Wednesday, September 9

Stuck within Grace

I’ve found myself stuck in a lot of things lately: my studies, organizational work, and perhaps even stuck within the perception other people have towards me. It has started to take its toll on me both emotionally, through countless anxiety attacks, and physically, as my body started to succumb to the all this stress.

Writing has been my ultimate stress reliever since high school, but it seems like it's been causing me stress as well. I've been struggling to find the right words, phrase, paragraphs for the past few months. Instead of being an outlet for my thoughts, creativity, and at times, #feels, writing felt like a trap. Stuck in a seemingly old routine, in an endless struggle to create something.

The universe has its ways of magnifying our feels, our current situation.
While writing this, I am stuck in Makati. Literally stuck, cities and kilometers away from home. Traffic in the Metro gets crazier each day, and the thunderstorm earlier made it even worse. People going in different directions, trying to find their way home – after all, it’s almost midnight.

As the day is to end in a few minutes, I am reminded that this Tuesday is not just any other day. For Catholics, it is the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary as well. She will always be one of the women that I look up to. Mary’s life reminds me of three things: purity, humility, and joyful anticipation. These are the things that I always ask for intercession, especially in times that I feel stuck – figuratively and literally.

Purity 

The birth of Mary is as important as her Immaculate Conception – for only a woman conceived and born without original sin can carry the Son of God. From the very beginning, she has been overflowing with His grace. The desires of Mary’s heart were pure and directed to one goal alone – to be obedient to the will of God.

 Living at this age and time is challenge, especially when it comes to purity. How does one become pure anyway? Is it by limiting yourself to particular beliefs and practices?

Each and every day, through the intercession of Mary, I pray that the Lord grant me purity – in my thoughts, words, and deeds. However, I always tend to forget one thing: that being pure comes with tuning my mind, hands, and heart to His will.

Maybe we feel stuck for not having pure intentions in the things that we are doing. Maybe being stuck is a result of choosing the decisions far from His will. Maybe being stuck is simply God’s way of tapping us, to see beyond this feeling, and to get a view of the bigger picture.

Humility 

Even with fear and anxiety, Mary humbly obliged to the will of God. Difficult as it seems, she chose to proclaim the Lord’s greatness through serving Him and others. That at the end of the day, Mary would always select to follow the plans of her God.

What if being stuck is one of the milestones laid by God, and we just fail to see the greater context? Have we truly surrendered ourselves to His will, or are we still insisting our ways?

Being in this state for the past weeks, the Lord simply tells me ‘to be here and now’. To cast away my pride, my fears, and my anxieties – to fully surrender, and to simply allow myself to bask in this moment. I always pray for humility; that there should be no pressure in getting beyond this grid lock in life.

Maybe we are stuck for trying to gain too much control in our lives. Maybe we fail to recognize that within this world, the moment we are in right now is nothing but a speck of dust in this universe, in God’s great master plan.

Joyful Anticipation 

Throughout her life, Mary had been faithful to God. Even when His plans were socially unacceptable for their time, she said yes. Why? It is because of the posture of her heart - to remain in joyful anticipation while waiting for God's message, and eventually, His plans.

Over time, people grew weary of waiting. Everything became instant – messaging, food, relationships, etc. The measure of success nowadays is efficiency – the ability to accomplish a task with minimal time and effort. Waiting is often equated to impatience, bringing out different emotions and reactions. Tonight, you see it among drivers honking their horns in the illusion that it will make the traffic flow better. You see it among the sea of commuters occupying one lane of the road, pushing and shoving each other as they try to get on that bus.

Often times, our inability to joyfully anticipate brings our stubbornness and selfishness. Why wait if I can get this on my own? Why wait if there is an opportunity waiting to be grabbed in front of me? Why wait? Maybe we are stuck in the different aspects of our lives because we’re in a hurry that we tend to rely on our own strength.

Our inability to have peace while waiting could be a reflection of lack of trust in God. We fail to remember that being stuck is only temporary. No matter how congested the traffic is, we will always get home. No matter how stuck you feel you are, you have a future full of hope. That when the Lord wills it, we will be able to move forward and out of our traps - through His grace. Time spent waiting will be irrelevant, as long as our hearts are in joyful anticipation for His plans.

Even with everything that’s been written and realized above, I remain stuck. My emotions remain the same, and I am starting to feel tired and weary given the long day that passed me by. Though I remain in this disposition, I am comforted by the remainder that someone is praying with and for me. As we celebrate Mary’s birth, I continue to pray for purity, humility, and joyful anticipation. A friend told me once to always seek for her guidance and intercession, and most importantly, to strive to be a woman after her – stuck in the state of grace, and faithfulness to our God.

 Happy birthday, Mama Mary. Please pray for and with us, now and forever.