surviving the recent nameless catastrophe cemented my grasp of how good the Lord is. others lost lives, properties and what not, but my family made it through. on our trip to SM, i finally got a copy of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren as suggested by Derrick.
i immediately opened the book as i got back to work. honestly, i am still unsure how all this would work out. i am in alien territory. this feels a lot different from my childhood because then, religion was part my education. at my age now, i have seen a lot and have been through enough experience to suddenly change my point of view about God.
Day 1 was simple. it was about "it all starts with God." (i can not share that much yet because i'm just at the start. imagine how the 40th day will look like.) all i can say about the first day is that, it is about removing the focus from myself, and ensuring that my thoughts should be about the purpose of my life, as planned by God. success in different aspects of my life are my successes, but do not measure up to the fulfillment of achieving my life's purpose. this is the point where it gets blurry to me, and that is because i am unsure yet what that purpose is. i am tempted to read the next few chapters ahead, but the author wanted it to be a slow, daily experience.
there was a question to consider: in spite of all the advertising around me, how can i remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself? hmm. tricky. if i looked for commercials or plain print ads, all of them are about what we classify as our "needs" and "wants." with that, these advertisements really target our attention to buy these products. it somehow links to the fact that we should be able to satisfy our needs as per Maslow's Hierarchy to ensure that we are motivated to live. there is a thin line between wants and needs; and most folks interchange the two. so with the help of advertising, we all try to get what they're trying to sell, hence, satisfying our wants/needs. this is where living for one's self comes in. it's always about "me." what do i want? what do i need?
have you, reader, ever asked what would God want/need? i remember those baller bracelet thingies that bear the initials WWJD (what would Jesus do?) clever, but true. in this scenario, WWJW? WWJN? He wants us to live with a purpose, His purpose, whatever he designed for us.
this last bit brings us to Day 2. "You are not an accident." it has been said that eons before i was born, God had already planned my life. i am not an accident. a year before i was born, my mom gave birth to twins, James Caesar and Jerome Caesar. alas, they had weak hearts and died days after being born. a year later, i was out. i have always been thinking, wouldn't it be cool to have older twin brothers? but i also realized, my parents would have decided then not to have another child. or maybe if they did decide to have another one, i could have been a girl. i am not an accident. wherever i am right now, God planned this. He thought of me way before i was born.
the question to consider for Day 2 was: knowing that God uniquely created me, what areas of my personality, background and physical appearance am i struggling to accept?
hmm, my weight? no, because that's my fault. my broken family? no, because i wouldn't have been this independent-minded if i had my mom and dad around me. my personality? no, because i am pleased with how i am. no matter how many people hate me or love me, this is me. if i had the chance to change, i would but with reason. but if i can't accept myself, who else would?
with that, i am now excited to see what my purpose is. what aspect of my life is geared towards fulfilling that purpose? how will my personality, background and appearance play parts in fulfilling my life's purpose?
i will look back after i close my 40th day, and hope that i will be able to answer these questions.
P.S. i am planning to go on a retreat. where in the Philippines should i go? i need a place that's quiet and really easy to access, and does not require that much planning. please help, thanks!