The Art of Saying No

This two-letter word seems the hardest to utter. I always try my best not to say NO because it feels rejecting opportunities along my way. Also, it seems refusal to life’s learning. I have associated the word NO to rejection and negative thoughts. Thus, I am uncomfortable to say this, especially to my friends, and to my family.

However, there came a time when I reached the point when I had to squeeze all my activities in one day because of my numerous YESes. My whole weekend was filled with lots of commitments and hustles that I need to comply with. This happened because I did not say NO. I said YES even if my time forbids me.

My weekdays after work were also compromised, too. I had to meet people for ministrIES I’ve committed myself into (because I believe I can manage everything back then). I compromised the days when I can spend time with my lola who was with me the whole time around because of the talks I’ve accepted as well.

I tried to tie everything in one rope, not realizing that this rope may become loose soon.

There also came a time when I felt unhappy on what I was doing. I dragged myself for the sake of completing the task. I totally lost my passion on my task because it no longer satisfies my spiritual growth. I was drained and found myself ranting all day long. This never contributed to my personal growth. Thus, my co-members in that ministry felt the same. It’s a sign, my thoughts said. Then, we all found ourselves resigning from that group.

It’s true that a simple NO is a YES for the betterment of ourselves.

I also stopped spending my weekends on the events that do not add value to my life. I refused a thousand-peso-worth speaking engagement just because prefer contributing to people who genuinely believe in me as a writer. (My practical self vanished.)

Right now, the art of saying NO is saying YES to genuine opportunities that life has to offer. It’s not about closing the doors. It’s more of reminding yourself that there are times that you need to turn down certain things that could make you worry at the end.

I believe it’s not too late to know where to spend my nonrenewable resource, which is time. Cheers for more time well-spent!

Have you ever felt stuck between a YES and a NO? Share your thoughts, perhaps?

Life Lessons in Regina Rica Recollection

In every recollection, I always look forward to a meaningful reflection about my spiritual growth. I try radiating this positivity to my fellow youth ministers by encouraging them to do the same. However, some reflections are just beyond the usual recollection. Some reflections are best learned from life’s greatest and toughest experiences.

Last Sunday, July 22, 2018, our Parish Youth Ministry Core Group and Facilitators went to Regina Rica for our midyear recollection. It was raining cats and dogs at this time. However, we decided to push through. The roads leading to Tanay, Rizal almost prevented us to travel. There was zero visibility in the area. But, thank God, we still arrived before Regina Rica opens.

We were about to enter the gates when the guard stopped us. He told us to move backward and wait outside. We asked him politely if we could just stay right across the gate, but he refused. Our driver that time, Bro. Mark, had no choice but to move backward—and this event changed the course of our story.

When we moved backward, we smelled burnt rubber inside our car. It was a terrible smell. We ignored it believing that maybe it was just a simple concern. We proceeded inside the venue and prepared our things for our recollection. We reflected in a nipa hut until afternoon. We attended the Sunday Mass, and had our lunch after. I slept while waiting for the next instructions.

We were supposed to visit the huge image of Mary on top of the hill. However, when our Spiritual Director told us that our car wasn’t working, we had to accompany him at the repair shop.

It was still raining hard when we walked towards the repair shop. We rode a tricycle, still, found ourselves not protected from the downpour. We were told by our SD that our car needs to be towed. Oh, my, gulay.

It challenged our faith and our renewed promises to the Lord. We never expected this to happen. We were in Tanay, Rizal! How could we go home? We had no choice but to commute. We definitely found this risky and tedious way of going home. We asked our younger fellow youth ministers to go home ahead of us. The three of us waited for the towing truck. It arrived at six in the evening and reached Taytay at around nine in the evening. Thank God for this. I seemed simple, but, when we were at that place, we were confused, worried, and frightened.

We realized that this event in our ministry taught us a lot of things.

First, there will always be consequences in backing out. Quitting shakes not only ourselves, but also the people around us. When we moved our car backwards, three parts of the engine broke. Same with our life’s toughest decisions. It has a domino effect. Thus, let us be firm in every decision we make. Ask strength and wisdom from God who could enlighten us about our next move.

We’ve also learned that the evil always tempts us and uses our weakness to shaken our faith. The devil always uses instruments which are so tempting! Thus, we always need to practice our faith wholeheartedly and intentionally. Always pray and seek help from God who strengthens us and protects us from all forms of danger. Seek God for He will never ever leave you nor forsake you. He is always with you!

Lastly, it is always better to catch up with your real friends. Never assume that your friend is okay just because he says so. Everybody needs constant reminders and care. Everybody needs a complement. Everybody needs your words of encouragement. Let us use the power of words the uplift our friends who are brokenhearted. Let us be an instrument in making them develop their personal relationship with God. At the end of the day, we will all feel good for this contribution to our friends. Let us make them feel that they are valued, loved, and appreciated.

 

Wooh. So that’s basically what I’ve realized about life. Challenges are constant, and so are the solutions. Keep your faith. Remember that God will never ever leave you nor forsake you.

A Recollection Based on the 7 Last Words of Christ: My Takeaways

My Takeaways from Me, Myself, and OTHERS:

A Recollection Based on the 7 Last Words of Christ

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Photo from St. Paul’s Online Facebook Fan Page.

I’ve been searching for a meaningful Lenten Recollection outside our parish. Luckily, upon stumbling on my Facebook newsfeed, I saw a sponsored post about Me, Myself, and OTHERS: A Recollection Based on the 7 Last Words of Christ. This event was sponsored and facilitated by Society of St. Paul. It was my first time to attend their recollection, and I was definitely let in awe. I was so inspired that I reached my point of updating this blog after six weeks of being idle.

Here are my takeaways from their recollection.

On Forgiveness…

  • Know ourselves first. Then, pray for our weakness.
  • We are Christians, first and foremost.
  • Love is all we need to forgive.
  • It’s hard for us to forgive, because we are hurt.
  • Pray for God’s mercy and healing for us to forgive.

On Sharing God’s Joy

  • There is no holiness in sadness.
  • God will forgive us if we repent.
  • Paradise is not for sale.

On Loving Our Mothers

  • God’s way is different from our ways.
  • God has always better plan than us.
  • If there is prayer, there is grace.
  • If you are close to Mother, you will never be set apart from the Son.

On Separation

  • Iniwan is different from Pinabayaan. The latter is total abandonment.

On Spiritual Thirst

  • Thirst will be always part of our life.
  • We can be physically or spiritually thirsty.

On Offering our Life

  • Jesus’ life is a never-ending story of giving of 3 S’s: sarili, sakripisyo, saya.
  • We have God who can always give what we need.
  • When God calls, He provides. When He provides, He sustains.

On Surrendering (my favorite)

  • We are called to a life of surrender may it be passion, attachments, or sins.
  • We surrender as a GIFT or as a response.
  • Surrender is the best gift we can offer to God.
  • Follow God without knowing where He’s send you.
  • Wait for God’s perfect timing without knowing when.
  • Expect a miracle without knowing how God will give it.
  • Trust God’s purpose without understanding the circumstances.
  • Surrender is a decision, discipline, and way of life.
  • Ang tunay na kalayaan ay pagpapaubaya.
  • It is through surrendering that we receive God’s gift of Lenten season.

Final Notes.

The Seven Last Words are not words of farewell. These are words of love. These are words of forgiveness. These are the sweetest and encouraging words that Jesus can tell us. He always has more than seven words to offer. When we listen to Him, everything is kept in place. Again, surrender.