“I find to this day seven abominations in my heart:

  1. Inclination to unbelief;
  2. Forgetfulness of the love and mercy that Christ manifest;
  3. A leaning to the works of the law;
  4. Wanderings and coldness in prayer;
  5. Forgetfulness in prayer;
  6. Prone to murmur when I have no more and yet ready to abuse what I have;
  7. I can do none of the things which God commands me, while on the other hand my sinful nature springs effortlessly;

These things I continually see and feel. And because of these I am in constant suffering. Yet to the wisdom of God, they are for my own good:

  1. My inclination to unbelief: They make me abhor myself;
  2. My forgetfulness of Christ’s love and mercy: They keep me from trusting my heart;
  3. My leaning to works: They convince me of the insufficiency of all inherent righteousness;
  4. My coldness in prayer: They show me the necessity of flying to Jesus;
  5. My forgetfulness in prayer: They press me to pray unto God;
  6. My discontentment when in need and my irresponsibility when in plenty: They show me the need I have to be alert and be sober;
  7. My incompetence towards the things of God: It provokes me to pray unto God, through Christ, to help me, and carry me through this world.”

 

A paraphrasing from John Bunyan, taken from “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners”

A band called Switchfoot just released their newest album, Native Tongue! And to no disappointment do they still deliver: Their songs still feels like home.

Switchfoot was that band that I couldn’t understand. I started to check them out years way back when I met this cute girl who was so into the band’s lead vocalist, Jon Foreman. And when some years after, when I became a Christian, the more I had a hard time wrapping my head around this band. They just didn’t make sense to me. Their songs were too puzzling, their lyrics too ambiguous, their image too dark and heavy (at that time). They didn’t want to be labeled as a Christian band. And they write songs about sex , drugs, and about being a dark horse. I found them too dark, too edgy, and I even thought they went against Christianity.

But the more I grew up in Christ, the more I understood them.
The more I studied the Bible, their songs started to make sense!
The more I was exposed to the scholars before me, the more I was able to understand Jon Foreman and in what he’s trying to do with his life.

Their songs, lyrically, are filled with Biblical references, even quoting scriptures word per word. Listening to a new Switchfoot song feels like solving a puzzle. “What does this verse possibly mean? Oh, I get it! It’s from this parable, this verse from the Bible! How could I have missed it!”

Jon Foreman may not be a C.S. Lewis, but to me he sure feels like one.

If C.S. Lewis is for novel books, Jon Foreman is for music.

 

I’d suggest giving their new album a try. And while you’re at it, why not listen back to their old songs as well?

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’ve had my share of weird experience with girls.

I’ve had a random girl ask me my number, a girl suddenly giving me her number, girls asking me for private piano lessons, girls confessing to me, and other weird things that make me freeze on the spot and blush hot red.

I’m not handsome to many’s standards. I have a weird shape of a head. My height is only decent. My body type isn’t muscular. And I’m not at all charismatic or eloquent with words. I think I just have my weird cool character and my undeserved talents. I perform on stages. I play various musical instruments. I compose. I draw. I play and build things with technology. And I look smart (mainly because of how un-talkative I am).

And thanks to this, I seem to give off an attractive enigmatic aura to the people who’d have enough time with me.

And I enjoy knowing this.

 

To be liked by many, or to be loved by a few.

 

 

I enjoy basking under the spotlight of being liked.

Though flirting is a game that always has me at the oblivious side, but in the end I like it knowing that someone’s into me.

It strokes my inflated ego.

It gives me super-confidence.

It makes me feel that I am special.

My selfish, egocentric, insensitive self enjoys the reassurance.

But recounting all of these, I begin to ask, “What do these things matter? What good is it for people to like me when I myself am detached? What does it matter if I am liked by many, yet I cannot love someone the way I want to love someone?”

Just like every other single guy out there, I too want a significant other.

 

To be liked by many, or to be loved by a few.

 

 

This is then where I begin to ask myself,

“Why do I want to have a girlfriend?”

It’s not like that having a girlfriend will save me from the loneliness from this world.

It’s not like having a human lover will fill the vast expansive limitless space within my heart.

And it’s not like human love, sex, or marriage, is the ultimate goal of life.

 

It’s not.

 

You may respond, “But God said that it is not good for a man to be alone.”

Yet even before God created woman as our partner (and even before Our Fall), He created something first for us. A life; A purpose; Work.

 

Work to rule over the other creations of the earth.

Work to take care and to cultivate the land.

Work to love and serve one another.

Work to strive for justice and righteousness.

Work to have the Gospel told.

 

To enjoy Christ. To glorify God.

 

 

This is then where I stop to care.

 

To be liked by many, or to be loved by a few.

 

 

Love Tried To Kill Me

My girl was acting really strange towards me.

I was clueless to what was happening so I tried to fix what I felt was a problem. To my dismay, feminine emotions are a bit harder to solve than the usual math problems.

I tried my 101% best to investigate and solve the dilemma, but my girl was still giving me the cold shoulder.

Finally after a failed attempt at investigating what was wrong, I was at my wit’s end and my intense emotions were all over me. Like an enraged bull that’s charging a flirting red blanket,  I rushed towards the middle of the road and tackled the front of an incoming auto car.

I Tried To Kill Love

That was seven years ago. Now, it’s been almost five years that I’ve been single.

Ever since, I have tried to kill love. Like a hedgehog that wants to be close to another one but gets hurt in the process because of its spines, I seem to be more fragile when I become too attached to another one. So I built high towering walls. I have built my shell steel hard. I became overly cautious towards intimate relationships. Though I have heard calls from admirers, but all I offered was obliviousness. I became detached, but it was a detachment that didn’t hurt. Loneliness became my friend, but it was a friend that I can get close to.

I have killed love.

Yet little did I know that it is beyond my power to kill it.

Love Found Me, Killed Me, And Restored Me

I found out that my love was not real. I thought my love was really real, but it was not.  I can think that I can kill love, but I cannot really kill it. Instead, the real Love killed me.

Though I have tried to kill love, I discovered it kicking and breathing, but from the most unexpected place of all places: In the pages of a book.

You see, here in this book, there’s a person that calls himself “Love.” Much more, this person claims that He is God Himself. And this love is pure. This love is patient and kind. This love does not delight in wrongs. This love does not give up, but always endures against every possible and impossible thing. This love puts its partner’s highest good as its priority. This love is perfect.

Since then, I realized how a fool I am.

I now found my self a new joy-filled and restored perspective: To live this Love with all my might. To learn form it. To meditate on it. To breathe it. To share it. To be faithful to it. To let others know that such a Love exists.

 

I tried to kill love, but Love ultimately killed me.

Yet in this death I know that I am over-loved.

 

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

 

 

 

So I had a clinical depression that lasted some weeks, if not months.

But I finally started to beat it down until it became nothing but a pulp!

Through books, articles, videos, lessons, prayers,
and most especially my experience,
I can share to you how I beat depression.

Because you certainly can!

blackdog
“What have I got to do with you pal?”

BREED OF THE BLACK DOG:
Depression In Its Definition

Depression is a sickness.

It is a serious and deadly one.

It is  a major cause of
unproductivity, loneliness,
sadness, vices, insanity,
and even suicide.

It robs its victim’s peace of mind,
focus, need to sleep,
and ability to think properly.

It can be a vicious and destructive loop,
like a poisonous pit that entraps
and slowly kills its hapless victim.

It slowly destroys life,
until the victim loses vitality,
even the will to live.

It lasts from weeks, to months,
and even years.

But the good news is,
healing is just waiting for
you to take hold of it!

Taking Hold of Healing

Again, depression is a sickness.

It is an abnormal state of the human physiology and can be explained by the neurochemical imbalances in a person’s brain.

In my own personal case, I decided to take a proactive approach to cure my condition.

I studied, I researched, I read books, I conducted personal experiments.

I did what I saw that I could!

Until finally, after a week’s effort, I can finally say that I beat it.

From my experience, here are the steps that I took that greatly contributed to my healing:

  1. Physical Wellness
    • Physical exercise is a major key factor in my healing. It not only releases happy hormones in your brain, but it also keeps your body’s wellness in check. From my 100 pushups, I moved higher to include repetitions of whole body circuit training and doing 100+ pushups every day. It was physically taxing, but this was a strong investment towards the healing that I needed. But you don’t need to do the pushups, just get some serious workout.
    • Sleep routine is also one that I made sure to contribute to my physical wellness. Depression can be caused by irregular sleep patterns (which I am guilty of), thus I deliberately scheduled my time and my sleeping pattern to make sure that I only get the enough sleep my body needs for its optimal performance and healing.
  2. Identify Your Triggers
    • Writing down what contributed to my depression helped me alot. This is not only a step towards healing, but it is also a safety step to ensure that I’ll be resistant to it in the future. I thought that this is a step to learn. And it was.
      Write down all of the possible triggers, and learn how to deal with them.
  3. Appreciate Life
    • Deliberately desiring for a shift of mental perspective.
      I did what I could to experience new things, from eating new things, to going to places, to reading new books, just so I could gain a better perspective of life. Depression usually messes with a person’s point of perspective as it did with mine, but it should change. It is supposed to, for the sake of healing. And it can.
    • Learning to notice the small but nice things of life.
      I learned to realize that all the things here on Earth are really just bonus things. All the possessions, status, assets, enjoyment, and everything in this life are just bonus things that have been given by God. So they are worth to be appreciated. Physical life is temporary. We don’t deserve most, if not all, of the things that we currently have. It is all by God’s grace.

  4. Read the Bible Daily
    • “I have no right to be depressed when I’m not even reading the Bible.”
      That’s what I made sure to think everytime I wake up in the morning. Coping with the sickness, it has become very, very difficult to read the Bible. Every since the sickness got me, it takes supernatural strength of me to do it! But I pushed myself. I pushed myself. Because truly, I have no right to be depressed when I’m not even reading what the Creator of the Universe has to say to me on a daliy basis.
    • Worshipping and thanking God for everything.
      For the air.
      For the life.
      For His love and trust.
      For my family and my friends.
      For my computer.
      For my clothes.
      For my job.
      For everything.
      No matter how small or big.
      Even when I did not feel like being thankful.

      Because we should not live by feelings nor by what we think, but by faith.

    • Prayer.
      Again, it takes supernatural strength of me even to pray!
      But I knew that it is God’s will for me to be healed and for me to learn from this. So I prayed and declared healing everyday.
      I also thank the prayers of my family, friends, and my brothers and sisters in the Church.

      There is no use in focusing your mind on the sickness, instead focus your mind towards perfect healing.

  5. Taking Time
    • Healing is a gradual process.
      Don’t beat yourself for being sick just like what I did to myself, be it physical beating or mental beating. It takes time. I even asked for a rest period from my job. I withdrew temporarily from all of my commitments for me to gain the time that I needed. I don’t necessarily encourage this step to everyone because personalities greatly differ from one another. But just realize that it can take time, and that you can shorten that time if you decide to be deliberate.

I pray and desire the healing of everyone who is currently suffering from this condition.

If you are one of them, I want you to know that you are not alone.
I also hope that my experience and my new knowledge contributes to your accelerated healing.

Because there is healing in Jesus’ name.

black_dog_ecard_heel

I have my fair share of unlikely struggles.

Having lived through 20+ life years, I have experienced some of the weird battles that my fellow INTJ brethren are apparently destined to experience:

The thirst for improvement…

The quest for perfection…

The rules of sociality…

But one of the long battles that has also been stirring inside my brain is religious faith.

Together with my INTP cousins, we, the INTJ and INTP, represent the “personalities of logic”. Our brains are simply wired for it. We are skeptics. We are thinkers. Our brains are wired for reason.

But not that I am struggling with faith that I reject faith. Quite the contrary.

Because I am a Christian, and I still am.

Because no matter the depths and the lengths of my thinking and seeking–for the roots and purpose of life and how the world came to be and how it should be–I am still grounded on the solid rock of belief where an all-powerful Creator exists:

That everything in our realm of space and time was created and is being governed….

By Something which our physical bodies are not even able to comprehend…

By Someone Who is of greater class and thinking ability than us humans…

Because science and logic doesn’t necessarily clash with “God things“. I believe they support each other. That God blessed us with the gift of science and logic for us humans to experience a glimpse of His majesty.

Because the moment we believe to think that our ways are higher
is the moment we realize that we have become highly arrogant creatures.