Friday, March 14, 2014

That's What Makes You Beautiful

(A note to the ladies, but men who want to understand femininity better can read too)

Can we really showcase a more meaningful kind of beauty in this era of airbrush make-up and sensual charm? This question came to mind as I've been stumbling upon articles, videos and conversations about what true beauty means. 
One Direction sings, "You don't know you're beautiful. That's what makes you beautiful."

I love this song, but I would disagree with these "crush-able" men for now. I think it's quite the contrary.

When we know our beauty is appreciated and chosen, we feel and look beautiful!

Have you not seen it in the twinkling eyes of ladies in love, in the sweet smiles of princesses being pursued, and the radiant faces of brides walking down the aisle?

These women come in different shapes, shades and sizes. But they all look great! A woman looks her best when she feels most loved.

And I don't mean this in a GGSS-kind-of-knowing-you-are-pretty. That, for me, is insecurity. And insecurity makes one ugly, even if you have the face to win the Miss World crown.

"True feminine beauty is not a complicated formula involving hundreds of rules to remember. It’s not something that requires spending two years at finishing school or being groomed as a beauty pageant queen. It is the natural byproduct of a young woman who has emptied herself, given up her own life, and allowed God’s Spirit complete access to every dimension of her inner and outer life." - Leslie Ludy

Right on, Leslie! When we are sooo consumed with God and His love for us, even our definition of beauty changes.

Sure there will be days when we won't feel beautiful. And we will see women with whom we won't even dare to compare ourselves. But God's love is as intense in "i-feel-so-ugly-and-undesirable days" as it is in "blooming-in-all-angles days!"

The focus of truly beautiful women therefore is not the obsession to be one. Their eyes are fixed on Jesus and their hearts are at rest knowing they are valued. As a result they just shine - effortlessly.

A woman looks her best when she feels most loved. And we are most loved.

And I'm not saying don't exert an effort in prettifying yourself. Love should bring inspiration to dress up, put colors on our faces, stride in style and charm the world!

But all the make-ups Mac, Benefit, Maybelline or Ever Billena can make are just enhancers. Jesus loves you and me. That's what makes us truly beautiful! 

Jesus loves you and me. That's what makes us truly beautiful! 
PS. GGSS, by the way, means "Gandang-Ganda Sa Sarili" 

Monday, September 09, 2013

MOKONG at MOKANG (How Not to Fall in Love When You’re Not Supposed To)

Let me first introduce you to two words and their special use in the context of this article about the complicated world of male-female relationships:

“Mokong”  or short for “Huwag MoKong Paasahin” – we’ll use this to refer to men who are sweet, and at times confusing, in their ways and words with women without making their intentions clear.

“Mokang” or short for “Mokang Asang-Asa” – we’ll use this to refer to women who are hoping, assuming, about to fall, or have already fallen in love (ouchie!) with men who can either be only plain friendly to them or just enjoying their company / friendship.

A "mokong" can be your closest guy-friend and the one you trust the most. Of course, it’s hard to admit he is one especially if you are a “mokang”In the same way, a “mokang” can be your closest girl-friend and the one you wanna hang out with and talk with most often. Of course, it will be embarrassing to admit she is one, especially if you are a “mokong”. 

I am hoping that my courage and candor in writing this blog entry can help clarify relationships, spare people we care about from further emotional hurt, and keep male-female friendships that are life-enriching and pleasing before God. I don’t say I have mastered the science or the art of NOT being a mokang. It’s an everyday battle I fight together with God. The things I’m sharing here are from my own lessons learned and the questions (face-to-face or phone in) that I struggled to answer to help friends and ladies in my discipleship groups.

Friends-Zone: Enter With Caution

Does this mean a guy and a girl can never be CLOSE friends? Of course not! I definitely would promote male-female friendship – women have a lot to learn from guys and vice versa. I have experienced successful projects I’ve done and being effective in ministry with and around men. I have great guy-friends with whom I can comfortably share my joys and sorrows. And I feel they trust me with theirs, as well. I consider these men (few and chosen) truly gifts from the Lord!

So, it’s perfectly okay to have guy-friends…but I would say with CLARITY and BOUNDARIES.

By CLARITY, I mean to say that it’s clear to both of you that you are not lovers and you are not in a season of courtship. YOU ARE FRIENDS, in the truest sense of the word. Friendship is not a testing-ground on how to be a girlfriend or a wife. So don’t act like you are your guy-friend’s girlfriend or wife (or for the men, your girl-friend’s boyfriend or husband). It is not a period of guessing games as well (he likes me, she likes me not!). I still believe it is the guys’ call to bring a friendship to another level if they feel led by God to do so. Meanwhile, just be a friend. We don’t need a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts (or we might be too legalistic). In your heart, you’ll certainly know the difference.

Have you heard of the term, “defrauding”? There’s a legal definition that helps me emphasize a point here about clarity:

“Defraud- To make a misrepresentation of an existing material fact, knowing it to be false or making it recklessly without regard to whether it is true or false, intending for someone to rely on the misrepresentation and under circumstances in which such person does rely on it to his or her damage.” 

You see, in every relationship, there are two elements—the actual situation and what it means to those involved. Let me give an illustration: a guy constantly communicates with a girl—this is the actual situation. For the guy, he is being friendly to the girl (representation of the situation from his perspective). To the girl, the guy might just be waiting for the perfect time to declare his feelings for her (representation of the situation from her perspective).

The fact that there are two meanings here already tells us there’s a “misrepresentation”. Defrauding happens when an actual situation is NOT clear to either one of the parties. That’s why it becomes an act of raising expectations one cannot righteously fulfill. And I would say the guy and the girl both have responsibilities in making the friendship clear to themselves. We are responsible for our own thoughts that actually produce our feelings.  

Now, about BOUNDARIES--there’s a thin line between being careful and being “overly-cautious-you’re-already-too-stiff!” when it comes to relating with the opposite sex. There’s also a thin line between being cool about it and making your heart an up-for-grabs prey. Wisdom will tell you to set boundaries, but leave a BIG room for God’s amazing surprises!

For me, there are basic boundaries (but this isn’t a complete list):
-       One-on-one dates are too risky
-       Inappropriate physical touches are dangerous
-       Sweet-talks are misleading
-       Give-your-heart-away-information are improper
-       Exclusivity is not the best way to nourish a friendship with the opposite sex.

So, by all means, enjoy being friends with men and women. But make sure you are clear and guided! 

Please W.A.I.T.

Good things come to those who wait. And waiting is never passive. For the men, yes you take the initiative but you also have your own period of waiting, right? For the women, the waiting period should make us more beautiful each passing day! So, how not to fall in love when you’re not supposed to? My answer is W.A.I.T. 

W.ATCH your thoughts, words and actions – Thoughts produce feelings, so be careful with what you allow your mind to dwell on. Don’t imagine something that’s plain and simple friendship to be a romantic possibility. While friendship is a good foundation for a lifetime partnership, there’s a proper time and process to bring a friendship to that level. And as long as it is not reaching that point, don’t allow your mind to get ahead of what’s actually happening. In the same way, make your words and your actions consistent with the level of your relationship.

A.CCOUNTABILITY is important – Share what’s happening to you and how you are feeling—but only with trusted people who will always point you to God and who care for you enough to speak the truth in love to you. These people will help you remain in the real world and get you out of your fantasy world, if needed.

I.NTERACT with a pure motive and make the most out of your relationships. You don’t interact to flirt with men (or women). You interact to be a blessing to them, to serve and encourage them. Keep your heart towards guys (or ladies) pure and it will surely show in your ways with them.

T.RUST God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. Trust His unfailing love and ever-sufficient grace to carry you through, as well, if ever you’ve already reached that “can’t-help-it-i’ve-fallen-already” stage. If it is God’s will for you to get married, He is most capable to bring the right person to your life.

Having said these, I think it is still best that a romantic relationship is founded on a great friendship. I pray that God will give us the wisdom, discernment and guidance to keep our friendships pure and if led by God, to bring a particular friendship to another level in a way that honors and pleases Him as it inspires other single men and women around! 

God bless our friendships!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

HE is!

Calm in my chaos
Reason for my song
Hope amidst the mess
Beauty of my morning
Warmth on a cold, dark night
Happiest in my sweet wins
Strength of my weak heart
Comfort when tears are many
Answer to every question
Lover at my ugliest
Joy despite the troubles
Clarity in the sea of confusions
Security at my lowliest
Sunshine for all seasons
Certainty in my tomorrow
All these and much, much more...

JESUS. It has always been Him. It will always be Him! :)

Pimples at Lovelife :)

(Dahil madaming napasaya ang "Taxi at Lovelife", nainspire akong isulat ito. Sumi-sequel, hehehe! Smile :))

1. May mga pimples na paulit-ulit lang. Nawawala, bumabalik, heto na naman! (It is difficult to let go - especially if it's someone we love. But remember that love is a decision. You can choose to let go and move on. Rely on God's sufficient grace.)

2. Napupuyat ka ba dahil may iniisip ka? Ang puyat ay pwedeng maging sanhi ng pagtubo ng pimple. Gaya din ng labis na pag-iisip sa isang tao. Akala mo in-love ka na talaga. Infatuation lang pala ang tumubo sa isip mo. (Think about what you're thinking about. Thoughts produce feelings. Please read Philippians 4:8. And if you think you're inlove, read 1Corinthians 13:4-7. That'll be a good assessment checklist)

3. Pag piniprick ang pimples, masakit. Pero pag nalinis ito ng maayos, gagaling na at hindi na babalik. (When we choose to surrender to God's will and let go of someone we hold dear, we may experience pain. But as we do it in obedience to God, there's healing and renewed hope for a great future. The best is yet to come!)

4. May mga taong maraming pimples. Meron din namang flawless - wala ni isa nito. (Don't be pressured. If "having a lovelife" isn't your season yet, that's perfectly fine. And if your lovelife is in full bloom, im happy for you! Celebrate your season! Everything is beautiful when the timing is right.)

5. Pag may malaki kang pimple, kahit anong conceal ang gawin mo, mahahalata at mahahalata ito. (When you truly love someone, it shows. Love isn't love when you don't demonstrate it. Love acts. Love gives. Love lets the beloved know s/he is loved.)

Calming a Noisy Morning

Waking up early on a Saturday gives you ample space and time to be quiet. No disturbing sound of people rushing - just the sweet music of birds chirping.

But a noisy mind robs us of the gift of enjoying a supposedly serene morning. Sometimes, we wake up hearing the nagging sound of fears and worries, questions without answers, words left unsaid, explanations we didn't have the chance to say, and many more.

These loud, confused, and at times, senseless disturbances also steal from us the opportunity to hear God's still, small voice.

When we seem unable to either bear or fight them, stop struggling. Let God calm you - with His love.

"Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, HE WILL CALM YOU WITH HIS LOVE and delight you with His songs."
- Zephaniah 3:17, MSG

Having a noisy morning? Lay all that bothers you at God's feet...and let Him just love you. God loves you and me - completely, unchangeably, unconditionally. I pray that we'll let this truth turn every noisy morning into a peaceful and delightful kick-off to a bright day! :)

While You Keep Silent

Silence can mean a lot of different things. We keep quiet to think, to rest, to reflect, to give space, to respect another's silence, to allow a healing process to take place, or sometimes to stop trying because there's nothing else we can do. 

For some, it's a safe haven and a welcome season to be refreshed. But for others, silence is uncomfortable. It means wasting time and doing nothing. Being still is simply not their cup of tea nor their personality.

But there are moments when being silent and sitting still mean putting your complete trust in God - for Him to intervene, for Him to come to Your aid - so you can have you can once again be reminded of Who God is and be amazed at what He can do.

When you feel the need to defend yourself, but simply can't...

When you want so much to be understood, but you aren't listened to...

When trying to fix something could only worsen it...

...that's when you must let God fight for you. He is a sure winner!

"The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” Exodus 14:14, NASB

In silence, in quietness, in staying calm...there's strength, peace and victory.

"The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm." Exodus 14:14, NLT

I say that again - for you and for myself: "Just stay calm." :)

Taxi at Lovelife :)

(Kathang isip lamang. Bunga ng madalas na pagsakay ng taxi)

1. Kapag di ka naghihintay, ang daming dumadating. Kapag naiinip ka na sa pag-iintay, lalong walang dumadating. (Don't be overly consumed with the desire to be in a relationship. Trust God. It will come at the right time.)

2. May mga taxi na kahit may sakay naman, nakailaw pa din na vacant sila. (If you're already committed to someone, know your limits. Be genuinely loving by protecting the men/women around you)

3. May mga taxi na sa tingin mo pa lang, mahina na ang aircon or di maayos sakyan. Wag ng pumilit sumakay. May dadating pang mas maganda, cool enough and may background music pa! (Don't settle for anything less than God's best for you)

4. Pag sumakay ka ng taxi, dapat may pambayad ka. Basic ito :) (Don't rush to be in a relationship. Count the cost and assess yourself if you're ready for it. You will surely be ready - maybe sooner, maybe later.)

5. Bago ka sumakay ng taxi, alam mo na saan ka bababa. (Know why you want to start "something" in the first place. Love always seeks what's best for the beloved)