Love Tried To Kill Me

Love Tried To Kill Me

My girl was acting really strange towards me.

I was clueless to what was happening so I tried to fix what I felt was a problem. To my dismay, feminine emotions are a bit harder to solve than the usual math problems.

I tried my 101% best to investigate and solve the dilemma, but my girl was still giving me the cold shoulder.

Finally after a failed attempt at investigating what was wrong, I was at my wit’s end and my intense emotions were all over me. Like an enraged bull that’s charging a flirting red blanket,  I rushed towards the middle of the road and tackled the front of an incoming auto car.

I Tried To Kill Love

That was seven years ago. Now, it’s been almost five years that I’ve been single.

Ever since, I have tried to kill love. Like a hedgehog that wants to be close to another one but gets hurt in the process because of its spines, I seem to be more fragile when I become too attached to another one. So I built high towering walls. I have built my shell steel hard. I became overly cautious towards intimate relationships. Though I have heard calls from admirers, but all I offered was obliviousness. I became detached, but it was a detachment that didn’t hurt. Loneliness became my friend, but it was a friend that I can get close to.

I have killed love.

Yet little did I know that it is beyond my power to kill it.

Love Found Me, Killed Me, And Restored Me

I found out that my love was not real. I thought my love was really real, but it was not.  I can think that I can kill love, but I cannot really kill it. Instead, the real Love killed me.

Though I have tried to kill love, I discovered it kicking and breathing, but from the most unexpected place of all places: In the pages of a book.

You see, here in this book, there’s a person that calls himself “Love.” Much more, this person claims that He is God Himself. And this love is pure. This love is patient and kind. This love does not delight in wrongs. This love does not give up, but always endures against every possible and impossible thing. This love puts its partner’s highest good as its priority. This love is perfect.

Since then, I realized how a fool I am.

I now found my self a new joy-filled and restored perspective: To live this Love with all my might. To learn form it. To meditate on it. To breathe it. To share it. To be faithful to it. To let others know that such a Love exists.

 

I tried to kill love, but Love ultimately killed me.

Yet in this death I know that I am over-loved.

 

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
(Galatians 2:20)

 

 

 

I Dare You To Dream

Dear Dreamer,

I dare you to dream.

That sounds quite weird since you’re already a dreamer. But I stand by my point: I dare you to dream.

To dream bigger. Dream higher. Dream stronger.

We live in a country where dreams naturally die. Where idealistic pursuits are deemed as unreachable childish fantasies. Where lofty goals are shot down as unrealistic wastes of time. And when someone tries to pursue these kinds of dreams, we laugh at them. When someone makes progress, we try to shoot them down. We see them as arrogant fools; kids who haven’t had a taste of reality yet. We are a people of by-standing critics.

But Dreamer, I urge you all the more. Dream bigger.

Have a dream that’s bigger than your self. A dream that’s more than about cash. More than Nike shoes. More than cars. More than political power. More than worldwide fame. A dream that’s more than a personal good life. A dream that makes a 4-hour shuteye feel nothing. A dream that makes you want to catch the next sunrise. A dream that makes risk-taking feel like water-drinking. A dream that is more than happy feelings. A dream that is bigger than you.

Dear Dreamer, I’m asking you to dream of a better world. Dream of more opportunities for the less privileged. Dream of an easily accessible high-quality education for everyone. Dream of justice and integrity. Dream of a country that is better than this divided nation that we currently have. Dream of progress amidst this hopeless human condition. Dream for the sake of your loved ones, your sons and grandsons, the poor, the sick, the unloved, the widows, your people, and for this whole broken humankind.

Dear Dreamer, I’d say that this world certainly needs bigger dreams. And these dreams could come from you.

So dream big with me.

Dear Dreamer, I dare you to dream.

 

 

 

Being An INTJ Christian

1. A Mastermind

We are the masterminds.

I have been consistently typed as an INTJ in the Myers-Briggs-Type-Indicator (MBTI).

Being an INTJ, there are not so many of us here in this world.

We are a rather very rare breed, and a rather proud, gifted, and special one on top of that.

We are smart (second only to INTPs according to a certain statistic).

We tend to have a higher financial income (fourth among the sixteen personality types, according to a certain statistic).

Without us knowing it, we have an aura of naturally attracting people, which makes us the second most sexually attractive MBTI according to a certain statistic (second to the charming ENFP).

We are especially adept at reverse engineering things, making it possible for us to learn almost any thing that we set our minds on.

We can see the possibilities of the future, break it down to smaller pieces, and make an actionable plan to make that future happen.

We are independent, “cool”, logical, natural leaders, strategic, and visionaries.

Because of this, we have attracted a lot of eyes to us. People find us fascinating. Amazing even. If you’d dig enough resources, you’d find out that there are a lot of articles and blogs about us in efforts of trying to understand the mystery that surrounds our being.

And among these interesting flattering things that I’ve found, a certain statistic that I’ve found also discovered that we are the least type that believes that there’s a higher power in this world — a God.

2. A Mastermind That Believes In A God

Taking into account that finding, I can see the reasoning behind it.

Being an INTJ, I am a highly cerebral person (as a friend of mine would word it). I use my mind a lot — I think a lot, and I ask questions a lot (mostly to my self), from stupid ignorant queries, to being unyielding to social norms and authority, to philosophical struggles, to wrestling with the realities and mysteries of existence. I believe everything should be up to question — rules, traditions, facts, philosophies, science, and even gods.

Truth is very important. Almost everything hinges on what is true. And if truth exists, then it should be objective since a subjective truth is no truth at all.

In relation to my belief in God, I can say that my faith as it is now is not grounded in tradition nor social influence as opposed to a lot of people. No. It is deeply rooted. I believe a god exists. And not just any god, but The God who made everything, who’s outside the domains of space and of time, but still who chooses to be personal with us human beings. And this God is an objective truth.

In my perspective, the question if there truly is a God or not is not a question of science. No. Rather, I think it’s a question of philosophy. Science only brings us too far, while philosophy always seems to ring true across all generations. And as a good friend of mine would put it, “The truth of God and the truth of science does not clash with each other. God made science for us human beings to understand things — things that only a higher power, God, is capable of making it possible.”

3. A Mastermind That Believes In Christ

Believing in God is easy. I think rationality alone could lead to that stand. But believing in Christianity is much more difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the existence of Jesus Christ to be true. His existence and His works has been proven not only by the Bible, but by countless historical sources outside of it. Rather, to think that Christianity — that Jesus Christ is God, that He went down and lived a perfect sinless human life just to save and redeem us fallen unfaithful creatures, and that He loves me, a person who is the very opposite of His perfection, is true — This is a much harder thing to believe in.

With all of my questioning, studying, wrestling, and researching, there are a lot of things that I still haven’t figured out. Things like the Trinity of God, free-will, God’s love, the world, etc. And this is where the element of faith comes in. My mind can carry me only to a limited distance; Faith can carry me to an incomparably greater distance. I can only cling to faith as to why I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

And where does this faith come from? I certainly could not credit the little faith that I have to myself. Rather, faith is a gift (just like other gifts) that comes from God alone.

4. A “Mastermind” That Has His Faith In Christ

The question of whether Myers-Briggs-Type-Indicator is a reliable indicator of personality or it is not, I do not know. But instead of putting my identity on to the very flattering definitions of an INTJ, I’d rather have my identity as a son of God, an elected co-heir of Christ.

And why I follow Christ, it is only because of this small faith that I had been given.

As it was written,

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”
(Ephesians 2:8)

How I’ve Founded Two Start-ups

Recently I’ve founded two start-ups.

But to put honesty in its place, I really couldn’t label us as a “startup” yet. We’re still at the infancy stage: A fetus waiting to be born. We have no investors, no capital, etc. We just have us, a company of hackers, businessmen, and entrepreneur-wannabes, working for free towards a vision that may lead to somewhere or may just go down the drain.

I’ve formed the team basing on two things: an idea, and connections. And in this post, I’ll be talking more on the latter.

So far I had a 100% success rate of my attempt in recruiting the people that I wanted to work with. I hand-picked them based on their talents, experience, and character. This got me thinking: Why would such talented people, where some are more experienced than me by years, accept a crazy offer from someone young who’s from a unknown faraway land? And why would they be willing to work for free for something that will just drain them of their energy, finances, and time?

At first, because of my prideful super-masculine-testosterone-driven-ego-centric thinking, the questioned revolved around me. But as I thought more, I realized it wasn’t about me. I had nothing to do about it. It was more about abstract factors that contributed to this willingness, and in here I’ll attempt to identify them.

1. Trust

I believe trust is the foundational block of relationships.

I hand-picked people that I trust enough. People that are flawed but great. I found out that I trust people more that have apparent flaws, than people who try excessively to hide them.

I also believe this is a two-way thing. I believe they can’t accept my offer if they do not trust me enough. Why they trust me, I do not know. But this I do know: Trust is the foundational block of relationships.

So, don’t be afraid of your human flaws. We all have them.

Share yourself enough; Build trusting relationships.

2. Plan

Trust is the foundational block, skills provide the leg work, but a plan makes things clearer, reduces fear and uncertainty, and provides overall motivation.

I’ve come up with a plan and presented it to the people that I’ve recruited. I’m no seer, but I try to see the possibilities of the future, and then for me to come up with a plan to work towards the most ideal future.

Plans tend to fail. A lot of my plans did. But plans work sometimes too. And at the very least, plans makes a lot of things less uncertain.

Me and my teams are working towards something that we’re not very familiar with. We’re even stepping towards a very unfamiliar area. But we’re willing to grow and to experience what holds ahead of us. And having a plan makes this frightful venture more bearable, even exciting.

3. Vision

A team without a vision is a team without direction.

I’ve once read from a Chess grandmaster that in order to win, you need to study the endgame. For me, to make something work, I need to visualize the end result, then slowly work from there towards the current state that I am in. That way, efforts will be focused towards the end game.

A vision unifies. A vision gives direction. A vision gives focus. A vision inspires.

And I’m not talking about a vision of success, fame, nor wealth-creation. Things like those doesn’t really cut for me. Even from a lot of people that I’ve learned from, they’ve shared that wealth-chasing usually backfires. Instead, I think that a better world is a more appealing and satisfying goal.

Conclusion

I have plans, but I’m not entirely sure of the things that are ahead of me.

I have a vision, but I’m not entirely sure how the future will play out.

I am only sure of this:

That I do not have total control of my past, present, and future, but to the LORD who is sovereign.

“It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”
(Romans 9:16)

I’m Turning Twenty Three

I’m turning twenty three years old in a matter of hours from now.

I guess I can say that I’m going to be a year older.

A year more mature.

A year wiser.

A year stronger.

A year closer to the future.

I never really believed that I could experience the life the way I dreamed it to be. It’s amazing to think that I have survived and lived this twenty two years of life that I have. I feel it’s a miracle that I hadn’t failed so badly in life yet despite my rather adventurous and independent character. Much more, I feel thankful that the dreamy idealist kid within me is still burning hot inside. And quite more grateful that I have gained more friends and connections that are willing to go with me with my crazy ideas, and even more people that have been asking me for partnership opportunities. I have been blessed with many opportunities: Way too many opportunities that I can even manage.

But so much for the things of this world, after all, what gain is there for a man to win the whole world but lose his own soul? Above all of these, I cannot figure it out for the life of me why I have been blessed with the enduring love and free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Some five years ago since I became a Christian, and I feel that it’s a miracle to see that I’m still standing in the faith. All of my questioning, all of my struggling, all of my unbelief. But despite all of the abominable things that I threw at the Creator, He still loves me the same and His grip is still ever strong at me. I could never earn nor deserve this. Praise be to the Lord whose loving kindness exceeds the depths of the deepest oceans.

With this, I am done retrospecting for a while.

I am ready.

I’ll be twenty three years old in a matter of hours.

A year more mature. A year wiser. A year stronger.

A year closer to the future.

Your Love Is A Fire

Your love is a fire.

I can’t get it out of my mind. Your intensity. Your seriousness. Your enduring sharp thoughts of me. How can I forget? Like a helpless deer that fell on a deep booby trap, I am one trapped by the mercy of You.

I feel I could perish any time. I feel I could be burnt to crisp. The thought of You alone puts fear inside my heart. Because of You, I immediately have a consciousness of my own entrenched uncleanness. Your presence alone makes the bones within me tremble. I feel You can totally destroy me whenever You please. I am afraid of You. I want to run away from You, to a place where I am free from the thoughts of my own uncleanness; to a place where I am free to be myself; to a place where everybody else are.

Instead, You burned me with Your love. You have etched deep into me a scar that will never heal. You have put inside me a living fountain that never runs dry. You have given me hope: A hope that I never imagined I could have. You have promised me a better place where I can be greater than my self. I was just looking for a ghost, but You gave me a Man.

I am burnt, but not to ashes. I am scarred, but these scars say to me that I am not unloved. These burns are my tattoos. As a thirsty deer pants for water, so I now thirst of You day to day. Oh, how I now long to be consumed. I don’t want to stay burnt; I want to be consumed.

Your love is a fire. It burns me. It pains me. It teaches me. It frees me. It redeems me.

Your love is a fire. And I will tend the flame. 

An Illusion Of Security

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist.”

(Jack London)

I can’t help but notice something.

It’s been a year since I left home; A year since I started to become daringly adventurous and gutsily independent. A year since I felt like a knight who left his land to experience the gigantic world, a very big world which he only found in his books, to conquer dragons and see his dreams come to reality.

After all those months, I can’t help but notice.

Something changed.

I no longer actively sought opportunities to talk and meet new people like I used to. I no longer actively joined competitions that test my limits. I no longer deliberately read books like my life depended on it, like I used to. I no longer recorded and tracked my progress like I used to. I no longer am comfortable in taking risks like I absolutely had nothing to lose, like I used to.

I am becoming comfortable.

I noticed that life isn’t as hard, as risky, as challenging as it used to a year ago. And on top of this, the kind words and feedback that some people give me only adds up to this false sense of security.

A part of me thinks to myself, “You can live with this, Pyl. Remember how people acknowledge you and your talents? Yeah, you’ll have a decent future, Pyl.”

I am becoming comfortable, and worse, in a false security.

My talents, skills, job, achievements, dreams, connections, personality, stuffs, are things that provide me a sense of security, but a false one that will fade away in a blink of an eye. I realized I am foolishly possessed by the security that these immediate things provide, when the truth is that Security’s only master is the Creator Himself.

I remember that I passionately don’t want to have a life that just survives, but I want to live life to help others to have the same.

And I have been remembering another thing, a thing that both humbles me and wants me to push myself at the same time. And it is from this thing too that I find where true security is:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.””

(James 4, 13-14)


A Switchfoot Concert

As my sister and I was standing on the grounds waiting for the concert to start, we began to feel the ache in our knees and our soles. We’ve been standing for 1 hour, waiting in line, and finally here we are, willing to stand for another 4 hours for the duration of the Switchfoot concert.

 

Then finally.

Five.

Four.

Three.

Two.

One.

 

The people screamed. Switchfoot stepped up to the stage. They started by playing a song that was dedicated for us Filipinos, “Float“. The people were screaming, jumping, and singing along, and a lot had their cellphones lifted up to record the rare scene.

 

Switchfoot played a lot of their famous songs, from “Only Hope“, where Jon Foreman did a funny speech about Mandy Moore getting all the credit from a song she did not write. To “Dare You To Move” where almost everyone banged their heads in the air in sync with the beat. There was also a part where Jon requested all the stagelights to be switched off as we sang along with the band. All you could see are the lights coming out from our phone cameras. It almost looks like we were a sea of stars in an ocean of darkness. It was a beautiful experience and sight to behold.

 

As I was standing there, looking up at the band, feet aching, sweat dripping, a question dawned on me. Why am I here?

 

There is probably no other band whose lyrical work hits it home like Switchfoot does. It feels like they’re a band with a purpose. A band with a message for the world to hear.

 

To quote Jon, they want to be “a band that gives hope.”

 

Hope.

 

Hope amidst our broken humanity. Hope from the regrets of our past. Hope from the scandals of our brothers and fathers. Hope from this imperfect world. Always reaching out, always seeking, always struggling.

 

A lot of their songs tackle the tough questions of life. Of death. Of the problem with pain. And the promise of hope. And Foreman does this in a poetic and musical way, borrowing words and ideas from classic philosophers, theologians, honest introspection, literature, and timeless truths. It almost feels like he’s willing to face the darkness of our humanity for us, a darkness that so few of us are willing to face and even accept. And from this darkness, to light; Towards Hope. Because according to them, “The wound is where the light shines through.”

 

Switchfoot ended the adrenaline-filled concert with a song called “Where I Belong“, waving a big white banner with big words written on it: “Still looking for a home in a world where I belong.

 

 

Do yourself a favor. Check out this underrated band’s work. Search through their lyrics and ponder on its meaning. Attend their next concert. And probably just like me, you’ll love them too.

 

Tension

I feel this tension. It is inside and around me. It seems I am caught stuck in the middle between what is and what could be: Between how the world is and how the world could be.


Just like the poets have sung in their songs, I dream of “changing the world.”  But also like them, if I am to be deeply philosophically honest, I know I cannot truly change this world enough.


All these angst, impatience, sin, pain, love-sickness, longingness, restlessness.


Like a toddler that’s in a fit of tantrum to his father, I shake my fist at the Creator. “Why, God?” I feel the heavy burden of my humanity and the humanity of those around me. But just like a perfect kind Father towards His child, His response is Love. “I may be God, but I am also your Abba, my Pyl, and I know what’s best.”


How reassuring it should be to know that the Creator of this Universe — of time, of matter, of waves, of space  — calls me His child, and wants me to call Him Father! And how re-assuring it is to know that He, being The God who created every single thing that our minds can and cannot imagine, has set everything according to His grand design, from the beginning of time to the completion of it!


Knowing that everything should be going according to His sovereign plan, I will bear this tension within me knowing that I am not yet at home, in the process of trusting and pondering on His God-ness.


And I guess, just a shot at the moon, that this tension that I feel is what Augustine also felt, as he wrote the quite catchy line,


“Our heart is restless until it rests in You.”


I Have A Desperately Wicked Heart

 

“You have a good heart, Pyl.”

A woman once told me this during a serious one-on-one conversation. This particular line that she said then took shelter at the back of my mind ever since.

Why?

Because I know it’s too far from the truth.

My heart is sick. Just like every other people. Every other sinner. Every other normal human being. From the sins of my fathers on the pages of history, to the heart-wrenching sins exposed in modern media. They feel all too familiar. I feel their familiar fears. The familiar pain. The familiar struggle. The familiar loneliness. The familiar weaknesses. The familiar crutches. The familiar excuses. They feel all too familiar.

My heart is constantly waging war against forces within. The forces of angst, jealousy, pride, greed, and lust. When I look at what the majority of people would describe as “bad guys”, I feel the same way as they’d feel — Angst against these inhuman bad guys. But when I look at the mirror, I realize that I have the same blood, the same heart, the same potential, the same human animal instinct, that these “bad guys” have.

Mankind’s history repeats itself, over and over again.

My heart is not good. It is far from good.

I have a desperately wicked heart, and I know it. Whenever I examine myself, down to the deepest and darkest corners of my heart, I see nothing but desperation, longingness for something, and hopelessness of what it can offer.

I cannot put my hope in my own because it is hopeless to the core. No money, philosophy, success, friends, knowledge, nor experience could ever be enough. And that’s probably why Someone perfect saw a reason to go down here, suffer, and die — to give hope to the hopelessness. For in His resurrection, there is sure hope — The only hope that there is. The God who brings redemption to the failures, love to the loveless, justice to the victims, and hope to the hopeless.

To what people may see good in me, it is all because of the grace and work of Jesus Christ The Lord.

And with this, I rest my case.

I do not have a good heart. Because only God is good. And to Him be the glory, forever and ever, from this world, and to that which is yet to come.