“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9
Since 2009 at age 25, I’ve been praying to God to use me as His instrument of love. I don’t exactly know how or to what extent, but in my heart I always believe that God created me for a purpose and that there is more beyond fulfilling my dreams.
For a couple of years, I’ve been contemplating on the essence and meaning of my life. I thought it’s simply about achieving my dreams and living life to the fullest by doing good deeds and an end goal of going to heaven. It sounded easy until series of challenges started unfolding in my life. Until my principles on faith, work, relationships and aspirations were tested during its course.
After graduating with recognition in College, my jobs started to define my identity. I got so focused in becoming excellent in what I do. Doors opened to better opportunities, bigger positions and higher pay as well. And the more money I was getting, the more I was getting myself stuck in the rat race. I thought I’ve got nothing to lose with more knowledge, and that it would prepare me for the worst that could happen.
As in the Law of Attraction, I focused my energy on what I want and I can attract the universe to give me. If I don’t get what I desire, I just check the horoscope to get a glimpse of what to expect within the year.
Just like Eve allowing her desire for wisdom fall into the serpent’s bait (Genesis 3:1-6), I took the power of the future into my own hands.
Materialism ate me alive, thinking that real security comes from financial stability, believing that I have the power to create it.
As human beings, we never get satisfied. We always want more apart from what we have. At work, our measure of success are bigger pay and higher position. And character, respect and integrity are most often overlooked and disregarded.
Have you ever taken a time to reflect if you’re working to live, or you’re actually living to work?
Have you ever prioritized work over God and over family? I am guilty of both, and my favorite excuse was that I had no choice because I was building my career. The truth is I had a choice, but I made myself a victim of the situation because I was fixing and resolving the problems with my own strength. My limited capacity to do things couldn’t solve problems that were getting out of my control. I only got myself to a pit of stress and frustration. And even if I try to be that responsible leader who takes accountability in all things, I failed in all other aspects. And it crushed my heart to bits because I made reputation my everything.
In life, we go through a roller coaster of emotions, and many times I cannot help but wonder why God allows us to go through difficulties, pain and suffering if He is truly a loving God. Does He listen to our prayers when we fall hard on our knees feeling lost in our lives not knowing how to move forward?
But you know, this was the Lord’s answer to me:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you.” – Matthew 7:7
Before, I only seek God when I needed something, and I get frustrated when He’s nowhere. I taunt His character even to the point of asking, ‘Are you even listening to my silent prayers, Lord?’ or ‘Have You turned your back on me?’. Yes I was selfish. I was deluding myself into thinking prayer is one-way and I was treating God as a genie, who could grant me unlimited wishes. Whenever I encountered life challenges and felt like the whole world shatters in front of me, I ask God ‘Why do you let me go through this?’.
And then one day, our God, our ever-faithful and loving God, revealed to me that He was shaking me to soften my obstinate heart and get rid of all the specks in my eyes that turned me blind.
God enabled me to see myself. As flawed as ever. And that I am nothing without Him.
That I am lost without my shepherd.
God appoints us with earth angels whom He chooses to lead us back to Him, and I’m grateful to such friend who introduced me to Victory, Fort. It was in July 2015 when I renewed my faith and started a spiritual journey to a more intimate relationship with God, and another friend, Riva Gazveltan, helped me understand God’s truth, sovereignty and faithfulness. I began to appreciate how God loves us as His own children that even if the original sin meant death and total separation from Him, His unconditional love prevailed. He sacrificed His only Son to die on the cross to redeem us from sin.
God has changed my heart to be more grateful. Now, when I encounter challenges, I don’t doubt God’s faithfulness any longer. Instead, I bow down my head in prayer to thank Him for the strength He has given me and for the wisdom to discern His desire for me.
I started to crave for God’s word, which has empowered me to overcome the worldly truth I shamelessly believed in. Today, when I pray, I surrender to God’s sovereignty, and it humbles me to acknowledge to our Creator that I can’t do anything without Him. Whenever I seek Him, my half empty cup is filled up. And despite my imperfect situations, I find myself complete and whole with His grace. Grace is God’s favor to each and every one of us. Pastor Joey Bonifacio beautifully stated in his book, The Promise No One Wants, that ‘grace has the power to take us where we are unable to go’.
God’s Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. – Psalm 119:105
When I surrendered my life to God, not only was my heart changed, even my motivations were. It is no longer about the worldly and materialistic desire I want to achieve for myself, but the character of faithfulness, obedience and complete trust that God desires for me so He can use me to fulfill my purpose.
You might be asking, ‘How do I know what is God’s desire for me?’
Let me share with you 3 Principles I learned the hard way in my journey of seeking His will, which I hope can help you in your life and career discernment.