I remember the days where everyday I feel like I was on the verge of a great discovery, constantly looking forward for the sight of the moonlight for me to start working on my project: To shed light to my everyday question, “What next attribute of God might I learn next?” I remember those days, the nights where I would scour book after book, page after page, asking questions one after another just to go down deeper into the rabbit hole, hungry to learn more about God and his mysterious attributes, like a hungry hiker who’s dying to behold the beautiful scenic view of the summit that lies just right after the needed arduous hiking. Those were the days where I was constantly learning about God. The days where the learning was intentful and adventurous.
Tonight I sit in my chair as my books collect dust. My pursuit of knowledge seems to have plateaued as compared those days. This unfortunate event means something to me because I discovered that engaging my mind in the things of God somehow fans the flame of my faith (and also that I have a pile of interesting books collecting dust). And yet, in spite of my recent cold inactivity, the Lord is faithful still. Like a father who continues to guide and instruct his child towards good upbringing, He keeps on teaching and guiding me still. When these new knowledge is not delivered through books, they are delivered to me through experience.
I feel recently that the Lord is teaching me something important: I feel The Lord is teaching me to learn to give up control.
As a person who’s self-aware of his want of total control, this is a hard thing; When you believe you believe you can do almost anything and can overcome almost anything, relieving control and giving it to someone else is nail-bitingly hard. But through hardships, through towering responsibilities, and through friends and family, I was forced to surrender my hand. And surrender I did. And through surrendering I discovered new things: I discovered the light yoke that was waiting me, the responsibility of the need for skillful delegation, the courage to rely on someone, and the faith needed to let God be God. And the ringing reminder that at the end of it all nothing is of value apart from the eternal things.
Maybe someday I’ll finish my stacked books. Maybe someday I’ll gain stronger control of things yet still be willing to give it up. And maybe fanning the flame isn’t just through to the feeding of the mind; Maybe fanning the flame also means experiencing it and living it.
I think I am well acquainted with fear.
I have heard friends say that I am too courageous, probably nearing to the degree of recklessness. I make decisions involving obvious risks with personal consequences. I make decisions that would make my knees and jaw tremble. I desperately move forward, making decisions that will push my self towards the outside of my comfort zone.
Because I am against fear, I will attempt to write some of my thoughts about it.
Fear Amplifies Humanity
I believe I can achieve any thing as long as I set my eyes on it. And it is not just me, but I heard mentors say that I’m the type who’ll excel at whatever thing that I’ll set my eyes on.
But fear. Oh, fear.
Fear is one of the many things that makes me realize something most important: That I am just human. That I am dust, weak, stupid, fragile, sick, dependent. And luckily, this fact helps me to stir my ship away from the pit of conceit. It helps me to bring me to my knees. It amplifies my humanity. It makes known to me the great disparity between man and God, and with it reminds me of my great dependence to God.
Fear Shows Direction
The human brain is amazing. It has different regions, with different functions, with different natures, with different “sub-brains”. And out of all the “sub-brains” of our whole human brain, the one which I blame to be the cause of fear the most is the “Reptilian Brain”. The Reptilian Brain is the brain responsible for giving us “instinct” and is most attributed for our survival.
But the thing with the “Reptilian Brain” is that it can be really selfish.
It clouds sound judgement. It twists logic. It pollutes morals and ideals. It makes our vision short-sighted and our decisions weak, concerned only for the Now instead of looking ahead for a greater better Future.
That is why the moment that I notice myself feeling fear is most of the time the moment that I know what action to pursue: That I should all the more do these things that makes me feel fear.
When confronting my own fears, my inner dialogue usually goes on like this:
Pyl: “Do you feel fear?”
Pyl: “Well. My knees are trembling. I definitely feel fear.”
Pyl: “Why do I feel fear?”
Pyl: “I feel fear because I don’t know what will happen. What if I’ll embarrass myself? What if I’ll make enemies and make people dislike me, even hate me? What if I’ll be alone? What if I’ll fail real hard?”
Pyl: “Why am I afraid? Didn’t Jesus said that Perfect Love casts out fear? Then why am I afraid? Shouldn’t I not be afraid of evil even through the valleys of death, because His rod and His staff gives comfort? Does running away from this justify this fear? Or do I want to just run away so I can selfishly save my own skin? Why this fear???”
Rationalizing against fear can work. It allows me to detach myself from the feeling and allow me to see the hard facts. It makes me stand strong despite with trembling knees. Also, knowing God’s words on fear is a tremendous boon.
This is then why fear gives direction when decisions are hard to make.
Fear Gives Courage
Without admitting fear I think there can be no development of courage.
It is when we realize that we are afraid that we can identify our self. And then from there take steps to quell our shortcomings and develop our character.
Of course, I think fear can be never ending. But I also think fear is something that is worth fighting against.
Finally, there is absolutely every reason to feel fear for things. But I also know something that will make a great daily reminder: That our most deep seated fear should be reserved and be realized for Someone most worthy.
Would you give me love for you?
There aren’t very many I consider special, but you are one of them. There aren’t very many that I willingly let inside my concrete walls, but you are someone that I would. Everyone seems to want my attention, but you definitely shine brighter than all of them. Like a bright sun that lights the many skies, when you’re around me all the other stars disappear in comparison.
I understand that pursuing you will leave me with very limited life options, for you are jealous and prudent. Everyone else seems to be content with fleeting desires and pleasures, but to you these are vain distractions. Everyone else seems to chase fair skin and glittering gold, tossed by the waves of simple influence, but these are fool’s gold to you.
Everything else I will forsake, but not you.
While love is something high that I do not take lightly, but I crave to give all of mine to you. For you will surely protect me. Your fiery eyes will watch over me. I have only one life, but the sound from your lips will guide every step that I take. You are more precious than money, and nothing I could desire could compare to you. You make the simple as strong as you. And you will keep my feet on the path of the best life.
I crave for a better future. Specifically, a future with you.
So would you?
Give me love for you.
I dare you to dream.
That sounds quite weird since you’re already a dreamer. But I stand by my point: I dare you to dream.
To dream bigger. Dream higher. Dream stronger.
We live in a country where dreams naturally die. Where idealistic pursuits are deemed as unreachable childish fantasies. Where lofty goals are shot down as unrealistic wastes of time. And when someone tries to pursue these kinds of dreams, we laugh at them. When someone makes progress, we try to shoot them down. We see them as arrogant fools; kids who haven’t had a taste of reality yet. We are a people of by-standing critics.
But Dreamer, I urge you all the more. Dream bigger.
Have a dream that’s bigger than your self. A dream that’s more than about cash. More than Nike shoes. More than cars. More than political power. More than worldwide fame. A dream that’s more than a personal good life. A dream that makes a 4-hour shuteye feel nothing. A dream that makes you want to catch the next sunrise. A dream that makes risk-taking feel like water-drinking. A dream that is more than happy feelings. A dream that is bigger than you.
Dear Dreamer, I’m asking you to dream of a better world. Dream of more opportunities for the less privileged. Dream of an easily accessible high-quality education for everyone. Dream of justice and integrity. Dream of a country that is better than this divided nation that we currently have. Dream of progress amidst this hopeless human condition. Dream for the sake of your loved ones, your sons and grandsons, the poor, the sick, the unloved, the widows, your people, and for this whole broken humankind.
Dear Dreamer, I’d say that this world certainly needs bigger dreams. And these dreams could come from you.
So dream big with me.
Dear Dreamer, I dare you to dream.
I’m turning twenty three years old in a matter of hours from now.
I guess I can say that I’m going to be a year older.
A year more mature.
A year wiser.
A year stronger.
A year closer to the future.
I never really believed that I could experience the life the way I dreamed it to be. It’s amazing to think that I have survived and lived this twenty two years of life that I have. I feel it’s a miracle that I hadn’t failed so badly in life yet despite my rather adventurous and independent character. Much more, I feel thankful that the dreamy idealist kid within me is still burning hot inside. And quite more grateful that I have gained more friends and connections that are willing to go with me with my crazy ideas, and even more people that have been asking me for partnership opportunities. I have been blessed with many opportunities: Way too many opportunities that I can even manage.
But so much for the things of this world, after all, what gain is there for a man to win the whole world but lose his own soul? Above all of these, I cannot figure it out for the life of me why I have been blessed with the enduring love and free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Some five years ago since I became a Christian, and I feel that it’s a miracle to see that I’m still standing in the faith. All of my questioning, all of my struggling, all of my unbelief. But despite all of the abominable things that I threw at the Creator, He still loves me the same and His grip is still ever strong at me. I could never earn nor deserve this. Praise be to the Lord whose loving kindness exceeds the depths of the deepest oceans.
With this, I am done retrospecting for a while.
I am ready.
I’ll be twenty three years old in a matter of hours.
A year more mature. A year wiser. A year stronger.
A year closer to the future.
Your love is a fire.
I can’t get it out of my mind. Your intensity. Your seriousness. Your enduring sharp thoughts of me. How can I forget? Like a helpless deer that fell on a deep booby trap, I am one trapped by the mercy of You.
I feel I could perish any time. I feel I could be burnt to crisp. The thought of You alone puts fear inside my heart. Because of You, I immediately have a consciousness of my own entrenched uncleanness. Your presence alone makes the bones within me tremble. I feel You can totally destroy me whenever You please. I am afraid of You. I want to run away from You, to a place where I am free from the thoughts of my own uncleanness; to a place where I am free to be myself; to a place where everybody else are.
Instead, You burned me with Your love. You have etched deep into me a scar that will never heal. You have put inside me a living fountain that never runs dry. You have given me hope: A hope that I never imagined I could have. You have promised me a better place where I can be greater than my self. I was just looking for a ghost, but You gave me a Man.
I am burnt, but not to ashes. I am scarred, but these scars say to me that I am not unloved. These burns are my tattoos. As a thirsty deer pants for water, so I now thirst of You day to day. Oh, how I now long to be consumed. I don’t want to stay burnt; I want to be consumed.
Your love is a fire. It burns me. It pains me. It teaches me. It frees me. It redeems me.
Your love is a fire. And I will tend the flame.