Monday, April 20, 2015

This Blog is Dormant -Check Out New Blog!

Hi friends!

As you have probably noticed, I have stopped updating this blog. I continue writing, however, and you can check out my new blog A Simple Follower.

In this blog, I will write about similar themes that I did on Conforming to the Likeness of Christ, but more on the issues plaguing the Western church.

I hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Feeling Unworthy vs. Feeling Proud

Many times I have shared in this medium how I felt unworthy of the many gifts I receive from God, and feeling particularly unworthy and lacking in my job performance.

Take for instance this post, where I probably felt at my lowest in terms of my job performance. I felt like I've grown a lot since that experience.

I have a new job as a Immigrant Rights Organizer, and I really love it! Yes, the hours and pay and benefits are great, but it is more the fact that I'm doing things I hope make a difference in my community.

I love this job for the same reasons I love working as a missionary: bring people who have been neglected and forgotten some hope.

With this new job change I am confronted with a cocktail of feelings: feelings of unworthiness vs. feelings of pride.

Let me explain. I can feel proud as I sit in my office and say to myself "look at me with my desk and everything!" and then I can feel unworthy as I remind myself that this job is a gift from God and something I don't deserve.

I was always struck by the ebb and flow of these opposite emotions; a sense of entitlement and a sense of unworthiness.

Caught in this false dichotomy, as I believe many of us are, I realized those opposites are ultimately unhealthy.

I believe God doesn't want me to fill myself with pompous pride and look down on my ex-coworkers at the gas station and tell myself I'm somehow more worthy than them. And I believe God doesn't want me to feel so unworthy as to regard myself as garbage deficient of any good gifts.

There has to be a third way out of these two horns and it has to come not from pride or unworthiness but from a place of humility.

One morning, as I was seating in a boring meeting at my job (I hope my supervisor is not reading this!) I felt God nudging at my heart and saying : If I gave you this job is not because you are worthy of it or unworthy of it, but because I know you can handle it.

The words you can handle it really impacted me at that moment. I took my notepad and wrote down "It is not about deserving a gift or not, but that you can handle it".

This I believe, is the third way. In saying that God give us things when we can handle them we are affirming that every good thing is a gift from God.

We are also avoiding the pointy two horns of pride and unworthiness, as we recognize the reality that God's grace and gifts are not a matter of deserving them or not, but simply a free gift of love, a gift God gives when He knows we can handle it.

It gives me a healthy sense of confidence, as I feel God trusting me with a gift that I know I can handle receiving. It gives me the confidence to resist the darts of the enemy that tells me "you are not worthy of this", and without relying on my own pride.

Be happy and celebrate the gifts God gives us, and rest in the knowledge that if He gave you that gift, it is because He believes you can handle it.

Friday, April 11, 2014

2014 New Year's Resolution March Update!

It's been a while since I came and visited you at this site. I really been doing some reflections on how I can improve my consistency, and as a result, my integrity.

I have been thinking a lot about integrity, and how important a character trait that is. I will expand on this topic on another post!

March has been a rainy month! This is great since we surely need the rain in California. We are in the middle of a drought, and any drop we get from heaven at this point helps.

So, getting back to my resolutions. How has it been? So-so to be honest.

I'm getting tired of my inconsistency. And I'm getting tired of being tired of my inconsistency. I know I need to move beyond this stage and take some action. I always feel immobilized and unsure in how to move beyond this stage.

To be honest I don't know how to move beyond the "inconsistency stage". I want to, and I'm confident that I will, but at this point in time I don't know what steps are good for me to take.

Resolution #1 Calorie Count Everyday.
This I have done somewhat consistently, and to a certain extent, successfully. I know for certain that I am eating less calories. I've been trying to eat no more than 2000 calories everyday for Lent and it has been really difficult!

These past couple of weeks have been especially difficult! There has been many days where I have gone over the 2,000 calorie mark very easily!

I feel the pressure to continue doing this more consistently as Lent comes to a close!

Resolution #2 Spend 30 Minutes a Day Cleaning my Room.
I'm happy to report I have made some improvements in this area! I have decided to change my strategy slightly. Instead of spending 30 minutes I'm spending a few minutes everyday to clean my room.

This works so much better with me!

I honestly don't like cleaning, so the less time I spend cleaning, the less frustrated I feel. And I find that dividing my time into manageable bits and pieces really helps me and motivates me to keep cleaning.

I've said this before in this blog. What is the major problem with this? Consistency...

Resolution #3 Update my Blog Twice a Week.
Um...okay, wait until I finish eating this hearty crow.

As you can clearly see, I haven't updated this blog in 3 weeks! Goodness gracious!

I really feel God is putting writing more and more in my heart and I truly desire to write more. My expectations are for things to get better for April!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Solitude Retreats

So I was overdue for my quarterly retreat.

The small cabin I stayed in.

As missionaries of InnerCHANGE, we have to take 4 solitude retreat to rest, refocus and discern. I usually enjoy my solitude retreats, and I was looking forward to this one.

What I usually like doing in my solitude retreats is read, pray, exercise, and read some more.

I went to this beautiful place in Scotts Valley called Fasting Prayer Mountain. The place is decorated witth countless tree trunks that serve as seating, with countless gardens around you and majestic redwood trees.

I was tired. I'm tired with feeling anger towards my church and how legalism and rules often get in the way of loving people.

Stairway to one of the trails.
I'm tired of avoiding my past wounds and avoiding my inner child to get out and finally heal from all the wounds to tell him "it is okay you felt that way and it wasn't your fault".

I'm tired, and God gave me rest.

Solitude retreats aren't always easy. It is easy to go back to old habits of just being. You want to avoid the feeling of loneliness. You want to avoid the voices that spring up inside of you as noise of people and cars and civilization are minimized.

Amphitheater at Prayer Fasting Mountain.
I usually enjoy my first day. By the second day I start to miss family and friends, and almost always feel tempted to just go back. I had to fight the urges to get in my car and just leave home on the second night, but I felt the gentle whisper of God saying "stay", and I did.

Solitude retreats can be difficult, as coming to a sudden halt and rest can bring up many feelings and issues we rather leave untouched. We can become bored. We can become lonely.

As this retreat was drawing to a close I felt God calling me to take "mini-solitude retreats" to listen to Him and to myself as a way to deal with loneliness.  More on this on a future post!

What if we took some time everyday to be by ourselves, to quiet ourselves, and listen to ourselves? How will our lives change?

Why wait till we make the time to retreat into the woods and reflect?  We can have times of solitude everyday, where we make it a point to quiet ourselves to better hear ourselves, and in the process, hear God who is always calling in the silence of our hearts.

Friday, March 7, 2014

2014 New Year's Resolution February Update!

Hello friends! Spring is in the air! This is my favorite time of the year!

It's that time of the month again, where I get to divulge once again about my progress in my 2014 resolutions!

So without further ado, let's dive into them...

Resolution #1: Calorie Count Everyday.

Calorie counting can be tedious work, but I'm happy to report that it's getting progressively easier, as it is being ingrained as a habit!

Okay, okay, I haven't counted calories everyday since 2014 started, but I have counted calories most days.

Unfortunately I didn't lose weight in February. I lost 3 pounds in January and I was able to maintain my weight for February. The reason for this is because I was able to keep  my allowed calorie intake for some days, and then on some other days...

Resolution #2: Spend 30 Minutes a Week Cleaning my Room.

Time to eat crow!

I have to confess, I don't remember any time where I actually cleaned my room. It's pretty horrible. Next...

Actually, no, let's think about this for a minute. Why haven't I done this?

I said that I'd clean my room on Saturday afternoons, but I'm usually never home on Saturday afternoons. In fact, I'm not in my room a good chunk of my week.

Thing is, I don't like being in my room!

Maybe if I spent more time cleaning it I'd actually like being in my room.

Resolution #3: Update my Blog Twice a Week.

February has been a slow month. The same difficulties that I explained in January were still true for February.

I have been updating my blog more frequently this month however, and it is my intention to keep at it!

Discipline, discipline, discipline. It's something I need to work on.What suggestions do you have for improving your discipline? What has helped you the most?

See you next month!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Resolutions for Lent 2014!

Oh Goodness gracious!!!

As If I didn't have enough resolutions already...

So, good people of Israel, let's make some Lent Resolutions for 2014!

I have been thinking about what to give up for lent, because you know, you cannot be a good christian unless you make vane resolutions that you'll probably give up after a couple of days.

So being the good (and apparently humble) christian that I am, I'm making some lent resolutions!

Keeping with the dietary adventure theme of last year's resolution (I was a vegetarian for lent) I am making a diet resolution!

So here it is, my little and probably painful lent resolution: limit my calorie budget to 2,000 calories!

Wait what?! That seems like a lot of calories right?

In a way yes, but given how tall and big I seem to be, in order to maintain my current weight I'd have to inhale 2,900 calories a day! Now that is a lot of calories.

It is unfortunately, what I'm used to. And a little more.

I am embarrassed to admit what I have written here before: I'm addicted to food! Especially bacon. And maybe sausages. Okay definitely bacon and sausages.

In all honesty I don't want to be addicted anymore. I don't like being addicted. I don't like being overweight. And I'm tired of putting up goals I never fulfill.

This is a great opportunity for me to (once again) tackle this head on.

I'm usually consistent with my lent resolutions, if strangely enough more so than my New Year's Resolutions, so this little and probably painful lent resolution should be interesting!

What are you giving up for lent? Do you make resolutions? Why or why not?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lent MEME!

This LENT MEME is very easy to follow. 


1   Copy paste this post on your Blog.

2   Contact as many other Bloggers as you like and leave them this comment: "You have been tagged for the LENT MEME on my Blog".

3   And now the difficult bit: Do someone a good deed. Anyone. Relative, friend or stranger. Any good deed. Saying a prayer for someone in need. Helping an old person with shopping, transport, gardening. Visiting a sick person. Giving some money to charity.

Just use your imagination and do any good deed.

If you are greedy you can do more than one good deed. To more than one person. You can do a good deed every day of Lent if you wish. The minimum is just one good deed.

4   That's it. I can't think of any other rules.

5   Thanx. God bless.

Thanks to Victor S E Moubarak for tagging me for this meme. He is a Catholic English author and you can find his reflections on his blog here.

God bless you!