Friday, September 30, 2016

A third quarter update. Blessings of victory.

I currently subscribe to this site called The Universe Talks, and every weekday I get inspirational emails from them. One of my favorite messages was:

"One of my favorite things about time and space, Christine, is that absolutely NOTHING can ever happen there that can't be seen as a blessing in some wonderful way."

Once, over dinner with a good friend, we realized that ever since we started serving in the ministry, we grow to have a deeper and broader outlook on life. I myself was surprised to see this realization, as I now view setbacks as mere re-directions instead of the usual rejections.

Every day, no matter how crappy that day may be, I always try to find something good in it. One of my favorite quotes is "Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day."

So let me share some exceptional blessings that came during this quarter of the year.

Livelife retreat.

One blessing would be attending another retreat. Late last month, I attended the Livelife retreat, which was this year's reunion of all Lovelife graduates of the Feast Bay Area. If I had said that the Lovelife retreat was the best weekend I had so far this year, the Livelife ranks a close second. It was great to see my batchmates, both the ones I see often and even some of the ones that I hardly even get to see.

If I could sum up that retreat in one word, it would be INTENSE. Everything defined that, from the worship, to the talks, to the sharing. And it was a great opportunity as well to mingle with people from other batches. I get to see so many of these random faces at the Feast, especially during the SYNC sessions, but I only got to interact with them then. It's nice to finally put names to these faces, and to at least get to say hi to them.

I have to say, other than being intense, that weekend was very refreshing, and recharged me for the days to come. So much good came out of that retreat, and I just didn't realize it until later.

Yes to service.

Last year, I remember something that Brother George said in prayer before our rehearsal for the Kerygma Conference's opening production number. We were called to serve, not because we are the best, but we may be the best choice to help deliver God's message. I was really struck by what he said. There are some instances before that I may question what He wants for me, but this year, I've learned that once you've been called, just saying yes would open up so much blessings than you've ever expected.

So imagine my surprise when I got called to be one of the new service coordinators for FBA music ministry's Gateway program. In all honesty, I didn't expect to be considered. I just wanted to sing as my service to the Audience of One. Alright, I have to admit, I was actually afraid of the responsibility. It was something similar to work I had left last year, which caused my burnout. I was actually all set to say no, but then during a nap, I could hear someone (or Someone) in my head saying "You're not alone." I shrugged it off until I got to listen to an old worship song I last heard 15 years ago. The lyrics of "For The Sake of The Call" struck me so much, I suddenly started crying by the time I had reached the first chorus. After the song, I immediately sent a message and said yes to serving as a coordinator.

The words "reckless abandon" actually struck me the most in the song. I guess this is what this is.

"Nobody stood and applauded them,
So they knew from the start
This road would not lead to fame..."

"Not for the sake of a creed or a cause,
Not for a dream or a promise,
Simple because it is Jesus who called
And if we believe, we'll obey..."

("For The Sake of The Call" by Steven Curtis Chapman)

History repeats itself, for good reasons.

Ever since last year, I always believe that God always brings back similar situations that I had already encountered before. I realized that this usually happens when I never learned the lessons from that certain situation, and God has presented these again to test me.

Sure, the people involved may be different, certain circumstances may have changed, but the actual situation is still there. It's like He's challenging me again, telling me, "You haven't learned the last time. Maybe this time, you'll do the right thing."

If I were the same person as I was before, without a strong faith, I would've been the same psycho and do the same as I had done the last time. In hindsight, I was a stubborn control freak. I wanted things done a certain way because that's what I really wanted to happen, with no consideration or adjustment.

For almost 2 years now, I now noticed how much I've changed and grown, and learned how to deal with these things more differently. If I was a control freak back then, I now let God take control. It's like my go-with-the-flow nature, but only with stronger trust and faith. So even with these hurdles, I still see these challenges as blessings.

"I know I've found the way,
I've finally found the way to let things go,
The past is there to teach you,
Mistakes provide the pain that helps you grow.
So I have healed and I have grown,
At some point I guess you have to
But I don't want to face the world on my own..."

("Ready To Be Loved" from Edges: A Song Cycle, by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)

These are only a few of the blessings that have come my way these past few months. I know a lot of people say that I'm a very optimistic person, and yes, I do believe I am, because there's really nothing to lose if you look at the positive side of things.

So what if something goes wrong? Look at it another way, and you'll find a solution. It's like those repeat challenges that God keeps on giving me. If I had handled it the same way when I was still a control freak, would that be an improvement? I don't think so.

Looking at it from another angle, by being a little more patient, and by letting God take control, that's what helped me grow.

And that change is what I call a blessing of victory.

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