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All You Need is Love

May 5, 2012

Recently on Formspring, I was asked what made me feel the happiest. A lot of things make me happy, yes. But, what makes me feel the happy-est… above all other things? That’s a rather difficult question to answer straight.

I traced back to some of the happiest moments of my life and realized that material things and other external factors can only do so much. Genuine happiness radiates from the inside. It has a lot to do with perception. Because it’s pretty hard to stay positive in a world where so much bad things happen. I always see things online about hunger, abuse and extreme violations of human rights. I hear about broken families and money issues. And then I wonder how anyone could anyone ever be happy knowing that others live in those conditions. But after thinking of all that, I finally had an answer to the question.

Q: What makes you feel the happiest?
A: When I realize that I am loved, despite all my flaws and quirks and shortcomings and imperfections. My family loves me, I have friends who love me and what’s even better than all that is that my God sees right through me, knows everything unlovable about me and loves me anyway. 

Last week, my youth group had its camp with the theme Unmasked. Needless to say, it focused on how everyone wears… masks. The first speaker was Martin Sarmenta, someone I’ve known and looked up to for a very long time. He talked about how people wear masks for two reasons: one, to PROJECT a different, perhaps better, version of themselves for other people to see and two, to PROTECT the unlovable person that hides behind the mask. It made so much sense, really. But, he said something that really struck me and pretty much changed my life the second it sunk in. He shared how sometimes at work, people criticize his what he does. They say horrible things about things he worked so hard on… right in front of his face.Then he said:

They can say anything they want to me at the workplace. It’s okay.
Because I know that I’m going home to my mom and dad. And they love me.” 

Love. Such a great form of assurance, don’t you think? Imagine that feeling of security. Contentment. Acceptance. Those moments when you think to yourself that that‘s all you’ll ever need. Imagine failing at something you were expected to be great at… but, humbly accepting that failure and taking comfort in the knowledge that despite that, you are loved.

Right now, I’m talking about having people love all of you and accept your entire package of good and bad and ugly. But, what’s even more mind blowing is the kind of love that God has for us. Whenever I remind myself of His love, I cannot explain my happiness… or how thankful I am. Only by grace. That’s something many say but, it was only recently that I really understood what it meant… and how blessed I actually am. 🙂

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self – seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8

I think almost everyone knows or has heard of that verse. It has probably been printed on a billion cards and recited on a trillion weddings. It’s the verse everyone memorizes and uses as a guide for life, and marriage and many other things. But, Martin made me realize… they always start at Love is patient and stop at Love never fails. Unfortunately, people miss out on the verses before and after that.

Before: “1 If I speak in tongues of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have the faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but have not love, I gain nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 1 – 3 

After: “-8 But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.” 1 Corinthians 13: 8 – 10

Point is, everything else is partial. Wealth and knowledge… all those things will fade at some point in our lives. Years of work can vanish right before our eyes overnight. There are so many things in this world that can cause us pain and disappointment. And yet, those are the things we focus on and live for.

(Wow. I think I said a lot. But, I guess I’ve made my point.)
(And yes, this thought barf was triggered by a formspring question.)

This is a picture of the way I release negativity. Free writing. No filters. In some illegible way that no one would bother to read. When I’m annoyed, upset, hurt, mad about anything and everything. It’s there. All my thoughts and dreams and fears and frustrations. It’s there. But with all that’s been said, I asked myself what I’m so afraid of. I often think about the future and worry. As excited as I am for what lies ahead, I’m also scared. Of course. Typical thing for an incoming college student to think. Am I making the right decision? Is this my calling? How can be so sure? What if I’m not good at it? What if I fail? 

And it isn’t even just about college. Life itself could be the scariest thing! I could ask even more dangerous questions simply because there are a million that can be asked. Why do good things happen to bad people? What if I die today? What is the right religion? Who am I gonna end up with? What if I can’t bear a child? Where am I gonna work? What if I’m destined for “single blessedness”?

Things like that. The most random, far off, future problems that I might have… even those things cross my mind once in while. I could fear that distant a future if I let my mind run on and do so. Forgive me, I’m human; I can’t help it. But then, after thinking about all those “problems”, I wonder what my problem is. Why do I even worry? What’s the worst that could happen now anyway? I mess up so bad that the entire world turns their back on me? And then what? I’d go home to a family that would still accept me… and then I’d pray to a God that would still love me. No matter what. I forgot those keywords. They’re gonna love me no matter what.

Suddenly, all problems seem small.

And that’s it. That sense of security and confidence that no matter what, you will still be loved; that Someone will always, always be there to catch you after you’ve failed a billion times and to accept you for you; no masks and cover ups, just the real unlovable you


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