Contentment

Texas Tech

Photo mine — March 2018 trip

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”  — Theodore Roosevelt

Today, the verse “. . . godliness with contentment is great gain” kept running through my mind as streaks of restlessness kept coursing through my heart and mind, filling them with anxiety.

I remembered how it was last year when I was ecstatic and very happy with my new job as a Museum Researcher with a flexible schedule and a part-time workload.  A month after that, I started my graduate studies in History and it has been quite a year of fun, happiness, fulfillment and of seeing dreams fulfilled until this month. . .

The world has a way of leaving you thirsty and hungry for more.  Yes, you get the job you have always wanted to do, a job that allows you to do the things you love to do but then a small voice at the back of your head comes and whispers, “Maybe there’s more to this, a bigger project or a better schedule” and then the restlessness starts again.  I empathize with the guinea pig in the cage running for his life in circles, never reaching a destination.

That’s when it hit me tonight as this verse kept running through my head.  A subtle but strong reminder from God to be content where I am right now and to move slowly and in accordance with His timing.

Could it be that I started getting restless after reading posts in the net about girl bosses under 30 years old?

Did it have something to do with seeing an Instagram post about celebrities going places, shopping, starting their own businesses?

Have I fallen trap into the social comparison syndrome and the social media jealousy syndrome that makes one forget how blessed she is right now?

Now that I think about it, I can say “yes” to all three questions.

Social media is a powerful tool in our age today.  It has the power to move people into action, make them buy things they do not really need, inspire positive social action and, yet, studies have shown that it has also bred jealousy, insecurity and depression in some (if not most) people after seeing friends’ posts about milestones, celebrations and successes.

Surely, one cannot hide under a rock and unfriend all his friends on social media who have posted their triumphs and successes.  It is how we view things and respond to these posts.

It is what we fill our minds that matters.

The question here is “do we trust God enough to wait for His timing and trust His good and perfect plan for us even if we want something bigger, better and more financially lucrative?”

At the end of the day, God reminded me that this boils down to an issue of the heart.

Am I willing to rest in His perfect plan for me? 

Will I be humble enough to sync my steps with His, allowing Him to take the lead? 

These are important questions for someone who professes to follow Christ — follow Him not only in the mountains of successes but also to the valleys of humbling and waiting and in the quietness of resting in the knowledge that His will is good, pleasing and perfect.

 

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Image via Canva.com

 

 

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Teach. Research. Community work.

Seventeen years after graduation and letting go of my fears and apprehensions, I am now able to articulate 3 areas where I want to focus on professionally:  teach (part-time), do research and write a book and write articles and do community work.

It has taken me that long to let go of my fears and sort out what I really want.

When I was much younger, it was the steady income and money that was uppermost in my mind.  I wanted a stable job never mind if the teaching requirements took up most of my time from doing research.  After an experience teaching 2nd graders in a public school and teaching 7th and 11th graders in a private school, I finally put my hands up in surrender and mustered enough courage to pursue what I want and what I enjoy doing and that is to teach a subject or two, read, read and read books and articles and write and have time for my blogs and other creative ideas.

As my dad again reminded me this morning during breakfast, “Tsi, don’t think about the money.  Work on what you’re passionate about first and then the money will come later.  Sow first by doing unpaid work first and then the income will follow.”

I guess I now have the strength and self-awareness to admit to myself that I am not cut out for an all-out teaching career.  The kind of teaching career that makes one stay all day in the school churning out lesson plans, grading papers and working on all the paper trail.  It makes my brains go out, makes me restless and bored.  I want to work outside the box (literally and figuratively).

I would rather go to school for my classes only, mentor a few students for their papers, work at the university library for research work and publish a book and some articles.  At the same time, I would want to work on a community project that combines some of the things I am passionate about which are:  community development and history.

It was scary at first contemplating about this move but it has been two months now since I left the school where I once taught and so far this has been the most restful, “busy but not stressful” and enjoyable time of my career.  It is a bit challenging though not to have a fixed schedule as you have to be mindful of keeping time blocks to make sure that you work on the research projects you are involved in.  I have found that these days while I do not have a fixed schedule and a time in, time out schedule, I am more punctual without absences at this time.

Hopefully, I get to work on my planned Instagram and blog for Cebuano History and Culture.  That’s always been my dream:  to someday work on something that will make the ordinary Juan de la Cruz and the Bisayang Dako (like me) passionate, more aware and more knowledgeable about our local history.

 

*Photo mine – Taken at the Museo Parian sa Sugbo 1730 Jesuit House*