New Year’s Eve, how festive can it be? – especially here in the Philippines. I woke up confused with all the preparations going on, but after a few eye-rubbings, I got into my senses and immediately felt the thrill.
I’ve read a couple of ‘twas an amazing year posts from the social media these past few days and I thought it wouldn’t be complete if I won’t take time to reflect on mine. I tried. A friend even wrote “How’s your 2018?” on my planner – right in front of me, and I tried avoiding responding by saying, “You know what, it was preached recently at the church not to look back but focus on what’s ahead” … but it never came out of my mind.
It was a Tough Year
Yes, it was. This year, I got too tired of everything, including myself. My grandma got terribly sick and seeing her suffer was a very hearth-breaking scene. Guess what, it led to some broken relationships within the family. Being broken? Yes, I got totally broke for the most part of the year. And for a single guy raising a family of seven alone, you can probably imagine how some nights can be sleepless. I almost lost my sister – clueless of what seemed to be the problem. I then almost broke up with my girlfriend for 6 years, after realizing that I can’t make her happy. If you’re thinking that’s all, not yet. My ministry suffered as well. I’ve tried so hard winning back some of the young people in the youth group I am leading, without noticing that I am losing the ones who are still with me. Having all of these on my plate, I almost gave up and considered running away.
Be Grateful Anyway – God is Faithful
That was the saving thought for me. I was thankful that there are people in my life who cared so much about me and my loved ones. In each of those situations, a few people reached-out to encourage me and help me see God’s faithfulness.
My grandma recovered from her sickness and now as healthy as she was five years ago! We got our sister back and she recovered from her depression. My girlfriend and I were also recovering, trying to take out the pressure and make things work lighter this time. I was able to continue preaching at my church and holding the regular Saturday Bible Study with some friends in the office. I couldn’t do so much in our Youth Ministry but one thing I value is the deeper connection with our young leaders.
This year, I launched www.thirstydrifter.com – it was a dream come true. I also made some connections and started a business with the mission to help people become healthier without changing so much in their lifestyle, while doing charity donations. I also got my most awaited promotion in my current organization and conquered my fear of hearing my own voice on recordings as I work on my own training videos. I got to travel to San Francisco to work and meet some family members for the first time. I also got the chance to fly to Mumbai and be exposed to the beauty of an unfamiliar yet rich culture – plus I got to make new friends! I got the chance to explore Palawan, Ilo-Ilo, Roxas, and Guimaras, and some places I’ve never been in South Luzon.
You can be Anyone
During the times that I’m almost giving up, the pressing thought was, I took so much – more than I can handle, and now things are falling apart because I cannot sustain them. But after reflecting on these things, I realized that you can be anyone you wanted to be – both for yourself and for the people around you. I chose to wear all the hats I’m wearing now and it’s not a bad decision! Yes, things may not come out the way you wanted them to be, but as long as you have the grit, you will be able to stick through the trials, being broke, the rejections coming from the others and from yourself, the disappointments, and hurting feelings! It might take longer than you are expecting to be in the place you want to be but as long as you are committed to get there, you will.
Still a Year of Greater Harvest!
I make declarations as I start each year, and for 2018, I declared that it’s going to be a year of Greater Harvest. True enough, it was! Here are some of the harvests that I will be bringing with me as I start 2019:
One of the things that I highlighted this year is cultivating an attitude of gratitude. It might be a cliché, but there is really something good in everything. You may not realize those right away but you will be amazed when things start to unfold. Paraphrasing from Ms. Catriona Gray’s Miss Universe Q & A, we ought to see situations with silver lining to assess where we can provide something. If we can learn how to be grateful, we will have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster.
Take that leap of faith
I watched “An Interview with God” and there, GOD said, “Faith is the process”. It is not something that dictates the end of your journey but just the beginning. Everyday, you will be faced with circumstances which may seem difficult, but you can’t step back. Try to challenge yourself and trust that the Lord will never leave nor forsake you. He is able to make a way across the red sea when there seems to be no way for his nation – and He will do the same for you.
Make pauses when necessary
Frequent breaks are important. Not only to rest, but also to look back and assess your situation. It is not luxury, but a necessity. I’ve made a couple of mistakes that could have been prevented if I only took time to pause before taking action. Trust me, it’s going to be more rewarding.
Grow your network
Growing your network does not mean welcoming more people. It’s about identifying who you want to do business with. Grow your network by having more mentors, and by sticking with a solid group of people who has the same objectives as yours. Avoid too much drama and welcome new ideas from the people you spend most of your time with.
Fix your home
After all, there is no other place like home. Make sure you are addressing issues inside and don’t forego of them until they pile-up. You might feel all the pressure in sustaining the family’s needs, but do not forget that you are not just a provider but also a family member.
Living intentionally means valuing the people around you. It’s about caring less about your self and caring more for the people that God entrusted you. Something goes deeper in this. This is about you knowing God better and trusting that He takes care of you so you can take care of others. It’s not easy and may sound sacrificial but once you are able to understand how God works, it will change how you live your life!
‘Twas an Amazing Year
Finally, I can say that 2018 has been an amazing one. I just can’t stop thanking the Lord for everything. He witnessed my challenges, was saddened by my weaknesses, rejoiced with me in my successes and I am just humbled by his grace. I pray that as you end your 2018, may you see God’s love at work in you and the lives of your loved ones, and may it be the source of your strength as you face the coming year. To God be all the glory, Amen!