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The Promise

Promises are made to be broken, they say. But I believe that promises are meant to be kept. The logic is, why would you utter a promise in the first place when you feel that you can’t fulfill it? It’s mere futility.

Well, a few years ago, I made a serious promise to Jehovah. It was so serious that I even burst into tears while offering my supplication. I promised to Jehovah God that I would volunteer in any form of the foreign ministry – and the Japanese congregation was in my mind that time. I was very eager to fulfill that promise back then. We even enrolled in a language center where we took our two-month Japanese course. I was even able to encourage three sisters to enroll. It was such a memorable experience.

Ironically, I couldn’t keep my promise. The three sisters made it a point to associate with the Japanese congregation. It makes me feel bad every time I see the photographs of brothers and sisters. It was as if I was gone in the picture all of a sudden. This makes me feel shattered, helpless, and sad. I feel that my sense of self-worth is gradually decreasing. And knowing that I couldn’t please Jehovah God because of this unwise action makes me feel down more than ever.

The lesson? Never utter a promise without any forethought. Try to outline some steps first as to how you will be able to keep your promise. I may not be volunteering now, but I want to, someday. Moreover, what’s holding me back from keeping my promise?

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Music Enthusiast

Music is the universal language of mankind. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Humans make and appreciate music wherever they are in the world and whatever their background is. Music is something that soothes the soul and lifts the spirit. Through it, we can express our deepest thoughts, feelings, and endearments. That’s why we can really say that music is universal.

Personally, I am fond of music. My first exposure to it was when I was still in my mom’s womb. She told me that she used to listen to baby lullabies and classical music. So the little Czarinah was already hearing symphonies when she wasn’t out and about in the world yet. My aunt, Cynthia, is a good singer. Me being the panganay (firstborn), all of my relatives’ attention was on me. They would sing to me, sing with me, play the guitar for me, and listen to nursery rhymes with me. In time, my little brain developed this inclination toward music.

I remember when I was two or three years old, our guests would ask me to sing. When there were events in my school and town, I would willingly grab the microphone and sing. People were impressed. They loved it. So in every special occasion, people would look for Innah (that was my nickname) and ask me to sing on a karaoke. As early as second grade, I already performed solo in our school’s events. Well, my mom saw this musical preference of mine and so she enrolled me to vocal lessons for kids. I enjoyed it. Then our recital was at Music Museum in Greenhills. I also had a recorded CD of some five songs. I don’t have a copy of those anymore though. And so my passion for music went on. I listened to Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Beyonce, and more. Basically, they became my music influences. My singing genre is R&B and mellow.

Then I came to Bethel. I became acquainted with the more technical side of music. We had physical warm-up, vocal exercises, practice and recording sessions. I learned various vocal registers we can sing in – the chest and head voice, falsetto, and whistle. And a bonus was to learn to play another dream of mine – the piano. So Jehovah blessed me with this knowledge and training. He probably saw that this vessel could be used for this purpose, as the book of Corinthians states. So now, I want to keep on appreciating this wonderful gift of music. And above all, I want to use the gift of singing to praise God my whole life.

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Multi-tasking: A Big No-No

Since we live in a very fast-paced Information Age, we all would want to learn and do many things at the same time. We are bombarded with new stimuli that awaken our hungry minds every time. Plus, with the short period of time that we live here on earth (just a matter of 70 or 80), we just cannot stop.

Some might say that it’s okay to multi-task. Yes, it is. I don’t go against that. I did that myself. But based on my own experience, multi-tasking won’t give you the same optimum results than when you’re not. You see. I tried to do several things at the same time during my college years. I studied and volunteered full-time and worked part-time. It was really difficult. Though I was able to graduate with flying colors from my university, still volunteer full-time, and gained a good job after graduation, I cannot really ensure that I achieved my potentials and got the most out of my experiences. I could have had spent more time studying, thinking outside the box, and gaining new skills related to my field. I could have had poured my best efforts to my volunteer work. And my students could have benefited more from my teaching, had I not multi-tasked.

You see. It’s possible to multi-task. It won’t just bring the best and satisfying results. Let me give you another example. Steve Kaufmann, a famous polyglot, reveals his secret to learning various languages. That is: Don’t learn two languages at the same time. If you’re learning Russian, just focus on Russian. If you’re learning Japanese, just Japanese. Once you’ve progressed and achieved your goals, then proceed to another language. Linguistic theory doesn’t say that you’ll get confused when learning two languages at the same time. Our brain has the capacity to learn and acquire new knowledge. It’s just that, you’re not helping your brain focus and do its job of acquiring new stimuli. The result is not satisfying. Got my point?

So the next time you’re trying to learn something new, try to take one step at a time, as the cliche goes. Try to focus. Go at your own pace. You’ll be happier. And better.

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Effective Decision-Making

“Our decisions always affect others.” This quote was really impressed in my mind, after I watched the DVD “These Words Must Be on Your Heart.” Though we are free to make some choices and decisions, every choice has an effect – positive or negative – on our life and on the lives of others. So we should think carefully about the decision we are to make, as well as its possible consequences. Take time. Don’t rush into decision-making. You’ll then see how good decision-making will make you feel better and improve your life situation.

Here are a few suggestions to make better decisions:

  • Gather information. If you are about to purchase a house or a car, gather the necessary information. Make sure you didn’t miss important details.
  • Ask advice from others. Will you soon get married? Approach an experienced couple. Or do you want to take on a full-time job but you have a family to care for? Ask your friends who have families.
  • Think, think, think. Don’t only think twice. Think many times. Think about the pros and cons of making such a decision.
  • Put your thoughts into writing. This is an effective way to put your thoughts to writing as well as organize what’s in your mind.
  • Sleep on the matter. Usually you’ll feel better afterwards. So try to take some time. Don’t rush or you’ll end up making unwise decisions.

So here are just a few pieces of advice I can give. And if you’ve mastered the art of decision-making, you’ll have a happier, better life.

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Who Says Introverts Don’t Feel Lonely?

Introverts, according to psychological theory, are people whose energy are directed inward – on their own thoughts and feelings. They are generally more reserved and quiet than extraverts. Introverts are people who find pleasure in having some lone time, in doing solitary activities such as reading, writing, meditating, and spending time with nature. Though introverts generally prefer being alone, they feel lonely too.

I am an introvert. There are instances when I would just withdraw from the crowd and do the things I love to do – that may be reading, writing, blogging, playing some music, strolling, and going to the mall. Every time I engage in a social gathering, I feel weak and drained afterwards. When I have no choice but to socialize with people, I use my very limited energy in spending time with them. And I am willing to do so. But I feel weak and drained afterwards. It’s really funny. And that’s just me.

Though I enjoy being alone, I feel lonely too. That’s why I need someone to talk to at times. I need someone to lean on. I need to have a trusted friend whom I can always tell my worries freely. So, who says introverts don’t feel lonely?

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We Need Some Diversions

Of course you think. And think. And think about life’s problems. Every moment of worrying just makes you feel downhearted, discouraged. But I tell you. Don’t dwell on it. I’m not telling you that it will never come in to your mind. There are some relapses. Expect it. The next time you think about your worries, try to have some sort of diversion. Yes, diversion.

Divert yourself into something positive, something meaningful. Try doing something worthwhile. Try giving to other people. It will never fail to make you feel better. But don’t give merely to make yourself feel better. Give to make others feel that they are loved and appreciated. Do some sports. Write. Learn something new. Read God’s Word. Plant. Take care of a pet. Get yourself busy. These are only some ways by which you can feel better, happier.

So the next time you worry, do some diversion. You can do it.

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Do not Lose Spirit

There really are times when we feel that the world has come crashing down. Everything bright has turned grey and black. It’s as if we are doing the battle all alone.

In times like this, we should never lose spirit or totally give up on our fight. At some point we may slow down, we may fall. But we should keep going, keep running to our destination. Remember that life is a game. If we give up, we are the losers.

I have been to several struggles. And I would say that in each struggle, I’ve improved as a person. I’ve become stronger and wiser. So when you feel that you’re about to give up, get up and get going. Continue with the fight. I know you can do it.