A Matter of Perspective

One thing I love about the media is that I get to see a range of stories and events coming out around the world. And I mean a RANGE. Just this week there was a story that caught my attention. It was on measuring romantic love…but not in the way you might expect.

A newly-wed couple was asked to participate in a study that would attempt to measure their romantic affection for each other. Right after the wedding, they each underwent a brain scan and the results were clear: they were madly in love with each other. But the arrangement of the whole experiment was that they would come back for another scan in 180 days after being married. The result? The wife’s level of this so-called ‘love hormone’ was STILL high… while her husbands was… well, gone. Almost COMPLETELY. Ouch. The anthropologist then proceeded to tell the wife “your husband doesn’t love you anymore.” Can you imagine being in her position?

There are many different perspectives on love out there telling us how we should define it… how we should approach it… and live it out. Love is a universal thing we all attempt to understand and live out in a meaningful way in our lives and in our relationships – whether with friends, family or romantic interests.

Who are we to listen to? The brain scan test? The messages in pop culture– movies, magazines and billboards–that tell us love is all about high-flying romance and sex appeal?

At the end of the day, most of us as humans desire to love and be loved don’t we? What we forget is that we can choose how we live it out; a perspective that will serve as a lens through which we view and approach it.

My perspective drastically changed 4 years ago when I moved to the Philippines from the US. It was my first time in Asia, first time with a real job and first time living on my own. And I mean ON MY OWN. I knew no one, not a soul, when I touched down in Manila.

It just so happened my Birthday was a few days later. By that point I had made about two friends – my guard attendant and my landlord named Sunny. I felt so alone, but then suddenly… I didn’t feel so alone. A tangible presence of God was with me and I felt He was inviting me to have a deeper relationship with Him.

It was right then and there that I made choice whose voice to follow when it came to living and loving. I chose to let God and His Word be my measurement of love – rather than brain scans and Hollywood.

I love Isaiah 30:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

It’s true. His voice is there. Ready and willing to guide us on His straight path. The question is whether we are willing to follow it.

Are you?

Father, thank you that Your love is more real than any earthly measurement. Please help me to stay rooted in You, seeking You and Your ways FIRST in all things. Help me to hear Your voice and grant me the desire to want to follow it. Amen.

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Chocolate-Covered Jesus

“Okay, bring me the chocolate!”

This is what I jokingly said to my friends driving me home after we sent our dear friend off at the airport. I was laughing, but I wasn’t really kidding.

My friend who I had lived with for the past two years in Singapore was…gone. For good. To Africa. She was my prayer partner…my confidant…my source of laughter…soul sister. Her not being here tomorrow morning to sip our morning coffee together left a big gaping hole in my heart…which I wanted to fill by scarfing down a big bar of chocolate!

Does that ever happen to you? When you are feeling overwhelmed with a certain emotion, be it anger, sadness or fear, and you just want to go to the nearest diner and order anything and everything on the menu? What is with that?

People say there are two categories of people: those who eat in times of stress and those who don’t eat during times of stress. Well, I can safely say I am in the first category. Somehow I got the “munching” genes (thanks mom!).

All joking aside, there there is some comforting quality in food. Its like some secret ingredient that surges through your veins at the moment of consumption. There are even foods we deem “comfort food”  – usually anything that is deep-fried, grease-drenched or chocolate-covered. We know we shouldn’t eat it but do anyway because we know it will bring that momentary ‘relief’ that we need.

But that’s just it. It’s just momentary. Food in its physical form, no matter how ‘comforting’ it appears to be, has no staying power – besides causing heart burn or a big belly ache!

I was reminded of the verse that says,

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–because anyone who has died has been set free from sin” (Romans 6:6-7).

We can be slaves to whatever we think will bring us comfort. It may be food, drugs, alcohol excessive exercise or starvation. Whatever it is, it rules over us and leads to unhealthy and destructive behaviors–which ultimately create separation from God.

I wonder what it would be like if we started turning to Jesus  in these moments.  Instead of chocolate, ice cream, french fries and waffles (or whatever it may be)… His Word would serve as a huge feast of  ‘soul’ food–offering the real, deep and lasting comfort we’re craving for in the first place.

I pray that we can have a fresh revelation of His love and sacrifice on the cross SO THAT we can have a living, vibrant, healthy life with God that will compel us to turn to Him in our times of emotional distress instead of the temporary comforts of this world.  He is our ultimate Provider just waiting to unleash giant ‘portions’ of his chocolate-covered  grace, love, comfort and strength during times when we need it most.

Dear Lord, I am sorry for turning to anything other than You to fulfill my deepest needs. Please forgive me for giving into temptation to consume food for comfort instead or consuming You. Thank you that You sent Jesus to die for me and all of humanity so that no sin or temptation would have power over us. Thank you that the desires of my flesh have been crucified with Jesus on the cross so that I may have life and life abundantly with You. Help me Lord and give me the strength to turn away from chocolate during times of emotional stress and run toward Your open arms. May Your unfailing love be my comfort (Psalms 119:76) in all things Lord. I love you. Amen.

Food for Thought:

Where do you turn when your emotions are running high?

The Dreaded ‘M’ Word

I just got back from attending the She Speaks conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. For lack of a better word, it was amaaaaaazing. A rich blend of learning, listening, ministering, and meeting other like-minded woman who also feel called by God to communicate His Word through the written and spoken word. My soul was bubbling over with excitement and JOY as I witnessed first hand all that God is doing in and through the hearts and minds of His beautiful daughters across the earth!

After leaving a conference like that, you can imagine how overwhelmed one can feel. For me, that overwhelmed feeling came on the marketing end of things. I just released my first book in Singapore/Asia called Entrusting the Key: From Serial Dating to Joyful Waiting. Its been very exciting and is God’s way of launching me into a new direction in my vocation. I’ll blog more about that later, but my point here is that I learned something I didn’t know before I went to the conference: the heavy marketing required BY THE AUTHOR in order for a book to be successful. That one stung like a jellyfish. I was thinking, “I just spent the last year working tirelessly to write the book and now you’re telling me I have to expend that same amount of energy and effort, if not more, to market the book? Isn’t that someone else’s job?”

I wish that was the case. And there are people to help. But the reality in today’s market is that the author needs to do the majority of the leg work in order to get his/her name and message out there. Don’t get me wrong. I am passionate about the message God gave me, to encourage singles along their road of singleness. I am willing to write, speak, broadcast anything related to the topic in order to get the message out! In other words, the passion and the fervor is not lacking. So what is?

For some reason the word ‘marketing’ sends chills down my spine. It makes me want to run to my room, shut the door and hide under my covers. I want to avoid it, ignore it and pretend the ‘m’ word doesn’t exist. God called me to be a writer and a speaker, yes, but a marketer? No way hose! At least that’s what I would have said before the She Speaks conference.

Thanks to a man named Rob Eager, a marketing expert and a great man of God, was there to present the whole ‘m’ word thing in a new light. I realized that my resistance to the whole marketing thing was rooted in one word: FEAR. There, I said it. Yep, I was scared. Terrified. The world of marketing was like this big monster staring me in the face whispering, “You can’t do it. You don’t know what you’re doing. You are not cut out for this…” But ya know what? That’s NOT TRUE!

One of my favorite verses in the Bible comes from the mouth of the Apostle Paul, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13).

Those words give me encouragement that even in my weakness, my inadequacy, my cluelessness about the world of marketing, I can do it THROUGH HIM who gives me strength. All I have to do is rely on His ability, His provision, His empowerment working through me. After all, God wrote the book, why wouldn’t He want to get the message out to those who need to hear it?

Lysa Terkheurst, the President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, the host of the She Speaks conference, gave a great piece of advice at the end of the conference. Knowing how overwhelmed we all were feeling, she said this: “When you leave this conference, take all that your learned and wrote down in your notebooks and get quiet before God. Ask Him what the one or two things He wants you to take away and apply to your life and do that.”

So, I heeded her words and one of the things the Lord has put on my heart to take away is to start a new blog to represent this new season in my life. This season of stepping out in my calling as a writer and speaker of God’s word and to start blogging regularly, as a way of sharing the things God is teaching me. So here I am.

I pray that the words I write on this blog may be a blessing to you in your own journey wherever you are. If you too are facing the ‘m’ monster, rest assured, you are not alone. Let’s keep encouraging one another and sharing what we learn as we take steps of faith into uncharted terrain. And most of all, lets keep relying on His strength–not our own–to take us through, as He wills it!

Be blessed today sweet sister wherever you are with His JOY pouring down from heaven.

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