Grow Up

8/01/2016





Dear You,


GROW UP.

These were the two words you have always heard from the man you once loved. I could see there was pain in your eyes, but you took all these words in, swallowed them like a bitter pill hoping it would change things and make your relationship work out. But it never did.

I feel you. I was also once in your situation. These were also the exact words that I allowed to carve a battle scar in my heart. Grow up, he once said. And so grow up, I did. 

And if I have a few things to tell you about growth that can ease your pain away or make things better in the future, let me give meaning to each letter of the word GROWTH based on my own experiences.

G is for GRACE. If there's one thing that transformed me into the person I am right now, there's no other explanation but GRACE. Yes, you heard me right. I was once a cynical, skeptical, non-practicing Christian - one that people won't definitely expect to join a charismatic community. But then one should not really judge a book by its cover nor even limit God's power for only He sees the goodness He embedded in each and everyone and turn it into something more useful. It is with God's grace that He can dig into the deepest corners of our hearts and use whatever goodness that is innate in us to change us, so that we can use our capacities, talents and personalities for His glory. It is only with His grace that we can discover our purpose and be transformed into people He created us to be, and it will also be with God's grace that can sustain our adventures in this life as part of His grand plan. 

Relationship with God and Others. I admit that a relationship with God wasn't the top most priority when I joined Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon Davao, a Catholic community for single young professionals. What I viewed back then as an inspiration, God saw as a distraction, thus came a time when He took it away for me to realize that I am nothing without Him. Clinging to Him in prayers and spending more time in His presence, I finally take hold of the truth that only God can give me the best relationship that no other person in the world can give.


Of course, this relationship with God is not a walk in the park but we can be assured to enjoy it more when we share these experiences with people who have the same virtues as ours. Surround yourself with worldly things and you will get attached to worldly things. Choose wisely with whom you spend most of your time with by staying close to people who will bring you closer to God.


To live a meaningful life is to help others to enrich theirs, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who aspire to be truly happy must also help others find happiness for the welfare of each is bound to the welfare of all. So always place high value and regard to your relationship to God and community.


Obstacles Into Opportunities. I used to dread hardships and suffering - always thinking of trials and challenges as God's punishment that every time that I experience difficulties, I ran farther away from Him. Ironically, it was also these same adversities who drew me closer to God after knowing Him in a more personal way. Often times, God will bring us out of our comfort zones to reveal our potentials. As they say, a ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for. Like ships, we are made for a purpose - strongly built to weather storms, to embark on adventures, and to take us on journeys to discover where we are bound to be. Just put your trust in your Creator.

God allows these obstacles so that our character may be developed and to mold in us a joy that is rooted in God - a joy that is constant and is not dependent on our ever-changing circumstances. We sometimes wish for difficult things not to happen in our lives but then without these things, our gifts will not be evident and utilized. When we have survived the worst of circumstances we can ever imagine, we can only come out stronger, better and wiser. We bloom. We blossom. We bear fruit. We become God's instruments to lift others up.

Obstacles will always be obstacles in the world's perspective but when we look up to God and fix our hearts and eyes on Him, these obstacles are nothing but opportunities for Him to show His love, His presence and His faithfulness in our lives. Welcome these challenges and embrace them as opportunities. 

Work in Progress. No transformation happens overnight. At times we think our progress increases steadily, but then unexpected circumstances may lead us to succumb into temptation. Hence, we are being pulled back down the growth curve. It's just okay. Don't be so hard on yourself. Each of us is a work in progress. Be patient and don't lose hope. Don't give up on yourself. Just like a caterpillar has to go through a slow, time-consuming, challenging metamorphosis to become a beautiful butterfly, we too have to undergo a similar process to bring out the best in us.


In order to stay on track with our growth, make the conscious decision every single day to choose God, to connect with Him daily through prayers and to adhere to His teachings. No progress can ever happen without God on our side.

Teachings. Just like a plant needs light, water and the forces of nature to grow, so does our Christian life need teachings and formation for us to bear fruit as well. I truly appreciate the talks, action group meetings, group discussions and immersion in service  within the community for it is through these things that I was able to learn more about life through various methods of teachings. While it is true that our families, friends and the people around us may give good pieces of advice, nothing can ever beat the Scriptures in offering the best advice we need on our walk here on Earth. It is through Scriptures, prayer and even in our services and works that we stay in constant communication with God. People may  teach us the wrong things but God never makes mistakes, so trust and cling on the One who is perfect.

Heart. It is only when we develop a heart after God's own heart that we can truly say that we are doing excellent in our walk as a Christian. The best transformation can only begin upon the transformation of our hearts but our hearts can only grow if we put it in the right places, and nothing can compare to God's tender loving custody. When our hearts are fully surrendered to God, He can do great things and can provide us with more surprises than what we can imagine.


But then, our hearts will often need to undergo a lot of exercises, need to forbear a lot of difficulties and need to be stretched in order to respond to God's call to love one another. Often times, our hearts are better broken so that we can learn to be more appreciative, grateful, understanding, reflective of our circumstances and be more loving especially when it is most difficult to love.

In the end, our lives will not be measured by our achievements, the money in our backs, the numbers of cars we drive, nor the countries we have traveled, but with how great we have loved God and those who He instructed us to love.

Surrender your all to God, most especially your heart, because those who leave everything in God's hands, will surely see God's hands in everything.


Let me end my letter with this: It is by the grace of God that we can create the best relationships with Him and with others, that can turn our obstacles into opportunities as we are all a work in progress, and by immersing ourselves in God's teachings, our hearts will become hearts after God's own heart.

I know God has a better plan for you and I look forward to seeing that plan unfolding into a reality. I'm giving back to God all the glory that was His and His alone. 



Praying for your constant growth,
YOU, only better

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