Monthly Archives: December 2010

Stressed about Stress

This post might be a little different from the others that I have written so far. Or it might relate to the main theme of this blog.    Anyhow, here it goes.   Stress has been my companion for a long time. Since I have been a young child, I have suffered from stress. For example, when attending first day of every school year, I would not hold my breakfast for long and then use the bathroom several times before stepping out of the house.  I would try to take deep breaths, but could not maintain it. I would then go hungry until lunch.   As a young adult, my stress was usually reflected in anger outbursts, and still does.   I am currently a middle aged person who continues to struggle with this dilemma. But what is different now is that other symptoms have been manifested, such as twitching my fingers, racing thoughts, and pacing.   It really gets on my nerves how much this stress really dictates me. I have read and understood about the importance of relaxing. A book I recently read talks about the importance of remaining in the here and now, instead of focusing so much on the past and future. I think this is the key; thinking too much about the past can trigger resentment and depression. Thinking too much about the future can create anxiety. I have recently started to do some yoga and meditation to help me stay in the present. But something is still missing. I also remember what Jesus taught us about not worrying about what we will eat or wear. Jesus emphasized that God takes care of us, so that we can take care of the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness. This is what I should be worrying about, not what happened in my past or what might happen in the future. But it is difficult. It becomes almost like my personal enemy. It has actually come between me and my family. I sometimes become too stressed and then lash out at those who do not deserve it.    I must stop being a victim.  It is almost like a part of my personality, but I don’t like it because it makes me someone I don’t want to be.  It keeps me from living the Kingdom of Heaven.  Maybe this is what Paul also referred to when he spoke about the evil that dwells in him.  He stated that the evil that he does not want, is exactly what he does.  “9 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it”  (Romans 7 :19-20)   However, I still believe that I need to take responsibility for what I do.  And while writing these lines, I am reminded that the first thing I should do is to LET GO.   It sounds simple, but it is not.  Some people call it enlightenment.  Others call is inspiration.  Whatever I may call it, it is something necessary for me to finally start freeing myself from this stress that consumes me.  In Psalm 46: 10 God says “Be still and know that I am God…” and this is what I have tried to do.  Like doing exercise to build my physical strength, I guess I must continue to practice relaxation and pray to God to help me “be still” and remind myself that He is taking care of things.  Stressing out is not going to solve anything, except do more harm.  I shall continue to try to Let Go.


Are we better than Children?

There is so much to learn from children.  Jesus said “Let the children come to me….” when some adults tried to prevent children from greeting him. He also said “Be like children” when trying to teach us the way to live correctly. Children are examples for us. I have learned, as a father, that we really don’t know anything. The more I live and learn, the more I realize how little we understand and know. This has helped me to be more humble. My ignorance has been more apparent when I notice how much my children can learn about new technologies much faster than I can. My children are faster when they play and learn new things.  They are also emotionally and socially transparent.  They show exactly how they feel.  They are honest.   Children show a genuine lifestyle when they express feelings.  Yes, we are supposed to guide them and teach them about social skills and academic, but I learned that children teach us about humility and life itself. Thanks to them, I have become less selfish. I have learned to truly love unconditionally. I have learned to practice the Kingdom of Heaven. And this is what Jesus referred to when he talked about children.   So the next time you see a child, do not overlook him or her.  Contemplate on his or her simplicity, genuineness, and playful nature.  Children are a reminder that life is still good, regardless of the suffering and the tribulations.   They are the gifts that God gives us so that we can practice unconditional love, the same love that God gives us.  Children are our opportunities for us to live as it is lived in heaven.  They are a true blessing.

Christmas is not about giving

Christmas is not about giving.  Life is about giving.   In other words, I don’t believe that we should limit the responsibility that Jesus gave us to give to those in need in certain days of the year, particularly Christmas.  The same way that we should not just give thanks to God on Thanksgiving Day.  I understand that many people would say that they know this already, but few actually practice it.  But what is more sad is the excessive marketing, decoration, and eating  that occurs during this time of the year, while the homeless, the orphans, and the prisoners continue to suffer.  I am trying very hard to remind those closest to me that Christmas, and every single day of the year, is about giving to the poor, like Jesus commanded us to do.  If you already practice this, God bless you.  If not, I invite you to reflect on this important fact, and not perceive Christmas as a time to give, but regard Life as the time to give.  Thank you.

Less is More

I have known myself to be quiet, reserved, hesitant, and calm.  I don’t tend to move fast or impulsively.  I like to take my own time in making decisions, any decision, including ordering lunch at a drive thru window of a fast food restaurant.  I like to drive slow (unless in a hurry), choose my words carefully, and simply stay in the background as I observe people act.  I have been criticized for not keeping up and have felt tempted to catch up with everyone else.  But no more.  I have accepted who  I am.  And have actually realized that my slow, hesitant nature is truly a blessing.  This world moves too fast for me.  Many things I miss when I simply concentrate on what could happen in the future and what did happen in the past.  But I rarely focus on the present.  But no more.  I am going to let my pacific nature manifest itself and enjoy what surrounds me more, without being ahead of myself.  The computer, cell phone, TV, radio, and my own car are wonderful tools, but can easily put me in a fantasy world if I am not careful.  Reality is what I experience without any of these items.  The air I breath, the plants and trees that I see, the smell of coffee that I sense in the morning, the taste of sugar in my mouth, and the laughter of my children that I hear.  These experiences take me closer to the reality of Life itself.  I am slowing down, but I am also embracing the real life.  In the same train of thought, I am emptying my mind from everything that keeps me worried, depressed, sad, and angry.  I am stopping the obsession by living the present.   Jesus taught me how much God takes care of his children, more than He takes care of birds.  I used to worry about every little thing. But no more.   I am letting go.  I am making more space in my life for what God wants me to do, and this is why I am slowing down, so that I can be able to listen to  Him more.  Because Less is More.  Thank you for reading.

“Merry Kingdom”

During this time of the year, many people usually say “Merry Christmas!” as a reminder of this season. Others prefer to use a more politically correct version by being more vague and saying “Happy Holidays!” or “Season’s Greetings!”. My version is more about the real reason of the Gospel, which is the celebration of the Kingdom of Heaven. During this month, many Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. But I wonder, do they remember what else should we celebrate when we think of the Nativity? What is Jesus about? Many would say that He is about coming to earth, and giving us Salvation by doing miracles and dying for our sins on the cross. This is good, but, what now? Jesus didn’t come just to Save us from eternal damnation, like many of us tend to simplistically think about. Jesus came to teach us how to live the real life that entails serving others in need unconditionally. This is what Jesus is all about, and this is what Christmas is also all about. And yes, many of you would say you already knew this, but what about when December the 26th come? Does celebrating Jesus stop? Jesus is the teacher and we are his followers, and therefore, we must continue to follow Him by doing what He commanded us to do, love each other as He loves us by serving others. And Jesus called this the Kingdom of Heaven. Very simple. So let us remember what Christmas is REALLY all about, not simply the celebration of the Nativity and how nice Jesus was to save us from hell, but that Jesus saved us from “ourselves” by teaching us to deny ourselves and love others unconditionally.