Do Not Worry

Do Not Worry - Half Full Glass
Image Credit: mashable.com
When God says, “do not worry…”, he means it. There are no underlying complex explanations behind it. Just that God wants you to worry about nothing – not clothes, food, money, career or your future. He knows you more than anyone else; he knows your needs and your circumstances. And as your perfect Father, he will give you what you need in his time, according to his grand plans.

God Against Worrying

Instead of worrying, focus all your energy, attention and effort on knowing Him – as you father, provider, strength, comforter, savior and King. What God desires is a relationship, one that is unbreakable even with the invasion of unfortunate circumstances and the flood of all consuming worldly needs. He needs you to know Him like never before so when the time comes that you need to speak up for his name, you can do so without hesitation.

Again, God urges you “do not worry about anything or anyone…” God, after all, is in control of every circumstance and situation. Instead, pursue God in every waking hour of your life. In every decision and action, ask God if his hand is upon it.  Ask God if you are in line with his will and plans. Ask God if he approves of where your life is headed.

What Worry Does

Remember that at the end of this journey we call life is the all powerful God waiting for us to give an account on how we were as stewards of his gifts. Did we use our life to bring glory to his name? Did we use our time to spread his word? Did we do all we can to know him more and more each day? Did we live out his design and purpose for our lives?

Worry brings only confusion.  Let it dominate your life and you’re bound to go astray, far away from the straight and narrow path that God intended for you to walk in. Allow worry to stain the picture and you’re going to live life like the prodigal son - bonded to worldly desires like money, sex, power and greed. All of which are going to lead to your inevitable destruction.

Overcoming Worry

Even if things do not go your way, let not worry grip your heart or mind. Rise above your obstacles and needs then focus your thoughts on seeing the glass as half full. When you know your God, He will come through not just half way but all the way. Regardless of your faithlessness, just believe and come to Him in all abandon. Neither your abilities nor knowledge will save you from despair. Rely too much on yourself and you’ll only end up selfishly guarded and proud.

In this world and in this life, there are no guarantees. Live on your own and you will constantly chase after meaningless dreams. Push God away and you’ll always end up with demons in the shadows. Fear will be your constant companion. There are no joy in the horizon if you let worry stomp on your relationship with God. So, heed God’s call and advice because He knows that you need not worry now. Yes, regardless of what’s happening because He’s got your back. Yes, even if you were hurting him again and again with you sinful ways. Yes, he loves you despite your inadequacies and shortcomings. 


On Loneliness

On Loneliness
What's equally tragic with a life without love?


To me, it is one of life's greatest tragedies. While feelings of abandonment, rejection and being unloved are awfully painful as they are, loneliness in the picture makes the emotions a hundred fold truer hence even more painful.

A lonely life is like being stuck in a dessert. No matter how long or how loud you scream, no one's going to come. It's like being lost in a crowd with no hand to hold and no shoulder to cry on when the going gets tough and rough. And although we have families and friends we see, talk with and whom we know love us, the gaping hole remains unfilled. 

In his book, The Four Loves, CS Lewis has said, 

"We are born helpless. As soon as we are fully conscious we discover loneliness. We need others physically, emotionally, intellectually; we need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves."

Loneliness leaves us incomplete, and it's something we have to live with for the rest of our lives unless we let people in. God meant for us to live and love together, along each other and with each other. That's why He created Eve out of Adam's ribs  because "no man is an island." 

To feel lonely is completely normal, but to give in and let this terrible emotion control our lives is another matter. Take time to savor and understand the feeling, then use it to pursue a life without it. That often means letting go of our inhibitions, our past and doubts. 

Because only when we hold nothing back will we fully experience love and life in all its glory. 


X Factor: Fil-Am Singer Ellona Santiago Makes it to Demi Lovato's Final Four

In the spirit of Filipino pride, let's celebrate Ellona Santiago's successful stint to make it to X Factor US Season 3's top 16. Ellona is a Fil-Am aspiring singer who was born in the Philippines but moved to the US when she was barely 1 year old with the entire family and has lived in the country since.

With the show's new platform, the Four Chair Challenge in exchange for the bootcamp, the competition has been stiffer and more intense. No one wants to be de-seated. And with Demi Lovato's four seats already occupied, it was a make or break performance for Ellona. She was the last performer for the category singing her own passionate rendition of Clarity by Zedd.

See her performance...

If you watched X Factor Season 1, this girl was in it too but she was part of a group, inTENsity, who was booted out during the early part of the live show. Two years later, Ellona hopes that second time's the charm. Well, it sure is because Demi chose her over another Latina aspirant, Jamie Pineda to complete her final four. 

Ellona Santiago On X Factor

It looks like we'll be seeing more of this small girl with a big voice in the coming weeks. 


How to Deal with the likes of Devina DeDiva

A whirl wind of angry rants and a barrage of hot protests were thrown at Devina DeDiva after her infamous, racist and degrading statement about newly crowned Miss World Megan Young and Filipinos in general. In her own words, "Miss Philippines is Miss World? What a joke! I did not know those maids have anything else in them[.] Ha Ha Ha" 

Seemingly not content with her insults, she further adds, "They r poor, smelly from cleaning toilets & uneducated."

How to Deal with Devina DeDiva
Photo Credit: scoopboy
She may say that she's just stating her opinion. It's what freedom of speech has entitled her after all. Unfortunately, hers was not a reasonable opinion or a simple name calling fiasco, but a deliberate and tactless attack of an entire nation. Even more unfortunate for Devina DeDiva, she doesn't have an inkling of how fierce, bold and proud we Filipinas can be.

In just a matter of days, she became a household name in the Philippines and an instant web sensation, but not for good reasons at all. Just today, it has been reported that she lost her job as an assistant teacher in Singapore. Serves her just right, I must add. Several Facebook pages has been created against her. One Devina Dediva page currently has 8,635 likes and 10,548 talking about it. She's been called names: 'the devil', 'a scum', 'a b*stard', 'a f******g prostitute', 'a d*mb*ss b*tch', 'a sh*thead', 'a p*tang ina', and a slew of other nasty names. Some spewed out threats and others even wished her dead. What a nightmare it has turned for her.

Let's Show Her Who We Are

But as much as I agree that what she said was below the belt, I am saddened with how some of us reacted. I read through a handful of comments against her and I can see that some went down to her level. If Devina shamelessly attacked our Filipino descent, a few of our very own did the same - degrading her roots and stereotyping Indian women. Even worse, there was a meme posted in the aforementioned FB page (see below) that clearly implies....

How to Deal with Devina Dediva

I think you get the point. So instead of reacting to the issue, I'd like to respond with these thoughts with the hopes to admonish my fellow Filipinos that we can say our piece without being rude, stereotypical or threatening. We can deal with the likes of Devina DeDiva in a manner that's calm, educated and dignified. Instead of spewing her insults back to her, let's SHOW her that we are not what she said we are. After all, ACTIONS speak LOUDER than words.

How to Deal with the likes of Devina DeDiva

  • Respond instead of Reacting - "Smelly, poor, less privileged and uneducated." Those are hurtful words and for many of us, our first reaction was all-consuming anger. How dare she! What audacity to accuse us of such things. And what's the shame in being a "maid" when it's a decent job that feed, cloth and shelter our families? Right? Yes, of course we're right which we think justifies our reactions (either good or mostly bad) but it doesn't. When we react, we says things that are hurtful (similar to what Devina said about us). Responding is a different approach altogether because we say things from a reasonable and open-minded perspective. 
  • Be Direct - Say your piece, argue your case then move on. I think it's enough to let her know that what she said was offensive. If she listens, all good. But if not, try other means to get your message across (for this case, a legal advice is a sound option) then move on. Don't argue or extend the heated exchange after you've said your two cents. She won't listen because if she has an open mind, she wouldn't have said those racist stereotypes in the first place. 
  • Avoid Name Calling - Despite her rotten statements and unquestionable character, we have no right to call her names. As much as it makes us feel good to call her this and that, but if we do we're just like her in a sense. So don't go this route or we'll be putting ourselves in the same level as hers.
  • Respect to her Rude - Don't battle rude with rude. Instead let's heed what the Bible says about our enemies. Luke 6:27-29 But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. 


Are You Useful Now?

A couple of days ago, I got a chance to watch Lincoln. Yet again, filmmaker Steven Spielberg helmed a story so enchanting and moving, it ought to awaken your unknown love for history. It was a beautiful masterpiece centered on Lincoln's life as a father, husband, friend and as the 16th president of the United States who marshaled the freedom of the slaves.

But for me, the scene that lingered long and vividly was the heated confrontation between father (Abe Lincoln) and his first born son, Robert. The civil war was poised to end and Robert has been steered away to enlist for war by sending him to Boston to become a lawyer.

While visiting soldiers who were injured, the stirrings in Robert's heart to be useful now came alive and burning. A momentary lapse in Lincoln's part, a slap against a son's defiance, furthered his son's desire to its boiling point. With or without permission, Robert enlisted his heart and life for war.

It's meaningful and moving and touching because I feel the same way. I don't want to be useful tomorrow, I want to be useful now. Not five years after but now.

Maybe we all go through this stage and season of self-doubt. We question our worth as a person based on how useful we are now. Are we doing what we always wanted to do? Are we living for something bigger than ourselves? Are we happy? Are we making a difference? Are we changing the world? Are we useful?

These are questions that are real and scary. If you answered yes, good for you. But a no echos the restlessness from within. It's a silent cry of desperation seeking freedom from the bondage of mediocrity and the common life. To be useful means to be important. It's a human desire common to all but only a handful achieves.

But what does it really mean to be useful? Only you can tell because your life is yours to live. You don't need to be president or a noble soldier to feel fulfilled. Just look around you, examine your motives and notice the little differences you are making on other people's lives.

Usefulness is all about perspective. As long as you are living your life according to how you were wired then that's useful. Birds fly because they were created with wings. Flowers bloom, the sun rises and sets, the moon beams at night and fishes swim. They are who and what they are because of their specific design. And you are who you are because God created you that way.

The moment you are feeling useless, go back to your creator. Only He can tell you what you were wired for.
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