#YouAreLoved at #TheFeast
Bata pa lang ako, achiever na ako sa school — always in the star section, consistent honor student, dean’s lister, awards dito, awards doon. Hindi naman sa pagbubuhat ng sariling bangko, pero ako ‘yung tipo ng estudyante na pangarap ng maraming teacher — masipag, maaasahan, madaling turuan. Paborito ako ng mga kaklase na gawing ka-group at leader sa mga project. With me in the group, someone who had to maintain a certain grade to maintain her scholarship, confident sila na ‘di ko pababayaan ang grades ng grupo.
With this kind of environment, I grew up having a mindset na kailangan magaling ka, mahusay ka. Kailangan may maio-offer ka, may maiko-contribute ka. Na kailangan patunayan mo ang sarili mo na may silbi ka para matanggap, mapabilang, at mahalin. School had become a comfort zone. Kasi doon, basta galingan ko, basta husayan ko, may tatanggap sa akin, may kaibigan ako, may kasama ako. It was predictable.
After graduation, when I stepped out into the real world, despite the knowledge of what most people say “You cannot please everybody,” hindi ko ‘yun pinaniwalaan. With my immature, foolish boldness, I chose to believe that I could please anyone for as long as I would be at my best and be the nicest, kindest person I could be.
And that was the beginning of my self-destruction, my downfall, my disappointments, frustrations, heartaches, and heartbreaks.
I would always try to live up to others’ expectations, to adjust to their preferences, to compromise, to give way, to hide and deny who I really am, and to set aside all that I want to do. I even tried to change myself so I could fit in, so I could feel I belong, so I could feel accepted and loved. Each and every relationship worked out quite well in the beginning. It was happy. It was fun.
Only to find myself being backstabbed, betrayed in the end.
May mga taong nagparamdam na wala akong silbi, na wala akong kuwenta, dahil wala na akong maitulong, maibigay, mai-contribute (time, talents, effort). Mga taong nagpaparamdam na I am not good enough and that I would never be enough.
Masakit, mahirap, nakakapagod. Napagod na akong mabuhay sa kung ano ang tingin at iisipin sa akin ng tao. It came to a point na gusto ko na lang magpakatotoo, na gusto ko nang maging ako.
One night, I felt so emotionally tired and drained. I just burst into tears while praying alone inside my room. I poured my heart out to God. Then I remembered Matthew 11:28:
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
I cried buckets of tears and just kept telling God how tired I was then. Suddenly, a thought came into my head, as if it was God telling me, “There is nothing you can do or cannot do that can make Me love you more or love you less. I just love you for just being you.” I slowly calmed down and my crying began to stop. I was engulfed with peace. As I wiped my tears away, my mind began to clear. I told myself, “God loves me. God loves me and that’s all that matters.” I chose to believe, receive, and soak myself in God’s love. His love that, at that very moment, overcame all my pains, hurts, rejections, and disappointments.
The next day and onwards, I experienced a change in perspective. My eyes were opened to the unconditional love of God that surrounds me. I began to see the love of God in my family — my family who has been the first people who accepted and loved me for who I am and who I am not, for everything I can and cannot do, my weaknesses, flaws, and all. I began to realize that although there were people who treated me so badly, I cannot deny the fact that there are also people — friends whom I can really count with my fingers — whom I’ve met along the way who welcomed me and appreciated me for simply being me.
God’s love filled me up with gratitude; incomprehensible gratefulness for everyone who betrayed, rejected, and hurt me; because if not for them, I wouldn’t be able to recognize who are for me. By pushing me away, they pushed me to the right people in my life, to be where I should be, to where I really belong.
God’s love freed me. Now, I am free to be me. Free to respect myself. Free to love myself. God’s love transforms me to be who He wants me to be. In this world full of expectations, criteria, and standards, I came to a personal resolve to believe that God’s love is enough. That God is enough. And that in His love, I am enough. <3
Visit us at The Feast and be soaked in that kind of love that we no longer need to earn: God’s unconditional love. For locations, schedules, and updates, go to http://bit.ly/FeastLocations or download THE FEAST app on Google Play or App Store.
For counseling needs, visit https://www.facebook.com/lojpastoralcare/.
* Photo by Cei Intud (used for visual representation only; subjects not related to the sharer)