Scribblings: Enlarge Thy Heart

IMG_8889

SCRIBBLINGS DATED 2 AUGUST 2013

A wise friend once said, “If you do not have the ability to change a circumstance, and the miracle you’ve been praying for doesn’t or has yet to come to pass, pray instead for the capacity to enlarge your heart to accept the things that you have no power over.”

Thank you for your wise words, my friend.

Scribblings: Lessons From The Hurricane

IMG_8856

SCRIBBLINGS DATED 2 AUGUST 2013

During my stint in Taiwan, I had the opportunity to witness strong winds that could potentially cause damages or even hurt people. Though by God’s grace we did not encounter a hurricane, it was still, to be honest, pretty scary to see one and its destructive might, not to mention be caught in one.

All throughout the world, hurricanes [or more commonly known as typhoons in Asia] wreck havoc, uproot buildings, blow away possessions, takes away lives. Race, language and religion; the hurricane creates a rift in the lives of all who stands in its [her] way. The hurricane is no respecter of man.

The hurricane in itself is not [as] deadly [as we think]. The hurricane is strong winds moving in a circular motion at high speeds. It is the cumulative amount of  stuff that it sucks in and swirls within its axis that makes it deadly. The uprooted roof, expensive cars and such, things which crashes into properties, metal to metal, wood to wood, and occasionally into human beings.

What isn’t secure or tired down is blown away, added into that vortex of deadly litter. Physical hurricanes may be deadly and take a lot of lives, the hurricane of dysfunctional relationships: unresolved conflicts can prove just as destructive.

Divorce rates are increasing at an incremental rate all throughout the world, decades-old friendships are lost, children are disowning parents and vice versa.

We think we are making things right when we sweep unresolved conflicts and issues under the carpet. Like a hurricane, when crisis hits, everything that is not tied down, every issue that is not resolved, is drawn out by the hurricane, causing an exchange of hurtful words and actions. Acting based on the feelings we’ve drawn from past grievances, We say that which we do not mean, we act out what we hope we could take back.

Those words and actions, like debris in a hurricane sweep up and go airborne, hurting the people that we love and want to protect. Tears and painful breakups lie in its destructive aftermath.

If I was smart, I did tie down all my possessions; make right with the people whom I treasure and need to be right with. That way, I can sleep well when the wind blows.

Writer’s note: Holler all, I’m starting a new weekly series entitled Scribblings. There’s a lot going in this head of mine as with yours. New entries every Tuesday. Do feel free to check out this page for more updates or subscribe to my blog. Invite your friends along if you deem this to be worth a second look. God bless!

Scribblings: Within & Without

IMG_8844-2

SCRIBBLINGS DATED 11 AUGUST 2013

Through the years, I’ve traveled quite a bit, be it holiday vacations with friends, mission trips and backpacking trips. For the latter two, most of which I signed up alone.

Some were inspired to follow suit, some asked “Isn’t travelling alone boring? Won’t you feel lonely?” Well, I would be lying if I said I never felt lonely at all through all my travels. I remembered one time I was stranded under a pitch black bridge at Fisherman’s Wharf, Taipei. There was a couple on my left, another on my right, hugging and probably whispering sweet-nothings to each other while rain-watching [sounds romantic but more like waiting for the rain to stop la]. That was the *shittest (pardon the expletives) experience from all my travels so far. But other than that, no other experience has even come close. Traveling alone is fun, fun, fun! You get to … wait this is not what this story is about. I’ll save it for a future entry.

What’s scarier is being a room jam-packed with people but one never felt lonelier in all his life. The reverse could also occur; being alone in a foreign place, with foreign entities all around but never alone in mind and spirit. For he is lifted by the presence of G, family, friends and loved ones lingering all around him. You see, we gather our sense of belonging, self-worth and everything else from within, not without. Highs of all sorts, you may get the kick at the start, but eventually the loneliness comes back at you, and you need more of that high [in substance or activity] to get back the same high. You see, it is what’s going on in the heart that matters.

So the question is, what’s going on within?

Scribblings: Words

IMG_8836-2

SCRIBBLINGS DATED 30 JULY 2013

Words. A word of praise can take the listener-recipient to cloud nine and a word of encouragement elevates a wounded soul. On the flip side, a hurtful remark bruises the soul and a regrettable statement stings more than any physical punch could ever hurt. Like spilled milk, one can’t just say something nasty and have it retracted back no matter how apologetic one may be. No, the spoken word doesn’t work like an automated teller machine.

Words and wounded [broken] souls. We live in a broken-down world where so many people all around us live with the scars from the hurtful words of verbal abuse directed at them when they were young. Married couples who struggled through nights of verbal diarrhea targeted by the very ones who have previously took an oath to love and cherish them, employees who are paid by their employers in a form of salary and abusive words that seek to bring them down for every mistake they make. How much can a soul take? How much can one’s spirit endure?

Yet there can be a relief from all this; an oasis in the middle of the valley of dry bones. As much as we cannot control what other may think or say about us, we could control and limit how much impact those words can have on us. If a mistake has been committed, take responsibility, apologize, yes. But don’t accept personal criticisms that degrades self. Don’t drink that verbal concoction of poison into your soul. Reject those negative words, replace them with encouraging words. Self-talk if you need to. Our words frame our world, hence let only the constructive ones in.

Lastly, play the Trump card; the Jesus card. Know, understand and focus on what Jesus says about you [through the Word of God], mediate and rehearse those words in your mind, and finally verbally confess them out daily.

You are the Apple of God’s eye – Zechariah 2:8
You were fearfully and wonderfully made – Psalm 139:14
You’re worth the Son of God – John 3:16
You are the child of God – 1 John 4:4
You are God’s chosen elect – 1 Peter 2:9
You have a great inheritance waiting for you – Ephesians 1:14
You could do the impossible – Philippians 4:13
You have a great future – Jeremiah 29:11
You eat giants for breakfast – 1 Samuel 17:45-50

You don’t need to feel lousy about yourself. Bring forth words of spring and healing into your soul.

Scribblings: Thoughts

SCRIBBLINGS DATED 30 JULY 2013

“What is she thinking about?”, “How does he find me?”, “What should I wear for later?”, “Please stop talking”, a hundred and one thoughts could have just gone by within a faction of a moment. Those thoughts sway between the good thoughts and the not-so-good ones.

If I were to put a dollar coin for every negative thought that has been conceived in my mind from beginning to end, I could be a millionaire by year end. Selfish thoughts, critical thoughts, self-serving thoughts, lustful thoughts, condemning thoughts, greedy thoughts, angry thoughts, self-beating thoughts and more – while we cannot stop what goes on in our mind; what we think about, we could learn how to manage them.

The not-so-nice thoughts will come but it is how we manage them that matters. Thoughts first enters as a guest in a house; a passing thought. The thought overstays its visit though when we choose to entertain those thoughts in our heads. Those thoughts when entertained long enough manifests into reality, producing an action. If the process is repeated long enough, becomes a habit.

Our thoughts frame our world and give us a basis as to what we want to strive for, hence it is utterly important to manage those not-so-good thoughts properly. We disarm those thoughts when we choose not to entertain and feed them.

Bernard Cohen was right on the money when he commented “The press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about.” The same goes for our mind. We may not be able to tell our mind what to think, we could give it a context to think about. The books that we read and digest into our soul, the television programmes we watch, the friends we allow in our lives all play a part in influencing out thought patterns.

If we do that long enough, we are able to identify a wrong thought from the get-go, dismember it and save all the trouble – saying and doing the wrong things.

And ultimately, to put Jesus as the anchor of our soul and our thought life.

What we conceive in that great gift-of-a-brain of ours could be dangerous. If so, let it be dangerous in a way that it will change the world for the better.

Scribblings: The Mountain Experience

SCRIBBLINGS DATED 28 JULY 2013

As I come to the end of days in Taiwan, experienced my fair share of discomfort, pain and suffering; the epiphany that came out of it was unexpectedly rewarding. Though I did not climb the nodes of Taiwan, I did so for the seven nodes and Mount Biang of Brunei, hence I could identify with that rather unpleasant experience.

The ascent up is definitely difficult with every step; filled with rocks that can cause one to stumble or fall off the cliffs, plants that cut into the flesh, slops that seem impossible to climb, mosquitoes that stalks one through the entire journey. Much ‘what-ifs’ plagues the mind continuously, complaints and whining are not too far away and beads of sweat irritates the eyes. The desperation when you realize you’re still a distance away from the peak and too far off from the foot of the mountain to turn back to.

Yet diligence [almost always] reaps rewards. The view from the top is unparalleled unlike any other; the steep and breathtaking mountain views, the [really] clear blue skies, the smell of the winds mixed with the scent of grass, the rays of the [setting] sun, the stellar show of stars that fill the night sky, oh what glee!

And isn’t that how life is? [Life] will always reward the diligent and those who stuck all through the way. Pain may be temporary, but the view from up there is worth much more. Some mountain-scaling may be obligatory, some voluntary. But if you could make it all the way to the top, that experience has not been wasted and instead turns into a rather fruitful one. Something beautiful can come out from your mountain experience.