Yesterday was a blast in terms of meeting new people…to think just a few weeks, as well as a season ago, I was feeling so “hidden”. Amazingly though, when I voluntarily went to that place of hiddenness in the Lord, knowing it is the only safe place from the enemy’s attacks, I am finding Him exposing me slowly. But Oh Lord, may I remain hidden in You, notwithstanding.
Imagine, having a 1:1 breakfast with the UK Trade Ambassador to the Philippines, who was able to relate with conversations on identity versus function and wanting to write a book to speak about our life messages and learnings. As for dinner, I was in the company not just of my bosses and colleagues but of the CEO of Air Asia, who also shared my penchant for personality and know-yourself tests. Cool, cool, cool!
Thank You, Lord for the privilege of meeting these people. I get to meet them not because of me per se, but because You lead me, and You lead them my way. You are sovereign indeed. My prayer for these is that there may be follow-ups and that Your glory would just radiate and be reflected by my life, that these people of influence that I get to encounter may be drawn to You. Help me to smuggle in the Great Commission through these encounters, Lord. May they hunger for an encounter with You, as they encounter me and You in me.
In the dinner with us was a Senior Associate from one of the biggest commercial firms in the country though. Two batches ahead of me in law school, but probably a year or two younger than me, she specializes in mergers and acquisitions, and hails from one of the richest Fililino-Chinese families in the South. When the Air Asia CEO asked, “Are you recruiting her?” I felt a rise of insecurity, which I immediately arrested, and casted away as I prayed on my way home until I went to sleep last night. I will have none of that insecurity, in Jesus’ name! If the bosses get her, they get her. In such event, I shall learn from her and befriend her. Heavenly perspective, remember, dear Lorybeth.
What is not cool though is how I have been somewhat stumped and less productive at work since last week. For hours, I would just be distracted, stare at my laptop, fidget with my gadgets, be concerned about other things, when I’m supposed to be excellent at work. Not because I want to impress others or attain certain rewards (although that is quite a welcome by-product), but because Jesus lives in me and He spirit of excellence just needs to shine so that others may know what difference Christ makes in the workplace when He is at the center. His glory, not mine, needs to be seen in this mountain of influence that He has placed me in.
I made excuses though for myself as regards the unfinished real estate acquisition due diligence report, as it’s not something I normally did. But now, with that Tax-related legal opinion which is not budging, I no longer have an excuse. There’s also another one on Data Pricacy…. Lord, help! I need Your wisdom badly.
Good thing He reminded me accordingly this morning,
Thus says the Lord Who made [the earth], the Lord Who formed it to establish it–the Lord is His name: Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand). – Jeremiah 33:2-3 AMPC
Oh yes, I call upon You, Lord, right now. I admit my inability, my insufficiency before You. Lord, there are looming deadlines across a relatively extensive array of matters at work, and I am the only associate. Adding to that are things I need to do for the ministry You have given me. I give You the pressures. I will only do as I see You doing. I shall be at rest.
And He answered with:
Thank You, Lord, for this doorway of insufficiency into Your Presence. I enter into Your Presence right now and remain there. In Your Presence, lack of clarity and confusion simply has to flee…because I am in You, You are in me and I have the mind of Christ. I can do all things, work on those deliverables, hobnob with all of those new people, because of You in me, Your power and wisdom at work in and through me. I seek Your face now, Abba. Please turn Your face upon me….Your face shine upon me, Lord, I ask, that Your glory may be seen, as I reflect it. Help me, Lord.
If I gain any praise, I offer it all back to You, my Lord. Right now, I lay down my crowns, past, present and future, anew to You. You are my King, and I am simply a child at Your feet, at rest, clinging to every word You say, and following Your lead.
Abba, I remember this dreams that You gave me last night, about a ring being placed in my finger. In my spirit, I know, it speaks of authority. I claim and by Your Spirit, by Your grace, help me use this authority…to trample on snakes and scorpions and overcome the power of the enemy. With the authority You have given me, I trample on the enemy’s lies, on confusion, on lack of clarity, on insecurity. You have given me a sound mind, the mind of Christ, no less. I am confident because You are in me, and in You, I flow and have my rhythm.
I lay down these burdens and yield anew to You today. Empower me. For by myself, I can’t, but in You, through You, with You and for You, I can.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Playing as I wrote this (on repeated loop in Spotify):
When I was younger, I wanted to be the best at something, and be regarded as an expert in some field. The drive was just too intense that it made me miserable. There were days when I’d just be found crying in my room, because I wasn’t the prettiest nor smartest nor the most talented singer or writer nor the best at something in my school. I thought it was the only way to be “seen”. I thought it was an antidote against rejection.
Then, the Holy Spirit made me realize how personal Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was a week before my 16th birthday. While watching a documentary on the crucifixion, I was just given this knowing that His love for me is real and that He saw me on the cross. It prompted a decision to surrender what I thought was my everything and greatly reduced the gnawing frustration to be at the top. Somehow, I was weaned off comparing myself with others.
Perhaps unknown to me for most of my life thus far though, I may have still given off that vibe, as I ran for posts in student organizations. And though I kept on winning and I did have some noble intentions for my bids, m victories were at best hollow. In college, though President of one of the biggest student organizations in my university, I was bullied. In law school, I was well regarded during my term as student council President, as well (I feel that God used it to redeem my confidence as a leader, somehow); but the highs were temporary and superficial. A year after my term, I realized that everything I had poured my heart in didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
When I became a lawyer, I wanted to find a field where I can be regarded as THE Philippine expert in my generation. My not-so-stellar academic performance (subpar vis-a-vis expectations built up since childhood) in law school further fueled such drive. Since I am both an accountant and a lawyer, I thought that it made sense for me to specialize in Tax law. I thought that would do the trick. Somehow, by God’s grace, stakeholders began to take notice of me. Just as my learning curve was quite steep, my promotions were consistent and workplace transfers fast-paced. After 8 years of being exposed to tax practice in the Philippines, except for my gratitude to God for keeping my testimony as a Christian tax lawyer intact, it felt unexplainably hollow. On auto-pilot, I trudged the daily grind…until last year’s big thud.
Suddenly laid off (no I did not job-hop again) due to unexpectedly dismal performance attributable to depression, which I was battling against, I found myself descending to a newer low. Thank God, though, for providing a halfway workplace through which He sustained our daily bread. Mostly, I was thankful, yet there were a lot of times when I just felt the heaviness of the workplace…or perhaps it may have been the heaviness of my heart as I asked: what happened to me?
As I continued to ask God what happened, I finally got it. There I was, straining, striving and exerting immense pressure on myself. What for? For men’s applause? (Did they actually notice? And even if they did, was it worth it and lasting?) For myself? (I didn’t even find fulfillment in what I was doing anymore). So what if I didn’t have stature in the world’s eyes? Did that make God love me or esteem me less? Asking those questions made me realize how extrinsically motivated I was, when all along my motivation should have been intrinsic: to know how God sees me, ascertain His purpose for making me and from there, by His grace walk it out, taking comfort that He has already prepared the good works in advance for me to do.
Then and only then did the strain lift. I literally felt myself traveling lighter, as I purposed one thing and one thing alone: to do as I see the Father doing. It means being purposeful in what to engage in, as well as the manner and effort I was to put in, knowing that because Jesus is the King of my heart, His spirit of excellence is likewise in me. It means taking confidence, not in my own brilliance, degrees or ideas, but in knowing that as His daughter, whose mind is being renewed by Him daily, I have the mind of Christ. The motivation ceased to be focused on temporal rewards (they still are welcome bonuses, although I prefer the more long-lasting eternal rewards). Instead, the desire was tranformed: to be found faithful to what He has called me to do. Nevermind if others don’t see me; what matters is my Abba Father does (He is my El Roi, the God who sees me) and that He is well-pleased with me.
How exactly this heart change took place? I can’t fully explain, and perhaps may not be able to. All I know is only God can transform a heart with a penchant for selfish ambition to one with a bent for Godly vision and decision. With Jesus as my anchor, may I be steady and found faithful to the end.
All this, only by God’s grace.
God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain. I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans. I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content. Wait, Israel, for God . Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! – Psalm 131:1-3 MSG
Abba Father, You are the God who sees me. Thank You steadying my heart. Keep my heart rooted, grounded in Your love, in constant cadence with Yours that it may always be content. Content and always rested in You. Let me see and hear You always, Lord, that I may only dabble in matters that You want me to take part of…and that I may learn from Your word and Your ways. For now, I pray for the grace to be steady and faithful, where You have placed me for this season. I wait for You daily with hope, and beckon at Your word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
God really did make use of these three, all of them almost at the same time for me last year:
– 3 Ways to Discern God Is Moving You in a New Direction — Charisma Magazine
And speaking of a new direction and season:
The Josephs are being called out of their seasons of frustration and feeling stuck into a place of prominence. To move into this new season of prominence Josephs need to let go of the pain of the past and not take on a victim mentality. They must have a mindset of victory.
The past season that Josephs have gone through was preparation for this moment of advancement and position in new authority. The Josephs are coming onto the scene. It’s time for the Josephs to arise.
As a young child in school, I enjoyed popularity. Perhaps subconsciously in my young mind, I thought that it was the antidote to feelings of rejection. Then, in 3rd grade, I was transferred to a different school due to our move to the province. Being a newbie, I lost that popularity and sought to regain it. Even when I was in high school and college, it may have been my initial primary motivation for excelling in extra-curricular activities. Like Glinda in Wicked, I reveled and soaked in popularity.
The desire for popularity turned into a secret, hidden desire for personal fame and glory, an extrinsic motivation for my career choices. I realized that I wanted to do something grand, even dabble in policy or be a leader of the country or an organization, because part of me wanted to be lauded. And until I was in such position, I sought for that elusive semblance of fame. I fluttered from being a sales manager to law student to external counsel to in-house tax manager…I was consistently focused on the next season, in a hurry, distracted with a secret on-the-side pursuit of my own personal glory.
I also made some unwise financial decisions, perhaps linked to wanting to be regarded well. Splurging on food, clothing, recreation and housing, I even blamed my husband for choices that I contributed to.
In recent years, the penchant for fame also made me crave for likes and shares in social media. Until my big thud last year, experiencing rejection both from personal and professional fronts.
Deep within though, the craving for popularity stemmed from a desire for acceptance and love. It was a symptom of lack of knowledge of my identity in Christ and grounding in His love. Aside from being a symptom of rejection (whether real or perceived), it also revealed the need for intrinsic motivation. I realized that there was such a disconnect between my professed and true motivations.
The perfect storm that God allowed in my life helped me realize what was truly important, and the only thing that can never be taken away from me. At the brink of failure, obscurity and infamy, even notoriety of being a jobless job-hopper, I realized that no amount of popularity ever really mattered. God purged my heart to align it with my profession of motivation. God knew that there were cracks in the foundation of my motivation, and that those cracks needed to be emptied, before they can be filled anew. The holes needed to be plugged in with the right filling before something can be further built.
As my limitations and incapacity stared at me in the face, the truth became clear to me: without Christ, I am really nothing. Hence, popularity does not matter. Only Jesus does. And the agenda should not include my fame or glory, but only His.
Having learned that lesson, I found that this video resonated with my heart:
Quoting Cameron Diaz,
Fame does not define us. If you are looking for fame to be happy, you can never be happy. You will always be searching for happiness, and you will never find it in fame. It goes back to authenticity and intention: why do you want to do anything you do? Fulfillment comes from within you, from being authentic to yourself; not chasing fame.
Fulfillment does come from within me…from my real identity: that Jesus is in me and that I am a daughter of God. As His daughter, I am accepted and beloved in Jesus. I do not need to perform. The best place is hiddenness under the shadow of God’s wings. The best view is seen while locking eyes with Jesus, where I’m able to gaze at the glory emanating from His eyes that are aflame with love for me. Fulfillment comes from being able to fulfill my highest calling: to bow and kneel before His throne…to do as He is doing. Fulfillment comes from this:
You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. – Psalms 16:11 NLT
Fulfillment is intrinsic…and finally, it penetrated my heart from my head.
Besides, the goal should never be popularity or human approval. It simply runs counter to being a bondservant of Jesus.
Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause? If my goal was popularity, I wouldn’t bother being Christ’s slave. Know this—I am most emphatic here, friends—this great Message I delivered to you is not mere human optimism. I didn’t receive it through the traditions, and I wasn’t taught it in some school. I got it straight from God, received the Message directly from Jesus Christ. – Galatians 1:10-12 MSG
For years, I have asked of God, “what have you called me to do, Father?” A few days ago, I realized that I may have been asking the wrong question all along.
Instead of asking, “what is my calling, Lord?”, I should have askes “how and where do I go undercover?”.
After all, our main calling is to be with Jesus and draw nearer, closer to Him as we become more like Him. From that flows our ultimate vocational calling is to be a Kingdom Ambassador, with the mission of being a gate of and bringing Heaven to earth, for His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Our 7m designation is the way we go undercover here on earth. As we discover that 7m assignment, we should keep in mind that there is no greater calling and honor than to kneel and bow before God’s throne.
And so, in my heart, I began to ask God such question…shortly, I began receiving an answer through a dream, which I asked one of my spiritual mentors to interpret.
In my dream, when the bag disappeared, I realised, “oh no, my passport was there”…The passport is a proof of identity. Then again, I saw the money and the warch. I realized ah, I could get another passport (also, it’s just proof of identity, not my identity per se), but loss of the bag (baggage) was exchanged with time and money (provisions).
Per Ate Teq, Iran means mountain. Oh my gosh, I just realized something…I’ve been asking God also, what mountain He has called me to….gosh, could it be this: government mountain?!
Reveal, more, Oh Lord. For I badly need to hear Your instructions, Lord.
And now, my present dilemma is this: should I proceed to help out my friend in the start-up ASEAN law firm and let go of my current gigs, which I’m not very happy about, anyway? My husband has been convincing me of the former for months now due to our financial condition; although two things seem to be calling me to remain with the latter:
1. Time – Currently, I have a lot of time on my hands, even time to attend a 5day conference, which fueled a deeper passion for God and His ways. I find more myself in a state of rest lately; probably hence more revelations
2. Moving to a “real” law firm may once more move me further from that undercover assignment(s) has for me.
Nonetheless, lawyering may be a good undercover for a season. With the perspective that my identity should not be tied to it, I should be fine.
My greatest blessing right now is my current job. Sure, the office is not glamorous. The clients can be pretty annoying. But I’m happy that this job allows me to earn a fair amount, while affording me space and time to deal with my personal concerns (i.e. cry, mope, sulk and pray at my pleasure. Haha). Plus the people in the office cheer me up every now and then.
Another blessing is how God always sends the most apt messengers to comfort me, just as I was praying for emotional healing from the God’s balm of gilead and supernatural anaesthesia. For some reason, last night was just so painful, probably more as I’ve reached a certainty as regards my love for my husband.
Case in point is the article below, which gave me so much comfort and encouragement. God is at work. The finish line is near. Wait on the Lord and strength will rise.
And here’s another one yet again. Also just in. Very consistent message, huh.
Looks like God is reminding me: Wait. Do not fret. Forsake anger and wrath. I shall bring it to pass. I shall bring forth your justice. Rest. Wait patiently. In yet a little while, the wicked (in my situation -and my enemies are not flesh and blood, but principalities) will be no more. An abundance of peace awaits you. Remain meek. You will get through this.
Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord , and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret— it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord , They shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. – Psalms 37:5-11 NKJV