Yesterday I went to church, even if I am not feeling well. I told myself I need to get out of this tiny condo unit and go hear God’s Words today. Attend my discipleship group meeting. Then get some vegetables I need for my fish “tinola” or broth in chili leaves and ginger. Oh I should not forget my cough syrups as I couldn’t get some good night sleep because of this itchy and painful throat.
Soon I had the blessing of hearing the testimony of a brother named Paul de Vera. He went through severe depression and a number of suicidal attempts. My key takeaway upon hearing his story, he said.
Suicidal thoughts and the act of suicide is part of a habit. I want to commit suicide because I want to earn sympathy instead of allowing and hearing people to correct me. First if you are suffering from depression you need to see a doctor. Both the physical and spiritual aspect should be taken cared of. You cannot have one without the other.– Paul de Vera, testimony at Christ’s Commission Fellowship (interpretation mine)
So I went to the grocery, had a quick Chinese meal of tofu, sweet and sour fish, salt and pepper squid rice toppings. Got the vegetables I needed and the bargain lady boxer shorts I liked for a good night sleep. Upon browsing my net, I saw another K pop singer took her own life. Goo Hara, that young innocent face, fresh porcelain skin and thin plump lips – all that features Filipina morenas die for. She was found unconscious at her apartment in an affluent village. I do not know this young girl but somehow I do not understand it either, why I am so affected. Is it because I am a fan of historical fiction koreanovelas? Partly yes, but I am greatly moved as she was not the first one but followed several others who took their own lives in South Korea show business. Maybe the deeper side of it is, I could have been that girl – ending my own life… if I had not found by Jesus Christ. I cannot but imagine where would I’ve been.
Three important principles are illustrated in Joshua’s life. First, what we think about God has a powerful effect upon what we do. Second, ever since Adam’s fall, human beings have had to endure pain whether they accept responsibility or decline it. Third, our decisions to accept or run away from responsibility determine the types of pain we experience and the effect they will have on us. Joshua experienced significant pain despite putting God first in his life. But that pain did not bring his destruction. God used it to develop him into one to the most effective leaders in all of history.
Many of us think that we can escape pain by avoiding responsibility and its demands. What we fail to realize is that in running away from responsibility, we often experience a much deeper pain than we would have if we had only accepted it in the first place.Joshua, Profile, Joshua Chapter 4 The Life Recovery Bible
I am now in the book of Joshua, I went back to reading my Bible in one year plan. I was encouraged by brother Edric Mendoza, the husband of one of the daughters of Pastor Peter, Joy Tan-Chi Mendoza. He said it only takes four chapters a day to read the entire bible in one year. So I did, I went back – truly we cannot live by bread alone. Just as brother Paul de Vera said, we cannot live without having both spiritual and physical. We cannot sustain life, fulness of life by having one without the other. I remember one time and I know it is the spirit of the Lord prompting me. Maybe I lie on bed hours and hours doing nothing, just being with my thoughts and allow my self to be carried away by thoughts and own feelings. Why? I ask myself? Because sometimes I have to admit that I am too lazy, too lazy because it is easy to wallow in pain and in bed – rather than work, take the responsibilities and do the hard work. Because I never admitted to myself that it is easy to point a finger to somebody else, rather than taking a step back and view where have I done wrong and how could I prevent this from happening again?
Yeah this is an “ouch” moment for me. Another realization I had was to keep learning to be more kind to myself. You see for so many occasions, I find myself guilty of the pleasure (or should I put the right term “opportunity”) to work from home. When the draft report was out from a due diligence report from Hong Kong came out. We had no major issues or findings in the report, simply put all it says was that we have done our job and no major concerns over what we do here in Manila. Funny how, this assessment interview happened when I was working from home. I remember myself wearing my pajamas and hoodie, no make up or whatsoever, my hair pulled up in a messy bun… and I do not know if it’s a real concern or an insult but she just said on video cam from Hong Kong – are you ok? In her sweet little voice and Chinese accent. So I was encouraged, if I could do such leap over a video call with Hong Kong, I could do it on a daily basis be it home or office for work. There are a lot of demands both at home, at the office, family and even with our special someone. But I learned a strong lesson here and I am reminded, that before I can engage with other people with kindness, I need to be kind first to my own self. Perhaps coming from Paul de Vera’s story, instead of having suicidal thoughts as a habit. Though this can be translated from defense to coping mechanism. It is important to keep a habit where we can find our true north. Our standing ground, when everything is on chaos, we go back to the center. There’s no other greater place to be but to be in the center of God’s will, God’s Words… My part is to take responsibility and not escape, to take ownership and not compare or point someone else, to obey and not make excuses.
I must say I am fortunate to have both work from home and office options at my own phase and time management. But with the pay and travel opportunities I was able to go abroad and see places in Asia such as Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Thailand. I am excited to explore more. I have learned a lot and came to terms with the pitfalls in my life that I need to avoid. The same pitfalls I get into, personal debts and sexual sins to name a few. In this day and age of emotional and mental weakness, at worst illness and suicidal tendencies, to keep chasing and after chasing, wanting and wanting, getting and getting, for more and more, only to find out it’s all but emptiness… it is easy to wallow into deep depression or even taking our own lives just to get rid of the pain. Just as God revealed to Joshua that He will never leave nor forsake us. We all need to take our part, knowing and trusting God will be always with us and for us. To be strong, courageous, not because of our own strength and understanding, not on our own ways and innovations, but to constantly depend on Him for strength and wisdom. Our biggest role? Ownership, responsibility, obedience and trust in the One True God our Mighty Savior Jesus Christ. If all else fails, keep rising up, because the moment we refuse to stay down we will definitely see through that God will show Himself mighty if we will just allow Him to take over our entire being, our entire journey as we travel to the hills and valleys of this so called, life.