If there was one thing that drove me to where I am right now, it has always been my desire to be different.
I remember 4–year-old me making a promise to lead a very different life from everyone in my family. (You want the sordid details? Talk to me in person.) I vowed that I will excel in my studies and use my education to get out of the hell hole that was Cavite. I will not be like them, never be like them.
I entered school and the desire to be different took over my life. I was kinda great at school so I thrived in that environment. I was the weird literature-loving girl in elementary and high school. I was fortunate enough to go to UP Diliman where I was known as the black-wearing, music-loving, I-am–gonna-be-a-music-journalist-after-this-suckers girl who didn’t really care about what others thought.
I lived for the high that being different brought me. Then I met Jesus my last semester in college and everything changed.
The Jesus I knew growing up was angry and distant. The Jesus that CCC (Bless these people, really!) was so countercultural and awesome that I wanted to be like him. Finally someone I can aspire to be. Finally someone who loved me back wholly. Finally someone who accepted me, flaws and deep wounds and issues and all. I was so filled with His love that I wanted to go fulltime with CCC to share the gospel.
Life, however, happened.
My mom kicked me out of the house when she found out that I was a Christian and wanted to be a missionary. I don’t blame her. My mom has always been the pragmatic type. She is also not a believer so the big revelation that her only daughter is “throwing it all away” (her words) for God (who was never really a figure in our lives) is so absurd. Plus the fact that the one who financed my college education was my very pious Roman Catholic aunt in the States also did not help. She just wanted what was what she thought was best for me. Translation? Financial security.
And that didn’t sit well with oh-so-smart-I-got-this-all-figured-out fresh from graduation me. I wanted adventure. I wanted to change and see the world. I wanted to create. I wanted to collaborate. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to be different. I didn’t (and still don’t) care about money.
But all I had was passion. Without firm Christian foundations yet(still?), I got pretty bogged down by everyday survival that I decided to put God on hold and pursue a career far from the mission field.
Those were my wilderness years. I learned it the hard way that a person cannot really spark a revolution however good your intentions are. As much as I hated admitting it, I became part of the system that I vowed to change. The idealist got disillusioned and beaten down. I was no longer different.
I became a suit. *shudders*
Thankfully, God had other plans.
After 3 years, He finally called me to the mission field through OMF Literature, Inc. For the first time ever, I was plugged into the Christian world and they were okay that I was different. My typical day was filled with books, God, fellow Christians who understood and celebrated my quirks, spiritual mentors, meaningful conversations, lots of laughs, books and more books. I also started taking my faith “seriously” and decided to plug myself into CCF St. Francis mid last year.
I was at my happy place and I got spoiled and complacent. I thought that since I was leading such a great life, I can handle things my way again.
Yep, I can really be the stupidest girl in the world sometimes.
God gave me a clear vision of where He wanted me to be early this year. I shrugged it off, tried to run away from it because it was so far from what I envisioned myself to be. I told God that I didn’t want to be a bore. (BAHAHAHAHA)
But He was persistent. He kept me awake for days on end. I relented begrudgingly, took the first few steps that He showed me to take then He became silent.
Just. Like. That.
It seemed so unfair to stop hearing from Him after I did everything He asked me to. Little did I know that He was using that silence to teach me something else. I was so focused on His grueling silence regarding my obedience that I failed to realize that He is using this season to teach me that this I got this whole being different business all wrong.
This obsession for my being unique made me alienate/hurt a lot of people. It wasn’t my intention and I wasn’t aware that I have been doing that but I have been judging people who didn’t agree with my likes and belief system. Yep, the girl who hated judgmental people became judgmental herself. The irony of all ironies.
I was such a jerk.
The funny thing is I am now realizing that in reality, I really am not that different from everybody else. It will still take me some time to unlearn it but I am beginning to accept the fact that I am essentially just like you. And that is not a bad thing.
After all, just like you, I am in need of God’s mercy and saving grace. Without Him, who are we really? Without Him, who am I really?
I am getting there in His time. Someday, someday.
P.S. I’d still prolly judge you if you like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey but it won’t be a reason to pull the “Friendship over.” card. Or not.
P.P.S. I still want adventure. I still want to change and see the world. I still want to create. I still want to collaborate. I still want to make a difference.