Vacation Left

With the current predicament of the world right now due to the coronavirus, people are required to stay at their homes to prevent it from further spreading. We can only go out to take care of the essentials such as buying groceries, food, and other supplies, and even then it is better recommended to just have them delivered at your doorstep instead of stepping out.

I remember before the pandemic hit, I already had my vacation plans all set out for the year. In my calendar I planned out my first anniversary celebration with my girlfriend, a 7-day trip to Japan with my family, my girlfriend’s sister’s wedding in Tagaytay, and a beach trip after said wedding with their whole family complete. Everything was already set, and now everything has changed.

So now begs the question, is there even any significance in having vacation leaves? Since we can’t go out for vacation we don’t really need those days off, right? Well this is where the value of leave comes into the light. The value is not in the destination, or the grandeur of an event, it is in the meaningful relationships with your loved ones and the enjoyment of rest.

I knew this beforehand, but I would be open to admit that I tend to forget this lesson from time to time. The leaves I even planned for this year are for my family and friends. But back in previous years, I used to sacrifice those special days with the family in favor of a planned out getaway with not-so-close friends. I would continue to go to work instead of use up a leave for a lunch party at home. It was enjoyable to have that vacation, and I loved exploring new places and trying out new experiences, but sometimes it was at the cost of stagnating my relationship with my family and closest companions.

My new Calendar, with New Leaves in Place.

Realizing what I lost, the leaves that I’ve been taking lately are not for vacations, but for the sweet moments that I didn’t take leaves for before. Finally getting to celebrate Mother’s and Father’s day at home, cooking up a wonderful meal for my brother and sister, preparing a surprise visit to my girlfriend and her family for the weekend. All of these I did while still in the confines of my home, following all the necessary precautions in case I made visits, and took care of proper quarantine and all. The beauty of leaves is now in the intimacy you get with the people you love the most.

Don’t miss out the second reason for leave: rest. This is not the ordinary rest where you relieve yourself from your stress at work and the pressures of life. You can’t do an ordinary rest since you can’t easily pamper yourself with the current restrictions. No home massage services, no drinking night out with your buddies, no extra sleep off since you’re already at home anyway. What you seek instead is the extraordinary rest, coming from one source only; in Christ

In Him we find the perfect rest. In prayer we are able to lift up all our worries in life and hardships at work. In reading His Word we are reminded of His promises for us that He has us secure even during tumultuous times. We are able to attain peace just being at home with Him.

The vacation left, but the leaves did not, as we still have these leaves to cherish precious moments, to bond with our families and closest friends, and to abide in our God. Halfway through the year, I’ve already used up more than half of my leaves, and I’m glad that I did.

Songs from the P.A.

Highschool Mornings. The days when we were figuring out our identity. Back then I was the quiet but snoopy kid, mostly inserting myself into other people’s conversations. Some were okay with it, other were not, and yet I was still consistent at being the nosy type of kid. I couldn’t help myself, since we were all asked to stay in the classroom, and there was still about an hour left before classes officially start for the day.

As the rowdy banter goes on for some of my classmates, and the others try to catch up on their sleep, a sound will come on from our classroom speaker system that will signal the time at 7:00am. It is not an alarm, or a student announcing the time, but a song. An electric guitar introduces the song, with ambient music playing alongside it, and then, the first verse comes in.

Empty hands held high,
Such small sacrifice,
If not joined with my life,
I sing in vain tonight.

May the words I say,
And the things I do,
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You.

The Lifesong Song. Everybody in school knows this, and surprisingly, that is the title of the song as well from the band Casting Crowns. After this introductory song a playlist full of worship songs continues on until the official start of classes at 7:45am. Everyday we are greeted with praise and worship, no matter what we may be doing at the time.

Back then, I wouldn’t mind it as much, as it was just part of the school’s routine. It would be later in life that I would come to appreciate how wonderful it was to start each and every day with songs of praise to Him. I would see how it uplifts us and inspires us to seek Him at our morning rise.

By God’s design, He also would like to start the day with us. He would like to come to us and speak to us through His word in the morning. He prioritizes us first, as we should do the same for Him.

Now the chorus comes in, and as it does, I am assured that it brings a smile to my face, and a bright shine of happiness and glee to our Father above.

Let my lifesong sing to You.
Let my lifesong sing to You.
I want to sign Your name to the end of this day
Knowing that my heart was true.
Let my lifesong sing to You!

Change my Satisfaction

My phone for 6 months, used to help me with my distractions

This right here was my phone. A basic phone that is used primarily for texts and calls. And just for that. No social media, no internet browser, no Netflix, no YouTube, no games, no apps. A phone serving it’s simplest function, to communicate through text and call. I bought this to get away from the distractions, the laziness, and most of all, the addiction.

“The sin that trips us up”. In my case it was the addiction to pornography. No matter how much I tried, I always fell back to my sin. Time and time again I would fall to it, even as I confessed my sins repeatedly. And so I resorted to this phone, hoping it would protect me. I was foolish, because today, YES even today, I have sinned. I went through my mother’s Ipad, and even with protections placed on that gadget to report me to others in case I fail, I still did it. I still looked at pornography. The basic phone was not even involved here.

It was here that I was convicted, because despite everything that I messed up at here, this failure is not a sign of addiction. This is a choice. This stings even more, to realize that I was not a victim, but I purposefully hurt the ones I loved. Most of all, I neglected our Father who only wanted the best for us and gave us the freedom to choose, and yet I chose selfishly.

As I confessed and opened up to my girlfriend about my deceit and to my brothers in Christ about my failure, He came to me. He reminded me of what choice is and gave me an example of a how He chose:

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
Ephesians 1:4‭-‬5

And He also reminded me of what I need to choose:

Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.
Psalms 119:37

Everything is a choice, and we need to choose Christ in everything we do. Pornography is not an addiction, it is a choice that you can flee from as long as you are choosing the better option, running to Christ for His unending love.

So Lord, help me, to choose You each and every day. Every hour, every minute, every second, let me be conscious in every little thing that I do, that it should be in the light of loving You. Help me to choose my loved ones, to choose to be open to them, and not choose my own selfishness. You know my wicked lusts and desires Lord, and I ask that you change my heart so that I may desire and choose You above all else. All this I ask, in Jesus name. Amen.

Greetings

Hello, my name is Mark. An avid learner, a Christian, and a lover of all things regarding culture. I write about my experiences, things that interest me, and reflections here. I hope that whoever reads will get to know more about me.

Without further ado, welcome to my blog.