through this text from My Utmost for His Highest:
The text asks me to tell God I am ready to be poured out as offering but I told God otherwise. I told God I don’t want to say it because I know that once I’ve said it, He will surely do it. He did it the last time I told Him I am willing to take the more difficult path for the sake of my growth, and it was painful. I’m not sure how painful it can get this time because I’m looking forward to a greater reward. I’m struggling because as much as I hate it, I know that there is no other way but to go through it. So in the end, I told God that I am not willing, but please, make me willing!
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
I was supposed to publish this last month but life happens so I’m posting this only now.
Only a few days left, and the year is about to end again. As with my usual practice, I want to keep a record of the songs that made this year a little more exciting for me. I don’t have much music discoveries this year though, so I can only name a few memorable songs in my playlist.
Anyway, here’s my most memorable songs in 2016:
1. Make Me a Servant by Maranatha Singers. If I am to summarize the lesson God taught me this year, I think this one is the perfect song to describe it. I always tend to forget that Jesus is Lord and I am His servant. Since He is my Lord and King, I really need to have a servant attitude.
Make me a servant
Humble and meek
Lord let me lift up those who are weak
And may the prayers of my heart always be
Make me a servant
Make me a servant
Make me a servant today
2. No Borders by Ginny Owens. I actually discovered this song last year but it’s only this year that I’ve learned to appreciate this. I realized that if I really want to experience God and see His amazing miracles in my life, I need to let all my walls down and let Him accomplish whatever He has planned for my life. I also need to learn not to put limit in what He can do for my life.
It’s time that I abandoned the familiar
to chase what I don’t understand
You’re teaching me that when I trust Your promise
I finally find the promised land
no borders, no boundaries could ever be enough
to hold back the wonder of Your overwhelming flood
in the beauty of Your mystery
freely now I run with
no borders, no boundaries
Lord I’m surrendered to Your love
3. Start a Fire by Unspoken. I first heard this song during one of the service I attended this year. I liked this song because of its message of asking God or start or rekindle the fire in our soul. I think I liked it because it was the song I needed to hear during that time.
Start a fire in my soul Fan the flame and make it grow So there’s no doubt or denying Let it burn so brightly That everyone around can see That it’s You, that it’s You that we need Start a fire in me
As I was saying two days ago, I’m having mixed emotions about the coming year because of uncertainties. Thank God because after I’ve written that previous post and after I uttered a short prayer to God, I finally have this peace in my heart reassuring me that I need not to be afraid of the future. This was also confirmed during my quiet time this morning when God told me that when in a crossroad, the best response is SURRENDER. Surrender everything to God and trust that He is only up to our own good.
I realized that even if I have a number of reasons to think that 2016 was a bad year (e.g., death of two officemates, father’s operation and lifetime dialysis session for maintenance, greater workload, etc.), I still have a lot more reasons to be thankful for 2016: 2nd international travel, promotion and new friends at work, new sisters in Christ, and many other small things that I fail to thank God for. The seemingly bad circumstances that happened in 2016 also turned out to be blessings in disguise. For instance, my father’s sickness provided me an opportunity to spend more time with my parents. The sickness was also used by God to serve as opportunity to share the Gospel to our relatives. The untimely death of my officemate earlier in 2016 also taught me to really view the Gospel with a sense of urgency. When I tried to look back how my year 2016 was, I realized that the blessings still far outweigh the challenges. And with that, I’m truly grateful.
So yes, thank you, 2016 for all the blessings, the joy and the lessons. And welcome, 2017! I’m ready and.excited for you. ☺🎉🎉🎊