If you would tell me eight years ago that I would be doing what I am doing right now, I could have laughed at your face. Eight years ago, I was this overly confident teenager who thought she had life figured out for her. And if you would also tell me that I would be this passionate for the things I am passionate now and that I would throw out of the window ALL of those grandiose plan I have carefully thought about ever since I was four, I could’ve swore at you crazy and not speak to you at all.
But you see, God has this pretty funny way of overturning our oh so precious plans—that many times, we may feel blindsided and ask, what in the world happened to my mind? Then you begin to agree, with a laugh on the side with those people shaking their heads in disbelief with what you did with your life… “Me, gone crazy? Ha! I know right?!”
Eight years ago, I was on my pursuit to fulfilling my ultimate dream in a life—be a nurse, work abroad earning thoooooousands of dollars then bring my family in the states, marry a guy with blue eyes and raise the cutest babies ever!!! You’re cringing now, right? But please, don’t dismiss my former plans just yet…for these plans were birthed for as long as I can remember in my heart—you know, that typical Filipino dream, to become successful in life and go to where the greener pasture is. When I was four, I looked up to an aunt who was living that dream and her job was a nurse in states and so there I picked up the blueprint to my plan in life—become a nurse and rule the world. (In my defense (lol) I really had that heart to be there and care for people when they get sick and not just earn those dollars, ya know? haha)
And so that was my plan, but eight years fast forward to now I’m still here in the Philippines, with still no work experience as a registered nurse, no plans in the near future to apply for that US visa as a nurse and with people yes, shaking their heads in disbelief wondering what the heck happened to my supposedly gifted mind.
So what happened, you ask?
It was because, one year later when I could have laughed at your face and call you crazy when you would tell me I would be actually doing what I am doing right now, I encountered God for the first time—far different in the way that I “saw” and “knew” him from those hour-long Sunday church mass or from those religion classes I took when I was in elementary school or from that gloomy looking poster in my grandma’s house. He is so different from those things! I encountered him and realized that hey, this God is living and breathing too—and He said He cares for me and loves me even though He knew all those bad things I can’t even stomach to recall…He is that kind of God all along. And you know that if you had that kind of encounter, you would know your life would never be the same, ever.
And as I continued to seek this God that I never knew in the past, He began to give me a change of heart, a change of perspective which led to a change of pursuit and of redirection of how I want to live my life now that I know my life is here not only for material things and prosperity but so much more. I began to see the truth that all of us are made for so much more than we can see here on this world…that everything we see and can have here are only for the temporary and the reason why we will have those moments where we long for something that no one in this world can seem to satisfy it is because we are made for heaven and there, my friends, the shift happened. The shift to live my life not to pursue worldly things that will soon pass away but to live my life in pursuit for the things that truly matter and I can see in heaven and that is in the Word of God and souls of men.
This is the reason why I threw my plans out of the window to become a nurse and rule the world and accepted God’s call to be a missionary and advance Jesus’ rule over all. Many times, people don’t get it and to tell you honestly, sometimes I don’t too. But that’s okay for me, because I think I’m in a good company here…
Remember Moses? He was living as a prince of Egypt but for many reasons he had to run away from his comfortable (and luxurious!!!) life as a prince and had to live as an ordinary person and later on encounter God in a burning bush and be set up to lead the Israelites out of the Red Sea and out of slavery. Remember Paul (who was formerly called Saul)? He was rubbing elbows with the rulers and priest of the land. You could say he was the favourite of these prestige men but because of an encounter with God causing him to be blinded for a while and later on regain his sight and live his life from a persecutor numero uno of the Church and Jesus himself and become the greatest apostle that ever lived and write most of the New Testament in the Bible that we read today. And ofcourse, do you remember Jesus? Son of God, dwelling in the heavenly places seated at the right hand of the father, perfect, living THE LIFE! But all of that He exchanged for that one precious call to be the Saviour of all mankind, exchanged the glory of heaven as his dwelling to the filth of the manger as his bed to be pursue us even when it led him to the most gruesome death at the cross. ALL for one single purpose—to save men from their sins and reconcile them back to God.
And so, everything else in my life I can surrender all by the power and grace that comes of God and that would be okay…
“For when I preach the gospel,
I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach.
Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”
-1 Corinthians 9:16