When I got my hair trimmed last September 19, and after getting over the happy feeling of getting a really good haircut, I got a feeling of déjà-vu as I looked over my shoulder to a mirror: my hair fell the same way (albeit longer) back when I was 22. Same angle, similar hair cut, different mirror.
The déjà-vu ended there, however, when I tried pulling out my ten-year-old memories. I remember vividly telling myself that 2005 was “The Year”. It was magical, since I was born on a 22nd, and seeing two twos felt complete — I mean, how perfect is a pair of twos, right? It was a year when I felt the most beautiful, the most loved, the most fulfilled, all the while getting praises left and right, as if I had everything figured out; that everything that happened in that year was the template for all the years to come, it could not be any more perfect.
Goodness, I was so wrong. I mean, seriously! I was not just in one wrong relationship, but two; and because of the wrong relationships, I had a tense one with a “mommy” colleague because I did not want her meddling in my affairs (like, who needs elderly wisdom, right??). I also went around walking on eggshells, wondering who knew, as I built up a certain, unsavory reputation (oh but the attention, though!); I have not graduated from college yet, and on top of that, I did not know that I would be heading towards a burnout that would lead to a disastrous second semester.
I probably wanted my life to end at 22 — like, time would stop for me; or on October 21, 2006 at 11:59:59, everything would reset like a Groundhog Year. But life does not work that way.
This year, I felt as if everything fell apart. In July, right after a powerful Prayer and Fasting season, I lost my job. I felt confident enough for a time because the separation pay was pretty generous, and heck, someone with my skill-set should not worry too much since I am (as a friend put it) a “rare commodity”. But we all know that funds that do not get replenished gets depleted really quickly — specially if you are like me who has still got to up her budgeting game!
Now that I think about it, those are just two things that made me worry: work, and money. However, they are nothing compared to what I have received from God over what I have felt I lost. Just to list a few:
- I gained a second ministry: the Music Ministry, on top of the Ushering Ministry
- … and thus I gained a second spiritual family — on top of moms, dads, and brothers and sisters, I was blessed with two “sons” 😀 !
- There were relationships I had to let go of, but in return, not only I gained new friends, but I was able to spend time with people — time I would not have been able to spend if I were stuck in a desk 40 hours a week!
- I lost a job, but I gained dreams.
- I lost what thought I loved, my job; but I instead gained a love for the person I see in the mirror.
- The walls of a cubicle were taken away from me, for me to see that I can be a leader, an entrepreneur, a teacher, a mother, a mentor, and an artist.
Most importantly — and I like using this imagery — God put the pedal to the metal in terms of my growth in my relationship with Him. Not gonna lie, it is a painful process, and it is just so easy to focus on the very present pain (most especially while tears ruin your makeup); but after each successful trial, I find myself not just alive, but blessed, and thankful to have gained wisdom and faith from the ordeal.
See, this year, I have three faith goals. One, I know, is an ongoing process; but two have already been answered: to get to know God better and to see how it is to be set apart for Him; and to overflow.
As I go along, I find that it was not in my own definition of being “filled” that I can overflow, but in being empty to allow Him to become a conduit of blessings. I realized that what I held as a standard in the past will be the template for future success, but that I can be more.
When my job was taken away from me, and that I held in my heart God’s promise that He would restore “double” (or even, “sevenfold”), I had a distinct image of what the restoration would look like: better job, double the salary, etc. What I was given instead were things of inestimable value, and that nothing in this world could ever take them away from me.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
— Matthew 6:33
I was given more than I asked for, more than I deserved. I have nothing in my heart but praise, and joyful anticipation of the things yet to come.
It probably feels like 22 — but better. And that’s 32.