“Oh my God, what’s happening to me?” I was shouting in the damn recesses of my brain, with tears threatening to roll from the corner of my eyes. I walked into the darkness and tried to focus my attention on the rustle of water flowing in the lagoon, while the loud singing of cicadas dominated the air. It is undeniable that this remote part of UP campus has become my new home in times when I want to discern things and seek solace. I used to find joy in the simple act of listening to these sounds that nature has to offer. Tonight, however, it just did not work.
From a distance, I could not unhear the chanting of UP students who were condemning the incumbent administration for a number of extra-judicial killings; from my memory, I could hear horror stories of the recent blast in London and the armed conflict in Marawi City; and I did not need to go anywhere farther, for within me, there was a raging storm that was threatening to kill me.
I have been feeling anxious these past few weeks. I was very afraid that the same scenario that nearly knocked me down more than two years ago would repeat itself. There were decisions that I need to resolve that come from being an almost thirty. There have been so many mixed emotions boiling inside me that I could not find a starting point to at least be okay.
My faith was shaken, and like a candle in the wind, it struggled to stay aflame. “Help me,” was the only prayer I could utter.
Two days later, I found myself listening to a podcast by Kay Warren at Saddleback Church. Her message was so powerful that it jarred me to the bones. I wanted to keep her message so I listed below my key takeaways as they relate to my personal struggles.
Finding Hope Again and Rebuilding Resilience
1. Realize that life is harder than you expect it to be.
If you think that life is supposed to be easy and comfortable, then you have to wake up right now. You are oversleeping in your illusion! Life on earth is our preparation for eternity, so expect trials and difficult times. It is a continuous test of faith. The Bible is crystal clear about it: “Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward (Job 5:7 NIV).”
2. Accept the reality that you cannot have everything.
Life is very complex. It never ceases to stress, stretch, challenge, and change you. It never runs out of options for you. It never stops to make you want for something new. Life can offer you everything, but you can never have it all; you have to choose what is only right for you [Tweet]. It is matter of where you will focus your passion on and knowing what you value most. This is how you can at least make life simple.
3. Don’t cling to things; they are impermanent.
Live for what really matters. Go back to the simplicity of things that have eternal value. This world presents many attractive things that do not hold lasting value; they do not guarantee your rewards in eternity. Be careful and choose what you will hold on to.
4. Never, ever say die.
Life can get really so crazy that it will drain you of your energy, and sometimes sanity. There were times when I wished to die in my sleep. There were times when I would sleep praying that everything would be all right when I wake up. But life does not work that way. You have to face it, with full of courage and conviction! You have to exert an effort and do something if you want to resolve your problems and make things happen or change in your life.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
When times are hard and when the going is tough, expand your connections. Our tendency to withdraw and figure it out all to ourselves can make the burden even heavier. Difficult times are when you most need to press in to your loving relationships, to the people who care for you, even if it just one person you can trust.
6. Choose your responses in life.
I did not choose to be born into poverty. I did not choose who my parents would be. I did not choose to break my heart. I did not choose to feel in a certain way when someone rejects me. Many circumstances in our lives are outside our locus of control. They are given; they exist before we even know they are there, but we can choose how to deal with them. Practice optimism. Be grateful for in these times of difficulties, we will discover precious lessons that can expose the strength of our character.
7. Believe that you are capable with God’s strength.
You will not be strong all the time. You will not always keep your faith aflame. We have our weaknesses as humans, and these should remind us to resort to God as our ultimate source of strength. Trust the Lord to help us get through the storms in our lives. Declare that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13 NKJV).”
8. Do not separate from the love of God.
In Romans 8:35-39 (NIV), Apostle Paul tells us several different things that can threaten us to sink into despair and separate us from our intimacy with God. Jesus holds a similar concept in John 16:33 (NIV) when He said, “… In this world you will have trouble…”
Life is really not fair.
We will fail; we will be rejected; we will be betrayed; we will be broken; we will be wounded; we will be sad; we will get angry; we will be anxious; we will be worried; we will be frightened; we will cry; we will grieve. But in all these things, we will get up; we will gather our broken pieces; we will rebuild; we will rise from the ashes; we will return to the love of God because that is where we need to be; we will “be truly glad for there is wonderful joy ahead (1 Peter 1:6 NLT)”; we will proclaim that nothing shall ever destroy us for “WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37 NIV).”
What are you trying to conquer lately? What has been threatening to separate you from the love of God? Let us pray for each other. Please share your story in the comments.