Some people scoff at the idea of lowering yourself or allowing others to get ahead of you, because, they think, it shows weakness. However, I believe, since it is unnatural to want to humble oneself or to allow others the greater benefit, the opposite is true. –In fact, I would even add that it takes great emotional and spiritual strength to truly humble oneself. All around us, society whispers to us, in different ways, “Take care of number one first and foremost, then you will have great success,” and even “Be successful at all costs, even if you have to step on others’ toes to get there.” However, I would attest that most people, who are truly successful and truly make the greatest difference in our world, turn these whisperings upside down—through their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others. In fact, not only does humility grant us a type of success that can’t be measured by the society around us, but a humble attitude also has lasting benefits to you as well. Here are just some of them that I have observed when people (including me) demonstrate a humble attitude:
- Humility allows you to be your genuine self.—When we are entangled in arrogant pride, I find that we are constantly on our toes to try to impress the Next Bigger and Better person, sometimes in an effort to cover up our flaws and deceive ourselves and others, subconsciously, about them. It’s like we don’t want to face our flaws in ourselves, and we end up living in an illusion. Many people I have observed, who present themselves arrogantly, have deep-seated pain and/or flaws that they are desperately trying to hide from the rest of the world. They may be afraid of feeling rejected and unloved by others, or otherwise, being inadequate to the world. However, when we are humble, we are more likely to have a realistic view of ourselves. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. “Humility” that degrades oneself is not really humility, but reverse pride. Degrading oneself says that “I am so broken and “special” that I can’t be fixed by anyone,” which is, of course, a lie, no matter how true it may seem at the time. While having a humble attitude does acknowledge the self as a unique and beautiful creation, it acknowledges others’ beauty and worth even more! When you are humble, you are not afraid to be vulnerable with others and show your true self—the good mixed in with your flaws—because you are not afraid of rejection or lowering of status. Status and fear of rejection no longer matter to you. The welfare of others is more important.
- Humility diminishes jealousy and selfish attitudes.—I firmly believe that 99.9% of all jealous attitudes stem from pride. When we are jealous of others, it not only shows ingratitude for the gifts we already received in our lives, but also a kind of entitled pride that says, in effect, “ I deserve what that other person has, and he or she doesn’t! “ However, humility acknowledges and believes that everything, even life itself, is a gift. Humility says, “Even though I don’t deserve much, I am grateful when I do get something.” Humility has power and strength to think about the needs of others because it isn’t preoccupied with oneself. Humility does not ever compete against another, whereas pride wants to beat everyone at their own game, so only it gets the benefit. Humility can be demonstrated when we put others’ needs and egos, ahead of our own. For instance, if we have a humble attitude, we will readily admit when we do something wrong and sincerely apologize and repent of our actions. In contrast, when we are prideful, we will often excuse our sinful (morally wrong) actions or diminish the true magnitude and seriousness of our sins. Humility is happy when another co-worker gets the promotion we wanted, but pride is envious and resentful of the other coworker getting the promotion.
- Being humble will get you more respect in the end.—Although there are still some people who think being prideful will get you more respect, most people appreciate it more when one is humble. Being humble will get you more respect, because it allows you to consider their needs more. Having a humble attitude develops our empathy because you think of yourself less, and on others’ feelings and experiences more. Yes, there is a time for self-care, but all in all, being humble involves knowing that your needs will be met, in the process of caring for others. My faith hero, Rachel Scott, was a humble person. She didn’t tell everyone about all the kind things that she did to be noticed, but just did them out of her love and care for people. Her parents and others only found out about her kind acts from her recipients, and only after her death. Jesus Christ, another one of my faith heroes, and my Lord and Savior, also demonstrated great humility by being willing to die an excruciatingly painful death in our place, so we didn’t have to. Now, both Jesus and Rachel Scott, are greatly respected by many people because of their acts of kindness and humility.
As you can see, having a humble attitude has many benefits. Humility allows you to be your genuine self, without reserve or regret. Humility eliminates, or at least, lessens jealousy and self-centered attitudes, and humility can get you more respect in the end. Allowing others to be bigger than yourselves is a sign of great strength, not weakness. Humility does have a price of sacrifice to pay, but it is worth it in the end.
I realize not everyone believes in the Bible, though I do. However, these life lessons that are drawn from a book of the Bible called Ephesians, I think can apply to most anyone, regardless of religious belief. These lessons are drawn from my own life experiences, and occasionally, also from those around me whom I have observed and heard.
Without further ado, here is the passage where I will focus:
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Neither give place to the devil.
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Ephesians 4:25-29 (KJV)
Here are some of the life lessons that I learned from these verses:
- It is better to be honest, because honesty unites, but lying separates close friends.–Even gossip can be a form of lying, as I have realized the hard way at work. A lot of people have spread rumors about certain people at work. Most of them were not founded in an ounce of truth! I have seen these rumors influence how others thought and acted towards these people, without finding out from the source as to whether these statements were true or not. To think we acted or spoke in hurtful ways towards another because of unproven rumors we heard about someone! What I learned from this is to a.) Try not to listen to rumors, especially if you don’t know the truth in it, and b) Try to verify from the source or sources of the rumors themselves the veracity of the rumors. It is often not as dramatic and bad as it has been related. For another example, when we learn people’s life stories (Post on that is at this link) and people are vulnerable and honest with each other, I find that these things often unite people. Before I really knew one of my managers, I hated him. I didn’t understand why he had aggravated me so much. However, one day, when he told me about some of the pain he went through in his life, and God intervened in our lives, the hate and aggravation that I felt for him began to melt away and be replaced with only love and compassion. When I honestly tell other people my life story, people also begin to act with more love and compassion towards me.
- Don’t let anger fester in your heart for more than a day, lest it turn into bitterness and resentment later. –Because, in the past, I had held grudges against certain people for a really long time (literally, years), my spiritual and emotional growth were stunted. Yes, I did grow, but not as much as I should have. I now realize why I had trouble applying some spiritual principles to my life at the time.—I held grudges, and thus couldn’t receive God’s (or anyone else’s, for that matter) forgiveness in my life. It was only when I let go of these long-standing grudges and intentionally began to act with kindness and grace towards my offenders, that I started to grow spiritually the way God (and, frankly, I as well) wanted to for so long. Now, my policy is to try to resolve issues that I have with a person within a day, or a week, at the very latest. However, I try my very best to follow the day rule prescribed in Scripture. This way, my anger dissipates quickly, and I can be at peace with that person as soon as possible. I wish everyone followed this principle because this can have practical benefits to not only other people, but also our own emotional growth as well. When people succumb to bitterness and resentment towards others, and hold grudges, I find that they get discouraged and disgruntled more easily than those who let go. These grudge-holders are often the first to complain, and the last to say “thank you”. Don’t let resentment and bitterness rule over you. Let. It. Go.
- Live to encourage others, not put down others.—There is a saying that goes like this: Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Nothing could be further from the truth! I’m sure each one of you has been hurt by the sting of condescending and demeaning words before. Almost twenty years ago, one of my teachers almost destroyed my motivation to live and help others. He never beat me up physically, but I still feel the sting of his words today. Some of my peers, who bullied me at school, also said things to hurt me. Though I wish these people nothing but the best, words can still have a crippling effect on me. Because I know the pain of hurtful words, I strive to encourage others as much as possible. Yes, I fail at times at encouraging others, as we all do, but we must do our best. I want to only speak words that will help and/or uplift someone‘s spirit. I want others to be able to see that I value and care about them, especially through how and what I speak to them. If we live to encourage, and not tear down, we may be able to save the lives of people that have almost given up emotionally, as we revive their spirits.
These are some of the life lessons I learned from Ephesians 4. When we are honest, and not deceptive with one another, when we resolve our anger and problems quickly to be at peace with others, and when we live to encourage others, I believe we will lead more spiritually and emotionally successful lives. May we live with love and compassion for one another!
Dedicated to my mentor, J
Because I had problems “catching on” to certain things that most other people understood how to do easily, many people didn’t believe I would be able to get very far in life. One of my teachers even said, in so many words and by their actions, that I wouldn’t really amount to anything. Sadly, I believed him for almost fifteen years. But then, I met my mentor, J, about seven or eight years ago. She changed my life! Here’s what I learned about life from her about not letting people or your own limitations get in the way of accomplishing your God-given dreams:
- Don’t take what the naysayers in your life say to heart.—There were a great number of people in my life that acted like or even said straight out that I wouldn’t be able to do this or that. I was often treated as if I would never be able to said thing, without even letting me try it first. It was as if they were afraid that the inevitable (i.e: failure) would happen. For instance, in one job I had, I wanted to move up in the company. I wanted to cross-train, and then become full-time. My boss at the time told me flat-out that I wouldn’t be good at doing said thing that I wanted to cross-train in. However, the problem with that was that I wasn’t even given the opportunity to train! So, how would they know that I wouldn’t be able to do said thing if it wasn’t even proven that I actually was bad at it? In retrospect, I should have pointed this fact out to my boss at the time, but was too discouraged to ask again. However, in contrast to the naysayers in my life, J pushed me to succeed and believed in my God-given abilities. She didn’t even pay mind to the people in my life that discouraged me from trying said things that they thought I couldn’t do, but helped me find a way to prove them all wrong instead. Also, I am happy to say, my current job encourages everyone to cross-train, even me, whom others in my past said that I wouldn’t amount to all that I do now. Various people that were in my life had said because of my past difficulties, I would not be even able to drive, get a job, or work full-time. I’ve done all of that, because J was finally able to get me to stop listening to those naysayers. If you are facing naysayers in your life right now, even if those include your own voices, do NOT listen to them! Prove them wrong. Listen to the voices that believe in you and your dreams, and do what you can to make that dream come true.
- Be motivated to work hard.—What I have accomplished in my life wasn’t just magically handed to me on a silver platter. Some people who get jealous of others think that their object of their envy has or had it “easy.” More often than not, the people who are jealous of others, including the ones jealous of me, want what we have for themselves. Furthermore, they do not realize how much effort it took for us to get this far. It took me literally years to be able to get a full-time job. However, with the support of my mentor J, God’s perfect timing, and the will to work hard every day at whatever job I was in at the time, I was finally able to be full-time. If you want to accomplish your dreams, it will take hard work and determination as well. Sure, we all have certain abilities and talents that make certain things easier for us than others. However, someone once said that there are no shortcuts to any place worth going. There are no shortcuts to accomplish your dreams either. It will take time and hard work, but it will be so worth it in the end!
- Be patient, and don’t give up.—The more significant your dream or dreams, often, the longer it will take for you to realize the dream or dreams. However, do not give up! Be patient and persevere, even when you have some setbacks. For example, some of you may know that I have battled depression for years, and one of my unconscious goals was to find joy in my life. During the height of my depression, I just wanted to give up completely on my life, and end it all. However, someone or something in me (probably, I believe, God in me) urged me on. I listened to that voice inside me. Consequently, for the past year or so, I have had significantly fewer depressive episodes than I have ever had in my life! For the first time in my life, I feel a sense of sustained joy. For another instance, it took several months for my previous job, and several months from when I started to look for another opportunity, to find my current job. Before I found my current job, I was interviewed at a bookstore. I had really wanted to work at a bookstore, because I love to read. However, I found out quickly at the interview that I wasn’t a good fit for their company. Yes, I did get discouraged, but I didn’t give up looking for a job, and several weeks later I got an interview at my current job. The rest is history.
My mentor J has taught me many things about not giving up on my dreams, but the most important things she has taught me are:
- Do not listen to the naysayers. Do not let what they say to you influence your heart or actions.
- Be willing to work hard to accomplish your dreams.
- Be patient, and don’t give up on your dreams.
If you seem to have insurmountable obstacles in the way of accomplishing your God-given dreams, even if it is as simple as wanting to have joy in your life, start by telling yourself that it is not hopeless for you as long as you are alive. Also, don’t listen to the people that tear you or your dreams down. Take that first step towards your dream today, even if it is a little step. It will make all the difference. Because I believe that you can do it. You can!
For this post, I wanted you, the reader, to get to know me more intimately, so you will be able to understand my motivation and joy in creating posts for my blog. Also, as you learn my story, I would love to learn some of yours too. These questions are from the blog author, Marcella, but the answers are, of course, my own. If you love fashion and lifestyle type content, please feel free to check out Marcella’s blog at: http://marcellaphoto.eur.hr. If you want to use these questions for yourself, please ask Marcella before doing so. Thank you.
The questions (in bold) and my answers(in itallics)
- What is your real name?—My name is Patricia.
- What is your favorite nickname?—My favorite nickname is “runs with ladders.” My co-worker made this name up because they thought I ran when carrying the ladder. (Note to him: I don’t run; I just walk really fast!).
- Are you named after anyone?—No, my parents just thought it was a good name.
- Where are you from? –I’m from the U.S.A.
- What is your favorite drink?—I love orange juice. It tastes so fresh and citrus-y, and I love citrus fruits too, such as oranges and tangerines.
- What is your favorite food?—Ah, so many! I love citrus fruits, like oranges and tangerines, like I said before. I love Chinese and Mexican food. I love tacos from Taco Bell. I also love homemade chocolate chip cookies and sesame balls.
- Are you a dog or cat person?—I love both dogs and cats pretty much equally, but I have a special place in my heart for cats because my brother has one.
- What is one item in your house you can’t leave without?— my wallet
- What is the last book you read?– I just read a book that illustrates the different things found in the sky and in space. I find space very interesting, and even considered being an astronaut when I was younger (until I had to get corrective lenses. 😦 ) I have also recently read the book, The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which is about how to live the Christian life. Very enlightening and worth reading.
- What is your biggest accomplishment?—This may not seem like a big accomplishment, but considering how hard it was for me to find a good job due to various factors in my life, getting a full-time job one and a half years ago was the biggest accomplishment for me. Even though I performed well at my last job too, my manager at that time did not offer full-time to a lot of people, me included. So, I did not know if I was going to really succeed in getting full -time at my current job either. However, after just three months, I talked with one of the managers about being full –time. To my surprise and great joy, she agreed with giving me full-time. When she put me in for full-time, I was ecstatic! My manager at the time approved it too.
- What is your favorite color?—My favorite color is sky blue. I think the color of the sky is just heavenly, and I like wearing outfits with that color in it as well. 🙂
- What is your favorite fairytale?—My favorite fairytale life would just be how I envision heaven will be like. Everyone loving and serving God and one another in an edenic-like scenic atmosphere. 🙂
- Do you have a tattoo?—No, but if I did have one, I would get one of a butterfly and the verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17 tattooed on me.
- What piece of technology can you not live without?—my phone and iPad. Sorry, I can’t choose just one.
- What is the furthest you have been from home?—Australia.
- What is your biggest fear?—being rejected by those who say that they love me.
- If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?—Don’t listen to the people who say you “can’t” in reference to accomplishing your dreams, because they are liars! It may take more work and determination, and you may need help in doing it, but it can be done!
- What are your hobbies?—I love to shop, hang out with friends, read, write, cook, and occasionally, do crafts.
- Describe yourself in one sentence.—I am a passionate and tenacious person. Passionate, because when I do things, I hate doing them half-heartedly, but aim to put everything I have in something or someone. Tenacious, because once you ignite my passion, it is nearly impossible for you to get me to give up.
For J, my mentor (written on : 3/7/2018)
All my life
I was searching for love
A love that would never fail
A love that wouldn’t bail
When things got tough
I tried to blend into the crowd,
Hoping someone, anyone
Would love me for me
And would someday see
A light in me
When I was at the end of my rope
Looking for any sign of the slightest hope
That’s when God showed up
And gave me the greatest love
I have ever known
Then God gave me the gift of you
And, through you, saved my life
You showed me what was true
And I was able to triumph
Over the lies that I held inside so long
Most of all,
You showed me grace and love,
From the One up above
And you gave me joy
That I had been searching for so long
I have been thinking a lot about how I am living my life, and what kind of legacy I want to leave. All around me, I see people in pain, both physically and emotionally. I just heard of another shooting or rampage from reading one of my friend’s Facebook news feed; the government in my country seems to be in constant turmoil, and just the anger around me, seem to tell me that there has to be more to this life than I can see. I am not getting any younger, though many people may consider me to be still young (note to them: Thank you for your generous outlook on me. 😉 ) I realize that I won’t likely live forever.
So, in light of that, I posed a question to myself: If today was my last day to live on earth, what would I do? How would I spend it? Would I consider doing anything differently? This post is also based on the verses in Ephesians 5:15-16:
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (KJV)
Here’s what I would do, and the lessons I draw on redeeming the time that I still have now:
- If today was the last day of my life on earth, I would tell my family and friends that I encounter, both online and offline, how much God and I love them, and how valued they are. I would also thank them for all they have done for me, to make my life better. — Too many times, we let days, or even, sadly, many years, go by without really taking time to value and thank those around us who have made a positive impact in our lives. I would also let my family and friends I encounter know that they are loved and valued by me, both by my words and my actions. In other words, I would spend most of the day serving them with joy and gratitude. I think we (me included) need to do a better job of doing this every single day, because the fact is that we don’t know when our “last day” is. It could be tomorrow, next week, next year, five, ten, fifteen, or more years from now. I think we are not given knowledge of when our last day on earth is because if we were, we would probably waste our other days and just revel in whatever, without doing anything of eternal value, or at least that would be the great temptation. Since we are not given that knowledge, we are more able to serve others sincerely and with our whole hearts, if we really think about the limited nature of our beings.
- If today was my last day on earth, I would not waste time getting angry at trivial things, or things that wouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.—I have observed that many times we, as humans, get upset about the little things people do or don’t do or say, that if we died wouldn’t be a big deal at all. For instance, a lot of people would get upset if a friend of theirs seemed to ignore them when they said “Hi” to their friend. First of all, the friend may be busy or may not have noticed that they said “Hi”at all. Second of all, if this friend who “purposely” ignored you, was a good friend in other instances, like he or she was there for you when someone you loved died, wouldn’t it be a good idea to just let this go? If I knew my life was limited, I would not worry about or even consider being upset at such things. Also, some of the things that people get angry or upset about reflect, not only their own self-absorption, but also that they are not thinking about how limited and precious life is. For instance, to my shame, I got upset at a co-worker over something so trivial and so selfish on my part, that, in retrospect, I should have just let it go and focused on other, more important eternal things, rather than my own comfort. If a few people don’t appreciate the effort I put into work, I would instead focus on the people that do care and not worry about pleasing or getting upset over the 5% (I’m just picking out a random, small number, to make a point.) that don’t. If there is a cranky customer who just wants to get it out for everyone else, I would just feel sad for them and pray for them, instead of getting upset at them myself.
- If today was my last day on earth, I would spend most of my day:
- Spending time with God (40% of my day)—I would spend more time with God in prayer and in reading and listening to what He has to say via His Word (the Bible). I would want to prepare my heart and soul, for what I believe would be a glorious and awesome eternity with Him! However, I would also want to make sure that there was no unsettled business between God and me, or between God, me, and another person. I would seek forgiveness for any sins (moral mistakes) that God reveals to me, and seek to fix them as soon as I could. I would want to leave this world knowing that I put significant eternal and spiritual investment in it—that I cared enough to ask God to do His will for the world.
- Serving others (40% of my day)—I would spend another part of my day just serving others. If I were scheduled to work that day, I would do my very best work possible, and strive to help customers, other associates, and managers to complete the tasks for that day. If I were not scheduled to work, I would spend my day volunteering in any way God directs me. I would spend a good part of my day just getting to know those around me better, and to be there for them in their lives. I think we all need to do that more every day. If we spent more time getting to know other people’s life stories (For the post on life stories, see this link. ), and less time being “too busy” for people and being engaged in meaningless chatter or tasks that don’t need to be done right away, we would be more able to be flexible in serving others and truly be able to invest positively in others’ lives, even our own families!
- Resting/ down time (10% of my day)—Of course, I would want to spend some part of my day just relaxing and having some down time. Since I still am a little introverted (and even for some extroverts), I need time to recharge so that I will have the emotional energy to serve others and focus on what I need to. Some way I would love to relax (and ways you can, too) are: 1) Observing nature and its beauty. 2) Listening to soothing music. 3) taking a short nap 4) reading .
This is how I would redeem my time here on earth. While I don’t think I would do anything drastically differently, I would have a much more reflective and purposeful attitude about how I lived my life. Even if today or tomorrow are not one of my last days here on earth, I still aim to redeem the time I have here, because these days can be tough.
What would you do to redeem the time you have here? Would you do or say anything differently than you are now? Please feel free to comment.
Over the past few weeks, I have heard and/or witnessed one of my dear friends almost dying, going to a funeral of a friend that I hadn’t been able to see for a long time, my pastor getting sick, various people holding grudges against one another (thankfully, not me), and the stress of my workplace getting tested by our company. In all these things, I believe God has been teaching me to a.) make my life count, and b.) create a lasting legacy for my life.
I hate to be morbid, but we will all die someday. This is why I believe it is imperative to live with purpose, and create a legacy, not only for ourselves, but also for future generations that may not even know our names.
Even when I was at the lowest depths of my depression, I thought about my purpose in life. I knew that where I was then was not where I wanted to end up, in the final moments of my life. Yes, I have always had happy moments in my life, despite the looming depression, but I had never really realized lasting joy until recently. Little by little, God has shown me how to live powerfully, with lasting and great purpose. I believe that anyone here can live their life with purpose and can make a positive and powerful difference in the world around them.
Here is what I learned about living life with purpose:
- If you want to live your life with purpose, you cannot be a half-hearted individual.—I see a lot of people around me going through life, not only struggling just to survive, but also without aim or purpose. I was that way when I was growing up. If I was aware that I would forget some of what I learned in school or that I would never see 90% of my peers that I grew up with up until now, I am afraid I would have done more things to get them over with, without any heart, or passion, in what I was doing. However, during the past five or so years, God has taught me how to live my life with passion and purpose. For more information about finding a purpose in your life, read this post. At work, for example, when I go into get-things-done mode (a.k.a—doing things to get them over with), I find that I am much less effective in getting said things done right, than if I did them with concentration and put my heart into what I am doing. This is true for other areas of one’s life as well. For example, if you are married (I personally am not, just my observations of relationships I see) and you do things for your spouse just for duty’s sake or get him or her off your back, you are less likely to please him or her, than if you did said things with thoughtfulness and heart.
- If you want to live your life with purpose, you must be willing to forsake certain things.—We all get distracted in life. However, when living your life with purpose, you want to limit these distractions as much as possible. For instance, if you are living with the purpose of being there and providing for your family, you want to work enough that everyone is adequately fed and provided for, but not so much that you won’t have any meaningful time to spend with them. So, in that example, the person who wants to be there and provide for his or her family must get a job that would adequately provide for everyone in their family and that they won’t have to work too many hours, at the wrong times, so they can be there for their family. For me, my purpose in life is to glorify God and love others. This means I must actively strive to forsake things that would prevent me from carrying out this purpose, such as listening to or watching media that promotes the hatred of or devalues my God or others.
- If you want to live your life with purpose, you must persevere. –If you want to create a lasting legacy, you must not give up on life, or your purpose, even when it gets tough. For instance, if part of your purpose involves making a positive difference in certain relationships in your life, you must not give up on these relationships when tension or difficulties threaten them. In my life, to my shame, l almost gave up on several people, who hurt me in the past. However, I believe God didn’t allow me to, and something (or Someone) in me kept me from giving up on these people completely. Thankfully, these relationships are restored, and I am able to be, not only a friend to them, but, hopefully, make a positive and lasting impact on them, as well. For another example, if you want to be successful, career-wise, you must not let obstacles get in the way of your goals. You must not let a couple of failures or bad days at work, make you quit your job completely, if you aim to be successful career or work wise.
These are the principles that I have learned in helping me to live my life with purpose. If you want people to remember you after your time on earth is up, you must live your life with passion, be willing to forsake certain things, and persevere through it all. If you want to be remembered well, I believe investing in other people’s lives, instead of only your own, is a good place to start. Yes, it takes work to live with purpose, but I believe it will be well worth it in the end.