Winning

Most of us, if not all, want to win. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a simple party game, in an official tournament, or in the challenges of life. We are nicknamed “competitive”.

I grew up in a society where I was always told to do my best and bring home the bacon 🏆, and that the only thing that matters is rising to the top. I remember someone telling me that being the second best also means you’re the best among the losers.

Recently I’ve been thinking, what does WINNING really mean? My default/cliché answers are popping up but I am not convinced. I know there’s more to filling your cabinet with medals and awards, which will be thrown away someday. There’s more to the recognition of the people. There’s more to reaching the “best *insert title here*”.

Then I came up with another (maybe more appropriate) question:

Is our idea/picture/meaning of WINNING the same with God? How does it look to Him?

As followers of Jesus, do we consider His kind of WINNING? Do we run after the things that matters to Him? Do we run in the race He set before us? Do we compete by His rules?

Because maybe, just maybe, we’re trying to win a race, a competition, or a fight for a prize that will rot and be thrown away.

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A Different “Someone”

Have you ever met someone

who inspires you to be

a better person?

That by knowing him deeper,

you can’t help but

fall in love with him?

I do. His name is Jesus.

You know that you’re adulting, especially as starter, when you came with the fam for a vacation but leaves earlier because you’ve got work. Although you’re late, you went to office anyway. Hahaha. It wasn’t as if you really had a choice since you’ll be off next week.

But travelling alone is one of my “idea list” so it was still an awesome two hour ride to work.

Spontaneous is my family name

Embracing my fam’s normal ways – an adventure filled with spontaneity.

Yesterday, I was out of my “normal Saturday routine”. My family planned to go for hot springs. I asked my pastor for a ministry leave for the family bonding.

Here’s the plan: Go to a town in the south and relax in a hot spring. We hit the road, drove kilometers away from home, and when we arrived in town only then did I discover that we don’t have a specific place to stay. My instinct was to panic and find a solution at the same time. But, I was calmed as I remember I am not in charge.

So instead of ruining that day, I decided to sit back, obey (while intensely praying in my inner most being that my mom and sister knew what they’re doing or desperately crying out for God’s miraculous mercy and wisdom!) and see how God unfold his plan and lead us to the next step.

Thank God, we arrived safely at a resort with a room that’s cool with a mini pool in it.

Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot

To the world, operation Auca was a failed mission.
But for the missionaries, it was a mission accomplished.

This the first book I finished this year and what makes it even more special is that I finished it in less than 10 days! My personal librarian, my memory, would present a bad reading record for my 2017 and I hope that this would be the start of a healthy reading habit.

I am not sure if I should call it “bias” or based on preference but this book, unlike any other book, thrilled me to read each chapter. It was probably because, first of all, the first chapters totally blew me away. The testimony of the five missionary men and their wives challenged and inspired me. There were also parts where I just scanned it through and hadn’t understood and others I was dragging myself into. But it was faced with excitement to reach the next chapter and wait for the moments. Thank God for Betty (Elisabeth’s nickname as written in the book) didn’t write prologue or introduction because I am often stuck on this part of the book especially if it’s poorly written.

“I dare not stay home” was the first chapter’s title I fell in love with like handling a rose with its thorns. I was astonished reading Jim Elliot’s principles and reasoning that are no doubt from God. He said that he would not dare stay home while Quichuas (any group of Indian tribes in Ecuador) perish. It, surely, had been a long time because today most of the Christians think differently from him. Instead, we say “I’d rather stay at home than reach out my neighbor.” Of which, I am guilty. I was really rebuked of how self-centered I had become which was the opposite of what Christianity looks like.

It was also evident in the life of these men that they got their priorities right. I was awakened by the fact that our youth ministry was in this kind of state. The young people, sadly even as leaders, were so preoccupied with things that aren’t necessary and miss out some of the important essences of life. I have nothing against excelling in studies or a certain field but maybe we had crossed the line and put these on the top list.

Faith and compassion were the driving force that fuels this mission. They believe that called them to reach one of the dangerous tribes in Ecuador. They could not stand doing nothing especially when they know that the root of such behaviors came from fear and ignorance of the Truth.

This bravery of the missionaries came from their confidence in God. As Ed Mc Cully said, “We’ve already put our trust in Him (God) for salvation, so why do we not do it as far as our life is concerned?” This is faith in action. They believe God not just a Savior but their Lord and Master, well.

One of the things I love about classic books like this is that it is refreshing to read their perspective on love because I believe it was in their time when love was not yet perverted as ours. Before pursuing the ladies, the gentlemen prayed for the will of God and even consider its effect on the mission God gave them. Oh, how pure their intentions are. As a result, their wives also played an important role in their lives and their mission.

I knew that these men will be killed by their new friends as our preachers used to share their stories. It must have been a tragedy giving yourself to the people who would soon take it savagely. However, reading it from the perspective of the missionary families, it was as if they finished a race. They did what God called them to do and returned home with the Father.

I first thought that the title of the book, Through Gates of Splendor, was just about these men entering into the pearly gates of heaven as they had fulfilled their mission here on earth. At the end of the book, I realized that they didn’t just enter through the gates but they opened that gates for the Auca or Waorani people.

After reading and thinking through the book, I can help but ask myself, what am I doing with my life? What am I running after? What am I doing with my mission?

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Adulting

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In life, transitions are inevitable. Leaving a season means entering another. As a fresh graduate, the changes seemed minimal until I stepped into my first 3 months.

Indeed, “adulting” is both exciting and difficult journey. The bills are just part of the bigger responsibility put on the shoulders of a young adult.

Deadlines are still there, not with papers waiting to be graded, but with projects anticipating results or, oftentimes, sales. I still study, yet, with no scheduled class or compulsory curriculum.

However, amidst all the challenges of “adulting” I remain confident as Jesus said…

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”