TRUST GOD, FOR HE IS IN CONTROL

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This August is going to be my second to the last semester in my University. Months before, I was praying for God to give me a reasonable schedule, if not a great nor a good one. In Elevate U-Belt, our church’s youth ministry located in the University Belt of Manila, I serve at ‘Selah’ (our music ministry), and now, I just started serving at ‘Safelight’ (our photo ministry); it also happens every Friday evening. I said to God that if I won’t be able to serve in Elevate U-Belt (if ever I have class during that time), may he lead me to serving in other Elevate branches, like Elevate Commonwealth, or Elevate SNL (short for ‘Saturday Night Live;’ for college students and it is located in the main church) to name a few. I also meet with my small group every Saturday evening at the main church so if ever that I would be called by God to serve there, transportation would not really be much of a problem. Then just a few hours ago, at around 8pm, a block mate of mine posted an update: our schedule had been released already. Excitedly, I gazed upon the picture and I made a table as to what my schedule looks like: 4THYR1STSEM-SCHED (My Thesis Writing class is from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, in case you might not understand why it’s like that.) The next thing I knew, the smile on my face was gone. It did not resemble a frown, but a look of disbelief and confusion. I did not know what to do, neither to say. Coincidentally, my schedule blocked all the time slots wherein I can attend Elevate: Whether it may be in Vito Cruz, Pedro Gil, Katipunan, Commonwealth, High, or SNL (I took consideration of my time to go there from the University). Thank God that I can attend Elevate U-Belt, but I can no longer serve at Selah due to my schedule. I can’t rehearse on Thursday nights, neither can I do sound check since Elevate U-Belt starts at 6pm; I might also be late in covering the event if I serve in Safelight. And I have a 6-9pm class on Saturday, the same time that I can meet my small group and my discipler (small group leader). Also, I won’t be able to commit in serving for the youth choir during Sunday worship at the main church since my Saturday is booked from 9am to 9pm. I felt like my happiness was ripped out of my body. I felt uneasy and I felt so disturbed. I was staring at my schedule for a long, long time. Then anxiety was starting to eat me. I cried out to God and asked Him the reason why He allowed to block almost every Elevate accessible to me. I asked Him to change my schedule so that I can comfortably serve in my ministries and be able to attend small group meetings. My mind was really getting out of hand and I, on the other hand, I am “brisk walking” around my room thinking about all these things – and it’s all just because of my schedule. As I calmed myself down, I prayed to God solemnly. As I slowly ask Him once more why He allowed my schedule to turn out like this, I felt someone asking me, “Who is it that you serve, your friends? Your family? Or are you serving Me?” There, my jaw dropped. God was letting me see that even though my goals in ministry is to serve Him, He wants me to focus solely on Him. He didn’t want me to focus on ministry, on my small group, but He wants me to be firm in my relationship with Him. I have been inside my comfort zone for a long time that I don’t allow change to happen because I think that it’s scary and I might feel as if I’m all alone, but the truth is, I’m really not. God is telling us that He will never leave us and that He will always be by our side. (Hebrews 13:5b) I decided that whether He wants me to serve in Elevate U-Belt or not, then His will be done. The good news is that my 6-9pm class on Internship should already be done (meaning I have no more class) since I am currently doing my practicum. This means that I can meet my small group every Saturday night after escaping the “Manila to San Juan to Ortigas fiasco” of a traffic from Recto. Even though right now, I do not know what God has in store for me, neither do I know the ultimate reason why He allowed me to have this very annoying schedule, I will trust and obey Him. I can still serve Him in many ways beyond ministries and beyond the church. I pray that He will change my heart and help me become better, that I may live like Christ. God is in control The storm may be very powerful, but I will be still for I know that You, my Lord, are with me. All my fear will be removed for You are bigger than my problems.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

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THE myUSTe RAGE!

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“Grades do not measure intelligence; they measure diligence.”

This is what @bobfreking tweeted regarding the long, looooooooooooooong wait for the online viewing of grades of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Manila students…and I’m one of those students who are waiting to view them.

I woke up at around 9am1 with a notification from a friend that grades are out. I quickly rushed towards our PC and headed to the myUSTe website, where we can view our schedules, grades, deficiencies, do online enrollment and the like. I gave up at around 12:15pm1 after a series of failed attempts at opening the site. Yes, the site always crashes because of the number of people trying to view their grades. I opened three to four tabs just to make sure that at least one of them might work. I was feeling anxious about my grades because of the result of my grades last semester. I know that I gave my 100%-ish. But I know that I’m only anxious because I feel as if these numbers will determine my future.

By then, no one was posting whether they had succeeded or not so I took my lunch and took a short nap…or so I thought I did. But I slept for almost six hours. Was I tired? Maybe. I mean, maybe my day would’ve been less stressful if I had gone to two of my three chosen companies to apply for internship, but myUSTe got the best of me.

Waking up at around 15 minutes before 6pm1, I realized that I should check again, thinking there was improvement that I can finally view them. People on Facebook were already posting their “success stories” so I was confident that I would be able to view my grades. I was wrong. Afterward, I started to get frustrated. I was not anxious anymore; rather, I continuously pressed the refresh (F5) button as if I was ready to break it.

But suddenly I stopped. I realized that how I was reacting to the situation was wrong. I’m not just merely talking about the rage of pressing the ‘F5’ button alone but how angry I was that the server would not open. Maybe God wanted me to calm down first and just hang on to Him and know that He is under control.

It says in Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV): “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

How do we deal whenever frustration and anxiety kicks in? PRAY. Talk to God and give Him all your worries and rage.

So, did I get to see my grades? I posted this at around 8:20pm1 and I still have not. But I know that God will finally help me open myUSTe when my heart is ready, not when it is upset.

UPDATE: [As of 12:51am1, 29th May 2015] I finally got a chance to see my grades thanks to my phone, and through God’s grace, not only was I able to pass every subject but this has been my highest semestral average since my first semester in the University! Praise God for keeping me still for He is powerful and wondrous!

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33 (ESV)

1Philippine Standard Time