"So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come." — 2 Corinthians 5:17 NAB
I just got back from Hong Kong to Manila. (Sorry for the late post.) It was my third time there with my family already, but it was the trip that I enjoyed the most.
We just went to the same places and did the same things. So, why was that trip different from all the other trips we had?
While doing my morning prayer and reflection, I realized that it’s not really the trip (not even Hong Kong) that changed. It was me.
Let me share with you some of the things that changed in me over the years:
First, I learned to enjoy my time with my family. One of the things I realized last year was that I always expected my family to love me unconditionally when it was myself who did not love them without any conditions. I thought they loved me only because of my achievements. They did. I just didn't allow myself to feel it because I didn't love myself without my achievements. Worse, I loved my family only when they agreed with my decisions.
Second, I learned to stay in the moment. When we were in Disneyland, playing with my niece and nephew, or even just resting at the hotel, I wasn’t thinking of anything else—not my blog, not my small business at home, and definitely not the work I left at the office. I was focused on feeling every moment I had with my family (and in Disneyland). Before, I dreaded spending too much time with my family because it meant I had less time to do what I love—writing.
Third, I learned to take things slowly and take every moment in. Every once in a while, I stop and try to appreciate where I was at, what I was doing, and everything else around me. Years ago, I was always racing against time because of my big dreams. No wonder I enjoyed the sights and sounds at Disneyland during our trip this year more than ever.
Fourth, I let go a lot of my pride and ego. During our previous trips, I wanted people to know where I was at. I wanted to check in often. I wanted people to know of my travels and adventures. And it was all because I wanted to show off. Now, I took pictures to remind myself of what I saw, where I'd been, and, most importantly, how I felt when I took them. I think I’ll enjoy traveling now because I know there will be less pride and ego and more pure fun and excitement. It really feels nice to just be there and not worry about whether a nice picture has been taken to show off to others or not. I know there are still some more pride and ego that I need to let go. But, this is a good start.
Fifth, I have become a more thankful person. There's really magic in being grateful. I couldn't explain the feeling.
Lastly, I grew up hearing stories of discrimination against Filipinos. I really became conscious of my nationality. I wasn't comfortable traveling to other countries, especially to Asian countries. I didn't like being a tourist.
But, during the past few years, I found my security in God, not in my race, not in how I look, not in my wealth or belongings, and not in my achievements.
I became more comfortable, secure, and confident in who I am inside and out. I became comfortable with being one person out of seven billion. I'm no less and definitely no better than others. We're all one and the same.
Besides, when we were in Hong Kong, the nationals do not even mind we were there as much as we don't mind them being here. Again, we're all one and the same.
And all these changes started five years ago, when I found Jesus. He made all things new in my life. He really changed me.
Looking back to who I was, I think that I have become a better, simpler, more fun, and more loving person.
How about you? Are you a better person now than years ago? Keep working on yourself and find your security in God.
Here's the song I was listening to while praying and worshiping God this morning: