Will You Praise or Will You Complain? (Hitting Rock Bottom Again)

I started my day right last Thursday—I woke up at five in the morning and had my daily appointment with God.

I reminded myself of my goals and dreams and pumped myself up for a great, productive day at work (and with my blog).

I had some fruits for breakfast, exercised a little, and prepared for work.

Just two hours into work, I was almost done with all my tasks for the day. (How’s that for productivity?)

I definitely owned my morning

Just when I was writing down my plans for the rest of the day and for the weekend, I received a call from the manager of my part-time writing job and was told that the contract I was assuming would no longer be renewed.

It didn’t sink in immediately. But, after an hour or so, I felt as if an arrow shot right through my heart. I felt as if my world came crashing down.

I was already planning to quit my day job this coming Monday to focus on that writing job and this blog. Just when I already had mustered the courage to step into the unknown again and to try to reach my dreams, it was taken away from me.

Not to mention, this came towards the end of a very trying month or so. For the past couple of months, I had been struggling with my motivation to show up for work. On most days, I literally just have to show up because I usually finish my weekly tasks in a day or two at most.

For months, I had already been thinking of quitting my work to focus on something that I was really passionate about—writing.

I was finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with that writing job. I was finally a step away to becoming a full-time freelance writer and blogger. In just one day, that light was taken away and I was left to wander in the dark tunnel without seeing any light, any hope for freedom.

I was ready to bet everything on that writing job.

Oh, and I have been (desperately) looking for a breakthrough for the past five years. I was looking for a way to get paid decently by doing something I love! And the writing job gave me that opportunity for a breakthrough!

I felt as if I was back to square one.

After work, I was going to meet some friends. I was at the mall on my to the train station. 

Then, my cellphone rang.

Another bad news.

My dog died.

I didn’t know what to feel. Our dog was already nine-years old and she was already weak.

But, I still wasn’t ready. We weren’t ready. We even bought a new dog last week so she could have a new playmate since my other dog died last year.

Ever since our dog died last year, she no longer ate much and she was no longer as playful. Then, she grew weak. Yes, we were readying ourselves. But, we could never really be ready.

Will you complain or will you praise?

When I knew about what would happen with my writing job, I was ready to complain to God.

I was ready to tell Him, “I had been so faithful my whole life, yet why me? Why now? Why now when I’m finally about to have a breakthrough? Why now when five long years of desperately struggling are about to come to an end?”

But, I remembered some of the things I learned from my earlier struggles, from the Feast, from the books I read, from my mentors, and from life itself: 

Challenges and trying times are an opportunity for us to know how much we’ve grown—in character, in persistence, in perseverance, in faith, and in trust.

They are a chance for us to keep believing and to increase in our faith, especially when nothing is happening or when nothing is going our way. 

They are a huge chance for us to prove to ourselves how much we want our dreams.

They serve as a test for us to know how far we have gone.

And when I praised God for the trials instead of complaining, I knew how much I have grown.

I remember what Job said when he went through a test: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord!” — Job 1:21

I guess the greatest test of character is this: When nothing is going your way, will you praise or will you complain?

Somehow, I passed the test for praising God after hearing the news.

When My Knees Hit the Ground

Just when I was finally recovering from the news about my writing job, the news about my dog came.

And suddenly, I wanted to kneel right then and there. Not to give praise, but to break down. 

It was as if that was the culmination of a very difficult stretch. Just when I thought nothing else could go wrong, suddenly, my dog died.

It was a good thing I was at the mall on my way to the train station. Otherwise, I would have broken down.

The next morning, I finally had the time to let my emotions go and I got on my knees and broke down.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t complain when I learned about the writing job. But, I complained when my dog died, not just because my dog died, but because of the very difficult stretch of my life—for the past couple of months that I had been feeling discouraged, demotivated, and defeated and for the last five years that I have been desperately striving to have a breakthrough in my “unconventional career.”

My difficult day reminded me of my struggles. It reminded me of my fears, worries, and anxieties. Worst of all, it reminded of how "hopelessness" feels.

Just when I thought I had grown and passed the test, there was another level of frustration wherein I failed miserably.

But then, at my lowest point, God was there. I felt His presence and His peace.

I felt Him telling me, “You have grown so much in character, in persistence, and in love."

Yes, I did complain, but it was not as much as before. Even though I failed in this new test, I realized that I still grew.

Yes, I got down and I stayed down, but I rose back up in less than a day. Before, it would take weeks and even months before I get back on my feet.

Yes, I have grown so much. And during my time with God, I never felt so determined to succeed even more. I never felt that fire before.

But more than my growth and my drive to succeed, I am thankful for letting me feel His love and comfort.

He told me, “Son, everything is going to be okay. I am with you and I love you.”

When my knees hit the ground, I felt Him embracing me.

When my knees hit the ground, I felt Him comforting me.

When my knees hit the ground, I felt Him reassuring me that everything is going to work for my good.

Maybe this is the reason why He allows us to go through difficult times. Maybe this is the reason why He allows all hope to seemingly go out the window.

To make us come to Him, so we would know that He is with us.

To let us feel heaven when our knees hit the ground.

To let us touch His face when our knees hit the ground.

Just like in the lyrics of this new song, I touched the sky when my knees hit the ground.