where to next?

I’m now officially unemployed. Whoo!

It’s surreal and weird to be just staying here at home, in my room, on a Friday. This isn’t the first time I quit a job, but unlike in the past, I feel as if I shouldn’t be here in my room.  Before, I would savor the smoothness of my bed – squeezing my pillows and rolling under my covers. Now, there’s a restlessness inside me that pushes me to go out and do something. Good thing, the thought of limited funds and weekend activities made me stay put in this house.

No, there’s no job yet, but I’m already looking. I already submitted my application to three companies (one already rejected me and it hurt). I know three isn’t enough considering I’m praying to have a new job next month. However, I can’t help but be strictly picky this time around. I have a checklist that I hope to fill for my “dream” job:

  • Located at the country’s top business district – it’s my comfort zone.
  • Morning shift – I’m done with mid-shifts, I want my evenings back.
  • Weekends off – my weekends are untouchable!
  • Non-BPO company – I’ve been working for BPOs since I finished college.
  • Has to do with marketing – copywriting or events will do.
  • Almost if not the same salary from my last job – I’m willing to haggle but not that much.

Of course, this isn’t entirely up to me. Though I have submitted this checklist to God, it’s still His plan that will push through. I’m not going to do this my way, but His. If this isn’t what He wants for me, then I’ll gladly accept it because I know that His plans will always be better than mine.

I have already experienced how good it is follow His plans. Never again will I force mine. Though I acknowledge that accepting, trusting, and obeying His will is not easy. No, it isn’t. It’s beyond challenging. It’s a struggle. It’s frustrating, stressful, and a whole lot of emotional whirlwind. And I know that it’s possible that I will undergo all of that again in the future because walking with God requires constant surrendering of your self, your plans, your dreams, your wants, and your needs.

When God told me that I’d be leaving my last job (as I have written last February 2017),  I cried. It was hard to accept that He was changing everything when I have already planned for my future already. However, I knew there was nothing I could do, because when God said something, it will happen. There’s nothing we can do to go against Him. We’re not that powerful. So if God says that He doesn’t agree with the my checklist, there’s nothing I can do. I’ll have to accept that.

When I begrudgingly accepted that I’d be leaving, I wasn’t in the position to leave yet. I was sent to London back in September 2016 and there was a training bond that came along with it, which means I couldn’t leave the company for one year or else I’d be paying some huge amount of money. I could’ve left and paid that, but I knew that God wouldn’t want me to spend money that I didn’t even have. He wanted me to wait and it was painful. It was a good thing though, because I still had no idea what I should do next.

When the bond ended, the pressure was on. I was free to leave, but I was still stuck. I still hadn’t figured out what I was going to do. I had no idea what to do look for. I was thinking that I had already exhausted all of my options. Of course, I was wrong. Then one day, during a conference in our church back in October 2017, I heard God’s voice. While listening to the pastor absentmindedly (because I was exhausted and had only a couple of hours of sleep) about his one experience in the past about leaving a job, I heard Him telling me, “It’s okay. Leave.”

Just like that, I was relieved. I still had no plans or strategies. I also had no savings (unlike in my second to the last job, I had no means of doubling my salary in any way because there was no extra workload to be taken). However, despite all that, all my worries were gone. I just trust God completely with this one. Suddenly, the ideas of what things I could do next started coming to me. I knew I’d be fine. I was at peace.

Ever since that blessed October day, I have prayed relentlessly about my resignation and job hunting. I give all my concerns to Him every single day. Repeatedly. Because despite knowing that God has my back, circumstances try to force me to think that I made the worst decision in my life. They’re causing me to panic. Just like last Saturday when I couldn’t help but worry as I watch my dwindling savings, I rushed to the job portal I use to look for a job. That’s when I learned that one my of applications was rejected. I was crushed. I couldn’t sleep. I cried. Thoughts of not being able to find a job on time came rushing to me.

Fortunately, I knew better now.

Even though it was midnight, I picked up my devotional notebook and Bible and prayed. I was troubled. I thought I’d lose my momentum, my footing, and will start crashing down once again. I needed comfort and peace. His presence provided me just that. He told me that He will protect me from any discouragement that circumstances will throw at me.

“On the twelfth day of the first month,
we set out from the Ahana Canal to go to Jerusalem.
The hand of God was on us,
and He protected us from enemies and bandits along the way.”
(Ezra 8:31)

Advertisements

jumping to 2018

I have to admit that 2017 ended in a not-so high note for me. Yes, the last month was uplifting and hopeful, but majority of the last quarter was all tears, anger, pain, hurt, and frustration. It was so unbearable to the point that I wasn’t looking forward to 2018, because I thought none of the things that are weighing me down would come to an end.

However, God is gracious and merciful. He gifted me strength, courage, wisdom, faith, hope, joy, peace, protection, and love on my birthday last December. All of the sudden, I could breathe, smile, and laugh again. Even though my 29th birthday wasn’t how I hoped it was, He still gave me the best presents I could ever have at that time.

Due to His gifts, I was able to anticipate 2018 with a bit of excitement (there was one thing that made me want to cling onto 2017, but He also took care of that at the nick of time). I even made some resolutions. Simple ones. Like I intend to wear colorful and stylish clothes (I mostly have simple blouses with neutral colors in my wardrobe – I want more color! I blame this from watching too much Gossip Girl, but I just have to achieve even the tip of the casual!Serena van der Woodsen style). I also hope to learn how to use makeup  (yes, at 29, I still really suck at it). So, before 2017 ended, I dragged my older sister to the nearby thrift shops to look for cute clothes and I shopped for a pair of shoes and bag at the trade sale at some mall. As for the makeup part, I have yet to talk to one of my friends who’s a makeup expert.

Another resolution is an old one – to write more often. Though I did better last year, I still suck compared to the goal I have set. I wasn’t even able to write about my Taipei trip, my high school friend’s wedding,  my experience at Kim Jaejoong’s fan meeting here in Manila, and…my thoughts about Kim Jonghyun’s suicide. Among other things. I wasn’t able to write about my struggles also and my realizations from those struggles. I hope I could do better this year. I don’t know how but I will try again. I also hope I could write about the things I mentioned above even though they’re already overdue.

Lastly, at the beginning of this year, I found myself praying for something – that, this 2018, may there be more of God and less of me. I’m fully committing to let go and let God control every single aspect of my life starting this year. As Carrie Underwood had sung over a decade ago, “Jesus take the wheel.” No more arguing, no more fighting, no more pushing and pulling. I intend to walk in obedience to God this time, to wholeheartedly pursue a holy life like God wants us to do. It won’t be easy, but at this point of my life, it’s important for me to have God’s presence at all times and I can only do that if I stopped falling into unfaithfulness.

There are a lot of unknowns this year. I have some plans and I have no idea how they will transpire. By Monday, I’ll be handing my resignation and I don’t know where I can possibly end up next. There’s also pursuing a master’s degree at my dream school, which so happens to be one of the most expensive universities in the country and I still have ZERO savings for that. So, I have nothing right now except to entrust everything to God because, with Him, nothing’s impossible and I have learned that if we follow God’s path for our lives, there’s nothing but good things for us along the journey.

“And David became more and more powerful,
because the Lord Almighty was with him.”

(1 Chronicles 11:9 NIV)

starting from zero

Late 1990s

I fell in love with English back in 6th grade when our school administrator became our Grammar teacher. She made all grammar rules sensible and understandable, but my English still sucked at that time.

At that time, the books I only owned were my school textbooks and children’s story books. At that time, I consumed my time watching Filipino TV shows and Filipino-dubbed animes. My sister kept on insisting I read more books and watch English TV shows, because the best way to learn a language is to expose yourself to it.

She was right.

Early 2000s

English became a huge part of my life in high school. I was studying in an all-girls school. In the Philippines, there’s a stereotype that goes around that students in all-girls schools and all-boys schools only speak in English. Of course, that’s an exaggeration.

When I got there, I learned that the girls don’t speak English all the time. They still used Filipino – actually, Taglish (Tagalog-English/Filipino-English) is the main language of the school. However, when they’re called to speak in English, they can speak in English.

Another thing I learned (which the judgmental people outside the all-girls school community didn’t mention or probably have no idea about) is, unlike in the grade school where I came from where students’ past times are just playing and watching animes, students in all-girls schools read books. A LOT OF BOOKS.

It was 2001 – the first Harry Potter movie was scheduled to hit the theaters. Before that year, I didn’t know what and who Harry Potter was. All I knew was it was a book and the Catholic church hated it.

A friend invited me to watch it with her. Unfortunately, I was the girl who wasn’t allowed to go to malls without her parents and I was the girl who failed her English subject because she didn’t took the practical exam for her Speech class which was to speak in front of her classmates.

I was grounded.

It was somehow sad because I thought could finally learn who Harry Potter is without having to read the book. Up to that point, I was still clueless about the whole HP phenomenon.

My Mom got an idea. It was pretty clever. She bought me my first ever book: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” She thought it would help me learn who Harry Potter was and improve my English.

As the cliched English idiom goes, it’s killing two birds with one stone.

It worked.

I read the book. I still remember how I repeatedly read the first paragraph of the first chapter because I wasn’t so sure if I was understanding it. It was my first time reading a full-length novel. I was scared. I was intimidated. I was thinking I would never finish it.

Good thing, JK Rowling was amazing.

After getting over the initial “shock” of reading the first page of my first full-length novel, the rest of reading journey went on smoothly.

I was absorbed in the Harry Potter universe that JK Rowling had awesomely created. I wish I could really be in there and never would have to leave.

I was still a slow reader, then. I had to sleep early because of school. I had homework every time I came home. It took me a week or two to finish the book.

That’s how my love for reading started.

While waiting for the 5th HP book, I picked up Sarah Dessen, R.L. Stine and some others. I was introduced to fan fiction (I love Harry/Hermione and Draco/Hermione stories – my greatest frustrations). I was addicted to reading.

Late 2000s

Writing started when I was in college.

(My writing skills back in high school was totally nonexistent. When our Filipino teacher required as to write a short story, I went to Fanfiction.net and looked for some HP fic I could translate into Filipino for the said homework.)

I can’t remember anymore what day it was. All I can recall was it was 2008. I was in class, bored to my wits. I was addicted to the anime called The Prince of Tennis. I was reading a lot of PoT fan fics – I was a Perfect Pair shipper (Tezuka Kunimitsu/Fuji Syusuke) and, sometimes, others. I was having my own PoT scenarios in my head and they won’t shut up.

Out of nowhere, I started writing my first fan fiction. It wasn’t a love story. It was just a character-centric one. It’s a cringe-worthy story (not because it was badly written – though I admit my grammar back then was still atrocious, but because the story was dumb), but I posted it online. There were a few reads (and fewer reviews) but I wasn’t discouraged.

I wrote a love story after.

They were short stories at first. Then, they became chaptered ones. I wrote about my favorite ship, then I started experimenting with original female characters. Sadly, when I was already doing this, I started working and didn’t have enough time to focus on those stories anymore.

It’s impossible to finish an unfinished story if you leave it for a long time. Your mindset as a writer changes. Your writing style changes. Your vision for stories changes. Trying to go back to how you were “feeling” and “thinking” when you started your story is an almost impossible feat.

Early 2010s

I didn’t stop writing. Writing continued after college.

However, I moved to a different fandom.

I left the anime world and relocated to the KPOP universe. Though it was already 2010 when I started writing for KPOP, my KPOP obsession started way back in 2003 – back in the days of dial-up internet.

There, it was back to scratch.

Writing for an anime is easier, there’s a plot and an existing story. In KPOP, there are only characters – the artists. The only story you have is the news about them, the circulating anecdotes about them. I did write stories using real events as plots, but I couldn’t just focus on them only.

I had to learn how to make an original world, universe, reality for KPOP artists in my head.

I turned them to other things – students, parents, actors, angels, kings, princes, detectives, robots, etc.

Writing for KPOP did improve me as a writer.

2015

I decided to write my first original story.

(Okay, I did try to write an original story back in high school. After the translated HP fic incident that my teacher never seemed to have noticed. I can still remember the name of my main character – it was Dylan. However, I wasn’t able to finish it and I didn’t have enough confidence for it.)

It was November and I learned about this thing called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) from the authors I was following on Twitter. It’s a website you had to sign up to and, when you join, you had to write a 50,000-word novel in the whole of November. It seemed fun and even though it was already 3rd of November, I jumped in to join the excitement.

I already had an idea in mind. It was supposed to be a fan fic, but I decided to just write it as an original story. I reached the word count by the end of November. However, since the goal was just to write a 50,000-word novel, the whole thing was a mess.

2016

When New Year came, I told myself that I would get my novel published.

I planned to proofread and edit the whole thing starting in January. I was already looking and asking about publishers online.

However, laziness got in the way…

…and so are other things.

I lost my passion for writing. The three chaptered fan fics I was working on that time were all left hanging (and so were my readers). The only writing I did during those dark times was the letters and messages I was sending to a friend of mine.

I wasn’t reading any book. The reading I only did was the re-reading of the first four Harry Potter books and KPOP fan fics.

I got depressed.

Everything was left unfinished.

However, I had enough sense to decide that I should shift my focus on something – someone – more important: GOD.

2017

I created this blog.

Before 2016 ended, I said I will get myself back on track.

January: I jumpstarted my reading with Chris Tiegreen’s devotional book called “Hearing God’s Voice” and two other devotional books. I also read my first book for a long while – Mara Wilson’s “Where Am I Now?”

February: I attended my first writing workshop – How to Write Love Stories. I finally got to writing again.

March: I realized I don’t have the heart and appetite for books with steamy elements – thanks to Colleen Hoover’s “Ugly Love,” which I had to take deep breaths now and then just to get me through. Then, thanks to three-day encounter the church organized and through the 90 Days Challenge, I started reading the New Testament of the Bible.

April: I skipped several writing workshops because they were on Sundays and I could never put anything before God on Sundays. Reading Victoria Aveyard’s “King’s Cage” became really hard for me as well. It’s so full of unforgiveness, revenge, anger, and all things that the Bible told me to never dwell on. I was so focused on the things I was learning from my devotions, cell group and church that writing was put on hold again.

May: My love for inspirational and Christian books also started. I wasn’t writing still but I also realized there are still love stories that I can read like Jenny Han’s “Always and Forever, Lara Jean.”

June: I encouraged a friend who doesn’t like reading to read books. I lent Cecilia Ahern’s “Love, Rosie” and Colleen Hoover’s “Maybe Someday” to a friend at work. Another friend at work asked me read Bryn Greenwood’s “All the Ugly and Wonderful Things” but couldn’t finish it because my heart was continuously protesting against the things the book stands for.

JulyI finished the New Testament. Also, after a three-month writing hiatus, I started updating this blog again. I was convicted to write again after several devotions talked about putting God’s gifts to use and after our pastor preached about work on our God-given talents that would give us value (and eventually success) in the future.

August: I attended National Bookstore’s “The Philippine Readers and Writers Festival 2017” just this weekend (an event that I’ve been planning to go to since 2015) and I sat down to several talks about writing. I met amazing and interesting Filipino authors like Nikki Alfar, Mina V. Esguerra, Samatha Sotto, and Bebang Siy (my favorite). Also, before the event, I deleted all my fan fictions from the internet. I realized they can’t exist anymore. I misused my gift of writing to spread wrong ideas of love and lust.

— — —

I’m happy that it’s been good so far. I have been writing a bit constantly. Ideas for blog posts are pouring. Though I’m struggling with something I can’t identify right now, the drive to write is strongly present. I have so much yearning when it comes to my writing. I’m constantly lifting this dreams up to God, praying and hoping that He would continue to fuel this passion and gift that He had given me. I aim to use my gift to advance His kingdom. I’m not a good speaker, I talk better with written words, this is the best way I know how to honor and glorify Him (for now).

time to “work”

Last January, I made this blog and swore to myself that this wouldn’t be ignore like the first blogs I made.

Yeah, right.

I was doing really well for three months, but reality took over. Again. As always.

Did I get lazy? Hmm. No (I know what being lazy is because I was one that’s why I know this wasn’t laziness).

Did I run out of things to write about? Nope. I have a list of things I wanted to write about. I just didn’t get around into writing them.

Did I become busy? Yes, in a preoccupied and distracted kind of way. Around March, I suddenly got a lot of things on my hands – important things that needed attending to and unnecessary things that robbed me off my time to sit down and write.

The “unnecessary things” are downloaded movies, mobile games, YouTube videos, etc. However, the “important things” involve growing spiritually, so I wasn’t worried. I just lifted my writing up to God, and said, I’m not going to write on my own. I’m going to write with You. So, let me know if there’s something You want me to write, then I’ll go writing again.

So, from March up to this month, all the writing I’ve been doing were letters to friends, prayers to God, and daily devotions. Aside from those, nothing else. I didn’t stress about it, because I know God got my back. Besides, the urge to write isn’t there. There’s no use forcing the issue. I will just frustrate myself.

However, for the last couple of weeks, the Lord has been talking about gifts and talents with me through my devotions. At first, I didn’t understand why this is what He’s been telling me. I only started getting it when certain friends started asking me about my writing. They began telling me to get back to writing already and to prioritize it before doing anything else (there’s this freelance job that I got tempted for a bit). I didn’t do anything though, then God smack me in the head.

“Sow you seed in the morning, and at the evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which one will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” – Ecclesiastes 11:6 

Our pastor talked about how to succeed in life and zeroed in on the Bible passage above. The message hit home. Hard. I heard it loud and clear.

To put everything simply, the seed we sow in the morning is our job and whatever we busy with our hands in the evening is our work. Apparently, there’s a different between the two. A job is wherein we perform certain tasks for someone in specific hours of the day in exchange for a certain amount of money while work is using our passion, our talent, our God-given talent for a living.

In my case, my job is an administrative assistant. I work from 3:30pm to 11:30pm, but my passion is to write and I can only succeed in it if I develop it outside office hours. I have to work hard on it up to the point that I can finally make a living out of it. Still, I mustn’t neglect my job because it’s still need to be seen which one will bring me success – being an office staff or a writer. I might also hit the jackpot if they do equally well.

So, if that’s not yet God pushing me to go back to writing, I don’t know what that is. I can’t delay this anymore.

when god speaks

I have been in five companies since I graduated in 2009 before I came to work in my current job and it’s the best workplace I have ever been.

I was happy, I was thankful. I believed that God answered my prayers about Him bringing me to a company that could possibly be the last workplace I’m going to stay until I die. Exaggeration, I know.

We have the best bosses any employees could’ve ever hoped for. They always put our welfare before anything else. They provide us with everything we need. They make sure that we feel comfortable in the office every single day. They were perfect.

Aside from that, they always provide us opportunities that would help us grow. They took me to London last September and it was amazing!

However, somewhere along the way, things have changed.

After the London trip, one of the British staff resigned and her job was passed onto me temporarily. For three months, I juggled two jobs – mine and hers. It was no easy feat, but I tried my best to handle both of them until I had to sacrifice my job to do my temporary one because it was more time sensitive. I’m a multi-tasker but I realized that doing more than one job is different from doing more than one task.

I began to hate the work. However, I told myself, it’s just because of the temporary job I had to do. Everything would go back to normal once they found a new person for the said job. So, I endured everything and, true enough, they hired a new staff. I was free again. I was back to my original job.

Still, it wasn’t the same anymore. I couldn’t pinpoint it exactly. It was as if my heart’s not in the job anymore. I don’t feel the excitement I used to feel even if the task I’m working on isn’t really exciting. Nevertheless, I tried to brush everything off because I might just be getting used to normalcy again.

Then, during the Christmas vacation, while I was lying on my bed, doing nothing and thinking of nothing, I heart a voice. The voice said, “You’re going to leave *insert our company’s name.*” I cried right away. I didn’t want to leave my job, but I know that it would happen. The voice was incontestable. It was final. It was absolute.

It was God’s.

I knew it was His because I couldn’t argue with it. I already had my own plans for my future and yet I know that the voice’s will would prevail over my plans. True enough, from my devotion, I learned that when God speaks, things will happen. His voice can change any situation and His voice changed everything for me.

When I went back to work, I would look around me and feel sad. I don’t know where I’ll be leaving, but I can’t help but miss everything already. I cried over it a lot. But I don’t ask God why. This is one of the things that accepting God has done for me – I learned not to question His will.

Also, everything has been settled as well. My heart no longer beats for the best company I have ever known. It’s now focused on what God has in store for me in the future.