4 Things I’ve Learned From My Unanswered Prayers

religionprayerhandsjpgI was taught to pray in every circumstance as a child. I have a clear recollection of my mother holding my hands, eyes closed, heads bowed down while she uttered her thanksgiving and requests to God when I was young. I was told that prayer was as powerful as a rainfall that inhibits little kids to play outside their dwellings until it subsides. I grew up believing that a prayer can do miracles because God hears and He is sovereign. I prayed for a new toy. I prayed that my buried dead dog would rise up from grave and be alive again. I prayed that our teacher would be absent. I prayed for good grades. I prayed for healing, success, wealth, peace, love, bliss and everything.

There were times when I was thinking that perhaps I wasn’t praying the right way or God didn’t listen because I committed sins. I became skeptic as my prayers went unanswered. My unanswered prayers increased my cynicism and shook my faith. I prayed for the healing of my father but he suddenly passed away. I prayed for the wellness of my sibling but he also unexpectedly died. I prayed for the success of my exam but I failed. I prayed for good weather but it terribly rained. What’s the difference between praying and not praying when both have the same result? To answer that question I would like to share with you things God put in my heart.

1. God is not a genie.

When I was a kid, I saw God as a magical fairy that would grant all our wishes if I behaved well. I’ve read a quote in social media saying, ‘Why wish upon the stars when you can pray to God?’ The scriptures also tell,

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” -Matthew 21:22 NIV

“And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.” -1 John 3:22 NLT

God definitely hears us and He answers either yes or no or even wait. When I prayed for the cure of my parent who died He answered a firm no. Grief was excruciating but it serves as a reminder that our days are numbered. “Teach us how short our life is so that we may become wise.” -Psalm 90:12 (GNT). We never know when and how but we’ll all wither and die in this world. Even though the Bible declares that we will receive anything that we ask for in prayer it doesn’t mean that He will always say yes in everything. I can imagine myself extremely ancient and brittle and my grandchildren and their grand kids are overly old as well but persistently praying for good health and strength of our loved ones forever while every ten minutes ten babies are born alive because parents are praying indeed until the whole earth is covered with undying people who diligently pray. I’ve learned that we will receive whatever we ask for if it is according to His will.

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.” -1 John 5:14 ESV

I assess my heart each time I have a conversation with God. Lord, if this is Your will for me then let it be done. I let God control my life and not control God by asking for things that are against His will. God’s will for His children is way better than what we think is good. (Romans 12:2)

“God is not genie in a bottle, and your wish is not His command. His command better be your wish.” -Mark Batterson

2. Life is a test of faith.

“The greatest test of  faith is when you don’t get what you want but you are able to say, thank you Lord!” -unknown

The life of Job in the old testament in the Bible never ceases to inspire me as a Christian. Job may be the richest man at the time but God allowed Satan to test his faith. He lost all his wealth and family except his wife who told him to “curse God and die” but he worshiped God regardless of his sufferings.

I examine my heart when I experience struggles and prayers seem useless. Instead of drifting away from God I choose to draw close to Him. God has given us freedom to choose like how Satan chooses to rebel rather than to obey. When everything goes opposite of what I prayed and hoped for I ask myself, how big is my faith?

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” -James 1:1-4 NIV

3. Sometimes we pray for the wrong things.

Surely, God wants us to bring it all to Him. He wants us to seek His presence with hands wide open and lifted up and confess all the things that matter to us. I am not saying that it’s wrong to pray for prosperity, handsome husband or high-paying job because He cares about all our desires but I’ve learned that God is more concerned with our eternal welfare than our worldly or temporary cravings. As our Creator, He already knows what we need even before we speak but sometimes what we want is not always what is essential.

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” -James 4:3 NIV

God is also concern with our hearts, thoughts, motives and attitude. Rick Warren also says, ‘God is more interested in shaping our character than answering our prayers.’ God wants us to renew our minds and change our perspectives so that we bring our prayers in line with His will. Our prayer might change from, “Lord, help me get a raise,” to, “Lord, help me manage my finances wisely so I have enough to share with others.”

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2 NIV

4. God knows the right timing.

God also answers wait, be patient, it’s not yet the proper time. I applied tons of jobs three years ago only to be frustrated repeatedly. I had been searching for work abroad since I had passed the board exam but I only made it after three years. I’ve learned that the Lord didn’t allow me to work in foreign land without any knowledge and skills of my profession. Trust His timing. I understand this by heart.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV


Meaningful Conversations

UntitledI am always after deep conversations. Small talk for me seems pointless and superficial. I often run out of words to say during social encounters. Awkward silence is too much to bear and to exit immediately is a relief. Because as an introvert, or as a person, merely talking about events and certain people don’t interest me that much. I am looking for ideas in everything. Isn’t it nicer if someone would walk into the room and would ask, “What makes you smile?” instead of “How are you?”

I love to listen before speaking and I listen very cautiously, seek meanings beyond every word spoken and pay attention to gestures, tone of voice, mannerism and choice of words. I’ve spoken to different kinds of people of different races with different cultures and languages. If anyone likes or dislikes talking to me, I can detect the reluctance or the excitement in one’s movement and chosen words even though he or she conceals it. Plato said that you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation. But for me, it depends upon what you want to discover. The way we speak and the chosen topic we prefer give hint of what’s our hearts content because anything goes out of our mouth comes from our hearts which defiles us (Matthew 15:18).

I talked to a kind of person who is really fond of explaining and describing his point of views. He’s good at selecting exact words that convey his exact feelings and he could vividly narrate his justifications. I listened to his series of stories and I waited for him to give way to my response and reactions being the one conversed with that is supposed to interact with him. He enjoyed expressing himself in speech that I forgot what I wanted to say because he kept on talking about his tale regardless of my obvious gesture to say something. So I remained quiet then he spoke again some more of his personal concerns. I figure that those kind of persons are just yearning for ears and are so-called narcissistic conversationalist. If we want to be heard we should take time to listen.

However, I still love conversing with interesting people with pleasing personalities. I can learn a lot from them as well as they can learn something from me. It’s therapeutic and beneficial. I would like to share with you some meaningful conversations I had with good people, mostly about spirituality and religion. I regularly read the Bible and we have weekly Bible studies so I believe that I have a good amount of knowledge to share about my faith. I attended several churches and tried to understand their beliefs based on how they interpret the Bible. I probed the source of their faith and doubt. I read too much; I ask too much and I think too much especially about humanity and spirituality. These are not made up. I tried my best to type down every word we chatted as far as I can remember. They are few minimal alterations which aren’t significant.

Conversation #1 with an atheist

Me: Do you fear death?

A: Yeah. (nodding)

Me: Why?

A: Because I enjoy and love life. Nobody knows what’s gonna happen after life.

Me: We never know when and how we’ll die so we must always be ready. My father was afraid of death but he died at 50 and my brother died at 24. Some died younger or older but we will all die. Nobody lives forever.

A: I want to live longer. Just enjoy life, love and be happy.

Me: But you and I, all of us will die. Maybe tomorrow or the next or the next, next day. We never know. (I was smiling, teasing him.)

(I was waiting for him to speak. He was silent so I went on.)

Me: Me, I am not afraid to die. I’m always ready anytime because I believe that something is bound to happen after life. I don’t have anxieties about death.

A: Nobody knows about after life. No dead person came back and reassured us about after life.

Me: There were written… (But he wasn’t listening so I didn’t continue to talk about the story of Lazarus and the rich man in the Bible.) Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1, but I didn’t mention the verse to him.)

A: (He was laughing.) Please don’t speak like Mother Theresa. (laughs)

Me: Of course I don’t. Why? (I smiled.)

(He went away laughing.)

Conversation #2 with a Muslim

M: Quran has the same prophets mentioned in the Bible.

Me: Bible and Quran have many similarities because Quran contains the old testament of the Bible. But Christians believe that Jesus is God and Muslims don’t.

M: We believe that Jesus was only a prophet. He was only a human. Do you have a Bible?

(I was delighted to show him my Bible sitting on my desc.)

Me: I believe that Jesus is the Son of God as written in John 3:16. For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.

M: (He looked bored and unamused.) God has no son. He has no wife. He has no body like humans.

Me: We have different beliefs because I believe in the Bible and you believe in Quran.

M: Who wrote the Bible?

Me: The prophets and the disciples of Jesus.

M: The Bible wrote by human but the Quran wrote by God.

Me: But the Quran wrote by Mohammad.

M: (He is shaking his head in disapproval.) No, Quran is written by God. The Bible has too many versions.

Me: The Bible is originally written in Hebrew and translated in various of languages all over the world so that the whole world can understand God’s Word. King James translation is the closest to original Hebrew Bible but it’s too deep and some words can hardly comprehend. I think it’s important to read different translations so we can understand better as long as the meanings are not altered. Does Quran have translation?

M: Yes.

Me: That’s good.

M: Bible came first and after 300 years Quran came out as last revelation from God.

Me: Oh. (First time to hear that fact.) Then why did they disbelieve the Bible?

M: There is more knowledgeable person who can explain this to you very well.

Conversation #3 with an ex-Christian turned Muslim

E: Muslim believes in Jesus. I believe in the Bible.

Me: But you don’t believe that Jesus is God and it’s written in the Bible.

E: Because there’s only one God. Allah. Jesus, the prophet, never said that He is God. Mention a verse in the Bible that He said He is God.

Me: He says, ‘I and the Father are One.’ John 10:30.

E: He meant God and he have similar goals and vision.

(I creased my forehead in objection.)

E: Even Jesus himself stated that there’s only one God – Allah.

Me: Yes, there’s only one God, but in three different persona – God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

E: It’s very impossible to believe that there are three gods.

Me: I told you, one God but in three persona.

(He creased his forehead in objection.)

E: Jesus never died in the cross. It was a different person. God would not allow, as you claim, His Son to suffer and die. He went up in heaven without suffering and dying.

Me: Jesus died in the cross for our sins but after three days He rose up again.

E: Is it possible for God to die? (The tone of his voice indicated that he was mocking the death of Jesus.)

Me: Jesus died for us to be saved and have eternal life. He is God but He made Himself nothing, in human likeness, just for us, for whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. Isn’t it marvelous? (He was now looking uninterested and disgusted and ready to escape.)

E: When I was a Christian before, I went to church and then went home as if nothing happened.

Me: There are a lot of Christians like that, even Muslims. They go to church but they don’t have God in their hearts.

E: When I entered Islam, I found myself. Before I was lost and completely broken but when I got to know God, that He is always there us for, guiding us. I found my purpose in life through Islam.

Me: I understand what you felt. When I was new here in abroad, I struggled a lot but God’s presence never fails to renew my strength being a Christian.

(He cringed in distaste for what I told. We had so many series of conversations about Islam and Christianity. We were opposing magnets that can’t succumb to each other’s beliefs. I often apologized if I unintentionally offended him by my brazen remarks and he apologized too. There was a time when he came to me with troubled face and teary eyes and spoke to me about his love for his religion because it changed him for the better.)

Me: I understand you. I’ve talked to other people with different religions. I’m not telling these to convert you again to Christianity. I’m just sharing with you my beliefs like how you share yours. I’m interested to know others’ faith because I like to learn from it. What I would like you to understand is that don’t build a barrier in your mind thinking that your religion is the only right thing that prevents you to listen to other beliefs because you think they are all fraud.

I attended some churches such as Roman Catholic, Iglesia ni Cristo, Seventh Day Adventist, Baptist, Methodist and figured out their differences. I researched about Islam and Hinduism weighing every belief. My grandfather is a pastor, a minister and I grew up going to church but that didn’t hinder me to open my mind to comprehend other religions. I’ve also become bitter, doubtful and hateful to Christianity before.

Again, I’m not trying to convert you and also don’t try to convert me. But knowing first before rejecting is the wisest thing to do. Assess yourself on how well you understand Christianity.

Conversation #4 with a Roman Catholic

R: Karen, you told me about Exodus 20:4 that God forbade people to make images of any kind. Because of that I researched why Catholics have images and statues in the chapel and I found out why. God commanded Moses concerning the statues on it: And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. Exodus 25:18–19. (He was reading his Bible.)

Me: Cherubs served as ornamentation for the temple that time.

R: -which means God doesn’t prohibit creating images in any form because he commanded Moses to do it.

Me: -as a form of decoration. God doesn’t want us to make a graven image to be worshiped and bowed down. Exodus 20:4 to 6 says ‘You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.’ (I was reading my Bible.)

R: We don’t bow down and worship images. It’s just a representation.

Me: I’m sorry but I saw them bowing down to the images of Jesus, Mary and many other prophets.

R: Father *** was always reminding us that those images are just images that should not be worshiped. But should be at least respected because those are images of the saints and Jesus himself.

Me: How about during fiestas? They bring out the images and devotees are displaying excess fanaticism like the frantic devotees of the Black Nazarene.

R: They should be corrected.

Conversation #5 with an Iglesia ni Cristo

I: We believe that Jesus is just human.

Me: The same with Islam but their prophet is Mohammad and your messenger is Felix Manalo.

I: Jesus didn’t say He’s God.

Me: Do you still call Him Lord Jesus though you don’t believe He’s God?

I: Yes.

Me: I think it’s very essential to read the Bible in regular basis and not just to listen. Reading is confirming what is heard.

I: Yes, I read after the congregation because it will be very disorganized if all of us will read simultaneously. Listen, then read at home.

Me: Do you read daily?

I: Yes.

Me: Do you remember John 3:16?

I: No.

Me: (I was taken aback by his answer. John 3:16 is the very first memory verse I memorized as a child.) It says that God loves us so much that He gave His Son who is Jesus Christ that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

I: I invite you to come to our church and observe. Ask your queries and they will explain to you.

Me: I have nothing to ask. I understand your religion.

I: I can see that you have tons of questions and doubts in your mind. Come to our church and see. Don’t worry you will not be converted right away.

Me: I will go to your church if you will also come to our church. That’s a deal.

I: I was a Roman Catholic before so I know the beliefs and I don’t want to go back.

Me: I am not a Roman Catholic.

I: Your religion also believes in trinity which is similar to Catholic.

Me: I am willing to go to your church if you are also willing to come to our church.

I: I told you, I don’t want to go back.

Me: Then I can’t come.

(They are not allowed to attend another churches because if they would, INC would excommunicate [ititiwalag] them.)

Watch Out! What You Feed Your Mind Determines Your Character

This photo is taken from What Are You Feeding Your Mind? Check it out.

I remember I watched a Youtube video about how to get rid of acne and pimple forever. The video recommended eating organic eggs and Probiotics which led me to buy Yakult and brown instead of usually white eggs on my grocery trip. I watched several videos about Illuminati and read some pages on their website and I found myself discussing that issues to my boyfriend. “Do you believe that Illuminati has a control and power to manipulate the world? What do you think is the reason why one US dollar bill has symbols of Illuminati on it?” He yawned in boredom. I’ve recently watched a Youtube video of a lady doing her boyfriend’s make up and it gave me an urge to apply eyeliner on Marlon’s eyelids. I ruminated on what topic to be talked about on my next blog entry and I couldn’t decide of anything worthy of our time because what I was on my mind were just films and TV series and Youtube videos I watched in my idle times which mostly aren’t life-changing or mind-blowing or survival tips. My unpublished drafts which are fragments of random and raw ideas I couldn’t develop as a logical write-up outnumber my actual published posts. How can anyone write sensible stuff if he allows himself to consume shallowness? Or how can this be a happy site when the author is downcast. I can’t offer something I lack.

“You are the books you read, the movies you watch, the music you listen to, the people you spend time with, the conversation you engage in. Choose wisely what you feed your mind.” -unknown

Am I feeding my mind right amount of wisdom and knowledge or just superficiality and senselessness? I asked myself. I assessed the books I have on my shelves and the downloaded ebooks on my mobile. I thought of the videos I was engrossed in. Are they good sources of vitamins and minerals essential for my well-being or am I just wasting my time or poisoning my soul? Who are the persons we look up to or the people who surround us that somehow influence us unknowingly? Do they exhibit virtues or just showcase egotism and obscenity? Are the articles on the websites I read and the music I listen to lure me to become more vengeful or immodest or materialistic? 

“It is the food you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life.” -Emmet Fox

We will become the kind of person we choose to be and I choose to be a mature one regardless of age. I read 4 Ways to Be Mature and I reflect on myself. (Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. -1 Corinthians 14:20 NIV) We aren’t getting any younger every single second and wasting time is wasting fortune. If I fed my mind on pornography, probably I wouldn’t value the sanctity of marriage any more. If I fed my mind on merely gossips and idleness I would only provide anyone who would read my blog trash impeding each other’s growth and productivity.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” -Philippians 4:8 NLT

What we feed our mind determines our character and our character determines our future.

I want to end this, anyway, with a song which is one of my favorite. I can’t think of music related to our topic but just always remember that you are loved.

It’s Not All About Me

What sometimes drives humans to take a photo of themselves and post it on social media is self-love. Human beings want to be loved and appreciated. Everyone eagerly waits for likes and comments to show up after posting a #selfie on Facebook. Our pictures say “Look at me, this is who I am” and the more likes we get the more it boosts our self esteem.

Me. Me. Me. Me. Me.

But what if somebody commented on my photo and noticed the bad angle or the smudge of lipstick in the corners of my lips? What if nobody liked my picture except for my little niece?

When I was younger, I created an anonymous blog full of rants and whines. How disgusted I was by human behavior. How upset I was by criticisms and insult. It was mostly all about my distaste and rage for particular subjects. As I read them today, I’ve figured why I was always unhappy is because I was often focusing on own thoughts and preferences. “This is me, me, me, me. I am so annoyed because nobody is good enough!”

I realized I was being self-absorbed. Extremely valuing our own opinions and interests and showing little concern for other’s ideas and feelings are characteristics of self-absorption. I became defensive when hearing negative feedback instead of trying to understand another’s perspective. I had a tendency to blame others when something went wrong instead of thinking what I should have done. “This is me, me, me, me. Take it or leave it.”

I want to be a person God wants me to be so I decided to let go of my old self.

The world doesn’t revolve around me. There are billions of living things in this planet and I am just one of them. We are all equal in the sight of the Lord. I exist just like you and anyone else. After all, it’s not all about me, neither you.

“If anyone thinks there are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.” -Galatians 6:3 (NIV)

When someone hurt me I nurtured deep hatred for that person and focused immensely on how hurt I was. How broken and devastated I was. I self-pitied but hey, we should stop assuming that we are always the victim. Try to put ourselves in their shoes so we can understand why they behave and think that way. Were there also times that you did things that hurt others? Thinking of ourselves less is becoming more like Christ (remember he died for you) which is exactly He wants us to be.

God wants us to be like Him because we are His children.

“If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done.” -Matthew 6:14-16 (GNT)

 “Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.” -Ephesians 4:32 (GNT)

I am posting these things not just to preach to you but to myself as well. I am still battling selfishness and self-righteousness. I’m flawed but forgiven by God so that I can forgive others. Difficult but possible. I’m not loving nor caring and I am full of bitterness in my heart but I let God take over.

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” -Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)

I should always remind myself that it’s not all about me but Jesus.



Photo credit: http://tando.org/archives/2893


I’ve been interested in all forms of Arts since I was a preschooler. But don’t get me wrong, I am just an enthusiast and a hobbyist. Photos below are my graphite sketches I did for my kaulayaw. He is my favorite subject for my drawing and I planned to sketch his face on the entire paper but he insisted on including me because he didn’t like to be alone. So I drew our picture together.

Note: This entry is for the Word-High July: 30 Beautiful Filipino Words Day 17: Kaulayaw


3 Things I’ve Learned From My Relationship

When I was younger, a NBSB (no boyfriend since birth) I thought of becoming an old maid. I despised flirtatious men who woo plenty of females every now and then just for fun and pleasure. I abhorred women who easily get laid from one guy to another. I was very reserved and I was waiting for someone worthy of lifetime commitment, as conservative as I was but I often ended up disappointed and infuriated.

For the first time, on August 9, 2014 I took the risk of committing in a relationship.

Marlon and Karen.

We’ve learned a lot from each other’s differences and we’re still continuously learning from our every single moment together. If you are looking for a perfect relationship, you’ll never find it. If you long for good and healthy relationship, it doesn’t have to be impeccable but has to be Godly. There are three most important things I’ve learned that I also want you to realize.

  1. Love God first before loving each other.

Others may find it absurd because couples want to love and be loved solely, exclusively, selfishly by their partner. I knew I loved God but my love for my significant other was entirely different kind. I didn’t know how this could occur before. I thought, for example, my love for God was white and my love for my boyfriend was red and they were both on the same level. But here are the crucial questions on how you will know that you love your boyfriend or your girlfriend more than you love God.

  • Who do you think about more most of the time? God or boyfriend/girlfriend?
  • Whom do you speak to more every minute of the day? God or boyfriend/girlfriend?
  • Who do you please more? God or boyfriend/girlfriend?
  • Whose presence do you find more delightful? To love God is to find delight in His presence.

Why is it more essential to love God first before loving each other? Humans get tremendously hurt and depressed by receiving love from someone who gives less than they expected. They cry for hours, get drunk and do everything to forget their bitterness and misery. But when we love God first, we’ll never feel unloved and unwanted. Nobody can love us more than God can. His love never fails and never ends.

“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” -Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-38 (NIV)

The Bible is God’s love letters to us, His children and it is a written proof of His love. When we love God first that doesn’t make us love our boyfriend/girlfriend any less. The truth is, we love them more because God commands us to love more. Take note, not selfishly, not love-me-only-me love, but selflessly and unconditionally.

“We love because He first loved us.” -1 John 4:19 (NIV)

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” -1 John 4:8 (NIV)

2. Love is God.

There are too many definitions of love but one thing I am certain of, God created us to love. I had a hard time defining what really love was. I didn’t believe in love before. I thought it was just a feeling caused by love hormone called Serotonin that dies every two years. An attraction to curvy ladies and big boobies. That’s why I felt miserable contemplating that my boyfriend’s love for me was so small compared to what he had for the attractive females that he admired. I’ve learned that love is not merely an emotion. Love is not utterly a feeling. It is more noble than that.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

3. Worship God together, not each other.

Everyone likes to be appreciated and recognized but to be worshiped is a different thing. I don’t prefer my boyfriend to worship me because I am not perfect and I’m aware of my flaws. I rather love someone who worships God with me. If your girlfriend wants to be worshiped by you, think again. If she is always seeking narcissistic compliments, think again. Does she love herself more than she loves you and God? People say that love yourself first before loving someone. But God says love God first so we can love each other better.

On The Mind of a Self-proclaimed Ugly

In my pubescent times struggling to create self-identity while painfully accepting changes in my body, blogging became my old trusted friend. I blogged about how I perceived my appearance as unpleasant and my body as very scrawny and gawky. I blogged about tales of my childhood when I was mistaken as a boy. I blogged about how lonely I was having my heart broken by a guy who I thought was in love with me but found someone more good-looking and better than me after a week. I blogged about my low self-esteem, my poor self-concept as an adolescent, on my old abandoned blog. Now being wiser than in those years I am writing for anyone who sheds the same tears, who rants the same pain and who must relearn the same lesson.

Opposite of Anorexic

I posted a picture of a weighing scale while I was weighing in, 53 kilograms, in my Instagram with lengthy caption that says ‘A Tale of Scale Obsessed’ blah blah blah. I was that scale obsessed that kept checking her weight in the scale when she had a chance and whenever possible. Right after waking up and urinating (I was less heavy in those times). After eating meal or having the urge to pee (I was heavier in those times). It’s nonsense but I kept on checking every subtle detail of my weight because it calmed me to think that I am on the right track every fifteen minutes. I had a ridiculous fear of losing weight. I was the opposite of anorexic. In my Psychiatric Nursing lesson, anorexia is an illness concerning body image. A person perceives that she’s fat but she’s actually very thin. She can’t see her true figure because she’s blinded by incorrect perception about her body. Our mind is very powerful.

My mind is very powerful that any idea I consume it becomes who I am. Growing up hideously thin I am accustomed to hearing negative comments about my boniness which stuck in my mind that I must gain weight in order to be appreciated. I must eat large amount of calories than average curvy women can ingest to actually gain pounds. My metabolism is as fast as lightning. Scary. Since childhood gaining weight has always been a dream.

Walking Poop

I now gained enough grams. I am 51 kg as of now but turn 52 after eating heavy meal. With the aid of hair rebonding which costed me one pair of Keds my lock appears fine. I had plans of spending my vacation at gym because I heard that toning muscles can do wonders in petite physique. Yet I knew, deep down in my soul that whatever I do my gene is not as fine as supermodels. I might always be forever looking in the mirror pitying the bony person it reflects. Newly rebonded tress can make us feel good for awhile but when a sexy lady with huge butt walks by and your boyfriend takes a long look at her, you feel uglier hundred times. Insecurity kills every beautiful cell in your body.

Insecurity is like a poop. Its stench ruins amazing places, pollutes fresh air. Its presence ravages beautiful view. Any compliment I hear about how wonderful a location is, as long as a stinking poop keeps linger in that area it will always be a stinking place. I would always be a stinking person. I cut my hair shorter. Let it grew longer. Toned my muscles. Gained much pounds. Braced my teeth. Showered more than once. Ingested vitamins. Shopped branded clothes. Purchased signature shoes. But then woke up ugly.

Insecurity begged me to improve but whenever a lady with perfect curves enters the scene all those things that made me feel good about myself vanish. I was a walking poop again, soaked in expensive perfume but smells worse. Insecurity broke, ruined me.

“You criticize girls who are prettier than you.” (Of course not. Is there a better way to tell me that I am uglier?)

“You have zero sex appeal.” (Yeah, ’cause I’m sexless as a plant.)

“You have a body like a boy.” (Thanks to my father.)

“You have flies on your face.” (Maybe ’cause I look like a turd?)

“You look like a tadpole.” (Kokak.)

“You are not beautiful.” (K.)

Thanks for all those reminders that I should not be too proud of my looks. I don’t have nothing to brag. Every criticism sank deep in every neuron of my brain to the point that every praise I heard couldn’t accept by my system. I blocked compliments like a virus in my computer. I didn’t allow it to damage my operating system. I am ugly, no, thanks. I  am ugly.

Unfair and Unreasonable

Isn’t it unfair that humans admire good looking humans who just born that way? When we admire people based on their appearance which they don’t have any choice about it, isn’t it unreasonable? My appreciation is only for those who are hardworking who strive to do things with all their might though it isn’t easy, for those who are good at something because she or he exerted enough effort to excel, for those who have good choices, good decisions that describe who they are. I don’t want to compliment a person on how he or she looks but how he or she carries herself or himself though he or she is fat or very thin. I don’t want to praise a person based on how sexy she is in that purple dress she wears but how good her choice is, choosing that fine dress that suits her more despite his or her flaws. Same thing, I don’t despise people with big nose or huge mouth because they can’t make their nose or mouth smaller or alter their faces. God made them as they are. I rather loathe people who look down on others and treat others unfairly.

I questioned my Creator why. Why do humans get attracted to physical traits more? Why was I born unattractive? Why was I so unhappy? You can’t imagine how hard I was to myself by always criticizing, pitying, breaking my own heart every time I kept on ruminating on the criticisms and all. They hurt me, I was hurt and they may hurt me again but I realized that I would always be miserable if I would keep on focusing on the wounded part. I tried to change my way of thinking. I asked my trusted friends to give positive qualities they thought I have so that whenever I was feeling blue I would read it like a reminder of my forgetful heart and I would be okay again. (Yep, I came to that stage of my unhappiness.) I was deeply touched by their answers and never felt so special in the past years of my existence. But then the monster I created that devoured my mirth just slept for awhile and woke up when triggered by life’s callousness. It wasn’t easy as one two three but I kept on pressing hard and now I seek aid from the One who created me because He knows me, my ways, my thoughts more than I know myself.

How I Convince Myself that I am Beautiful

Let this blog post serves as a testimony of how an ugly miserable woman criticized as a shapeless malnourished unappealing human being has changed into a lovely masterpiece of God. I was typing this with overwhelming zest and delight that I want to share with you. You are beautiful, remember that, even if you don’t feel it or the world tells you are not and yourself also tells you are not. You are beautiful. There are millions of reasons you are. You are capable of loving someone so deeply and selflessly and that is so beautiful. You can achieve your dreams, your wonderful dreams if you work and pray hard for it and that is so beautiful. You can change lives of others, you can influence the youth, you can help the needy, you can make the world a better place, you can promote wellness and positivity and those are so beautiful. You have the beautiful soul and you know what, beautiful soul doesn’t fade, rot nor die. It will go back to God where it belongs and your body which is full of imperfections will decay in our coffin and soon be eaten by saphrophytes. So don’t fret. Our sufferings are temporary. Other people can call as names whichever they prefer but do you know that our Lord already has our genuine names written in His book? Amazing, right?

Whenever you have doubts, look at yourself intently in the mirror and may you see yourself how the Lord sees you. You are precious in His eyes because He created you in His image so whenever you take a look at your appearance you can also take a glimpse of God’s image (Genesis 1:27). You might oppose me because the people of this world are pushing you to believe that you don’t fit in the idea of what is considered beautiful. Curvy body, bouncy hair, flawless skin, pointed nose and many more, we all are desperate to have it all because human beings long for appreciation, recognition and acceptance. But believe me or not, many people love and accept you as who you are and if ever your boyfriend ditched you to find someone more good-looking, don’t be disheartened but it’s a chance for you to find the right one sent by God. If we depend our happiness on the opinion and perception of others we will often be heartbroken. If we based our self worth on how others deal with us we will always feel worthless. You see, this world is full of disappointment, frustrations, envious, jealousy and discontentment but try to look vertically to God. Depend your happiness and worth on Him and He will never fail you. His love never fails. It isn’t that easy to change our mind like that but contemplate on this. Try to picture yourself as sexy and attractive as you desire to be, yes, you will definitely feel so elated but it can’t last for a lifetime. We will all age. Our skin will lose its collagen and starts to dry out and crease. Our body shape will eventually alter to the point that wearing a two-piece swimsuit is a big joke. Why are we so obsessed about the superficial and neglect what is essential and eternal? That’s the Lord’s answer to me when I questioned Him before. My child, do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2) I keep that verse in my heart like a treasure.

I would like to share with you how my insecurity and unhappiness turned into gladness and satisfaction. My self-doubt and sadness are created by my own mind which was excessively conforming to the world’s ideals. The more I tried to impress others the more rejections I received. I would never be satisfied in this life if I would merely fulfill my personal goal which is to become better version of myself physically and emotionally. I couldn’t help looking at my weak points and be devastated every time. Then, God spoke to me. Change your perspective, Karen. You are beautiful because you are my child (John 1:12-13). You are the apple of my eye. It doesn’t matter what people say because none of this is permanent. Abide in Me because My will for you is good, pleasing and perfect. Transform into a person I want you to be by getting rid of all the bitterness you cultivate inside of you. Be joyful always, pray often and give thanks to all circumstances. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

When I began to seek my identity in God’s identity I came to value and appreciate myself more. Whenever I feel unworthy, ugly or incapable I look for Him, He who created me, gave me life and is providing me all that I need. He who is perfect, holy, generous, forgiving, kind and just. How can I be sad if I have Him as my father and Lord? So I can say that to be truly beautiful, do not search remedy from physically attractive human beings for their beauty secrets, from cosmetic surgeons to slice your flesh, from medicines and creams which promise stunning difference. If you think you can be happy by doing it, do it. But remember this, you are already beautiful in God’s eyes and in the sight of anyone who loves you dearly.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. -Proverbs 31:30, NIV