You Deserve More Than Secondhand Love

To be honest, from the moment this blog blew up back in 2015, this has been one of the things I have always wanted to say. This was something I constantly expressed to my friends, but somehow had a difficult time putting it into words considering how ironic it would be to come from someone like me.

But even for the past two years as I wrote and stopped writing, this remained in my heart:

Beloved, you deserve more than secondhand love.

And I don’t mean that in the romantic sense. I’m talking about how you deserve more than secondhand love from me. I’m talking about how you have the right to access the source of all the love and knowledge that I get to share to you.

You know, my every blog post has been theologically searched out, because more than the advice and the extra-biblical stuff, I want to be faithful to what He has said first. Every word here that got to touch you, that got to minister to you, only came to be, only came to me, because God was gracious enough to enlighten me.

What you hear from your favorite Christian speakers and authors, you should know that all those insights came from God. And more than wanting to point you back to God through not-so-many-pretty-words, at this time, I want to straight out encourage you to go right to the source so that you will experience that kind of direct revelation as well.

Please don’t mistake this as me telling you to not read other books or listen to podcasts. I for one personally enjoy doing so. They really help and guide and God uses those things to bring to light and for people to see more of Him. I mean, really, I’m saying this as one who blogs.

It’s just that, more than anything, I want to tell you that rather than waiting on every word that comes from the mouth of a blogger, you can choose to wait and meditate on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Nothing could substitute that – no matter how seemingly well-written or timely. Every other source should be secondary.

Now, don’t even get me started on the famous speakers who gain so much acclamation because they say things that seem right, but are actually laced with wrong. That’s one of the reasons why numbers of Christians get into this, because we want to point you back to the right path, we want to lead you into the truth. But more than the “guidelines” through what we say, you’re going to need discernment for yourself to sift through what you get to hear even when it sounds nice. And that’s not something anyone can teach you. As much as we try, we can’t filter and sort through everything for you. There are things you have to personally hold His Word up to, so then you will see what is truly sound advice from that which is deceitful.

Maybe, the reason why there are still certain struggles with our identity and security no matter how many affirming articles we’ve read is because we only ever get to hear secondhand what God has said about us. Maybe it’s time you stop wanting to keep on hearing and hearing from others what God has already said about you and hear what He has to say for yourself.

Reading the Bible may sound daunting to you. Talking to God and learning to hear from Him may seem unfamiliar. It may seem boring. It may seem like it’s “too spiritual and that’s not for me.” You may not really know how to go about it. But if you want to, you can reach out to me and I can go through the process with you and help you as you figure things out. ☺

I promise you, as you stay faithful to that, you will hear Him speak to you in ways you never thought you will. You will experience how He targets specifically the situations you scour advice for, and you will find that His words are inexhaustible and still relevant. For far more than anything I ever get to say that touches you, it is keeping His words in your heart that will change you. More than me shining His light this way, I want to see you reflect His light too.

It’s about time you get to know Him and experience Him firsthand, don’t you think? Trust me, He has been waiting for you. He has some things to say – words handpicked and chosen especially just for you, directly to your heart and to your situation.

Note: I guess at this point, I can say I’m shifting gears about how I’m going to go about this blog. I won’t in any way stop sharing my revelations and insights and I won’t stop with my “pretty words”, but I will probably get more personal about this now. I want to look back to this one day as a testimony of His faithfulness in my life, a place where I can be reminded of how He has marked my every step with His fingerprints. It’s a new season for me and I’m still navigating it all, but I’ll let Him guide me every step of the way and I do hope you stay for the ride. ❤️

Break.

"It's okay. Break. It's okay to break. It's okay to be broken."

How many times do we have to tell ourselves that our brokenness is forgivable?

This, this is one of the greatest things He has taught me. That we can be undone, and it's completely okay.

Some pain could be self-inflicted. Some pain could be world-induced. Some pain could be completely out of your hands. But none of those actually changes anything.

Pain and brokenness will either demand to be felt or they will demand that we feel nothing at all.

So feel. Beloved, allow yourself to be broken. Maybe you've been holding it together for the longest time. But you don't have to, not in front of Him. Let the tears come. You don't need to be afraid of what is broken, what could be broken, what will be broken. Not when He is not afraid of broken things; not when He is redeeming and restoring everything.

Let His love re-define you and the meaning of your brokenness. Let Him love you in your most disappointed, hurt, confused places. He wants to. Rock bottom becomes your stepping stone if you decide to walk it through.

I remember this song by Leonard Cohen that says, there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.

Let the love get in. But you have to break first, fully.

Then let all the broken, seemingly scattered pieces fall into place. Let Him put your pieces back into place.You can press your scars against His nail pierced hands and know that this, this is Someone who is not afraid of broken, this is Someone who understands pain.

You may think that you can't afford to feel because you have to be a leader first. You have to be a parent first. You have to be a sibling first. You have to be responsible first. But it costs so much more to forget that before all of that, you were God's child first. And He wants you to be super real with Him. He isn't surprised by how low you could go. You'd be surprised by how His love can chase you down there, even deeper.

Didn't you know that your broken heart breaks His? Didn't you know that you refusing to break open your heart breaks His?

And the Father has His arms outstretched, Christ comes to us showing the scars in His hands, the Spirit whispers inside us, "it's safe here."

Why do we need to fear being messy when it's never more than what our God can handle?

Break. At His feet. Before His throne. Offer your brokenness. Then watch Him fight for you. Hear Him speak grace and truth to you. Listen to Him tell you, "go in peace" (Luke 7:36-50).

You may be busted, but you are beloved.
You may be guilty, but you are not condemned.
You may be broken, but you are chosen.

So rather than pushing people away because "you don't understand my pain and you have no idea what I've been through", why don't we let them push through our hearts and maybe then we'll see them pull through for us?

It's fascinating to me, how the bread we eat and the juice we drink during communion represents so much more than we think they do. Wheat and grain have to be crushed in order to make the bread we commune with. Grapes had to be squeezed and pounded in order for us to have the juice that we drink. All the sweetness, the oneness, coming from broken.

We share this together – all this broken, together.

And all this pain and suffering, they all do things to us. They make us defensive. Bitter. Mean. Because, as they say, hurt people hurt people.

But everyone's hurt. In ways we will never know and in ways we won't fully understand, everyone is hurt, has been hurt, and will be hurt. And if we don't start responding in love in the face of pain, if we keep putting up walls rather than allowing the cracks, if we don't start reaching out instead of slapping away, if we'd rather make people break than be broken together, then the cycle will keep going on.

Hurt people hurt people.

Someone, somewhere, has to be brave enough, humble enough, to break the cycle by being broken.

Let that someone be you.

The truth is, there will always be someone who has something bad to say about you, something bad to do to you. Love anyway. The moment we feel most appalled, most disappointed, most repelled is the moment we need to love anyway the most. The heart that repels us the most is the heart we need to love the most.

Because we all need love when we feel we least deserve it – and that's exactly how God loves us anyway.

It's two-way, a cycle, this circle of love and life and pain.

Rather than comparing and criticizing who has the right to be broken because "I've been through worse but I turned out better", why don't we break our self-righteous pulpits instead?

Do you really have to give someone a piece of your mind when they need a piece of your heart? What if that person is not necessarily being difficult, it's just that she's having difficulty? Because we know it gets harder before it ever gets easier, and people need someone to help them through and tell them that it will get better if they don't give up when it's hardest.

Beloved, we will be known for our fruits, not our judgments.

So the ground has to be broken to produce crop and the seed has to break open to produce wheat and the wheat has to be broken to produce bread.

And Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24).

We break ourselves open and we die to ourselves.

And then He puts us back together, the way we were always supposed to be. He binds us all broken people together.

Because, if anything, seeing how deep our brokenness makes us realize how deep His love is. And I deeply believe that what the enemy meant for evil, God will turn into good. I deeply believe that He can turn your bad broken into good broken. I deeply believe that no darkness nor evil nor spirits nor anxiety nor fear can keep you from His love and peace. When we are wounded by the world, we can find shelter in His Word.

And then we will know, truly, Christ was broken so we don't have to be.Our undoing will be our remaking.

The origin of the word suffer means "to bear under." To suffer means to bear under what we cannot control. Which is why we would rather avoid suffering at all. But we can bear under that which is beyond our control because we know that above all is the One who is in control. Whatever has been and whatever will be, we are being held securely in the hands of Him who is the Prince of Peace. We are held in the arms of the One who holds all things together.

Whatever we are wrapped up in, He sets us free.
Whatever we are accused of, He has taken the condemnation.
Whatever we lack, He will provide.
Whatever we have failed, He will redeem.
Whatever battle we face, He has declared victory.

For where we are weak, He is strong.

We imagine needing to go through things on our own, but in the darkness, in the valley of death, He is there with us. There's no season that we have been in, no season we are in, and no season we could be in that He will not go through with us. In the desert, in the valley, in the fire, He is right there with us. When everything is up in flames around us, He is right there with us in the middle of our burn.

It's not up to us to overcome our brokenness. We don't have to be okay before going to Christ. Rather, it is Christ who will have us overcome our brokenness and who will make us okay – even when things don't seem okay.

And now we who are broken, scarred, limping, we can be brokers of healing because we know where the wounds run. We know that compassion can heal what condemnation could not. We know that God will use all things for our good and His glory – from testing to testimony.

Taking it from apostle Paul, whose daily involved being stoned, flogged, persecuted, and imprisoned: "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

He can say that because amidst everything, here is his mindset: I am not a victim. And you are not a victim. Beloved, we should stop acting and thinking and living from a place of victim. And I do get that – that it will take time before we get out of that slave, victim mentality. But we'll let His love lead us through.

We confront our brokenness and own our beloved-ness.

For everything, everything, everything will work together for our good and His glory – even if we don't see it just yet. There will be stories to tell on the other side because we were never meant to wallow in our pain, we were meant to overcome.

He puts all our broken pieces together to form His body and we find His marks on each other. Let it sink, balm through the cracks: Christ is in you. You have the hope of glory in you.

And if we trace every scar, we can find there written along the lines:

Wounds run deep, but His love will always run deeper; the world will fight you and your own self will contradict you, but He has won the war – this Scarred, Victorious Savior.

And His triumph is counted as yours.

#ChristianGoals: Be Magical

This is the second installment of my #ChristianGoals series. To read the first post, click here.

Magic (n.) \’ma-jik\
:an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source.
(Merriam-Webster)

I want to be magical.

Just kidding.

Well, maybe not so much. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a fairy princess with luminous pink wings. I wanted to be an astronaut and an archaeologist too, but those are just side jobs. Primarily, I wanted to be a fairy princess with superpowers. Preferably one that is followed by pixiedust wherever she goes. Though eventually, I grew up old enough to realize that magical fairies did not exist, so instead I settled on wanting to be a warrior princess.

I still do.

I think every Christian should be a warrior princess (or prince): someone who understands that being royalty means living for others. Someone who is so secure that she (or he) focuses less on proving self and spends more time making others feel important. Someone who isn’t afraid to stand up and fight for what is noble and true. Someone who is beautiful in righteous fierceness.

I hate to say this, but more Christians are leaning to the “spoiled-brat” side of the royalty spectrum rather than the honorable side. It has become about me, myself, and I. We are the generation of believers who throw their hands up in the air not to lift Him up but to shake our fists at Him when things don’t go our way. We are the ones who scream and whine until people adjust to what we want. That’s why it has become so easy for Satan to convince people that Christianity is moot. We’ve allowed the war to wage in front of us as we sit back munching popcorn inside outlandish home theatres. We choose to fight the battle by hiding behind our computers, armed with memes and mic-drops, spitting venom and snark as we wave our swords in the comments sections of blogs and Facebook posts. We walk away feeling self-righteously victorious over our enemy, when in actuality it is Jesus who is left most injured.

Should we really be surprised that “Christianity” repulses so many people at this rate?

As the body of Christ, shouldn’t our arms be open to embrace those who are broken? Shouldn’t our hands be stretched out to those who are sick as we declare in faith? Shouldn’t our feet be going to places other people refuse to go? Shouldn’t our words be full of grace and truth rather than just grace or just truth? Shouldn’t our hearts be bleeding for all those who are voiceless and invisible?

Instead, our eyes refuse to see, our ears are unwilling to hear, our arms cross and close, our hearts stone hard and cold, our chins are adamantly raised high, our knees are reluctant to kneel, our mouths gossip about what the hand does, our eyes judge where the feet go. Our entity that’s supposed to be a beacon of light is more well-known for being the bully and for vilifying those who don’t believe the way we do than for reflecting Christ’s kindness and humility. We look more like Pharisees than we look like the apostles, sitting comfortably in our church pews so we can be spoon-fed as opposed to stepping out of our comfort zones to where God has called us so we can speak what He wants to be said, so we can do what He wants done.

I don’t believe in a social gospel because good works cannot save you. It’s impossible to have a kingdom without the King. But as people who claim to have the King with us, I believe that it is important to start acting like His kingdom. And He asks us to forgive (Mark 11:25-26); to give to the poor (Matthew 6:1); to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and comfort those in distress (Matthew 25:34-36); to resolve disputes harmoniously (Matthew 18:15-17); to lead by serving (John 13:14); to go the extra mile (Matthew 5:38-42); to honor our parents (Matthew 15:4); to make and teach disciples (Matthew 28:19-20); to love others as we love ourselves, including our enemies (1 John 4:7-21); and to walk as Christ did (1 Peter 2:21).

This applies to all Christians, it doesn’t “depend on one’s specific calling.” We differ in our gifts and specialized callings but sharing our blessings, seeking justice, showing mercy, loving people, and caring for the poor should be inherent in is as Christians. Being prophetic or having the gift to heal or do signs and wonders does not exempt you because you are “supernatural enough” as it is. These are important, definitely, but our character is still our loudest testimony, and there’s no use to “living a life of otherworldly miracles” if our hearts turn out to be Jesus-free.

Beloved, instead of wondering which verse would gain the most retweets or thinking of how to throw shade with your status at another person without losing all grace, we should be reflecting on whether or not we mirror Christ’s compassion, mercy, and dignity. Maybe we should be stressing less over how sensitive other people are to our “playful bullying” and “teasing sarcasm” and be wondering more if our words still honor Christ. Maybe we could start caring less about our Christian status symbols and caring more about the state of the rest of the world.

Because there is no sense in preaching the gospel when our lives preach otherwise. And evangelion, the Greek word for gospel, means more than “good news.” Its historical implication means that there is a saving message but beyond that, there is also a changing of the world for the better. Rick McKinley once wrote that taken out of the context of the kingdom, the call to faith in Christ gets reduced to something less than what the New Testament teaches. The gospel of Jesus Christ should be hand in hand with the gospel about Jesus Christ. To further quote, Pope Benedict XVI said that the Gospel is not just informative speech, but performative speech – not just the imparting of information, but action, efficacious power that enters into the world to save and transform.

I think people mistake what to expect when called as sons and daughters of God. Most would expect pampering, spoiling even. And yet the Firstborn Prince of God, the One called Lord of lords that we are so often reminded in the Bible to imitate, went down His throne, lived as part of the peasant class, allowed Himself to take the very nature of a servant, died for filthy, broken people like you and me, fought with sin, death, and the devil, and rose again victoriously for our restoration and redemption. I guess it’s about time we do royalty the way Christ did; it’s about time we wage war the way Christians should.

And the truth is, it frightens me knowing that fighting the enemy means far more than winning arguments and being simply nice. It means understanding that the opponent is a serpent and that he knows how to bring a citadel down from the inside. It means putting on the full armor of God and being alert (Ephesians 6:10-18). In the way I spend my free time. In the way I spend my money. In the way I speak. In the way I think. In the way I act. Daily. Moment my moment. Decision by decision. Second by second.

Think about it, truly living Christ’s way, and start counting the cost.

And then maybe we’ll find that Holy Spirit working in us and giving us grace to live this way is far and beyond supernatural. Maybe there is nothing more magical than a life saved and transformed by Christ; nothing more miraculous than a person choosing not to live in selfish whims or ambition, but choosing to live considering others more important than self.

Maybe we’ll find ourselves far more transcendent than fairy princesses with luminous pink wings, leaving light brighter than pixie dust in the wake of our trail.

“Truthfully the possibility for hypocrisy in this faith journey abounds. Though we speak of a perfect God, we ourselves are flawed, messy, wrecks destined to fall short—but that’s not a good enough excuse not to strive. Let our failure not come easily or without great effort at the beautiful alternative of stumbling after Christlikeness. If we are indeed to fall, let it be as we seek to fly.”
-John Pavlovitz

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
-Ephesians 2:10

We could start by having compassion for the crowds. Aside from (obviously) sharing the gospel, going to the mission field, or simply being more gracious and filled by the Spirit as we drive on roads or answer to certain comments, some advocacies I personally recommend are Real Life Foundation (gives out scholarships to underprivileged Filipino children), United Nations Population Fund (whose vision is a world where every pregnancy is wanted and every childbirth is safe), UNICEF (fights for children’s rights) Doctors Without Borders (they bring medical aid to where it is most needed), World Health Organization, The Malala Fund (focused on providing education to young girls), CARE (whose community-based efforts are deliberate on empowering women and fighting poverty), UN Women, Human Rights Watch (they investigate abuse cases and fight for human rights), and UN Refugee Agency among many others. For those interested in volunteering here in the Philippines, you can look for activities and causes that would fit your passion through iVolunteer. You can also ask your local church and government for scheduled outreach programs you can participate in.

A Lover, Not A Sugar Daddy

I still remember the day I first saw you. Immediately, you were etched into My heart. It was love at first sight and since then, I adored you with all My might.

I’m sure, being in a relationship with Me is not all you pictured it to be.
Because you knew I treasured you so immensely, you pictured rainbows and butterflies when in reality, all I offered you was a love that would fight for you; a love I hoped you’d fight for.

And so I ask you today: why do you love Me?

Do you love Me because of the gifts I give you?
Do you love Me because of how tightly I hug you?
Do you love Me because of how gentle I am?
Do you love Me because of My promises, My glorious plan?

Or do you love Me just because I am?

Will you still like Me if blessings stop going your way?
Or when you can’t see the light of day?
Will you still want Me if I do not answer your prayer?
If I say no to all your desires, will you still lift Me higher?

Now what if death happens to someone you love?
What if the promise doesn’t come when you expected it from above?
What if I ask you to wait twenty years more?
Will you still be there, praising my name even as you lay crying on the floor?

What will happen if I take all your prized possessions?
Will your mouth speak worship or will it mutter moans?
Will you grumble like a spoiled little baby?
Or will you, in faith, hold on to what you cannot see?

When you feel My absence, will you still be faithful?
In your heart, will I still be the One in reign, in rule?
When I discipline you, will you allow it in humility?
Or will you be defiant and refuse, acting so stubbornly?

See, I think I need to remind you
It is a narrow road you have chosen to pursue.
You require too many blessings of this earth,
Is it not enough that I have died so you may have birth?

When I ask you to take up your cross
Will you die to yourself, none too much of a loss?

Beloved, this is a two-way relationship, so do count the cost.

If you want to love Me, love Me for all I am

I am Love as I am Justice
I am Grace as I am Truth
I am Patient as I am Wrath
I am Kind as I am Discipline
I am Forgiving as I am Holy

I am He

Father, King, Lord, Lover


Not Sugar Daddy.

I do believe that God promises to bless His people. However, I also believe it is good to check our hearts every so often to know why we actually follow God. I have heard people turning their backs on Christ so many times just because He refused to give what they wanted, as if He existed for our satisfaction and not the other way around. I honestly grieve when people complain of how much God is requiring of them; such a stark contrast to the disciples who readily laid down their lives for Him with no question. People seem to think that following Christ should mean tangible rewards. 

“God since I obeyed You, give me…” 

Newsflash: God does not need to “pay” us for our obedience. I think we all need to be reminded that we live for His glory – every breath we breathe, every second we’re alive is to His glory.

We love because He first loved us, and the greatest manifestation of that love is His sacrifice on the cross. He need not give us any more proof of His love, for that act alone was proof enough. The fact that He created us and He died for us and He continues to sustain us is enough for us to love Him for all that He is with all that we are – even if material blessings no longer come our way, trusting that our reward is in heaven. 

One ultimate question I would want to pose is this: will you live for Him – even if it means you will have to die for Him?

May it be that it’s okay that we have nothing because God alone, to us, means everything.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

-‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:24‬ ‭(emphasis mine)

My Issue About The Manny Pacquiao-Homosexuality Issue

Practicing homosexuality is a sin.

I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again. Manny said it too (with regards to same-sex marriage), and it’s gaining coverage with more and more people taking a stand about it. He could have said it so much better, and he fell short there, but it doesn’t change the truth that sin actually disgusts God.

Now here’s the thing. So many people are speaking out on social media, defending Manny, standing by the truth – and that’s wonderful. But we should never forget that practicing homosexuality is just as much of a sin as lying is. Yes, it may have greater repercussions and implications and there will be greater consequences, but in the eyes of a holy God, it’s just as equally horrendous. So here’s the truth: we were just as lost as the homosexuals currently are – we were no “better” sinners.

I know Christians who laughingly say “I repented already” before pirating a movie. I know ones who cheat and lie so naturally; ones who dishonor their parents; ones who are caught up in pride, bitterness, unforgiveness, and self-righteousness. But guess what? Those are all equally sins – all equally hated by God. And in the same way that people refuse to sway about the truth on homosexuality, I hope we also stop tolerating all these other things. 

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
-James‬ ‭2:10, 12-13‬ ‭

Now, I would never defend homosexual acts. And to the ones out there saying that homosexuality is seen in animals and God created animals that way, please take time to look at the Bible and see that the first time God stated that He made them “male and female” was when He created man – He never actually said He made them “male and female” when He created the animals. That’s the truth. Homosexuality isn’t of God. 

But it doesn’t mean I can’t be compassionate about it. Because these people are just as lost as I was before. I would never downplay the magnitude of the sin, but may we remember that answering back at our parents, cheating off our seatmates, refusing to obey what God told us to do, and choosing not to forgive a person is just as wrong. May we learn to have just as much distaste for the “little” sins as we do for the ones paid more attention to by mainstream media.

In light of eternity, the “levels” of sin do not matter. In the sight of a holy God, no sin is “holier” than the other. Don’t get so driven by truth that you fail to love, and don’t get so caught up in trying not to offend that you lose the truth. So when we correct, always keep this in mind: is it full of truth? And is it full of grace? 

“(They) said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?… When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 

‭‭-John‬ ‭8:4-5, 7

Now please don’t mistake this as justification for sinning because sin can never be justified. One doesn’t defend his sin by stating how sinful others can be also. In every area of our lives, may we simply live in light of God’s holiness, not of other people.

“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.””
‭‭-1 Peter‬ ‭1:14-16‬

Dear Reader: Stop Copying My Convictions

Hello, my dearest reader.

I mean this in the kindest way possible. As you read through this, don’t hear my voice in your head as someone mad or annoyed. Hear the sincerity and the heartfelt concern.

As much as I am immensely grateful that you hold my convictions admirable enough to imitate, I must say this: please know why you’re doing it. If you do it because you understood my point of view and God convicted your heart, then by all means do so. But if you’re doing it only because you feel condemned for not having better convictions, then don’t.

I personally have gone through that. Books such as I Kissed Dating Goodbye (though I have nothing against Joshua Harris) have held my stands captive for a long time because the thought of the books sounded nice. It seemed like I would have been less a Christian if I didn’t follow suit. It appeared to me as if I was marring my purity if I didn’t have the exact same beliefs. And so my entire high school and part of my college life has been lived based upon the stances of other people. I spent that entire time being so concentrated on living like a good, emotionally pure Christian girl that you wouldn’t hear anything else out of my mouth other than love (friends who have known me for at least 3 years would attest to this). In fact, I made a completely new blog because looking back, I was kind of appalled by how much my old blog revolved on romance – as if there wasn’t more to life with God. After constant reading of Christian books and blogs about love, emotional purity, courtship, and romance, I have turned into a well-meaning person who made the opinions of others her own, obsessed with getting things right. I have become legalistic.

My most popular post so far on this blog has been the one about guy friends. And while I am thrilled that so many people related to it, I dearly hope none of them broke it off with their best friends of the opposite sex without thinking through the heart behind it. Contrary to popular belief, guys and girls can have relationships built on purity and integrity without the need to overthink every little thing because they have God in the center. Loving each other as brother and sister is a beautiful thing. 

I used to have a “no texting guys beyond 9 pm” rule in high school because someone said so. I used to avoid going on one on one friendly dates with guys because I read that you “shouldn’t.” Only to discover eventually that constant communication and hanging out with guys don’t deter my heart, and that I was only doing it because I based upon a set of rules to follow, not a personal relationship with God. But people, being a Christian isn’t based on a formula. It’s based on having intimacy with the Father.

Gain as much wisdom as you can from these kinds of blogs, but never map out your life in such a way simply to fit a box that seems right. If it’s extra-biblical and it’s not sin, then know that we all have free will in Christ, and you have the right to use your own mind. Know what your spiritual family and leader has to say about it and listen intently, for Christianity still has massively to do with us as a body. Take the ideas you get and consider them. Know your past, know what would make your heart weak, know what you struggle with, know not to cause others to stumble. Don’t live off of the relationships God has with other people because everyone has different histories and stories. Seek Him on your own. Ask God what He would have you do. Is it wise or is it compromise? Would it bring Him glory? Would He be pleased? Would He be honored? Then proceed to hold convictions based upon this awareness.

The most important thing here is that you live a life that is led by the Holy Spirit, a life that is worthy of what Jesus has done, a life that worships the Father in all areas. Develop such an interaction with Him that every decision you make and every word you speak is lifted up to Him. Know what kind of person He wants you to be. And I dearly hope that at all times, you will be in tune to His heart.

Again, this is for extra-biblical matters. For convictions on issues such as homosexuality and pre-marital sex, I have this to say: sin is sin. He will never ever lead you to anything that goes against what He has said in the Bible, remember that. If you feel led to hold convictions that goes against the Scriptures, then know that it isn’t the Holy Spirit leading you.

And for everyone else out there, please know that more uptight convictions don’t make you a better person, so don’t look down on people who hold different views. It’s about God’s grace, not our strength or accomplishments. I remember having seen a wedding video of someone bragging about how he chose not to say “I love you” before they wedded and how he told others to do the same. Now let me tell you, saying “I love you” or holding hands before you get married isn’t defrauding. Don’t get me wrong, I hold admiration for people who do, but simply because it’s what they believe in and not because it’s a trophy to hang on their wall.

We don’t live by formula. I don’t post everything I do for God on Facebook because I don’t understand how it magnifies Him more than me. That doesn’t make me more of a Christian than those who do. I no longer have time constraints as to when I text and I meet up alone with guy friends because it’s not something I struggle with. It doesn’t make me less a Christian than those who don’t. Just as long as we take up our crosses and live surrendered to Him, honor Him in everything, don’t steal any form of glory from Him, and stay aligned to His will, then we’re just fine. Life with God is living under His grace and having freedom under His truth, not under a set of made-up rules.

And so as you continue to walk with me through this blog, I hope it imparts wisdom and truth, inspires you to seek His heart, and points you to His glory, not confine you or the way you live. 

Don’t imitate me or any other writer or preacher out there. Imitate Jesus. And live life to the full. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.

Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”
-‭‭Proverbs‬ 3:5-7; ‭4:7-9, 14-15, 26-27‬