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Devotions, Poetry
I don’t know a lot, much less understand enough My only discoveries are Matrushkas of questions And like cells, they multiply, faster than I can hold So I must rely on Your voice for wise revelations Of which of the infinite paths to walk securely down, Of which open doors to shut, which to boldly enter And to define the comings and goings of my day That I may never stray from Your love’s center For as my namesake once prayed in a poem, “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me!” I experience this loving care in Your disciplines Creating in me the capacity to live miraculously Blessed is man that Your love for him is so great That second and seventh chances are not beyond You And with all my faults, with all my fears and doubts They all melt away as I stand here in worship of You #db
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I’m having a late dinner as I type this at my favorite Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, the one with the best view of Burgos Circle in Fort Bonifacio. I don’t know how many stories, or talks, or blog posts I’ve written while eating one of the three relatively cheap meals I rotate here. Tonight, I have decided to write, finish, and post the last part of my 5-part series on relationships. This is the nth time I’m attempting to write this, and my laptop contains more than a few unfinished versions. In reality, each of the last 4 parts have been difficult for me to write. They’ve been hard because I’m talking about an area that is not exactly a strength of mine. I haven’t always valued people, I haven’t always chosen right, many times I get the wrong message across, and I do fall into minimum requirements and entitlements. So writing this, thinking through my position on relationships, has really been an exercise for myself more than it is a how-to guide for perfect relationships. So again here’s my disclaimer: I am NOT an expert on this. Not even close. As I share this, I don’t share the thoughts of a wise man, but those of a simple person learning through prayer, observance, study, and mistake after mistake. It’s important to me that my readers don’t ever think I’m this super great guy or a role model. Life has enough pressure on it’s own, if my thoughts can help then great, but I don’t need nor want unrealistic expectations of this good guy that’s very far from who I really am. What I am, who I am, is a guy who wakes up early, works hard, makes mistakes, says sorry, fixes things, makes more mistakes, and more, and learns sometimes, but the whole way never giving up and always running to God over and over and over again because He never gives up on me. And this is the best point to jump into Part 5: It’s About Whatever It Takes, because that’s God’s way with us. To some, He has met us in our youth, to others later in life. Sometimes He speaks to us through a book, sometimes we hear Him in a song, or find Him in a moment both dark and amazing, and even sometimes through someone else. But whoever we are, whatever way to reach us, whatever language we understand, or whatever circumstance He has to place us in, or people to surround us with, for as long as is needed, He, our Father, does whatever it takes to reach out to us to show us His love so that we can enjoy a relationship with Him. In our relationships, are we doing whatever it takes? Whatever it takes to what? Are we doing whatever it takes to show them that they’re most valuable, that we chose them and choose them daily, that we’re excited about the unlimited possibilities, and that no matter what happens we’ll find a way, or make one, to show them that we love them. And let me make it clear that the goal is to love them NOT be with them. Sometimes it seems that we do whatever it takes to stay in a relationship but don’t put enough effort to love. Relationship is the form but love is what powers that form. Aren’t they the same thing. No. Being in a relationship means being with someone. It may mean having a friend, or a husband, or wife, or mutual understanding, or one of those crazy other terms that dont make sense to me. Loving someone means being patient, kind, not envying, not boasting, humbling ourselves, not being rude, not seeking our own ends, not being easily angered, it’s rejoicing in the truth, always protecting, always trusting, always hoping, and always persevering. Sometimes, maybe even many times, we find ourselves in relationships that have gone dry and we’re wondering what’s missing. We feel unfulfilled in the relationship so we wonder whether it’s us or them, whether we did something wrong, or where we went wrong, what can we do to fix things, or compare notes with talk shows, websites, and “experts”. Some people will advice finding similar interests or hobbies, getting makeovers, taking a vacation, or buying new stuff, and these aren’t bad, but they’re shallow and cheap, and won’t fill that high-standard hunger in every human being to be truly loved. My opinion, and that’s all this is, a humble opinion from a non-expert with a track record of mistakes, both of you should DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO LOVE. It’s not about having a certain number of hours together, or having me time or her time or alone time, or our media-planted romantic gestures, or remembering birthdays, or buying expensive things, but about doing whatever it takes. And if it includes all the above, then it includes all of the above. So value the right things, value the right person, and choose well depending on who you and what you value because when you’ve chosen you have to do whatever it takes to love them. That’s a lot of work. That’s probably why I prefer the office. But if you value the right things and have chosen well, you don’t need to worry, because, as I’ve said in the past, you can never go wrong with the priceless things will always be great no matter how expensive they are. They’ll always be a steal. If you want to read the others, you can read them at the following links: 1. It’s About What’s Most Important 2. It’s Not About What You Think You Deserve. It’s About Who You Choose 3. It’s About What You Got Across Not What You Think You Said or Did 4. It’s About Infinite Possibilities Not Minimum Requirements 5. It’s About Whatever It Takes
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“Some people make things happen, some watch things happen, while others wonder what happened” This is part 4 of my 5-part series on relationships. I’m jumping to this point because the thoughts on this topic are flowing right now. Writing takes a lot of discipline, but there are days when the inspiration for a certain piece is there and you better seize her. Besides, I’ve been getting messages asking me to continue. If you want to read the others, you can read them at the following links: 1. It’s About What’s Most Important 2. It’s Not About What You Think You Deserve. It’s About Who You Choose 3. It’s About What You Got Across Not What You Think You Said or Did 4. It’s About Infinite Possibilities Not Minimum Requirements 5. It’s About Whatever It Takes Before we move forward, I’d like to make it very clear that I AM NO EXPERT on relationships. I’m no expert on anything. I’m not an expert Christian (not even close). I’m not an expert businessman (just ask the banks). And I’m definitely not an expert on people or relationships (just ask anyone). But I’m learning, and I’m sharing with you the lessons along the way. Irrelevant Minimums I noticed something interesting about our top staff members: The excellent ones always exceed expectations. The ordinary ones usually disappoint. I noticed this too among the people I know. The excellent, disciplined, hardworking, persevering, consistent, and faithful people, even with their mistakes, seem to continue to grow and impress. While the ordinary people, by ordinary I mean the average well-intentioned human being, seem to be stuck in a rut. What does this have to do with relationships? A lot actually. Because the principle here is this: Excellent people are not after the minimum achievement or meeting a minimum requirement. They’re after something much bigger the minimum becomes irrelevant. Relationships with minimum people are bound to disappoint. Relationships with complete devotion will surpass your wildest dreams. Ordinary people are simply trying to pass. Excellent people are giving it all they’ve got. It’s the difference between the guy who guns for a passing grade and the guy who goes for an A+. They’ll both pass the test, but only one of them is getting the reward. I’m not saying that this is about grades. It’s not. It’s about changing your perspective to aim and reach for the infinite possibilities available to us instead of just going for the minimum requirements. Let’s connect this even closer to relationships. Think about your best friends, your favorite relatives, your spouse or partner, or any favorite human being. None of these great relationships are based on having some sort of minimum time spent, or words spoken, or pats on the back, or dinner dates. Our best relationships are too big for that. How many times they date you isn’t an issue, they always have something prepared. You’re not mad they forgot your birthday, they already keep you front and center every day. You don’t have to count how times they were at fault, you know they’ll fix things when they say they will. What’s the point? You’re not worried about the minimum requirements of a relationship when the person you’re with is already exceeding them. Now before you start checking if your partner or friend is a minimum person or not, check yourself. Are you someone who is going for excellence in your relationships and exceeding expectations? Here are some examples: You’re not worried that your folks will get mad at you for being lazy, you’re already studying very very hard. You’re not arguing based on a mental list of things you did for a person, you’re too busy thinking of what wonderful thing to do for them next. You’re quick to apologize when you’re wrong, because being united in truth is better than always sounding correct. Excellent people don’t have to worry about faithfulness issues, they’re already completely devoted. That’s the meaning of faithfulness by the way: complete devotion, and not just not-cheating. And why do we have to be excellent at all? Because why live life and run our relationships gunning for the minimum required of us? Why let our work life be just about paying the bills? Why let our marriages be just about providing for the kids and accepting that we’re going to get ugly no matter what? Why can’t it be about chasing something and someone you’re passionate about? Some of you might say, “Because that’s reality, David.” No, that’s your reality, a reality you put on yourself when you settled. Whether you settled because you were disappointed before, or hurt, or unsure, or confused, you’ll end up just living a life justifying why you never achieved more. Instead of the minimum requirements, let’s persevere towards the infinite possibilities. Infinite meaning the eternal and limitless options available to us when we live by faith. Again this is not an article to take to your partner, this is a reminder for me not to be the type who settles for minimums but to reach beyond.
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