Wanted: Joy and Control. Please apply inside.

Don’t you wish your body had one?

*Personal information included just to have a sense of realism; I will still try my best to make this more than a simple rant-blog*

Love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfullness… Something’s amiss…

My life has been lacking severely in two aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit: Joy and Self-control. That was the conclusion I slowly arrived at while trying to find out why the symptoms I have mentioned in a previous entry have been recurring.

I used to be the type of person who had a hard time sleeping, and can get up at whatever time in the morning, sometimes, even before my alarm rings. Ever since this summer though, it seems that sleep has become my friend and ultimate form of escape.

A malfunctioning laptop battery; getting towed and paying a fine; losing a camera that I worked hard to obtain; dropping stock prices; and the possibility of other high risk-high return investments tip towards the risk part (i.e., I might lose all that I have invested) all form just the tip of the iceberg of mishaps that I have been experiencing. The way things are now, my next SALN form might reflect a net liability.

The reality of graduate school life and the terrible honourable dismissal rate means that my job security (tenureship in the University) will be hanging by a thread during the next three and a half years. A career move at the age of thirty isn’t really something I’d like to anticipate.

Then there’s also the pain of seeing the person who had a laundrylist of reasons as to why a future with me will never be possible blissfully enjoying a cloud nine date with another friend (sorry, I can’t find the correct sentence structure for what I want to convey so this one reads a bit awkward). On top of that, prioritizing relationships, ministries, and obligations had become so much harder. I know that things should be implemented in that order, but I end up doing the reverse.

I have been skipping out on the only bible study I attend (and sometimes lead) in favour of doing Sunday home repairs and academic work backlogs (like a ream’s worth of unreturned papers for grading sitting on my office desk). The inspirational verses that I usually send a few times a week, are now always stuck on my phone’s drafts box. Visits to my relatives have become much less frequent. Perhaps the only thing I still enjoy practicing is the “gift of helps”; though I feel that, just as Bishop Efraim Tendero mentioned last Sunday, Jesus will still hold us accountable on judgment day for the gifts we fail to use or put into practice.

Joy

I remember staring blankly and simply blurting out to one of my officemates that joy seemed elusive lately. Google up images for “joy” and half of the time, you’ll get pictures of people doing group jump-shots on some scenic background or sunset. Yet the biblical definition of joy is not a matter of circumstances, but rather an outlook that emanates from having peace with God, and the peace of God. That joy is derived from the truth that our Lord Jesus has reconciled us to God, and should not be affected by what happens to us.

I know that just like King David, a desperate person’s prayer of faith will not fall into deaf ears:

“Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.Then will I teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted and return to You.”

                                                                                                                -Psalms 51:11-13

Self-control

The image of self-control  came upon me as I was looking at my laptop keyboard’s lower left most key, and wishing that at the press of that key, my body, soul, and spirit would move according to how I know God would want to. Yet, the thoughts seem unstoppable. Lethargic idleness seems to win in proportions similar to how UP loses basketball games. Emotions seem to run wild and nothing is left unsaid or unexpressed (by my phlegmatic standards of running wild, that is).

I decided to continue my audio bible in one year plan earlier (I’m so behind since the plan is still on April 11), and lo and behold, the readings for that “day” were the four chapters of Jonah. God showed me that Jonah had complete control over himself when he decided to go to the exact opposite direction from where God was telling him to go. Hence, I am still accountable to God for succumbing to these “opposite direction” decisions.

As I was washing dishes after dinner, I was also reminded of another personal favourite verse:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

I was also reminded of another verse from an entry written last year

 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4

– 2 Peter 1:3-4

For any of you who are also lacking in these aspects of the Fruit, then I hope these verses served as an encouragement. Let them be true in our lives.

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