The Heart of the Matter

POST #200! (Yay! )

If there is no heartbeat in someone, they die.  The heart is one of the most vital organs in our body. Similarly, our spiritual hearts reflect who we are as people, and also the motivation behind our actions. Without a spiritual heart, or passion, for anything, we also die.  There have been some people who, in their minds, have reached such a pinnacle of success that they have nothing to live for anymore.  Finding your own heart—including the motivations behind your actions, purpose in life, and what you are passionate about—can help sustain you in times of trial and pain, helps motivate you to keep on going in life, and helps give you direction in life.  Finding someone else’s heart—including their passions in life, motivation behind their actions, and their life stories—can help us to cultivate a deeper understanding and appreciation of that person, and often leads to us loving and respecting that person better.  These are the lessons I have learned by both personal experience and through what others have taught me, about both finding your own heart and finding others’ hearts:

  1. How to find your own heart:

During the years when I was growing up and felt aimless in life, I only saw glimpses of what my heart was. However, after God revealed Himself to me and during the past ten years, more and more of my own heart has been exposed to me.  One of the things that had helped me find my own heart was to ask myself, “Why do I do what I do?”  I found that when people don’t ask themselves that vital question, either consciously or subconsciously, that they tend to drift aimlessly in life and become depressed and sometimes even feel hopeless and adrift. I believe that if people asked themselves “Why am I doing “ X” ?” (substitute X for an activity) more often,  they would not waste as much time doing things that don’t benefit them or others.  They would also see their heart and motivation, and be more apt to make any needed adjustments.  For instance, many people who are working do so solely for the paycheck and nothing more. However, many people don’t also think consciously about why they are doing what they do. If work becomes unbearable for them, they may ask these questions, but it is often too late for them to salvage their jobs and make a greater impact for themselves and others.

I would also ask myself the question, “What gives me the most joy?” Do not only think of your hobbies and what you do for fun, but also what stirs your soul.  For instance, seeing and hearing about children being abused deeply upsets and angers me, but being able to speak encouragement into the lives of adults who were abused as children has given me much joy.  Another thing that gives me joy is to be able to share God’s love with others and seeing people’s faces just light up. Seeing people happy and content does not give me joy solely for my sake, but for theirs as well.  It gives me great joy and pleasure to see that others can experience God’s love too, especially for those who had previously not really experienced or known about that depth of love before. Think about what gives you the most joy, and cultivate that into your heart and passions.

Another way to find your own heart is to write out a life purpose statement and some life goals.  For instance, my purpose in life can be summed up in this way: “To glorify God and to share His love to others.”  Your life purpose statement should be no longer than a couple of sentences.  Then, write out some goals that will cater to your life’s purpose.  In my case, some of my life goals would be: a.) To share the love of God with loved ones and my colleagues at work in tangible ways. b) Meditate and learn something new about God every day, and apply these lessons to my life c.) Not to give up if I fail to live my purpose, but be willing to humble myself and try again.  d) Garner the support of people that love God the way I do, so we can support each other and encourage each other, especially when times get tough. Writing out your life purpose and goals will help make them real and tangible to you. It will also help give you direction and tangible actions you can take in order to live up to your purpose. Furthermore, writing your life purpose and goals will help you stay motivated and can remind you of your importance and value in this society.

  1. How to find others’ hearts:

 

Before you can find what drives a person and what their heart is, you need to develop a genuine relationship with them.  If you purposely intrude on someone solely for finding what their heart is or to manipulate them, you will never find it because they will see through your pretenses before you even find them out.  You need to show a genuine care and concern for their well-being, more so than your own.  You need to be willing to spend time and invest in that person.  You need to be sure you never betray them, because if you do, they will most likely not reveal anything deep and personal about themselves to you ever again!  For instance, if someone betrays me, I will tend to hide certain personal things about myself because I don’t want them to use what they know about my heart against me and deliver a near-devastating blow to my soul. I would not even mention this blog to them!

 

However, if someone proves themselves trustworthy, their friends will most likely be able to slowly reveal their heart to them, and this trustworthy person will most likely (because he or she is a person of integrity) help their heart grow and flourish. This trustworthy person will start by asking pertinent questions about what drives their friend or friends, and they will show genuine love and care for their friends. The trustworthy person will respect their friends ‘(and loved ones’) boundaries at all times, and will let the friend or loved one share their heart as they are ready.  For instance, if a loved one is addicted to something, the trustworthy friend will not only help the loved one out of the addiction, but will also give them words of support and encouragement.  For instance, if the trustworthy person finds out that the loved one has the addiction because they (loved one) are lonely and needs something to fill them, the trustworthy person can keep them company and also encourage the loved one to seek out new friends that will also support the loved one.

 

This is what I learned about both finding your own heart and finding others’ hearts.  When you have a window into your own soul, you will be able to help it flourish and grow. You will be more content and joyful as a person, and you will feel that you have value in this world. Similarly, when you know someone else’s heart, you can make a world of difference in their lives by helping them find joy and purpose in their lives. While your physical heart keeps your body alive, your spiritual heart keeps your soul alive. May your heart flourish and find much joy!

Advertisements

My Dreams

(written on : April 29, 2018)

Dedicated to all my co-workers and managers at my current job

I dreamed of the day

When I would be here

And leave a mark

Lasting until my dying day

 

I dreamed of the day

When I would be loved and valued

For not just the person I could be

But for the person they already see

 

And now my dreams have come true

God has worked in and through me

Now I can see

A bright future coming up ahead of me

 

So, I dream of the day

When the Love and Joy I found

Will become real to you

And fill you too

Letting Go of Past Hurts

I know many people who hold onto grudges and the darkness of the past for dear life.  For a long time, I was one of those people.  Sometimes, I still glance at the past darkness, but it no longer affects me as much as it used to, and I am finally healing from the people that have hurt me in the past. Because of so many great people that I am blessed to have in my life, I have learned to let go of many of my past hurts. Here is what I learned in the process, and I am still learning, day by day:

A) Dealing with Past (and Present) Rejection

I have heard of many instances where Person A is rejected by Person B in, let’s say, a long-term friendship, and Person A has a very tough time letting go of Person B.  In some cases, the person being rejected even takes vengeance against the person rejecting them, with deadly consequences.

Being rejected, starting at the tender age of two, at a daycare center, I know how it feels like to not be wanted. I was also often the last to be picked on a sports team, or any group, growing up in school. If I had the attitude of some people in society about being rejected so many times, I would probably be a miserable, cruel person, similar to people who abuse or hurt others regularly.

Thankfully, I learned to let go.  I learned that though rejection is painful, I don’t need a particular person (other than Christ) to make me happy or fulfilled in life.  I learned that people always come and go out of our lives, and that my goal in life is just to make a positive difference in as many people’s lives as possible. If I am only with the same group of people my entire life, yes, we would be very close, but I wouldn’t be able to make as great an impact to the world, as if some of them chose to or had to leave me. Tell yourself, “I can live without them.”

Also remind yourself of your own value and worth, even in the face of rejection. Repeat after me: I am not a less valuable person because someone else fails to see my worth to them.  Truth! Your value does not change based on how popular you are, or how many people love or don’t love you.  You are infinitely valuable, no matter what people say about you. Remember that.

Finally, ask yourself what you can learn in the face of the rejection. If someone rejected you because you did not treat them well, resolve to learn how to treat others better, so you won’t be rejected in that way again. If someone rejected you for superficial or other flimsy reasons,

don’t take that personally. Use that experience as a lesson in how not to treat others.

B)Dealing with Past Hurts

When someone hurts you.—I’m sure almost everyone has experienced someone hurting them in the past. Some of you have even experienced some horrific abuse by the people who were supposed to love and protect you.  For those people, I am sorry, and I hope you will be able to heal from that, at your own pace and timing.  For others of us, however, we may have been hurt emotionally by someone who isn’t even that close to us, but for whatever reason, have not been able to fully let go or forgive them.  This following advice is more for you.

First of all, if I was dealing with someone that hurt me emotionally that didn’t live in my house and was not family (and even if they were family),  I would try to remind myself of all the times that I was shown mercy  when I hurt someone else.  Sometimes, when you are able to put your hurt into perspective, it alleviates the pain a little bit.

Second of all, intentionally strive to be kind to your offender. This is what I did for several people at work when they had hurt me emotionally.  Important to note: You cannot have a “martyr’s” attitude (i.e : the “I guess I’ll be nice so they know how much it costs me” attitude) towards them, otherwise this doesn’t work the way it should.  Being kind to them must be from the heart.  You must have some compassion and love for them, even in your hurt.  What I found when I intentionally tried to be kind to them from my heart, they eventually softened towards me, and in many cases, we were even able to be reconciled to each other!

Another thing that can be useful, especially if you believe in God, is to pray for your offender or offenders.  Praying for them is different from praying against them. Do not pray, for example, that they will get cancer or die. Pray instead for their success in life, their repentance, their joy, and positive things like that.

If you hurt them.—We also all have hurt someone else.  When someone tells you that you have hurt them, or if you know somehow that you have offended someone, seek forgiveness from them. Offer them a contrite and humble apology. Any so-called apology with “but” or “if” in it is not a real apology because it excuses or blames, and does not take full responsibility for one’s actions.  In an apology, never blame the victim. Also, always be willing to do anything you can to restore the situation and make amends for your wrongdoing and hurtful actions.  For instance, if you slandered someone else out of envy, you could try to amend the situation by admitting to all those you bad-mouthed the victim to that you lied about the victim, and asking for forgiveness.  However, if the forgiveness is refused by any of these parties, then you need to let go. Demanding forgiveness is evidence of a proud, unrepentant heart.  Forgiveness must be given freely in order to be genuine.  Don’t try to force it out of someone.

C) Dealing with Fallen Dreams

If I got a U.S dollar for all the dreams that I had for my life, beginning when I was five years old, that failed, I’d probably be pretty rich.  We all have had wishes and goals that never have come to fruition, or plans that have changed.

Several people I know have had their career dreams cut short or been changed by a certain event or events.  I know I have. For instance, when I was a little child, one of my career goals, was to be astronaut. However, that fell on its head when I had to get glasses a few years later. (They don’t allow people to be astronauts who don’t have 20/20 vision, at least, as far as I know.).  Also, when I was in college, I wanted to do something in biology, until I realized that chemistry and physics were required, and they were not my strong suits.

One thing that has helped me deal with these (and other) fallen dreams is to see the good in my current situation. For example, I believe I am able to make more of a difference at my current job as a sales associate, rather than I would as an astronaut with maybe ten other people (max) in the shuttle. Yes, astronauts do make a world of difference still, and I am not discounting that. Rather, I am saying that for me I am better suited in my current job than I would be as an astronaut.

Another thing that has helped me overcome fallen dreams is learning from my mistakes.  For instance, I failed a course in school, but later relearned the concepts again to the point that I would be able to probably pass the course if I had to take it now.

Also, if a lot of your dreams are shattered, sometimes you can get so discouraged that you quit trying. That is what happened to me with driving. Luckily, I found my mentor J that encouraged me to try again. Find someone who will encourage you to persevere, and don’t quit.  Try not to set too lofty goals, at first, but set small, reachable goals, and do whatever it takes to reach them. Be determined and believe that you can accomplish your dreams… because you can!

 

These are the ways that I have let go of my past hurts. Yes, I have been through a lot in my past, and yes I still carry battle (emotional) scars, but my past has only made me a stronger person.  Your past doesn’t have to get in the way of being who you were meant to be.  Letting go may not be easy, but it is worth it.

Further (a poem)

Further  written on 2/11/2018

You said I wouldn’t amount to much

You said things that invalidated me as such

You made me cry and cry

And you almost made me die

 

But you don’t know my Savior

You don’t know how far

He has taken me

And what He has created me to be

 

You don’t know the love

He has lavished upon me

And how far I’ve come

Because of the one from up above

 

And the loving friends He sent me

Because they believed in me

When you wouldn’t

And just couldn’t

 

Yes, you wouldn’t even believe

I would make it this far

But what you couldn’t perceive

Is that I made it further

Because You Can : Not Letting People Limit Your Dreams

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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!

Getting to Know Me

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)

  1. What is your real name?—My name is Patricia.
  2. 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!). 
  3. Are you named after anyone?—No, my parents just thought it was a good name.
  4. Where are you from? –I’m from the U.S.A.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. What is one item in your house you can’t leave without? my wallet
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.  🙂 
  12. 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. 🙂
  13. 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.
  14. What piece of technology can you not live without?my phone and iPad. Sorry, I can’t choose just one. 
  15. What is the furthest you have been from home?Australia.
  16. What is your biggest fear?being rejected by those who say that they love me.
  17. 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!
  18. What are your hobbies?—I love to shop, hang out with friends, read, write, cook, and occasionally, do crafts.
  19. 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. 

Redeeming the Time

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.