Monday, June 20, 2011

Are You a Slave of People’s Opinion and Approval?

Do you constantly trying to prove to others that you are “good enough?”

We must admit that most of our actions are motivated to win the acceptance and admiration of our peers. There is something about pleasing people that pleases us.

Most of the time, it is our personal insecurities that cause this “I need to be good enough for you” mentality. One psychologist said that to even entertain this “I need to be good enough” debate in your head is already a choice to go to the path of unhappiness. For you will never be good enough in your mind. You will always find something that you need to be “good enough” to please others.

To live in the mercy of other’s approval and acceptance is like building your life on shifting sands. People’s opinions are fickle. They love you today and then hate you tomorrow. We can see this with movie stars and music artist. Here today and gone tomorrow. Putting the direction of your life at other’s hands is to miss out your own life.

We need to learn to accept ourselves. Even those things we do not like in ourselves. Accepting does not mean liking what you see, but accepting that they are real. If you have a bad temper, you do not need to like your bad temper. But you must accept that you have one!

Only when we accept ourselves for who we really are can we start to grow. We must accept our strengths and also our weakness, the good and the bad in us. Only when we can look at ourselves objectively can we start changing those aspects of our lives that need improvements.

We must first win the approval of ourselves. I approve of me! Yes I approve of me because God approves of me. If God did not approve of me, I would not even be here.

If you want to win the approval of others, win the approval of the God first. God approves of your creation, but do you think He approves on how you are living your life right now?

But why do we want God’s approval on our lives?

Because we want joy!

Happiness can only be found when we are in line with God’s plan for our lives.

“Well done, my good and faithful servant. Come, share your master's joy.” Mt 25:23

Written by Daxx Bondoc

Thursday, June 16, 2011

He's Baaaack! (A Ghost Story)

Every time we hear of a ghost story, it‘s typically a ghost who is back to get revenge to the people who’ve hurt him.

Just imagine what the Apostles felt when they heard Jesus came back from the dead. “He’s baaaaaaaack!!!”

They might have been really scared by the news since they betrayed Jesus by abandoning Him in His Passion. Peter denied knowing him, three times! Fear must have overwhelmed them when they first saw Him.

But a Jesus first word was “Shalom” or “Peace”.

The apostles must have been surprised with those words! Jesus was not out to “get ‘em’”. Jesus also shows them His wounds to remind them of what they have done to Him.

Jesus ate in front of the Apostles and let Thomas touch His wounds to let them know that He was no ghost. He was the Resurrected One.

God is the same with us. He doesn’t point fingers and says “You fool! Look what you have done to me!” Even though how much we, and continue to, betray and crucify Jesus with our unfaithfulness and sins, He still says to us “Peace! Do not be afraid!” Jesus has come for the very reason that we are sinners!

Yes we have hurt God in so many ways! And God continue to “haunt” us. He is the great hound of heaven that will now stop seeking us till we are with Him.

He continually wants to bring Peace in our lives! He wants to free us from our slavery to sin, the cause of all our anxiety.

So matter what you have done, do not be afraid of God.

He wants only to bring peace in your life.

Shalom!


Written by Daxx Bondoc

Monday, June 13, 2011

The 7 Highly Effective Habits of Hobbits (Part 5: Single-heartedness )

Hobbit Habit #5: Single-heartedness

Many of us have never accomplished anything great because of our lack of zeal and devotion to anything. Our desires are scattered all around. We never seem to be headed in one direction, but keep turning around every corner. Our running in circles has brought us nowhere.

Frodo was focus and determined to destroy the One Ring. He was single-hearted to his mission. He did not let obstacles hinder him from doing what needed to be done, even if the hindrance was himself. Frodo kept his sight on one thing, Mount Doom and the destruction of the Ring. He was ready to give up everything for the sake of the mission, even his life.

Frodo did not only have a one track mind, but a one track heart. His track started from the Shire and ended in Mount Doom. And on the track were riding the Ring and the salvation of Middle Earth. It was his dedication to his mission that kept him on track. Even when he was derailed, he always came back on track. There was no stopping this little locomotion.

Another translation of “Blessed are the pure at heart, for they shall see God” is “Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall see God.” “The pure at heart” are single-hearted, for the “pure at heart” only have one person in their heart, God. They are called single hearted because their love is not divided. Their heart burns in love for God alone.

We sinners have divided hearts that is why we don’t see God. We don’t see him because we don’t seek Him 100 percent. Along with God, we seek so much worldly things. Even if God was standing beside us, we shall overlook him for our sights are moving all around.

Those who are single-hearted in seeking God shall see Him for He already promised that “those who seek shall find.”

Most of us sinners amount to nothing in the end because our discipleship to Christ is not single-hearted. We don’t have 100 percent dedication, devotion and commitment in our discipleship and to our Christian mission. If we only take really seriously Christ call to proclaim the Gospel to all nations, our lives would have been lifted up to a new level. A level where deep abiding joy and fulfillment exist and given.

Frodo knew what he had to do. Destroy the Ring to save the world. We too know what we have to do, destroy evil with love and in doing saving the world. This is our vocation as Christians, to share the works of Christ.

Frodo almost died many times trying to finish the mission. Jesus died in finishing “the” mission. Are we better than our Master?

Until we become single-hearted in our love for God, to His will and to His work, we shall live aimlessly. Scattered to pieces and never be whole.

Written by Daxx Bondoc

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Do You Look At Yourself As The Sum Of Your Weakness And Failures?

Most of us have a problem with our self image. I think the root of the problem is that we do not really know who we are. Typically, our self image is based on the opinion of others. Growing up we have been labeled and branded by a lot of names, mostly based from our weakness and failures.

“Why you no good…”

“You are such a loser.”

“You will never amount to anything.”

“You’re hopeless”

There are a lot more nasty words that have been spoken to us that have shaped how we see ourselves.

Our past mistakes also have broken our self image. Our mistakes have caused us so much pain that it lead to self-hatred. We have become our own worst critic. Sometimes it is you who put yourself down more than anyone else.

“We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.” – John Paul II.

Our weakness and failure does not define us. Our definition comes from the center of our very being. We are beings created out of the sheer love of God. And that the Father has left in each and one of us a seed of greatness. And no matter how broken we are this capacity for greatness remains within. For this capacity comes from the fact that we were created in the image and likeness of God. And that is irrevocable.

We have to start defining ourselves differently. We have to stop summing ourselves by the opinion of the world and start seeing ourselves as God sees us. We are precious. We are beautiful.

We are God’s beloved.

God wants us to be great men and women, like his saints were. But we have to stop putting ourselves down. We have to stop looking down on ourselves and start looking up. And when we start to look up, we will see God’ hand reaching out to us. And He will lift us up.

You are awesome. And no one can take that away from you.

Not even yourself.

Written by Daxx Bondoc

Monday, June 6, 2011

The 7 Highly Effective Habits of Hobbits (Part 4: Valuing of Friendship)

Hobbit Habit#4: Valuing of Friendship

Friendship is one of the beautiful themes in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Fellowship was not just a group, a bunch of individuals on a mission, but they were friends. They were friends who were ready to die to protect each other.

Frodo would have never destroyed the One Ring if it was not for his friends, especially Sam. From the beginning, his friends was with him, whether he liked it or not. And they stuck to him till the end. It was their friendship that kept them together when things got rough.

How many times Sam, Merry and Pippin risked their life so that Frodo may live and continue his mission? Merry and Pippin made themselves bait to the Uruk-hai so Frodo could escape. Sam risked his life time and again to protect Frodo. Sam faced orcs and a giant spider just to save Frodo.

Sam is the greatest icon of friendship in the Lord of the Rings. No matter what Frodosaid and did to Sam, leaving him and casting him out, Sam always remained faithful to Frodo. Sam was always there to the rescue. And in the end, when Frodo did not have the strength to continue the journey to Mount Doom, Sam literally carried him on the rest of the journey.

No Hobbit is left behind.

Sam reminds us of John of Cyrene who helped Jesus carry the cross. A friend is not just someone there for the merry making, but is there to help you carry your crosses. The sign of a true friendship is the willingness to suffer for the other and vice versa.

In this “user-friendly” culture we live in, real friends are a gem, more precious than silver or gold. Gold and silver will not die for you, but a real friend would.

“Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.” –Aristotle

We Christians are called to be friends of Christ. This means that we must be ready to shed our blood and give our life to our Friend. Like the Hobbits, we must be ready to set ourselves aside for the sake of the Other. We must remain faithful to our Friend at all cost, especially amidst adversities.

We live in a world where Christ is continually persecuted and banished from society. To be His friend means take His side, even if that means to be persecuted by the world. "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” - John 15:18.
Real friends don’t bail out on each other.

Lastly, Jesus is our Friend, the perfect friend. He is the Friend that not only suffers for and with us, but a Friend who paid our debts with his very blood, his very life. Christ sings to us “You just call out my name and you know where ever I am I'll come running to see you again.” He is a Friend that is always, as in eternally always, there for us.

And yes, we are friends of Christ.

“I no longer call you servants… Instead, I have called you friends.” - John 15:15

Written by Daxx Bondoc

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The 7 Highly Effective Habits of Hobbits (Part 3: Perseverance )

Hobbit Habit 3: Perseverance

It is one thing to win a battle, another to win a war.
Our lives are series of battles. Everyday we do battle against the “enemy”, the world and our very self. One can survive a major crisis unscathed, but it is the daily battles that can wear us down.
In the book, Frodo’s journey from the Shire to Mount Doom took years. The hobbits walked for months, encountering all kind of dangers. But in all of it, the hobbits persevered.

The virtue of perseverance is rare these days. We live in a culture of instant satisfaction. If we find something “too much work” then it is too much work that we don’t want to do. In our society where “emotional high” is king, lack of emotions is a good enough reason to quit. When the going gets tough, the tough bails out. The modern man is allergic to hardships.

How much good work have been wasted or never been started because we quit too early, too easily? How many of us have given up before we reached the goal?

Perseverance is important in life. Without it we shall accomplish nothing. When Frodo decided to destroy the One Ring, he was going against enemies bigger than him. And he had to battle them not only once, but many times. Everyday he has to battle the hostile landscape he needed to pass through. But most of all, he has to make battle with himself every minute as the One Ring tempts him. Even though the tides were against him, he pushed forward. This is most true for Christians, who are asks to go against the spirit of the world. Christ Himself said that the world would hate his followers. Without perseverance we shall all give in to the world, and be traitors, just like Judas.

A big part of perseverance is getting up after a fall and getting back on track. How many times did Frodo and the Fellowship was side tracked because unforeseen events. They were forced to travel underground in the Mines of Moria were they have to face orcs and the Balrog. Frodo was captured twice, bitten and cocooned by a giant spider and stabbed by a Nazg├╗l . But all of these setbacks did not stop Frodo from fulfilling his mission. We too suffer a lot of setbacks in life. But these setbacks, failures and obstacle are not the end of the adventure. It will only be the end if we choose so.

The spiritual life is not a sprint. We cannot rely on emotional consolations with our journey with God, for emotions fade. How much promises we have made when we were emotionally high and then never really delivered? Life is long marathon. We must learn to persevere amidst hardships and desolations. We cannot base our perseverance with our emotions, but with our decisions. We must continue running the race even if it takes us to the desert. And we need to persevere if we want to get out of the desert to the Promise Land.

In the end we can say with St Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

And the Father will say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!"

Written by Daxx Bondoc

Love and Condoms