Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Bout of Lethargy

Ahh yes. Finally, another entry after so many months of silence. The title is a dead giveaway, hehe. Not only does lethargy afflict my blog, but other areas of my life as well. Every day becomes a continuous battle against the forces of inertia. I have to drag myself out of bed, stuff myself into office attire, pry my butt off the office chair, and finally bang my head on the wall to sleep. Each action, each transition into a different stage in the day has to be preceded by an internal struggle against procrastination. My passion for life slowly ebbs with each passing day.

In the course of my descent into oblivion, I have tried to retrace my steps and find the onset of my condition. It seems only yesterday that I was so energetic, so impatient to get along with life, anxious to complete the tasks I had at hand. I'm guessing it would have been around my last blog post, early May, that my energies reached their zenith. I had so many things lined up for me to do, so many plans. Aiming to maximize my stay, I set out to cram as much as I could in a day. I would go for weeks at a time with four hours of sleep during weekdays, then recover it all in the weekends. Not the most healthy lifestyle, that's for sure. Eventually I ended up burnt-out, disappointed by my perceived failure to accomplish my goals.

In retrospect, I probably wasn't as unproductive as I thought I was at the time. Maybe it was just my obsession with perfection that led to my disillusionment. I am reminded of Matthew 6:11, "give us today our daily bread." My failure to appropriate this truth in my life is partly responsible for my present condition. While Jesus was definitely reassuring us of God's provision for man's physical needs, He was also emphasizing the importance of God's word in our everyday lives. I'll get to that in a moment. I remember a sermon, or maybe it was a book, I heard or read once, that discussed the many meanings of this verse. An additional aspect of this verse was that we should live our lives one day at a time. I was trying to tear out enormous chunks out of my loaf, with the expected result of choking on the excess.

Another detrimental effect of this rushing was my loss of focus on my walk with the Lord. As deadlines drew tighter, I would take time of my other duties. Simple yet important tasks such as exercising, preparing meals, even cutting my nails, were shifted to lower priorities. Worst of all, spending time with the Lord got steadily whittled down. Daily devotions all but ceased, prayer time was reduced to saying a few words before meals, sleeping through Sunday made Church an occasional affair. Now I'm not claiming to be a "saint" (in the modern sense of the word), but I was definitely backsliding... again... for the nth time. Aaaaahhh... At times it's really hard to accept the reality of Christ's salvation, especially when we turn our attention to the worst in us. The worst part of this is, while I have been spending less and less time doing productive work, I make up for it instead by doing unproductive stuff. Playing games, reading nonsense novels, watching videos, anything to escape the pressing realities of the world. I have been ever the escapist, preferring to wallow in comforting lies than responsibly facing the truth of a dismal situation.

Lately I've been trying to pick up the fragments of my broken life. Yeah I know, I sometimes drop the pieces faster than I pick them up. Anyway, one book I've been reading recently gives me refreshing reminders of God's plan for us: The Passion of Jesus Christ: Fifty Reasons Why He Came to Die. It's mostly just a reiteration of things I already heard, but I have come to realize how important it is to be constantly reminded of the basics. Analyzing the times when I was falling out of line with God, I find one factor constantly involved in them: spending time with God. In all those times, I was either not meditating on His Word, or not engaging in meaningful fellowship and ministry.

While I think that I have been reading and meditating now more than ever before, the social aspect of worship has taken the back stage lately. Now that I'm lacking in the area, I'm beginning to see what a large part of my life ministry was. Involvement with other people, investing time in serving them, sharing my life and working with them, is indeed an indispensable part of God's plan for us.

Ever since college, I have been involved in ministry at varying degrees. Not that I was doing great at it. In fact ministry was always a struggle for me. Hehe, laziness is one of my biggest flaws, and my inner Juan Tamad showed his ugly face every time I would go out into the field. There was also the constant struggle with the heart of course. Part of this probably comes from the enemy, I suppose. "You're not worthy to serve," I would catch myself telling... myself. "You don't have the guts to do it, coward," was my second favorite line. Even sometimes "I'm so great, I did that all by myself." But through it all, the Lord has been ever gracious to me. While my service is flawed, He has never stopped working within me to change my heart and sanctify my service. Bahala na, basta gawin mo na lang, bahala na Siya doon sa iba. In the end, what can we do that is not from God? Does He not have all things? Is there anything we can give that we have not first received? Ahh yes, sometimes I feel that I was the greatest beneficiary of my imperfect service. In times of strife, in my agony brought about by self-conflict during ministry, the Lord was passing my heart through the flames, burning away the decayed parts, leaving what was good and pleasing to Him.

I miss those times. Now, more than ever, I am aware of the importance of ministry and fellowship. I would say that interaction with other believers would be the mortar to a sturdy temple built for the Lord. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:16-18)," right? My circumstances contribute to this deficiency. Having recently moved out of my home for 17 years, I am now left without a steady church. I've spent the last month "church shopping". When I fail to go home for the service, I attend GCF at Ortigas. Things are not the same though. The size of that place makes it hard to really know anybody personally. Plus I'm not exactly Mr. Congeniality, hehe. I've been considering signing up for one of their small groups, but I feel that my work would probably get in the way, me being quite a ways from Ortigas. Maybe I'll take my high school friend up on his long-standing offer of joining his small group in Makati. I used to decline because I already had one back home, but since moving out I rarely get the chance to go home on weekdays. We'll see.

I find it funny to think about how much I've changed since my teens. Well not that I'm bragging or anything. It's not like I'm responsible for the improvements. I tell you, I've resisted change every step of the way. My stubbornness knows no bounds, hehe. In fact, I think part of my laziness and procrastination stems from my resistance to change, my fear of losing the status quo. Yet the Lord has overcome all my defenses and conquered my fears, setting me free from the strongholds of the enemy. For that, I can't be more grateful. So while there are strongholds holding me chained yet, I remain ever hopeful that He will triumph in the end. In fact, He is already victorious, and that will serve as my security.

Ok, now that got waaaay more personal than I set out to get. Much longer than it's supposed to be, that's for sure. You probably dozed of in the middle of the second paragraph, ha! I'm still a little squeamish about this whole blogging thing. How much do I dare reveal? How far is too far? Anyway, I've wasted enough of your time. I hope you got something out of this, innocent bystander. I do.

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