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By: Jocelyn A. Soriano www.itakeoffthemask.com firstname.lastname@example.org
For the One who redeemed me and called me His beloved, and for those whose great love for me has inspired me to write this book.
My dear one, Thank you for taking the time to read this book. Stay with me awhile, and let our souls touch for a moment. Rest awhile from your journey and know that you are loved! Joyce
P.S. I have only one request of you: kindly read this book in the proper order of pages presented. Please try not to skip even a single page because each one is important; each one leads to another. ;-)
I would like to hold back my thoughts for a while because I would like to know yours. I would like to get to know you. Pardon, but I do not wish to intrude. Say only what you would like to say. Reveal only what your heart would permit me to hear. I am here to listen if you would allow me to.
I understand. Sometimes it’s not easy to find the words to say. Yet stillness has a meaning in itself, and I thank you for that. I thank you that you didn’t leave, and we can still get to know each other better. By the way, you can call me Joyce.
You can call me __________________.
Nice to know you, _________________________! I do hope we can talk about certain things; actually, about anything at all! Anything you’d like to tell me?
I am broken…
I was broken, too. I was terribly wounded, I felt as though I died!
But I was wrong. Very wrong! I never really died because I never really lived! In fact, I didn’t even know who I was!
There may be other things I thought I knew: things, which other people know about me, or so I thought; images supposedly reflected by mirrors; images supposedly accurate, but often marred by the very mirrors, which fail to reflect the truth. How about you?
Who do people say you are?
People often say I am: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
I see. It isn’t wrong to know what other people think of you. Yet we must be careful that we first possess a healthy knowledge of who we really are before we concern ourselves about what others think about us.
I don’t have a healthy knowledge of “who I am”. Maybe they can tell me more about myself.
There are times when we are so lost in the dark that even faint lights can prove useful to us. Let us use these sources indeed; let us know these “lights”! Choose those, which bring comfort and healing; choose those, which shall bring you in your best light!
In fact, let us make a list of these “lights”. In times when I can’t even like myself, it is good to know there are still people who can accept me for who I am: People People People People People People People who who who who who who who like me; respect me; love me; believe in me; need me; enjoy my company; took time for me.
Yeah, people who may have seen something in me, I didn’t even know.
It may not be that simple. It’s not so easy to think about people who think of me like that. In fact, it seems a lot easier to think of people who don’t think much of me.
True. It may not be that simple. It may even be difficult, specially when we have been so used to thinking and focusing on the negative things people say about us. We couldn’t help but think about these things because deep within us, we are hurt. Deep within, we question ourselves about whatever it is we have done wrong, and why is it that we always seem to fail the people around us. We repeat this process so many times that we believe it is the only truth. We picture it in our minds so much that it becomes a fixed image in front of our eyes, blocking the image of the greater world around us. Let go of this image. Let go of this hurt. Let it go even for a short while. For the words which have pierced you the most, words which may have even come from the people you loved the most, were not the only words said about you.
Those were probably not the only words they’ve said about you; not the only words they wanted to say; and maybe, just maybe, not the words they should have said had they only known how to say what they truly mean to say.
LET GO Let go of your tears, and you will see the light. Let go of your worries, for tomorrow is alright. Let go of your troubles, or you might lose your peace. Let go of your fears, and you will find your dreams! You will find your life, is more meaningful to live. You will find your burden, getting lighter like your soul. You will find happiness, always waiting on your way. You will find heaven, getting nearer each day!
Let go, and let others “make you feel” how much you are loved.
Note the words: “make you feel”. We need not ask to be loved. We need not beg for it. All we need is to “feel” and believe the love, which is already there.
My friend, you are dearly loved. Even when you don’t feel it sometimes; Even when people fail to tell you just how much you mean to them; Even when people don’t express it the way you want them to.
I think we’re now ready to list all these people who love you, like you, appreciate you, respect you, believe in you, remember you, and care for you! Examples: 1. Rosy – commented I have wisdom at an early age. 2. Grandma – hugs me when I arrive home from work. 3. Lucy – gave me a souvenir shirt. 4. Mom – loves me dearly, supports me in my endeavors. 5. Sister – thoughtful and sweet, comforts me in my sorrows. 6. Lily – spent first salary to treat me to dinner, accompanied me in my Christmas shopping. 7. Chary – sends me e-mail messages, gave me a gift last Christmas. 8. Raymond – believes in my talent for writing. 9. Mike – chose me as a seatmate in a past seminar. 10.John – trusts me with his views, drops by every now and then, shares my interest in computers. 11.Dina – enjoys having lunch with me, chose me as one of the witnesses in her wedding. 12.May – says I’m an inspiration to her, shares my fondness of Baguio (Summer Capital of the Philippines). 13.Wency – surfed the Net to find me after 12 years of being apart.
14.Gabrielle – spent countless adventures with me, believes in the best I can be, trusts me with her innermost thoughts and feelings, likes the way I smile. 15.Mary – a good friend since kindergarten. 16.Leny – invites me over for badminton, made a very sweet testimonial about me, desires to be my friend until old age, appreciates the inner person in me. 17.Abbie – believes in my abilities, shares thoughts and ideas with me. 18.Donna – always ready to lend a listening ear to me, patient with my temper. 19.Cherry – believes I am beautiful inside and out. 20.Christian – appreciates the things I say and do.
Ooops! I think I have used much space already. space below: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.
You can use the
13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.
I’m almost certain you can write more than that, though if you can’t remember as much for now, that’s quite alright. It isn’t the number that truly counts anyway. What counts my friend, is “YOU”! You are important; You are liked; You are respected; You are appreciated; You are remembered; You are LOVED!
Set your eyes on good things. Remember every little thing, every good thing that has been said and done for you. There will be a time for reality-checks and criticisms, but now is not yet the time for that. Nothing should overshadow the fact that you matter to people, that you are loved. It’s time to be pro-active. Gather every proof. Gather each tiny evidence, which tells you just that!
1. Save those e-mail messages sent to you, especially the sweet ones. 2. Save those text messages in your mobile phone, even the forwarded ones. You have been remembered. 3. Read those old greeting cards – Birthday cards, Christmas cards, Valentine cards, Get-well-soon cards, etc. 4. Browse over your photo album. See how many people have shared the most precious moments and events in your life. 5. Jot down in your journal every sweet little thing somebody did for you during the day, whether it be a smile, a greeting, a phone call, or a helping hand to carry your shopping bags or to open the door for you.
Don’t you feel better already?
Let’s try some more…
But note that we are not trying to fool ourselves here. We are not trying to pretend. We are trying to establish the truth, which has so often eluded us because we wanted to find an ever ready excuse for ourselves. We didn’t want to be responsible, and so we wanted to play victims. We didn’t want to exert much effort, and so we put the blame on others. We blame our parents for our scars; We blame our friends for our misery; We blame the country for our fate; We blame the world for our life, Or should I say our lack of it? We blame everyone. We blame everybody, but ourselves.
Should I blame myself?
It is not the time to blame anyone; not even ourselves. It is time to do something worthwhile. It is time to act!
Don’t sit around that corner and expect the whole world to come and tell you how much you are loved. You are loved! And if by any chance you can’t feel that, then by all means do something!
Following are some simple suggestions for that “something”:
1. GET A HUG!
Nothing can compare to the warmth generated by a hug. No person feels as secure, as intimate, as needed, as loved, as someone being hugged. At times I forget the nicest things said about me, but I cannot forget those times I have been hugged. For surely, it brushes away our fears and turns our tears into waterfalls of grace. Don’t be ashamed to ask for it from those whom you know has great concern for you. Oftentimes, people really want to give it away, but are just afraid to offer it. Such people would be more than willing to give to you that loving embrace if only you will ask. So why not ask?
AT THE END OF THE DAY At the end of the day, after all the work is done; At the end of the day, as we watch the setting sun; After all the trials, and after all the pain; After all the struggles, to make it through the day; I thank and for I thank and for God for peace and rest, little smiles from you; God for rising stars, little hugs from you;
For there is no blessing, such as this I found so true: It’s such a pleasure just walking home at the end of the day with you!
A sweet smile, a warm embrace, a hand to hold; small things, precious things, joyful moments, for the one who receives, and the one who lovingly gives them!
2. GIVE OTHERS THE CHANCE TO CARE FOR YOU.
We are so wrapped up in our independence, in our pride, in our self-sufficiency. We have built a wall around us to protect ourselves from pain. But in doing so, we have starved ourselves from the love and concern of those who truly care for us. The wall we have built has kept us from receiving the attention and care for which our inner selves have long been screaming for.
Let others care for you. Ask help when you need it, and gratefully accept help given you.
Ask your mother to cook your favorite recipe. Ask your friends to come over for a pajama party. Ask your officemates to help you for a work you find too difficult to do. Ask your churchmates to pray for you. Ask the kids to help you with the house chores. Ask your husband for that kiss you’ve been missing for so long. Ask and admit your needs. Ask and it shall be given you!
3. FORGIVE; DON’T EXPECT PEOPLE TO BE PERFECT.
In order to feel loved, we must learn the value of forgiveness. Remember that no matter how deeply people may care for us, there will be times when the very people who love us would be the same people who would let us down. But even that does not change the fact that we are loved. Mistakes, weaknesses and momentary hurts must not waste a lifetime of caring and sincere devotion for one another.
There is so much to love in each other, but we are so often blinded by little moons, which eclipse the entire SUNS of our beings!
FRIEND I may not always be by your side, but my prayers will be with you. I may not always help you, but deep inside you know I want to. I may not always do what you like, but I will do the best I can. I may not always understand, but we can still walk hand in hand. I may not be the perfect friend, I may not be the best out there, but in spite and despite all these, you can be sure somebody cares!
Life is not perfect, but that does not mean we can never find happiness. Life is difficult, but that does not mean it can never be beautiful! My friend, do something for yourself and for the people who love you: Believe that you are loved! TRUST. Have faith! Cling on to this truth and fight for it!
It may have been easier had we only understood why people failed us, why people hurt us, why people acted in ways we never expected them to. It may have been easier, but there are some things we just couldn’t do.
We cannot peek into their hearts to see how much sorrow they are trying to bear. We cannot sink into their thoughts to know what struggles they are going through. We cannot demand that they explain themselves to us and do what we want them to do. We can only be a bit kinder than we are supposed to be. We can only be a bit braver than we think we ought to be. In times when we cannot understand, may we learn to trust. May we learn to be still and have faith.
Only those who are strong can truly love fully. Strive to be strong. Forgive when others are weak.
My dear friend, learn to trust, but do not entrust everything upon people. For no matter how good or how loving they are, they are bound to fail you if you put your hopes in them alone. I know it’s true, because it has happened to me. For no matter how much I tried, no matter how much I have loved, I know I have failed and hurt the ones most beloved to me. I remember a time when our family was having such a nice time playing badminton. In a moment, it’s as though I was seeing my mother through God’s own eyes. She was so happy with a childlike kind of happiness I haven’t seen in years. And suddenly, somewhere within my heart I felt so inadequate. An inadequacy, which could have easily turned to despair, were it not for the hope, which God had given me. I knew then that though I may fail, God will always be there for her. Though my love be inadequate, God’s love will fill the void which I can never fill. Indeed, only in God’s strong and loving hands can I ever entrust the ones I love the most!
4. NOURISH YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Everything that is of great worth should be properly cared for. Plants left untended wither; Houses left abandoned end in ruin; Copper left unpolished tarnish; Friendships left unattended die. If anything is of much value, spend time and effort to care for it. And nothing is of greater importance than our bond with the people we love.
Though we are important to people, we should also let these people know how important they are in our lives. Only in giving do we truly receive. Only in loving can we ensure to keep the channels of intimacy and affection open. Express the love you have within you. Let its joy overflow! For what is love if we cannot share its warmth with someone else?
It is useless to tell your brother how much God loves him, unless you are willing to extend your hands, and be the manifestation of the love you are talking about!
Take time to call your mother every now and then. Write a letter to a friend you have not heard from in years. Treat your partner to dinner and reminisce the old days. Schedule an outdoor activity for people you don’t see everyday. Hold a class reunion after 20 years.
Nourish your relationships. Spend time while it is yours to give. What you intend to do need not be costly. It need not even require a whole day from you. You can choose to spend your minute in full and undivided attention for someone in order to reap a blessing that will last for a lifetime.
We We We We We We We We We We
take care of our clothes, take care of our car, take care of our muscles, take care of our garden, take care of our dogs, take care of our hair, take care of our jobs, take care of our shoes, take care of our computers, even take care of our nails.
Shouldn’t we also take care of our relationships?
HOLD MY HAND Hold my hand in friendship, while I am still alive. Come take my hand and walk with me, along the road of life. For I don’t want your whispers, when my ears can no longer hear, Nor your embrace, when I can no longer feel. Let me know you need me, while I can still extend my hand; Lest I let the Savior take me, to a far and blessed land…
5. UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE DIFFERENT PERSONS, AS WELL AS DIFFERENT SEASONS
People are different. What is true to us may not be true to some. What is trash to many may be a treasure to few. Who can therefore judge another? Not one has lived a day within a body other than his own!
How do we know then whether we are loved or not? Through the words people say? Some people are just not good with words. Through the hugs we receive? Some people are just not touch persons. Through the gifts given us? Some people just don’t know what gifts to buy. (Some people just don’t have the money!) How do we know then?
My friend, sometimes we just know it!
At other times, we don’t even know…
I used to think my father doesn’t love me. And I grew up believing there is nothing I can ever do to please him. While other kids would happily play games with their dads, I couldn’t even hug mine. Until this day, I couldn’t remember a single moment that I ever saw him smile at me. He was just a strict father. A breadwinner. The man who wouldn’t even let me out of the house to play with other kids. That was all I knew, at least, until he died. Until his wake where his officemates told me just how proud he was of me. The man who wouldn’t even talk to me has talked much about me! Proudly! Later, I also learned that even his overprotectiveness was a sign of his deep concern for me. Growing up without getting the kind of attention he yearned from his parents, his strictness was after all, a sign of his great love for me. I didn’t know it. I didn’t know how much I was loved!
Each one is unique. Each has his own way of expressing the love he holds within himself. In the same way, each season is distinct. And the same people who love us will not always love us in the same way.
There will be seasons of spring. Such is the yearning of every heart that loves. A season of affection pouring down like showers in springtime. A season of intimacy and intense attachment with each other. It is the season of lovebirds, Of young love budding out of nowhere, Of friends taking sudden interest in each other’s lives, Of mothers and babies enjoying moments of quiet embrace. Such is spring. Such is the season to be savored and saved, to be cherrished and lived as though it would never come to an end.
There will be seasons of summer. Of adventures and events which leave us both breathless and thankful, both tired and excited with the ride. Enjoy your summer. Enjoy the many activities, which shall strengthen your bond.
Yet in all these, there shall also be autumn and winter. There shall be moments of silence, and there shall be moments of biting cold. How we desire to forego such seasons. How we yearn to go back in summertime, and how we miss the magic of spring! Yet even in such moments, even in such seasons, we can find that we are loved.
There will be times of misunderstanding. There will be times of pain. A time when we have all the right to doubt the love we thought was there. Indeed, there will be times of biting winter winds. Yet even the pangs of winter cannot kill the roots, which have deeply established itself. We have only to dig within, to discover, to remember, to know that we are loved.
Your child has disobeyed you and went after the man she chose. Yet it doesn’t mean your child does not cry secretly in sorrow of disappointing you. Your father has not approved of the career you desire and insisted his own plans instead. Yet it doesn’t mean he sleeps soundly at night and does not yearn to take back the decision he made for you. Your friend did not accept the apology you made and acted as though she could never accept you again. Yet it doesn’t mean she doesn’t miss you and desire your company once more.
Life does not disappear in winter. Love does not disappear as well. It is embedded in the innermost part of our being. It is deeply rooted and shall rise again in spring.
In autumn, when we cannot foresee spring as clearly as we can in winter, we have with us the harvest of summer and spring to see us through. All the work has been done. Memories have been made. We wish it could remain forever in ways we have been used to, but another season opens… Change comes, and we must yield.
The kids have grown up and now have affairs of their own. Friends have married, and we terribly miss the adventures shared with them. Neighbors have gone abroad, and we suddenly have no one to share our secret recipe with. Lifetime partners have passed away, and we have no idea how to fill the void they have left in our lives.
Autumn comes and takes away that, which we hold so dear. Autumn comes and we are called to let go once more. In certain ways, we let go of a child who has grown up, we let go of a friend who seeks a new path in life, we let go of a loved one who has gone before us in the next life. Yet even death does not and cannot take away the love you have shared at one point in your life. TREASURE IT! It is forever yours!
I remember the great love of my grandparents, Gaudencio and Rosario, for one another. For fifty years, they were able to show the world that love can indeed stand the tests of time, that affection for one another need not pass away with age, and that the greatest legacy we can ever leave is love freely and unselfishly given. I was blessed indeed to be a witness to that love for a few years that I have lived before my grandfather died. And the day he died, my heart was broken. Not only because I would miss my grandfather. Not only because I grieve for my grandmother. But more so because I couldn’t bear to witness the end of such a love. Through the years however, I’ve learned how I have greatly underestimated the extent and depth of that love, how I have misjudged it; for in truth, it never really came to an end the day my grandfather died. To this very day, I am still a witness how my grandmother is able to treasure the love they have shared. I am still a witness how love is kept alive in the hearts and minds of those who carry on the radiance of its warmth.
Autumn can take away many things, but not the love we have freely given away.
A TIME FOR JOY This may not be a time for dances, but this is a time for prayer. This may not be a time for clapping, but this is a time for songs. This may not be a time for merriment, but this is a time for awakening. This may not be a time for running, but this is a time for rest. This may not be a time for kisses, but this is a time for hugs. This may not be a time for laughter, but this is a time for smiles. This may not be a time for parties, this may not be a time for noise, But this is a time for healing, and this is a time for joy!
Each season brings a new challenge. But no season can hinder us from knowing we are loved.
6. LEARN TO REACH OUT Not many of us are blessed with a family who has always been there for us. Not many of us have loads of friends whom we can count on to see us through the darkest and loneliest of days. But few of us could ever complain that we have not been given any opportunity to reach out and care for people within our reach.
We need not look far to find lonely people. We need not walk long to brighten someone else’s day. We need only to open our eyes and see. We need only to open our hands and reach out.
How many people do you meet everyday? Whether you are working at a business district, a wet market, a school, a shop, a construction area, a store, or even at home, there are always people within your reach.
And sometimes, all we need is a smile to bring a little warmth in another person’s day.
There might be that grouchy man you always bump into at rush hour. There might be a little kid asking for a piece of bread. There might be a boss who just couldn’t open up his heart. There might be a widower longing for a little chat. There might be an old aunt yearning for a bit of attention all these years. There might be an employee feeling a bit left out. There might be a mother terribly missing her daughter. There might be a daughter terribly missing her Mom. There might be a stranger needing a little help. There might be a neighbor waiting for a smile.
There might be a friend hoping for a chat over a cup of coffee. There might be a heart longing for another heart.
You may claim to be lonely, but there are people lonelier than you are!
You may claim to be poor, yet you did not take into account how much you can still give away…
Mere surfing over the internet could give you a pretty good idea how many lonely people are out there: people working in a foreign land, people with disabilities and debilitating diseases that keep them from going out and meeting new friends, people who have been hurt and abandoned by those they cared for the most. You could be a light to them. Your messages can be the warm hand of a friend they have been longing for.
Wherever you are, there will always be people you can touch. And the briefness of the encounter need not hinder us from making a lasting difference by sharing whatever small thing we can give.
Go ahead! Touch. Reach out. Do random acts of kindness and don’t expect anything in return!
But if in any chance you do get something back; if in any chance, you realize you have made another person happy; and then you finally realize that you are loved, that would be a miracle we should all be thankful for!
When you realize you are loved, could there be any logical reason you should not love yourself as much as others have cared for you?
Many people think that by loving others more than they love themselves they are trying to do a noble thing. But what they do not realize is that they are attempting to do something IMPOSSIBLE!
We cannot love others in the truest sense of the word, if we do not even know how to love ourselves.
We can only go so far trying to fill the needs of other people while overlooking the needs our very selves fail to satisfy. We can only go so far trying to care for other people while neglecting our own unquenched longing to be taken care of ourselves.
Sooner or later our good deeds would turn to pride; our best intentions to despair. Sooner or later when our needs are not met, when no “thank you’s” are received, self-pity could so easily shroud the martyr’s noble thoughts. There is a difference between a martyr and a saint. While a martyr deprives himself for the sake of other people, a saint lends upon others that, which is overflowing within himself.
If we truly wish to love, to give generously and sincerely, we must ensure that we are holding out our overflowing cups. Not our half-empty ones waiting to be filled.
Learn to love yourself. We cannot expect from others what we cannot even do for ourselves.
My friend, feel that you are loved, not only by others, but first and foremost, feel that you are loved by your very self! Remember: 1. BE KIND TO YOURSELF One of my good friends told me that everyday, we have upon us the responsibility to make at least one person happy, even if it means being that person ourselves.
It may have been such a long time since you have thought about yourself. You’ve thought of too many things about others, but have forgotten the things that bring about your own happiness. Discover them again. List them down and read them over until your heart could remember once more.
Following are some of the things I enjoy: 1. Coffee 2. Chocolate 3. Early mornings, sunrises
4. Books 5. Music 6. Fried chicken 7. A drizzle 8. Computer games 9. Movies 10. Musicales, concerts 11. Paintings 12. Taking pictures of beautiful sceneries and simple folks 13. Taking a walk 14. Molding clay models 15. Traveling 16. Cute objects 17. Gardening 18. Time alone 19. Time with friends and loved ones 20. Christmas 21. Halloween 22. Lamp posts 23. Kangkong with bagoong (a kind of vegetable with shrimp paste) 24. Cooking popcorn 25. Sea shells, picking up seashells
26. Beaches, powdery white sand 27. Baguio 28. Shopping 29. Soups 30. Riding on a plane 31. Baked potatoes 32. Corn on a cob 33. Toys 34. Apple-mango shake 35. Cute figurines 36. Tuyo (dried fish) 37. Fire place 38. Waterfalls 39. Free items 40. Gifts, big and small 41. Flying a kite 42. Bamboo flute 43. Recycled paper 44. Quiet ponds, lagoons 45. Old churches 46. Ripples of water 47. Hanging bridges
Wow, I never thought I could write as many as that! Now it’s time for your own list. Things I enjoy: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.
20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.
2. KNOW YOURSELF! Being kind to ourselves and doing the things we enjoy helps us discover the person we truly are; the person we may have never known until now!
I urge you to know
who you really are; in your eyes, in your heart. Know thyself, especially your strengths. Know that which is beautiful. Know that which is loveable. Know that which has made you the unique and wonderful person that you are!
Setting aside any ego trip or any false humility, I tried to list down as honest an assessment of myself as possible. Following are some of the things I believe the mirror says: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. You You You You You joy. 6. You 7. You 8. You 9. You 10. You are sweet and thoughtful. are honest and sincere. are a good listener. are a loyal and dependable friend. delight in simple things with a child-like sense of wonder and are creative and artistic. are strong. are self sacrificing. are open-minded and can sympathize well with people. have the ability to inspire people.
You are not the good-for-nothing person you thought you were. In fact, you’re not that bad at all. You want to do good things! It’s just that we may have been afraid of ourselves for so long; we’ve been afraid to look at the mirror for fear of seeing some monster we do not wish to be.
My friend, would you kindly do something for yourself? Take a good look at the mirror today and see the beautiful one you have ignored for so long.
The mirror says: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
3. HELP YOURSELF GROW Once you have discovered who you really are, you can start the exciting journey of growth towards your infinite potentials. We should not be content merely knowing who we are, but always strive to be the person we could still become!
Dream, Seize your dreams, Then dream again!
Only in flowing can the river remain to be a river. Only in growing can life prevail over death!
SOARING HIGHER Why should I be afraid to fly? And why should I be afraid to try? I was born to meet the sky; I was born to meet the sky and fly! I may fall once, I may fall twice, I may fall so many times, But I will not fall always! I will try again and again and fly! Spread your wings now, Get ready! Let go of your fears as you leave the ground. Be prepared now, steady. You’re getting better, You’re flying faster, You’re soaring higher up the sky!
List down the things you’ve always wanted to do. List down the things you’ve always wanted to learn. List down the places you’ve always wanted to go to. List down your dreams, however big or small. List down the kind of person you’ve always wanted to be. Go ahead.
a. Enroll in that photography class.
You are never too old to learn new things. b. Make that hairdo change. Surprise everyone (including yourself), with that cool change. c. Climb that mountain. Experience the physical and mental struggles along the way and bask in the glory of reaching the top after all that you’ve been through!
4. KNOW YOUR PURPOSE It is not enough that a man eats, and drinks, and sleeps. It is not enough that he breathes, and that his heart continues to beat. Unless and until he knows his purpose, he is not a man at all.
Loneliness among all loneliness have I known: waking up without a purpose and lying down at twilight having accomplished nothing. I was a dead woman walking the streets, a falling star not knowing where to land. O, that God may have mercy on me and show me the way! For even the birds know where they are going. And even the seasons know when their time has come.
The world is a very insecure place, and man walks aimlessly to journey from birth to death. Each day is the same; save from some colors, which swiftly fade; save from some storms, which bring us nearer the grave. I do not know of any creature more wretched, than man who was given a mind but remains to be perennially lost; man who was given a heart which breaks him, and which makes him seek such coldness to help him escape the pain no other creature has known. Indeed, man was condemned from his moment in the womb; brought so low that he seeks redemption in things, which could only curse him beyond the caverns of hell.
Indeed, man would die unless he sees beyond himself; unless he finds a world beyond his world; unless he finds the miracle HE WAS MEANT TO FIND!
Spend time away from the noise and anxieties of the world; away from the demands and expectations of the crowd. Listen to your inner self. Hear the innermost desires of your heart. Discover the task for which you were most equipped to do. Know your purpose.
Do not be afraid to make mistakes. And do not give up even if you fail many times.
Your mistakes will only bring you closer to the discovery of your true purpose – the role which only YOU can perform!
5. ACCEPT AND FORGIVE YOURSELF.
As much as we must learn to forgive others, so too, should we learn to forgive ourselves. As much as we should learn about our strengths, so too, should we learn and accept our limitations.
The problem with us is that we often attribute every tiny bit of problem to ourselves. In our obsession to be in control of everything, we consequently believe that anything that ever goes wrong is our fault.
Accept your faults. Do everything you can to correct them. But learn also that not everything is your fault. Learn that you cannot correct the things, which are beyond your control. Stop trying to carry the burden of the world upon your shoulder. Carry only your own cross. That is all that is asked of you.
As for times when you feel you can’t even carry your cross,
As for times when the weight seems too much and you can’t help fall, As for those times, forgive yourself, get up, and carry on!
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22
We are not yet perfect, but someday soon we will be. Our strength is still insufficient, but there is ONE whose strength shall never fail!
Beloved, know that you are loved. And even if the rest of the world walks out, even if you can’t even look at the mirror and find your true self, There is SOMEONE who knows you; SOMEONE who loves you, more than you’ll ever know!
My beloved, why do you cry? Why do you fill your heart with gloom and hopelessness? Why do you hide from me? Why do you bear this burden that is not yours? Was the night so long you never thought it would surrender to another sunrise? Was the winter too cold you never thought you could feel warm ever again? I am deeply troubled with your troubles. I am utterly concerned that I could not sleep. I know your wounds for they are mine as well. I know your tears and I would like to take them away.
My beloved, it’s been so long since I heard your voice; so long since you poured out your heart to me. How I long to hear you once again. How I long to hear the songs you used to sing. How I miss you! How I yearn to enjoy your presence once more.
My beloved, has the world deafened the ears that used to listen to my voice? Has the noise of the world been so loud you couldn’t hear my gentle whisper? How I’d like to shout upon you like thunder! To reach out to you like the crashing waves! But it is not my way, beloved. I am not among the fire nor the lightning nor the storm. I am the soft breeze that whispers unto you with unfailing love.
I do not have the love that you have, or the patience that you have for me. I do not care if you bring me fire or thunder or rain for it is just the same! This life is not good to me. It would have been better had I not been born at all!
Why do you despise life; life that I have given you? Have I not formed you in your mother’s womb? Have I not chosen you before the birth of the earth? Have I not fashioned you intricately, passionately, wonderfully, uniquely, perfectly beyond any conceivable thought or miracle? Have I not breathed on you? Have I not given you my own heart? Have I not made you in my own glory and immortality?
I can see no beauty whatsoever in the creature that I am. There is no hope for me for I am wretched and most unfortunate of men. Men will never look upon me with admiration or respect. Men would never even notice me, for who am I? Who am I that anyone should care about me?
You say you fashioned me, You say you breathed your life unto me, but I have none. Death has more mercy for one such as me!
Why do you choose death? Why prefer darkness to light, sorrow over joy, despair over hope? Have I not given you freewill? Have I not given you a mind such as my own?
Freewill belongs only to those blessed upon the earth. Men such as me have no choice whatsoever. Why hope when you will be frustrated in the end? Why desire light when you cannot prevail over darkness?
My beloved, have I not given you strength? Have I not poured out Wisdom unto you? Have I not armed you with everything you need to face the battles of this world? And have I not come before you and claimed victory over the war you cannot win?
Why do you talk to me? Don’t you have any other business to take care of? Why waste your time on me when you can convince a
multitude with your words? I am not your only love. I am not the only one you care about so be gone from me! I am nobody’s beloved.
Why do you not trust my heart? Do you not know the love I have for you? And why send me to the crowd when my beloved is here? I leave the ninety-nine sheep for the one I seek; for the one which can never be replaced; for the one whom I will hide in the shadow of my wings; for the one whose name is written forever in the palm of my hand.
You speak so wonderfully as though it is the truth; as though you know how I feel.
There is no truth but I. And the truth is that I have loved you so much that I despised my life so you can have yours.
What is this life you’re talking about anyway? If there is heaven, why don’t you bring me there? It is different to walk the face of the earth.
It is different to face the people that I face; to struggle with the problems I’m going through; to remain standing when a thousand await for me to stumble so they can trample upon me, so they can spit on my face whenever they’re given the chance. Where is the glory you’re talking about? They do not even respect me. Where is hope when I don’t even know which road to take?
What is it that you want, my child?
What is it that you desire me to give you?
Why do you not knock upon the door which waits to be opened up for you? Why do you not ask for the grace that was meant to be yours? Why do you content yourself with garbage when you can seek a treasure, which nobody can ever take away from you?
I am just so tired and worn out. argue with you anymore.
I don’t even have the strength to
Then what is it that you want, my beloved?
I’m just so lonely; I wish there could be someone to hold my hand.
He holds our hand. He carries us when we can carry on no more. He restores our strength. He renews us. He picks up the broken pieces of our hearts and mends it as though it were never broken at all.
I have worn myself out scheming for my desired end, yet only in surrender do I find an end far more than what I could have ever hoped for.
Beloved, know that you are loved by God with an infinite, perfect, passionate, most intimate and most liberating kind of love that fills any void that which is lacking in your love of self, and unceasingly overflows and manifests in an unselfish love for others.
The root of many kinds of violence is that terrible sickness of feeling isolated, unaccepted and unloved. Were there but one person for each of us, a little lamp may have been kept burning and we wouldn’t have
had to be stumbling and groping in the dark. Let us then, with all our might reach out unto others, bringing with us not only the little lamps which our feeble hearts can contain, but that Great and Inextinguishable Flame which is Christ Himself!
My friend, pardon me for not telling you this right away. But had I not reversed the proper order of things, you might not have noted what you were truly missing. Indeed, it is God’s love which brings us to true love of self and a genuine love for others.
Believe that God loves you, and never depart from this truth! Do everything within your power so as not to be deceived, so as not to turn away from the Light, which never turns away from His beloved.
1. Always remember that God loves you. And you can’t do anything to make Him love you more or to make Him love you less. A newborn baby offers nothing and strives for nothing but is greatly and dearly loved by his mother. In the same way, God loves us not because of what we do nor because of what we do not do, but because we are His. We are His beloved children.
Much of the anxieties and weariness I experienced in life came from the frustration of never being able to please those I long to please. And I was tired of failing over and over again.
I fail the people around me. I fail myself. I fail God. Despite all my efforts, I still fail. I fail and I turn away from the One who loves me most.
Never turn away from Him again. Rest in Him. Be still and know your God. Remember that even if you may fail, there is a Beloved Father who understands, who forgives, who provides you with the strength to try again and be the kind of person He truly believes you can be!
All our greatest strivings, be it 100% or 200% of what we can do is but a drop of water in an ocean of possibilities. None can so boast of the work of his hand, for unless a work is done with great love, all that we can ever do is empty. It is God who takes the five humble loaves of bread that we offer in order to feed thousands. It is God who accepts the sacrifice of One Lamb in order to save each wretched sinner that we are! “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15
2. Remember that God loves you as though you were the only one He loves. God does not love the crowd, but the person within the crowd. He may attract a multitude, but what truly matters to Him is if you could let Him in your heart. “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.” Isaiah 40:26
He knows your name. And had you been the only person who needed
to be saved, He would still have died on the cross for you. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28
3. Keep a Journal of His Blessings
God never forgets, but people often do. One minute we are overflowing with gratitude and in great awe of His miracle, the other minute we have already forgotten, and we question Him if He even cares about us.
List down your day to day blessings.
List down His gifts and miracles. And in times when you cannot see clearly ahead, you can always look back and see how God has carried you! “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:15-16
Many are the days which are filled with gifts; big gifts and little ones, each so special they give light to the gloomiest of days. Yet we should be careful not to go about searching for them, however beautiful and lovely they are. Let us not go about begging as though our Heavenly Father has not prepared for us any inheritance; as though our Father would someday leave us as homeless orphans. We need not demand for things which are sure to come, nor should we deprive our Father of the joy of making us smile one sweet moment at a time.
4. Spend time with Him. As much as we should nourish our human ties, so too, should we nourish our relationship with God. Never fall for the trap of thinking
He is always there, and hence, be negligent in your daily quiet time with God. For indeed, He is always there! But are we? Must we deprive ourselves of the Presence of Him from whom all life, joy and peace comes from? “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12-13
O, how I am moved to prayer in the presence of the Lord. My tongue knows no word, my lips no song, yet I am aching to worship Him and Him alone. O, when will His hand take mine? When will His eyes gaze upon my eyes that tears may find no room for sadness, but only for overflowing joy? I am here, my Lord, helpless as a tree trapped upon the earth, yet I feel as light as air and as empty as the clear blue sky. This vessel has found its purpose; the essence it was meant to contain. Yet rescue me for I am fragile and wounded. If I should break before Your touch, heal me and renew me Lord with Your Gracious Love!
5. Know Him More We cannot truly know
how much we are loved unless we truly know the ONE, who truly loves us. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” -Jeremiah 33:3
“me and YOU” I am so small, and You’re so BIG, how can I ever love YOU the way You love me? Sometimes I hate myself for just being me, yet how wrong am I to think that way. For I am me because of You, and You gave up part of You, so I can be me. Please help me Lord, to live with gladness; Knowing that I am me, and believing that each moment, I shall be more of You!
Truly my friend, you are dearly loved. And because He first loved us, we can bring the love He has given us to bless countless others along the way. Come away now, and wipe away your tears. It is time to sing a new song. It is time for God’s beloved.
“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.” Psalm 62:11-12
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