2017.2.12: MDWG / To Try

2017.2.12: MDWG / To Try

≈ 10:30pm

A good habit is to write. Writing is better than memory because while memories fade, what is written, assuming it is not destroyed, remains. Or at least, it lasts a lot longer than memory.

I could write many things today. Even in the times when I don’t feel like writing, I, deep inside, can still find something to write. To write is a gift, to type is a gift. Do not take anything for granted. Do not take your freedom, Steven, for granted.

I read somewhere that if I talk to people, to girls especially, to talk more deeply. Instead of saying “how is your day” and superficial stuff like that, why not ask deeper questions or statements like “What are your future plans,” or “What are three values that are most important to you?” Wow, like the technology tree in Master of Orion, we need to look for advice from others and especially from God to live a fuller life. Actually scratch that. The most perfect way, I still believe, is to get advice only from God and His Word. He will give you divine revelation, either through Him or representatives of Him. But, failing that, the next best is to be open to advice, to learn, to gain wisdom, but with the lens of God and His Word.

I bombed my first Calculus exam today. Shell methods, wash method, area between two curves, length of an arctangent curve, work and force, centroids, moments of mass, etc. It seems like in almost every problem it throws a curve ball at me. One of those problems as I tell people, can take me, worse case more than an hour to finish (and I can still get it wrong), on average maybe half an hour to 45 minutes, or at best, 15 minutes. But if I rush, then I don’t really learn. But if I take my time, my other subjects suffer. It’s like the war fronts in World War II. If I focus on North Africa, I may not have enough resources in the Pacific Front. But the thing with Calculus is, it seems no matter how much time and resources I throw at it, it still isn’t enough. I tried, I really tried. However, it is very difficult. So much new material. So much review of material I should have learned but forgot. It’s been more than a year since I look my last Calculus class, Calculus I. Although I got an A in that class, I’ll be happy to just get a C and move on with my major. You know, and I’m trying not to let this get to me, but sometimes, facing failure and certain defeat even in the midst of effort, I sometimes tell myself that I’m not smart enough for Computer Science. But I know, deep inside, that time is more of a factor. That and resources. If I have people who can help me, tutor me, my own private tutor, heh, that would be awesome, I would do better. But still, I have many help. I know computers, I know where to find and get help, and to get help ethically. I think the biggest issue, and yes, I have been doing better with discipline and my time, but it’s still not enough but I’m still working on it, is discipline. Well, if you look deeper, it’s not really discipline but endurance. If you look then deeper, it’s not just endurance but my spirit. Many times, I get discouraged in life events. I feel like I’m fighting without hope. But who is my hope? My hope comes from God. Do not put your trust in princes, who cannot save, but put your hope in God. God is the only reason why I’m still fighting. There is a difference between trying and still failing and failing and not trying. People say results is all that counts. The Bible says it’s by a person’s fruits that their actions be known, that that fruit can also be interpreted as result. However, I believe trying and effort are also fruits. God does see the heart, and there is a difference between someone who picks up a sword to fight (for love, from that Bethel song We Dance ) but loses, to someone who doesn’t even try and loses. What I believe is not the results. Results depress people. Results forces people to compare against another. Brother against brother. People and society shouldn’t look at results but at the heart, at the efforts, at the tryings, at the intentions. Results are like the tip of an iceberg, like a tree, but it is a product of effort, of perseverance, of, to me, trusting in God. For me, and probably for the rest of my life, I don’t measure myself by results. If you measure yourself by results than many battles can become unwinnable. But I base myself on the inner battles, in whether I tried and how much I tried, such as did I try my best? I base it on my effort. Even if I do my best and lose, if I have truly done my best, or I can lower the standard, and say just try but genuinely try, then I don’t count as a loss. There are many examples but God sees the heart. The heart is deceitful, yes, God sees that, but God also sees people’s efforts, their attempts, their tryings. Their attempts to worship God, their attempts to love God, to please Him. Even if they fail later, as long as they don’t give up and keep trying, and increase their efforts, and you will get better, and repent, …. What I want to say is this. That though this world is based on outward appearances, on results, we should base ourselves not on results, which we can’t always control, but on our efforts. If you try nothing and still win, then you’re lucky…. I haven’t wrote so long. My sword is still rusty. You see, but I still try. If I have given up, I would not have written anymore. This blog, this discovery is a product of my efforts of my tryings. Yes, in the beginning, it’s embarrassing, I made mistakes, but as I kept trying, genuinely trying, it gets better.

Sometimes God gives us unwinnable situations like in the case of Job to test us. In that scenario, results don’t matter. People, Job’s friends look at the results, they look at his predicament, his remaining wealth, family, children, wife, and they call him a failure. But Job didn’t look at the results. He knew in his heart that he tried, he tried, maybe his best, genuinely, to please God. So he tried to plead his case with his friends and God. And he was proven right.

I can write about how efforts and tryings correlate to better results, but that’s not my point. My point is even in the most hopeless of situations, of scenarios, as long as you try your best in that given time, which definitely includes God, maybe only Him, then, in that time frame, you won.

When I was feeling depressed and sad about the hopeless battle called my Calculus test, a word came to me and it said “Even if it’s a defeat on paper, it’s a victory in the heart.” Even if it seems I’m struggling in all my classes, which is pretty true, I resolved, already resolved, to try, regardless of the results, regardless if I get a F. Why should I still try? Because even if it’s a defeat on paper, it’s a victory in the heart.

I’m struggling with my life right now. I am constantly attacked but I still try to seek God and I still try to try to increase my try for God. That, I think, is what matters.

11/13/2016: MDWG

11/13/2016: MDWG

10:35pm – 11:13pm (session continues)

God, I come before you to say thank you. To say that You are my father and my defender. When temptation comes, you gave me strength and knowledge and wisdom to delay and to think, to think about You. I have Your blood. Thank You God. What matters, O Lord, is that I try, my life is all about trying, trying to seek You, trying to love You, trying to pick up my sword and fight for love. I fail a lot, many times, most of the times, almost all the time, and I gave up many times, many many times, but I still try. To me, O Lord, life is about trying. Lead us O Lord, lead us to You. Continue to teach us wisdom and knowledge and your love.

Father God, people may leave me, but you never leave me nor forsake me. All I need in life, O Lord, is You. Just lay me down, you fill me up to pour me out.

You give people their destinies.

God, I come before you to worship You O God. I do not know how much time I have left. I don’t know how much time we have left. But however much time that we have, may we maximize our time with You, O Lord. You don’t give your heart in pieces. I thank You God. You gave it all O Lord. Thank You. My time here on earth is limited, it is but a span. I do not know what’s going to happen in this world or my life, but You hold the whole world in Your hands. You change everything O Lord. Thank you. You are not a man who should lie. You gave your whole heart. Thank you Jesus. It’s not in your nature to withhold from me.

Help us not to thank You for granted. Not to take peace for granted. Not to take freedom for granted. Not to take Bethel, my fellow Christian brothers and sisters, my church, for granted. Help me Lord, not to take my current situation or future situations for granted. Each day is a gift from You. Thank You Jesus.

You love me because. Help me to be my best in You. Thank you Jesus, thank you God. It’s not in Your nature to withhold from me. God, may You bless my church, may You bless my Christian brothers and sisters. May you bless this world, this country, this nation, and all the countries of this world. You are coming for them. You are coming for all of them. You are gathering broken hearts, broken minds, broken pieces to You O God. You are mending us again. You are coming for us. You are coming for us. Thank You Jesus.

Give us hearts that love You, hearts that seek You. Give us hearts that know You. You are not a God who hides. Thank You Jesus. We made mistakes, I made mistakes, I envied the proud, I envied those who are without restraint. I know O Lord, that seek You, that spending time with You, should be our number one thing. You should be our one thing.

You are not here to tease us; You are here to love us. You are the God that keeps Your word, that keeps your promises. Thank You God, thank you Jesus. Your love is pure. Your love is precious. Thank you God for making us precious, so precious. Who are we to judge, O Lord, on who we should love or love more. Everyone is your creation; everyone is your beloved. Thank You God, thank you Father.

Thank you Father for your mercy. Thank you God for your grace. You are changing everything. You are changing me. You are changing everyone. Thank you Jesus, thank you God.

Heal my mind, heal my heart, heal my soul, heal my spirit, and heal us O Lord. Heal us. Heal our nation. Heal this world. Thank You Jesus, thank you God. You are a loving God and loving Father. Thank you Jesus, you are wonderful and you are great. You are almighty. You give us hope. You give us future. This poor man called, and you healed him. This poor man called, and you answered. You are the God who answers prayer. You are the God who loves us. You are the God who is in control. You just love us because.

(session continues)
Song: I’m a Mess – Bethel, You Laid Aside Your Majesty- Derri Daugherty, Pieces- Bethel,

 

 

 

11/20/2013:

11/20/2013:

S: 11:18pm
E: 1:20pm

Maybe I should write every day, at least short pieces. Perhaps writing daily will help me in my life. Right now, my mind is kind of in jumbo. I’m thinking so many things and forgetting so many at the same time. I feel disorganized right now, probably the worse time for me to write. :(

Maybe one of the best forms of writing is to write uninhibited. There are exceptions, and maybe a balance to that approach, of course, so wisdom will dictate when to use them. Maybe I should change the tone to myself. I feel I can write so much easier. But, if I write to myself, I’ll be too afraid to post it for everyone to see. So my tone will still be for others, maybe a compromise of both. I’m writing so many maybes, maybe that’s because there’s so much exceptions and maybes in life and we need God’s wisdom to sort it out.

One thing that is bothering me quite a bit is my eye. No, it’s not damaged or anything, so don’t feel sorry for me. Rather, I feel my eye is getting more tired easily. I attribute that to spending too much time in front of a computer. That is one reason why I started my weekly (or I hope it to be) fast. I haven’t fasted for a long time so the fast yesterday was a very lively experience. No, I didn’t feel much hunger pains, rather, I feel like an electric sensation going through my arms and an altered state of awareness, a little like feverish, mentally. I do feel, however, that my body is recovering itself. All those dead cells being replaced. My body restoring balance. Not to mention I save a seventh out of my food budget. Well, not quite, but more like 6.5. My one-day fast was actually closer to a 30-hour fast (no, not the famine although that was a good experience). To adjust to my computer-heavy eyeload, I would take breaks and use deep breathing to rest my eyes. But I feel my eye is getting worse (not vision-wise, stamina) hence the fast. I also decided to fast as a time to grow closer to God, to realize that “man does not live on bread alone but on the every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

I messed up yesterday, I sinned against God, but I know that as Christians, we will never be perfect in this life. I went to the “Rising Our Voices” event at Sunshine Community Center on Friday with my La Fe Intervarsity Christian Fellowship group (whew, long name) and the youth pastor there said those words. Christians are not perfect but forgiven but as Christians, we all try to be like the Heavenly Father, who is perfect. We will finally reach our goal once Christ comes again and gives us new bodies. And my eye got much better thanks to the fast. I know, I’m a bit disorganized right now.

I hate it how timeliness is almost everything. If I’m talking to a person and then I forgot to mention an important word or phrase, then it’s almost always too late to add it back and have the same effect. I get that a lot when I was in the Army. I would be so afraid talking to some people that I wasn’t able to express myself. Or, and I just thought of this, sometimes I would think of something that is cool or ingenious to say in class but I was too afraid or too worried about the consequences that I let the opportunity pass. Then, in hindsight, I should have said it. Maybe, for me, if I reach the point of debating to myself whether I should say something or not, I should say it. My filter is already very layered, like the clinical trials in medicine.

Goodness, I do have quite a few things to say, and that is because this is the first of my many (hopefully) daily or at least semi-daily discoveries (blog). So I got the Positive Qualities chart from Hanna’s Herb Shop and it is great! I love it! I took a picture of the chart and I’m going to share it on Facebook and my blog very soon. One of the qualities I am focusing on right now is “high-minded.” Many times, I find that I’m focusing on low things, my mind sometimes gets in the gutter, ahem. I want to focus on things that are, according to Philippians 4:8, pure, lovely, admirable, or excellent. Some of the traits, I’m still evaluating myself so please don’t judge me :) , I already have or have experienced. Traits such as enduring, frugal, careful, reflective, precious, childlike, among others. But the mass majority, I lack, and some I never even heard about. But, it’s okay. What matters is the journey. Which brings me to my next point (thank God I remembered).

One thing I learned, and thanks to other people’s contributions, is not to see life as goals. If I don’t get an A I’m a loser. If I don’t make this interview then I suck. If I can’t get into my Social Work program than life has no meaning. If we see life from a goal or external perspective, we will tend to give up more easily if life doesn’t go our way. I was reading an article two weeks ago on Wall Street Journal about the reason why the author got this far in business is because he had a “systems” approach as opposed to what I call a goal approach. Life gave him many setbacks, he made many mistakes, but he still chose to keep going. What gave him the strength to keep going was in his approach. He doesn’t place a high emphasis on winning or losing but on effort, on enduring, on not giving up. I call it the journey approach. I want to see life and my dreams and strivings as a journey not as a win-or-lose goal. I didn’t get the job I want. Not a big deal. What matters is I’m on my journey. Storms may come, my feet may get muddy, I may even take steps back or get lost, but as long as I’m on my journey, as long as I’m on my path, that’s what counts. It’s okay if I can’t become a lawyer and fight for human rights. It’s okay if I can’t have a high-paying job. It’s ok. I just need to keep in the journey or path that God has given me. Great things will come naturally if I just focus on my journey.

21 Cleric

I call my journey the Paladin’s path. I think it should be the cleric’s path. If you ever played dungeons-and-dragon’s type games or got really into the Lord of the Rings, you will know what I mean. Actually, if you just like medieval RPG-type games, you will know what I mean. When I was in the Army, I wanted to be like a Paladin. A paladin uses physically as well as spiritual strength to fight against evil. Back then, it sounds fitting for me. I was more extroverted, I was around people a lot more. But now, I feel like being a paladin is no longer a perfect fit. A paladin is 50% spiritual and 50% physical. I’m not that physical. Instead, I’m more like a cleric (75% spiritual/magical and 25% physical or melee). I prefer to spend more time on God than with people or with this world. I still want to be with people and lead them gently to Christ, hence the 25% physical, but I feel more comfortable with God. I’m not as spiritual as a priest, or for non-faith terms, a mage, who is 100% spiritual/magical. As a cleric, I’m more behind-the-scenes support but I can still fight if I chose to. Ok, I’m talking in codes but if you like RPG games, you will know what I mean.  P.S. The clerics in the above picture should have less armor and smaller weapons and one hand holding the Bible  :)

Gosh, so many status updates. No wonder I chose to have a blog instead of writing tons of Facebook updates. Lol, just kidding. I started writing a journal since 7th grade because I want to be more in-tune with myself and because I feel it will hold some significance in the future.

I am also looking for ways to earn more money. It’s hard. I tried to find ways in the past but I always reached a roadblock. Oh you can fill out surveys. I tried that and more often than not, it’s a gimmick or completely not worth my time. I have spent half an hour just trying to qualify for a survey only to be rejected. Wow, how wonderful is that. I was forced to lie and even then, many times, the agency won’t reward you the survey credit. It’s a mess. Second, I can sell stuff. But I don’t have much stuff to sell. Well, I do have some, but I don’t know the procedures or how to sell them on eBay. I’m going to find out. Third, I can have my own vegetable garden or make stuff! But the problem is I’m renting my room and there’s not much stuff I can make. I could learn sewing but is it worth the time to make something that could be sold at Wal-Mart for $5? I am planning to have a little fruit orchard or a vegetable garden once I own a house. And I prefer to move to a place where there is plenty of annual rainfall. Then, I can also install a rainwater collection system. Ok, I’m getting off-topic. Bottom line is, there’s not a lot of ways to make money besides working. Oh and I could invest, but that’s for the long-term. I want money now.

Recently, in the past few days, I gained more of an insight in making money off-hand. I could sell my blood plasma. El Paso has a plasma center very close to where I live. I could get, if the prices are still current, about $30 per donation and I can donate twice a week. That’s $60 a week or, being optimistic, $240 a month. Pretty good deal. I do need to learn how to see stuff on eBay. The part I’m most confused in is when a customer places an order. What do I do next? Do I just get a box, write the customer’s mailing address, and ship it from a local post office? A church family gave me a box of Super Nintendo games and I’m thinking about selling them. I feel bad about selling those because it has sentimental value. I also could, ok don’t hate me, sell my sperm at a sperm bank. When it is time for me to masturbate, I will not use any of their supplementary materials because I don’t want to sin against God. However, the problem with that is I may not qualify. In general and to be stereotypical, I need to be White, six-feet tall, and a traceable family history going back to at least four generations. Well, I could give it a try, but I’m not optimistic.

I want to end my post about God. What I really need to do, and what I would ideally want to do if I have the discipline, is just to talk to God. That is the best use of my (and I daresay our) time. I do find that everything (good) comes from God. Being with God gives me peace, direction, purpose, and inspiration, and wisdom. If I can just spend time with God all the days of my life, then everything will be ok. It is the life to come that counts. One of the values I am focusing on, as I wrote earlier, is “high-minded.” I don’t want to waste my time or focus on things that are worthless, so, I spent my time on productive things. However, the things I switched to productively doesn’t really focus on God. I just shifted gear to how to make more money, interesting information that might be useful, and real-world life learning. The chief of high-minded is in the spirit. I should also be focusing more time on spiritual things. That is partly why I feel so disorganized and random. I need to seek God first and then everything else.

Ok, this is another one of my longest blog/discovery/journal pieces I have written in a while, at 2,085 words and counting. To end this blog, I want to share a song that gave me motivation. “They can try to deny what’s inside of me / But there is more, can’t ignore all the things unseen.” I know that it is God who helped me in my life and without Him, I would die. The secular world can call this “God” by other names, such as wishful thinking, positive thinking, stress-displacement, empowerment, inner-strength (strange cause I feel I got none), placebo effect, etc, but I know that it is God’s spiritual power that gave the strength and power to live life. Without God, I would had broken down when times are hard. Instead, I pray and I felt strength. It’s hard to explain it. I know God is real because I’ve experienced Him working in my life.

8/8-9/2013: Let It Go

8/8-9/2013: Let It Go

S: 11:42pm
E: 12:31am

I have so much to write, I have so little to write. I don’t know what to write about. Life right now feels surreal. I am now alone all the time. I try. I try so hard to be with people, to love God, to do and be my version of the Spiritual Man according to Watchman Nee. However, I try, even with God, and failed. Anna told me something that cheered and gave me hope. She told me to stop trying. “In other words,” Anna wrote, “stop fighting, let GOD FIGHT FOR YOU.” Later, she texted, “Steven.. Just let go.” I replied, “Ok, I will try to let go and just depend on God. thanks.” Maybe the key to victory and success is not really to try, because man is weak, but to “just let go” and let God take over. I knew that concept before and I applied it in the Army. Somehow, I forgot. The Bible has many instances where God just told Israel to stand and watch. He will do the battle for them. But, there are other instances where man tried and, due to their efforts, they won. I’m thinking of Jonathan’s courageous charge that changed the tide of a battle. There are times when all the Israelites were asked are to sing, or to just take up battle positions, or to just stay and watch and let God do the fighting.

At least I’m putting some of my time into good use. Yesterday, I renewed my Texas Vehicle Inspection sticker, and studied the THEA (Texas Higher Education Assessment) because I’m thinking of becoming a teacher. I also took advantage of the Valore Books offer of buy or rent three books and get the fourth for free. I went to the UTEP bookstore website and found I only needed three books. So, I choose the fourth book of my choice. I chose the ASWB Bachelor’s Study Guide so I can get a head-start on preparing for the social work examination. It is the test that matters. I was going to get a book on military strategy or an introductory updated book on Social Work but I reasoned that, for the military strategy, I already have a book about it, and knowledge concerning Social Work tends to be updated frequently. If I buy the introductory book, it may be obsolete in a decade.

Today, my main mission is to spend time with God and to organize. I did more organizing than God. I cleared my old mail and receipts. I put things back where they belonged. I placed my old schoolwork from my summer classes into archives and got ready, at least on paper, for the Fall semester. A remarkable thing is I did all of them without really trying. I wanted to do them so I just did them. Granted, I also played a lot of games on the side but I feel it is a big improvement than me trying to get things done. Hmm, I remember the song by Rascal Flatts “When you change the way you look at things / the things you look at change.” I wanted to worship God and to clean my life up so I did it without really trying. My divisions (army) are tired and weak. They cannot try anymore. I already exhausted its strength. Oh and I glued my car side-mirror back on.

Tomorrow, I may further organize my room and go to McDonalds to study the THEA. I want to do that. I want to go to McDonalds so I can study and be with people and enjoy the food. Ever since McDonalds have the $1 McDouble promotion, I realized that the restaurant has a dollar menu! I can buy any burger and drink for only $1, plus tax. Compared to buying my own burger patties, which at Albersons cost $1 for 1 when it’s on sale, it is a good deal. I not only get the patty but the bun, the vegetable, the condiments, and it’s already cooked and prepared for $1. McDonalds might be my new military DFAC (dining facility). And they got Wi-Fi, too, and I haven’t tried it yet. And it’s convenient, only a short drive from my flat. I could walk, like I did to Don Haskins Center for Danny’s graduation, but I’m lazy. Well, maybe I should walk. I could use the PT (physical exercise).

Danny and Shawna’s family has been calling me regularly but I always had my phone on silent. Well, they stopped calling me today, but still. I told myself that if I am going to give up, I will at least walk up to them and give them a chance. I think they are one of the families that love me. My mail goes to their place although not anymore. I changed everything to be sent to my residence address now. I know my landlord told me before that it could be dangerous to send mail here because people in my area may steal them but I, after much bitter thinking last week, decided that the alternative is better. Back then, I want to avoid them. I don’t want to walk up to the front door and see them just so I can get my mail. I already did my best with God and I failed. Why should I be with people again? Why should I try again? I’m just going to fail again, I reasoned.

Danny probably would have never thought I would leave. Before, I wanted to help him on his college applications. But when I had the time and was available, Danny told me he’s busy, that he has to “work.” I wondered to myself if their family is too busy to prepare Danny for college, then they are probably busy at the wrong things. I still want to help him; I still want to help everyone, including my church. But, I can’t go back, not yet. It is too painful. Failing or failure especially when I gave me weak little all with God is too traumatizing. I will continue to follow Anna’s advice to “Just let go” and let God “FIGHT FOR YOU.”

Speaking of Anna, I texted her yesterday that either I or her can call each other in the afternoon and I should have called her. I thought the advice she gave me is enough. Well, it probably is, but one thing I learned in the Army is to communicate and understand, even if the communication is weak, because it is better than nothing. With nothing, someone can come and influence things and make it much harder for me. I’ll try to call her again today (its past midnight). I don’t care if I can’t perform at 100% or even 50% of my best. As long as I have a lifeline with her, that is what matters.

PS: And to give a more complete picture (since I feel I am being more split-minded than before), what if I don’t want to talk to her? What if I don’t feel like talking to her when the time comes? Should I still talk to her? Should I *try* to talk to her? Well, a promise, if I told her I will call, is a promise, so regardless of how I feel, I should still call her. It’s like I may not feel like going to class but I have to so I do the best I can to make adjustments and do it. Actually, it’s not really a promise. I made that sentence to her a question mark. I might call her or she might call me. I can’t make promises anymore. I told myself that. Look at all the promises I made to God. “My best resolves I only break.” My credit rating (spiritually) is too low for me to make any more promises. When I talk to God, I no longer make any promises, except for emergencies. Instead, I tell Him that I will try or for Him to change me and/or make me do what I said.

8/1/2013: My Story with God

8/1/2013: My Story with God

S: 12:42am
E: 2:12am

I haven’t written a blog in a long time. Today, I decided to read a few of my “subscriptions” which includes, cutefully, “Little Notes,” “Little Reflections,” and “The Trees will Clap.” I named my blog “Little Dream” because that is the original name for this blog. I have a dream, a little dream for this world.

I need to go to sleep. Tomorrow is the last day of class! I did not do my best in the class because I’m depressed, but I did fight every battle. I told myself that I don’t care if my work is horrible, what matters is I’m going to give every required assignment a try.

What I want to write is why I’m not going to church anymore. It pains me. I love my church, I love God, I love my youth group, but I have at least three reasons why I’m going to go home.

First, and in no particular order, if I cannot love my church fully, I would rather not love them at all. I know that if I love them fully, I will be rejected, or so my intelligence says. Being able to love them only a little bit, having limits to my love would induce suffering for me. I have like a “all-or-nothing” or “go big or go home” mentality. When I was still going to church, I had great plans. I want to eat with my youth group, talk to them, share with them, but I wasn’t able to. They were not receptive. It hurts me that I can only do so little. If I cannot reach my full potential, I would rather go somewhere else where I can. I know recently, my youth group is having weekly fellowship but I feel, through the pain, that starting it now is too late.

Second, I did my “best with God and failed.” It’s one thing to do my best and fail. I can just talk to God for forgiveness and strength. It’s another to do my best while asking God and still fail. I feel horrible. I feel betrayed. I feel my current life is just too hard. Going to church, trying, makes my life harder. I would rather stay home and love God privately. I think of the song “Good-bye” sung by Emily Bond and it conveys how I feel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYWGYuypozU). Lord, I’ve been travelling for so long and seems like I’m always saying so long so long. My life before the Army was hard. Army life was hard. Post-army life is hard. I’m only able to be alive thanks to God but continuing on the fight is just so hard. Unlike most people, I am different. I suck in this world. I don’t want to go into the details of why. You can read my other blogs for that. :) But I try, sometimes I do my best to rectify my weaknesses, to little anvil. I am still weak, I still suck. But it’s okay. If life is too hard, if life is too difficult for me, I have an exit strategy.

Third, people don’t trust and love me completely. To give an example, I have been going to my church for more than two years and yet, despite my effort to love, I still feel like not everyone there loves me. Ok, I know not everyone has to love me, but I feel that people there could love me more. I feel they only love me because of what I can contribute. I do the church powerpoint and sometimes I wash dishes. They only love me because of that. And, they love selectively. There are church members who just don’t talk to me and, to me, seem like they are avoiding me. Yet, when I stopped going, then they start to text me or act concerned. I find it kind of funny at this hypocritical behavior. When I was with them, they normally don’t talk to me, but when I am gone, all of sudden, they miss me. Why don’t they talk to me when I was with them? I feel I am at least half-right to say that they only care about money. If I have money, then I would be courted. I know that people there will treat me differently. I am at least half-right because America is a capitalist society. Rights and freedoms, if they are given out, are doled to those in the upper socio-economic classes first. One reason why my dad is so critical of going to church is because of this reason. “Money cannot buy everything” but I feel like, with wisdom, money could buy everything. Heck, in the Bible, we can use our wealth to gain treasures in heaven (Luke 16:9). So, I’m not going to church again until my annual income is at least $40,000. $50,000 would be better. Then people will respect me. Then people will love me. If I can’t reach it without the former, then I’ll leave this world because life will be too hard. [added later] And to add, I my church cannot help me completely. If I were to tell them all my issues and problems, they would probably reject me. They won’t be able to help me. I know this based on my experience with my church. I remember a time when a homeless woman came to our church. She lugged around a small red wagon with her “stuff” which are in suitcases. I chose to love her and to welcome her because I felt that is the right thing to do and I have a heart of love. During lunch that week, I did not sit with my youth group nor with church adults, but I sat with her and listened. I was the only one who sat next her. This is the kind of unconditional love I want from people. I remember Marisa and how she would greet and love people who are new. Unforuntantly, my love was not perfect. Part of me wished I didn’t get so involved with her because I saw her as a burden. Luckily, that week was my last week before going to LA to visit my dad. I told her that and said she will see me again in two months if she comes back to our church.

Some people may read this and call me “weak.” But, I challenge you that if you were in my shoes and if you were to experience what I have to endure, most will have probably given up long ago. In basic training, I was telling a soldier in public about very special problems and he told me to curse God. “[Your] Life sucks,” he said, “Why are you even being with God?” He told me he wouldn’t live my life. I have to concede though. I am not as strong as those people who live on the streets. If I have to live on the streets, if I have to endure those conditions, then I would rather die. Life would be pain and hell. When I pass by them begging on the streets I think about their inner strength. What gives them strength? How do they endure this? Why don’t they just die and be at peace? God will be the judge.

So these days, I am relaxing and doing what I want. I am trying to do what makes me happy. I am playing computer games and fulfilling my desires. But, I know it is second-rate. However, it is the best way that I can think of. I don’t want to try in something that will bring me pain. I don’t want to try in something that I can’t succeed in. I want to succeed in that. I want to be with my church but I can’t and therefore don’t want to because I already tried my best with God and failed. If I cannot be completely loving and caring, then I will be completely aloof. I will be distant and business-like. Because to be in the middle will bring me pain.

So, I am still going to continue in my Social Work program because I already made that choice. Whether I succeed or not, I don’t care. I’m just going to do my best because that is a battle I have to fight. If my best is not enough, then I have other plans.

I remember that many times, in the Army, I have come this point before, many times. But every time I’ve been here, God always finds a way to help me. I’m thinking this time, it may be different. But, it may not. I was going to give a testimony to my church and my introduction starts with this: “I told myself in the Army that I just want two things from God. For God to keep me alive and that I can always talk to Him anytime peacefully because I figured that if I can just talk to God, then I can have everything.” Maybe Satan won. Like in the Book of Adam and Eve, Satan buried the two figs that God gave them. Yet, God made changed those two figs into two fig trees. I am a child of Seth and even though, sadly, almost all of them went down to sin with the sons of Cain, I will still do my best to love God. It’s a tragedy. When they left the holy mountain to the sons of Cain, they could not go back up again. I wondered to myself what could they do to be saved? I am like one of them, a child of Seth, who went down to sin and darkness. But, instead of continuing in my sin like what the children of Seth did, I will separate myself from them and try to find others like me who want to seek God’s mercy again. Perhaps He will spare those children and maybe the Flood would not have happened.

It’s too late now, it’s too painful, I’ve tried (I think with God) and failed. I don’t want to go to church anymore until I have money because if I do, then people will respect and love me. I know this world is messed up. I can see it, but there’s nothing I can do to change it. Well, the only thing I think I can do, and the most important thing any Christian can do, is to pray. My whole life has been a failure and a story of God’s mercy on me. But it is too painful. I don’t want to suffer anymore. I want to say good-bye because I have been travelling for so long. To survive, I’m going to go back to my natural self, before the Army. I’m going to be super introverted and just seek God alone. I’m going to have a cold, distant shell to people because it will be too painful otherwise. I find joy in singing. I love to sing. I’m glad I have more than a thousand Christian songs in English, Chinese, and Spanish and when I sing those songs, I find joy, I find happiness, I find hope. So when I feel alone, I would sing. It’s too painful to go back, it’s too painful to try again. Partly it’s my fault and partly it’s their fault.

But I will try to continue to write my discoveries. I did that before the Army, too. My story will always be my “story with God.”

7/18/2013: Good-bye (Public Version)

7/18/2013: Good-bye (Public Version)

S: 1:05am
E: 1:30am

I know it is late and I have class at 11:40am tomorrow. I have been reading a few blogs or discoveries in the past and it conveys how I feel now. Maybe I shouldn’t write anything about myself anymore. I feel unwanted, unloved, unneeded, un-everything. The only difference between now and then is my grammar and a little more wisdom to know what to write. Some people suck at life and I am one of them. I suck at living in this world. I should have been dead long ago, if it’s not for Jesus. I was going to change myself for the worse, but I realized that in order for me to survive in this world, I need to do the strength, courage, wisdom approach. The blogs I write today I am not likely to read until maybe five or ten years from now. And, I probably will publish them but it will be private due to the judgments of men.

I feel like the song “I wanna run away never say good-bye….” I just want.. I just want nothing to do with people. I feel so hated and so alone. How long O Lord, how long? I can’t take this anymore. I.. I am taking too much pain. It is too painful for me. I just want to surrender.. and let God be my Judge because He sees the heart.

I feel this time there will be no remedy. In the past, I got remedies, I got help, but most likely, not this time. My best friend Waley is gone. I’m living alone. I can just ignore my church. As for my mail which is sent to a church family, I can just make cold visits to collect it. Worse case, I’ll just open a P.O. box. No big deal, at least, better than the alternative. I’m not in the Army anymore so I don’t have that responsibility.

I remember when just getting into UTEP was a big deal. I remember when getting into my Social Work program was a big deal. Now, I feel it is all a curse. Why should I struggle, to continue, to suffer more? I feel I am just getting small victories but losing the big ones. And those “small” victories are not victories at all. They just cause more pain and suffering and hardship.

I feel like I’m an “undesirable.” If this is World War II and I lived in an Axis country, I would have died. I am useless or at the very least, I think too much.

Lord, part of me writing this discovery is also to talk to you. cde. God, I don’t know what went wrong. I thought I did my best to follow You. Of course I messed up and I get depressed, but ——————————————————————. All things come to an end, except your Eternal Kingdom. God, I have a lot of desires, needs, and wants, and You know them. Not because I verbalize them but because You already know, and more than that. God, maybe I am a loser. I am a loser. I try. I am a person who honestly tried to do good, to better myself, to follow you and through You to improve myself, to be with people, to help people, and to do everything that is good. Lord, I feel like.. sometimes I feel like you are not there, that you don’t care about me. But Lord, I told myself that even if I feel that You are not there, I am still going to love You to the end. If my end is tomorrow then so be it.

God, you don’t have to but if you want to, please help me. Grant me my wishes, God. Let me know that You still care and love me. I need a —————————————————————————————————————————–. I really want to. The only reason why I’m still alive, why I still choose to live in this world is because I feel I still want to fight. But I’m fighting a losing battle because my morale is very low and it can only increase if you help me. Help me by giving me the girl you give me. Any girl you give me will be perfect, very good at least. I don’t want to be with people anymore. I don’t want to do anything, to progress in life anymore. I just want to rest and do what I want —————-.

But if I cannot do what I really want, —————— because what I really want will or should be what God really wants me to do. But I am depressed. I am seeking escape. I am playing computer games again. I don’t want to ———————————. This world sucks. I lose in this world. I want to win somewhere else. But I know it is this world that counts and the spiritual world that really counts. Sigh. Lord I’ve been travelling for so long so long. Seems like I’m always saying so long, so long. My pockets are all empty I got nothing more to lose, so take me home to Gloryland and take away my blues. Lord I feel far away from home. And I’m awful tired of singing all alone. Take me home to the Glory, I know that I’ll be then. That I’ll never have to say good-bye again.

My Happenings for Today and an Interview from a Social Worker

3/26/2013: My Happenings for Today and an Interview from a Social Worker

S: 11:07pm
E: 3/27/2013 12:42am (edited)

One of my old-time favorite songs is “He Keeps Me Singing.” I remember when I first heard this song. I was in my barrack room and I was fishing for Christian songs. It is a wonderful blessing to be able to find this song.

I try to write everyday so I may be able to continue my blog. Some of my entries have been too private so I did not share them. I’m planning to post my diaries in retrospect so I can be encouraged to continue writing. If I post it fresh off the press, I may be too self-conscious to write well.

It’s late now but I am reinstituting my one hour close-out time. This gives me time to get ready to sleep. I can’t just do what I’m doing and then the next minute be sound asleep.

I have a whole long chapter to write about investing but I’m going to put that off until later. I want to continue to refine my learning and my strategy.

Yesterday was a difficult day. As much as I tried, I didn’t get much done during spring break. I had a test from social work and although I did half of the test during the break, I’m surprised at my slow progress. If this test was in class I would probably do poorly. Then again, most of my time is spent reading. Even in a graded class, I think most students have a choice to make. They can either read the book and do whatever just to get the answers or they can take the time to learn the material and save it in their life. I chose the latter and although it is slower, it is worth it in the long-run.

A class I am having trouble in right now is Spanish. All my other classes are in English so I can find ways to fight it, but this class is a different foe. Part of it is my fault. It is more than just a 3-credit class to me. For me to actually learn Spanish through that class and not to just get a passing grade on it, I need to treat it like a 6 or even a 9-hour class.

Honestly speaking, Psychology I have my study guides which I can do at the last minute and still get an A in the test (and turn in my study guide for an extra five points!). For my Social Work class, I can take the test in my room. For my Technical Writing class, I just take copious notes and use that to work on class projects. But for Spanish, there are no shortcuts. I have difficulty even understanding some words in the PowerPoint. This class will just require in-depth planning and hard work. I’m glad the rest of my classes are relatively easy.

I was going to volunteer at Community Solutions but when I reassessed myself, I realized I need to prioritize my time more on my studies. I feel even my extracurricular activities at UTEP which includes Intervarsity will also need to be cut. The only thing extra I’m focusing on is my church work. I’m like a country. Because my time budget is in trouble, I am forced to make cuts. Heh. Of course, I can also work on my efficiency which I am also doing, but that is not easy, too.

Today, before I forget, I want to share some information presented from the guest speaker in my Social Work class. One good thing about keeping a journal is I can record the day’s events. However, I did not write everyday and I forgot many precious gems that previous guest speakers have shared. Writing a journal is very similar to saving a game.

I want to start by saying that having guest speakers to share about their jobs and themselves has been very beneficial to our class. It allows us to know more about the field of social work and to learn more about life. Many of the students thought they already know what they want to do but after hearing a real-life social worker speak about what they do in their field of work, they start to have second thoughts. Me too, it’s a life opener.

Today’s guest speaker is Angie [last name omitted], LMSW. She currently works at Hospice El Paso. She is an administer or a director.

Typically, according to her, if you complete your masters within three years of graduating from your bachelors, you may be considered for a management position.

She calls herself a “baby” because she recently graduated with a Masters in Social Work and she is already in management.

First, what is hospice? Hospice is a place where terminally-ill people go to.. die. It is special place, with specially-trained professionals, so they can die with the least amount of pain and with the most peace.

The place she works at has people of all ages, not just the elderly. To be placed in a hospice, a doctor needs to verify in the orders that a person has less than six-months to live.

She said that dying is a very private moment. It is unlike the birth of a baby. In that case, the family is happy and wants to tell everyone.

The hospice she works at treats patients’ free-of-charge. If they can pay, the center will charge the insurance, but if they can’t, they will still accept that person.

She shared about a case. There is a, I think 45 year-old man who was admitted into the hospice center. He had been abandoned as a child. He was homeless and living on the streets when he was diagnosed with cancer. The hospice center, thankfully, took him in. As social workers, we are to find resources to help our clients as much as possible. We are to keep trying, even if the situation looks bleak. His “dying wish” is to be buried. He said he fears cremation. However, in this hospice center, that is very difficult due to the lack of funds. Many people there get cremated instead. But this social worker didn’t give up. She called multiple funeral homes for help. Fortunately, this hospice center has the foresight to have a few plots for patients just in case if cremation doesn’t work out. The cost of a burial is about $6,000 and he had no funds. Yet, somehow she was able to put it together. There was also about a $1,000 fee for some service but she spoke to the funeral director about his sad story and was able to get the fee waived. This dying man got his wish come true.

She also, because he had no family, tried to locate his family. He called all the homeless shelters about him. No leads. She then remembered he came from Las Cruces and he was in prison for a time (something along those lines, not 100% sure) so she called their police department. They ran a check and found a few matches, but, they told her the police cannot give her their contacts due to privacy issues. They suggested her to try looking for him online instead. So she went on people search and found like 100 similar names. Because she doesn’t have the time to call every one of them, she narrowed the results down to only those that are in Texas (I think) or New Mexico. She called each name asking if they know this person. Some of the people she called thought she was crazy, others don’t know, but there was one (I think) that said the name sounds familiar. That person told her that he/she will contact his extended family to see if they know. Well, sadly, that person never called back. The search was futile but what matters is that she has a heart of stone to try.

There is also another case where a girl of fourteen said her last wish is to have a quinceañera. Well, the social workers got together and managed to plan a quinceañera for her. All the staff and (I think) her family attended. It was great for her.

Sometimes I wonder. What is my dying wish? Okay, I’m getting off-topic so let me continue.

This is taking too long so I’m going to skip to an important part. Towards the end of her interview with our class, one of the questions was “What is the most important skill for a hospice social worker?”

She replied that the most important skill for a social worker working in a hospice setting is to have a “heart of stone.” That social worker needs to be tough, he/she needs to have a “cold mind.” When the family is crying and collapsing that worker needs to have the heart to also cry with them but not fall down to the floor like them. That worker needs to be strong because the family looks to that person to make decisions.

Second, she said that person needs to have good “begging” skills. That worker will have to contact various agencies to serve his/her clients.

Third, the social worker needs to be “very comfortable with yourself.” Self-care. That helper needs to know themselves, their strengths and limitations and to take care of his/her heart.

As social workers, we know families have a grieving process. So, this particular hospice also offers the family a year of emotional support.

Angie ended her presentation by giving our class a case scenario. We are to tell her what we would do. It is:

You have a 33 year-old female, US citizen, has 4 children, raised in Mexico, came to the US recently but don’t know the language, single mother, has breast cancer (last stage), has minimal food, her only support is her mother whom is legally blind. (There is a bit more to it but I can only write so fast..)

What would you do? What would Jesus do?

I told Angie that I would use both the problem-solving strategy and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to help that person. By using the problem-solving strategy, I meant I will split her problems into many and solve them one by one. And I will solve the most urgent ones first. Her aside asked me which one would I solve. I told her the problem of food and shelter. She concurred.

After a while, I thought about this hospice and about needing a doctor’s order to be placed there so I was just about ready to raise my hand again when Angie told our class, tearfully, that the person she described is her mother.

She was twelve years-old at the time. Her mom, although a US citizen, did not choose to receive any public assistance. She said it’s a shame to rely on food stamps. Her family lived in a garage. Angie was the only one who cared for her mother. She cleaned her wounds. There was no social worker or medical professional to help her. When her mother died, she remembered going door-to-door to collect money for her funeral. Our whole class was touched and I almost cried.

That, she said, was the reason why she wanted to go into social work. She wants to go into social work so that those who are struggling and dying don’t have to clean the wounds by themselves; that they can have a place and professionals to help them. She told us that we should choose this profession not just to get a steady paycheck but because it is in our heart to do.

I spent a lot of time writing my happenings but I feel, even though at times I may disagree with myself, that it will be worth it in the long-run. If I don’t write, I will mostly likely forget 99 or 100% of what happened day-by-day. My goodness.

I remembered the first time I entered my Intro to Social Work class. The professor had us sit in circles and asked each one of us to take turns sharing why each of us want to be a social worker. I was nervous at that time because my relationship with God wasn’t as close as it was but I still need to the truth. I told the class that the reason why I want to be a social worker is because God helped me so much in the Army. And I feel, thanks to Him assisting me that my passion is also to help others.

I think in a way, God is like a social worker to me. His Words give me comfort and strength. His Words give me wisdom to know how to live life. I still mess up; I still make mistakes, but I know that if I seek the wisdom that comes from God, I will see my faults and change. There are times when life was just too hard for me and I prayed to God for a miracle, for a change of surroundings, and guess what, my situation became bearable. It was never easy and God only gave me (for the most part) just enough to survive. I’m glad that when hard times or any times come, I can always talk to God in prayer. That is my main motivation to being a social worker. I see so much need and so much injustice in this world that I want to, with God’s wisdom, to change it.

I see the low pay that social workers get as a different transaction. The income doesn’t all go to me; it also goes to the person I’m serving. By empowering that person, I am increasing his/her income capacity and even if that’s not the case, oh well, I can have treasures in heaven.

Ok, I need to go to sleep now. I hope tomorrow can be another adventure, too. I doubt it though.

9/18/2012: Even when it hurts

9/18/2012: Even when it hurts

{S: 7:54pm} It is getting late now because I need to sleep early so I have energy for class tomorrow but there is no one I can talk to so I’m going to write on my discovery.

I’m going to go free-fire mode so if something I write doesn’t make sense, with God, it’ll make sense in the end.  This journal is more about my thoughts, feelings, and reflections, than for other people’s judgments.

I feel as a Christian, and as I grow older, I learn more and more about people.  I learned that people are naturally selfish, mean, and they care only for themselves.  That is the ethical theory of egoism.  But God transcends all theories.  With God, we become a new person; a new creation.  In theory, at least, is what it should happen.  But I find, or least with my poor intelligence, that those who love God and love people unconditionally are very few.

I wanted to talk to someone about some issues I’m having and I need some help. Hey, everybody needs help sometimes.  I don’t want to give any names but I want to talk this to this girl, she has a Christian background and can understand my problems.  But, my intelligence (sensing) tells me that that person will most likely refuse.  The chances are deportable.  My English professor told me “If you have to think about it, she’s not the one.”  Haha.  Likewise, if I have to think whether that person or this person will accept my offer, he or she probably won’t accept it.  Is it a right analogy?  I don’t think so; I can tell it’s different, but I’ll use it because in this sad world, it seems to be correct.  Then I told myself, “If you have a million dollars, you can talk to her.  Well, what if I have it not on earth but in heaven?  : )  Sadly, that is too high; it doesn’t count for most people.

Then, if that’s the case, I don’t have anyone around my age, who I am close to, and who knows God who can help me.  Sure, I can talk to younger people, to kids about this, but I can infer that it won’t help much.  They need more experience in the world and wisdom from God.  Maybe I can talk to my pastor about this but I prefer someone similar to my age and someone whom we can be spiritual battle-buddies.

Part of it is my fault; you can blame me.  I tried to help people; to give even when it hurts, and to give even when it affects my future.  I told myself that the reason I’m giving is for God.  “Don’t thank me, thank God” I would tell them, and it’s not just money.  However, it seems all my diplomatic efforts have failed.  What do I do when diplomacy fails?  Sure, I can give and keep giving, but, I need love back.  I don’t need to receive what I get back, no, but just a little bit back.  I thought to myself, if I receive even half of what I give, man I would be so happy.  I will receive enough to continue to be productive and give.

But I think that is not what God wants us to be.  He wants us to give even if we are under a blockade; even if we receive nothing back and sometimes even hate.  I tried and I feel I got further than most.  But now, I am weary, depressed, and angry.  I’m tired of giving and not receiving.  I’m tired of trying to make diplomatic overtures and have it fail.  You know, Noah tried to make diplomatic overtures to his town and everybody about the coming flood but it fell flat on his face.  It completely failed.  I should not feel bad because if those efforts are blessed by God, it will have an effect.  But I still don’t want to try again anymore.  I don’t want to give anymore.  I’m pissed and angry at people for their lack of love.

Sometimes, I would go to the EPCC library at Rio Grande and go to the KLOVE website to find music so I can download on YouTube.  Today’s catch was really good.  I got Karl Jobe’s “Steady My Heart” song in my computer.  I love that song.  It teaches me to continue to fight “even when it hurts” and “even when it’s hard.”

This bad time is not uncommon.  Everyone will have bad and good times but it will be all bad in the end for those that don’t put their trust in God.  Like this world, I feel the world economy, and since money is everything to people in this world, the world situation is not going to improve and that it will be all bad in the end because the world as a whole did not put their trust in God.

I remember I’ve been through so many bad and dark times in my life and while I was in the Army and, as far as I can remember, the good times come only because of God.  Without Him, I wouldn’t know when the bad times will improve and indeed, it would have gotten worse to the point of death.

I cannot fight alone in life; I will be overcome.  Life is not a single-character RPG game.  We need to fight as a group, at least in twos because if one falls, “his friend can help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

I prefer to be alone yes, but I still need a hotline to a close special friend whom I can talk to at any time.  Everyone, no matter how introverted they are, needs at least one special friend.

One can say, “Well, I don’t need any spiritual battle-buddy because I can always just talk to God.”  That makes sense, right?  But the problem is, with only one person, their vision, and not just physical but metaphysical, is limited. He or she will not be able to see everything and to cover all angles.  They will not know what makes them fall.

I told myself that the least I can do is just to be like a hermit and pray for everyone.  When I say pray for everyone, I mean to spend my 24-hour days just interceding for this world.  Yes, that is good, and I feel that is the least a true Christian can do.  And don’t get me wrong, it is effective.  However, if God tells that person that he needs to go to Nineveh or to do something else, that person will have to obey.

To put it short, I don’t want to be with people anymore; I don’t want to go to church anymore because I don’t feel loved enough.  I think everyone, even Christians, show conditional love.  Back as a soldier, I thought about just helping people to a certain point.  “I’m just one person,” I told myself, “so I can only do so much.”  If that person needs more help, he or she will have to go to someone else.  But then, I thought about God and how He loves and helps us unconditionally.  Sure, I am not God, but Jesus, who is only one man, gave his life to help the world.  I thought to myself, “You know what? If Jesus helps people unconditionally, then I must, too help a needy soldier or a person unconditionally.”  I can’t just say “I’ll give you this much” and then shut the door.  “Even when it hurts / Even when it’s hard / Even when it all just falls apart.”  And God did bless me and help me.  “In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever” (Psalms 44:8).

You know, maybe I should be a pastor; maybe I should be a chaplain assistant.  When I joined the Army in 2008, I only looked at the money; at the enlistment bonuses.  I should have chosen a career I liked instead of money.  Who knows, I would have probably still be in the Army.

So now, sadly, this is what I’m going to do.  I’m going to give my choir book back to my choir teacher.  I’m not going to help my church or anybody anymore, unless they ask for it.  I’m tired; I don’t want to give anymore.  I just want to be free from obligations and so-called obligations and just be free.  I’m still going to love my Lord and my God.  It will just be me and God.  I will not choose to be with people anymore because they don’t love me for me.  I try to love others, or at least in my heart, but I guess I’m an endangered species.  It hurts too much to live in this world; it hurts too much to live with people; so, I’m just going to live with myself and God, because He knows my name.

Or maybe I just need time to recharge myself and to grow in God more.  Then, I can come out of my shell again and be with people.  After all, we are still the body of Christ even though sometimes I wonder if the body has an autoimmune disorder.  {E:9:00pm} edited.

 

1/2/2011: Not I, but Christ

1/2/2011: Not I, but Christ

S: 8:45pm

E: 9:27pm

I got guard tomorrow so I really don’t want to write this, but I felt I needed it so I can help remind myself to follow God.

I feel bad again today. I realized, with some reading in Watchman Nee’s book The Life that Wins that I cannot fix my life. Victory is not attained but obtained.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I realized that I have been spending almost my entire life trying to follow God and to worship Him. I realized that I cannot achieve victory if I keep trying in my own power. I cannot fix myself; only God can. I need to not change myself, but to let Jesus live in me. It’s like changing from “me inside,” to “Jesus inside.” A few of Watchman Nee’s words:

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Every Christian is absolutely able to overcome sins of the mind, body, flesh and spirit, our contrary disposition, unbelief, and even the love of sin. Thank and praise God, this is not an unobtainable, ideal life under consideration here. This is a totally practical way of living which all of us may have in experience.

The Meaning of This Life—Not a Changed Life, but an Exchanged One

First of all, please notice that victory is an exchanged life, not a changed life. Victory is not that I have changed, but rather that I have been exchanged. One verse which is most familiar to us is Galatians 2.20: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God.” What is meant by this verse? It has only one meaning: the life spoken of is an exchanged life. Basically, it is no longer I, for it has absolutely nothing to do with me. It is not that the bad I has become the good I, or the unclean I has changed to be the clean I. It is simply “not I” Today people make a serious mistake in thinking that victory is progressive and defeat is retrogressive—that if a person is able to control his temper or maintain an intimate fellowship with God, then he is victorious. Not so. Let us ever keep in mind that victory has basically no relation to one’s own self.

One brother confessed with crying that he could not overcome. I frankly told him that he indeed could not overcome. He continued to say he could not overcome. How could I help him? I said to this brother: “God has never demanded that you overcome. He has never asked you to change your bad temper to a good temper, your hardness to gentleness, or your sorrow to joy. The way of God is simply to exchange your life for Another Life, which therefore has absolutely nothing to do with you.”

Once I met a sister whom I considered to be the most difficult among sisters to find victory. It required two hours for her to relate to me her defeats and failures from childhood till fifty years of age. She had no way to overcome her pride and ill-temper. She suffered defeats all the time. I had never met a person who desired victory as much as she, nor had I seen anyone who found victory so elusive as she. She moaned over her failures. She even thought of suicide because of her defeats. She found herself so helpless. As she was relating her story to me, I began to laugh. “Today” I said, “the Lord Jesus has met an ideal patient whom He can heal!”

This sister was so full of the sense of her own sins—pride and ill-temper—that she would surely contaminate you by what she told you if you did not know what victory is. You would probably agree with her that there was no hope. But from God’s word there come glad tidings of great joy—because though you cannot change, you may nevertheless be exchanged! The life that wins is an exchanged life. If it were up to you, you would never make it; but if it is a matter of Christ, there is absolutely no problem. The question is: who overcomes, you or Christ? If it is Christ, then it does not matter how you by nature are, even though you may be ten times worse than others.

I ask you, what is victory? It is not you overcoming, it is Christ who overcomes for you. The Scriptures teach only one kind of victory, and this is what Galatians 2.20 declares: “it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me.” The Fukienese in South China have a saying, “No change even with death” I told this to the brethren in Peking and observed that we should all say to ourselves, “No change even with death” Praise to the Lord that I have not changed, but I have been exchanged!

One sister asked me what the difference was between changed and exchanged. I used the following illustration. Suppose I held in my hand a copy of an old worn-out Bible. If I wanted to change it, I would add a new cover, apply some glue, and imprint upon the cover in gold the letters spelling “Holy Bible.” Furthermore, if any letter within its pages was missing, I would print it with ink; or if a letter was not clear, I would ink it more plainly with a pen. I did not know how long this process would take me, nor was I certain if it would come out well. If, however, I decided to exchange it for a new Bible, this could be done in a matter of a second. And in that case, I could give my worn-out copy to a bookseller and he would exchange it for a new Bible. It is just the same in our spiritual life. Since God has given His Son to you, you need not spend any strength of yours but simply give Him your worn-out life in exchange for His Son’s life.

Let me use another illustration. Several years ago I bought a watch with a guarantee on it of two years. But as it turned out this watch was in my house for far less time than it was at the company’s premises; for it began to run inaccurately after a while. As a result, it had to be taken to the company many times for repair—once, twice, even ten times. I was tired of running it over there, and moreover, the watch remained inaccurate. Hence I requested the company to exchange it for another watch. They replied, however, that they could not do so because there was no such company regulation that allowed for this. But since they guaranteed the watch for two years, they told me they would continue to repair it within the guarantee period. This went on for eight months, yet the company still refused to exchange it for a good watch. Finally, I grew so tired of this that I left my watch at the company permanently. This illustration can serve to show that man’s way is always one of repairing. Repair, repair, and repair again within the guarantee period of life. Man has no way for exchange.

Even in the Old Testament time of Bible history we find that God’s way was never to repair, nor to change, but to exchange. Note this passage, for example: “to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, that he may be glorified” (Is. 61.3). To substitute is God’s way….

All these years I have not been able to change myself, yet God has exchanged me. This is holiness, this is perfection, this is victory, and this is the life of God’s Son! Hallelujah!…

Recently I met a sister who told me that having spent twenty years in trying to overcome her pride and ill-temper she had not only failed but also felt quite hopeless. This was what I said to her in response: “If you expect to overcome your pride and ill-temper by your own effort, you will not succeed even after twenty more years. But you can be freed from sins today if you simply accept the gift of God. This gift is freely given by Him, and it is yours by accepting it. The Lord Jesus is the victory. And by accepting Him as your victory, you obtain the victory” Whereupon she accepted this gift that God had given her. Do realize today the vanity of your works and the failure of your life. Accept the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall overcome.

There is one verse with which we are all familiar: “sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace” (Rom. 6.14). How is it that sin shall not have dominion over you? Because you are not under law but under grace. What is meant by being under law? I have mentioned many times before that being under law signifies God requiring man to work for Him. What, then, is being under grace? It denotes God working for man. If we work for God, sin shall reign over us. The wages of our works is having sin rule over us. But if God works for us, sin shall not have dominion over us. Under law, we work. Under grace, God works. When God works, sin shall not rule over us. For it is He who works, and this is victory. Whatever requires effort on our part is not victory. Victory comes freely to us.

Suppose there is a person who has sinned so much until sinning becomes wearisome and meaningless and un-Christian like. Let me tell you that if you accept this gift of God now, you may immediately become a victorious person. For the principle of victory is the principle of gift, not of reward. And all shall be well by accepting this gift.

The life that wins is to be obtained, never to be attained. Obtained simply means gaining possession of a thing. Attained, on the other hand, implies you have a long way to go and that you will proceed slowly without the assurance of arriving at the goal someday. Yet the victory of a Christian is not attained through a slow process. Once I was climbing Mount Kuling. Brother Sing-Liang Yu invited me to go with him. As we gradually climbed, I felt increasingly tired. After we had covered some distance, I asked brother Yu how much farther we had to go. He replied that it was not very far to the top. So we continued to trod on slowly. Still we had not arrived. Whenever I asked brother Yu, I always got the answer that we were almost there. Finally we did arrive. But suppose I were to go up the mountain by being carried in a sedan chair; in that case I would have obtained Kuling, not attained it. All things pertaining to the Holy Spirit are obtained. So that all which is related to victory must be received.

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May I at least reread the selected passages if ever I need reminder that I cannot change myself to God’s standards.

Every time I write “I will try to follow God,” I felt something is wrong. Now I know why. I cannot try anymore. I need to be. If I try to be better in my own power or try to improve myself even with God, I will not make it. We are all too corrupted to be fixed or changed. We must exchange our corrupt, sinful self with God’s perfect self. Then I can find victory, then I can stop playing computer games, then I can win. I need to stop trying to follow God but instead to accept Jesus as my Savior and have Him do the work.

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The Consequence—an Expressed Life, Not a Suppressed One

The consequence of having this life that wins is seen in an expressed, not a suppressed, life. Our so-called victories are always done through suppression. One old lady held in her temper whenever she met unpleasant things. Outwardly she wore a smiling face, but inwardly she was controlling her feelings with great difficulty. After living such a suppressed life for some time, she found the pressure within her had so built up that she began to spit blood. And why? Simply because the problem had remained with her. Yet true victory in the Christian’s walk is an expressed life, not a suppressed one. An expressed life signifies a showing forth that which has already been obtained. It is what Philippians 2.12 intimates to us, when it declares for us to “work out [our] own salvation.” Previously we tried hard to cover ourselves; now we dare to express the victory of Christ in us. Formerly, the more suppressed the better; today, the more expressed the better. Since Christ lives in me, I want to express Him before the world.

Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis had a young girl friend who knew how to compose poems and who was skillful in leading children into this victorious life. One day Mrs. Penn-Lewis paid her a special visit in order to see how she helped the children. On that particular day, this young friend invited more than ten children to a meal. When they had just finished eating and before the table was cleaned, a guest suddenly arrived. She asked these children what should be done to the dirty table. They suggested covering it up with a clean table cloth. She complied by doing just that. After the guest was gone, she asked the children whether or not the guest had seen the spills and stains on the table. They answered no. Then she challenged the children by asking: “Although the guest did not see these spills and stains, would you say that the table is clean?” Their reply was this: “Even though the guest did not see anything, the dirty table is still dirty.”

Let me say right here that many people are ready to be clean outside but not to be clean inside. Who dares to reveal the thoughts and feelings of his or her heart? And yet we consider ourselves to be victorious. When people praise us, we try to look humble. We may appear to be patient, but we hide our impatience under cover. Allow me to speak frankly, that whatever is suppressed within is not victory. Only when you and I go out and Christ comes in do we have victory. And in that case, whatever is expressible is victory.

A sister I know easily lost her temper. One day her maid broke a vase. The sister quickly covered herself with a blanket, pretending to sleep. She was fearful lest she would see the scene and explode. This is a suppressed life.

Suppose a fruit peddler came by and asked you to purchase some fruit from him, but you sent him away without buying any fruit. And suppose he came the second and the third time, but you still did not buy from him. In order to sell his fruits, he had to suppress his resentment each time you failed to buy any of his produce. This is not victory, it is but a business policy. The victory of Christ, though, purifies even the heart. In short, victory means a pure heart.

A brother recently crossed the threshold of victory. He was already over fifty, and he had studied the classics of Confucius all his life. Though he had believed in the Lord for three years, he trusted only in the shed blood of the Lord and its atoning value. During that time he did not see any major difference between Christianity and Confucianism. A follower of Confucius attempts to improve himself by works of endurance and self-control. If he is successful in such works, he becomes a sage. So that after his becoming a Christian, this brother still exercised himself in such attempts. He continued to assume the Confucian attitude of reducing a big problem to being a small matter, and of reducing a small matter to being no matter at all. But at the end of those three years he testified that he knew Christ’s victory had had no touch upon his life whatsoever. How vastly different is Christianity from other religions. It is not only the difference as witnessed by the cross, it is also the difference of our having a living Christ within us. We preach the gospel of redemption, especially a Christ who lives within. Previously this brother had been a genuine disciple of Confucius by keeping a tight control over himself. Now, though, he had let go of himself and had allowed Christ to live through him—without suppression and without defeat.

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I need to live my life without fear. I need to express myself, if Jesus is running my life. And this is where it comes. I am afraid to completely let Jesus take over. If I express myself to everyone: military and on Facebook, what if I mess up? What if I let God be my life one day and then lose it the next? The expression would be an embarrassment and a shame to me. I’m afraid, but I must not be. I must wholeheartedly, give God everything including the consequences of what might happen. I must step out of my comfort zone and let God rule my life. I am not ready to do this, but I will go closer day by day until I delegate my life to God. Then, I will no longer want to play computer games because it’s not me who lives in me anymore, it will be Jesus. I will express the life Jesus wants me to live. I will no longer have to try to win, it will come naturally. I think that is the secret to victory: Not suppression, but expression. Not changed but exchanged.