Jesus, Do I Love Him (Part 2)
The seasons that followed that day, to put it simply, were wilderness years though I was far from aware that I was in it at first. I thought I could take it from there. If my friends who don’t believe in God can do well and be happy, I thought to myself, "I could also do the same!".
Symptoms of C-PTSD started showing in around that year. At that time, I didn't know what I was experiencing. I never knew it was possible to experience trauma from dysfunctional or toxic relationships. I didn't understand what it was I was going through, I kept it to myself which didn’t exactly help, looking back.
I started to put up a front, on social media, I would withhold any urges to say or post anything that would show signs that I was far from okay. I didn't tell my friends nor church friends. I shared with a few people but since, if I knew there was a name for it, I guess it would have been easier to make others understand, I myself didn't understand what was going on, so there were difficulties asking others to share the burden with me so that I wouldn't be so alone in it.
Eventually, I learned that there was a name for it. I started to understand what happened. I read and researched about it online. I listened to countless of stories from people who have it. It kind of helped to understand the 'why'.
As I continue to learn about it, I knew it wasn't a simple condition that could be washed away by just positive thinking. Or, by just 'getting over it'. At that point, I still avoided talking to people about it because I didn't want others to judge me.
Anyway, I started to pray to Jesus. My faith was so weak. I no longer had the same faith compare to when I first became a Christian. I had so many doubts. What I can remember is that the Bible verse that I based on was Luke 17:6.
"And the Lord answered, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you." - Luke 17:6
I even googled the image of a mustard seed, to help remind me how little faith was needed. As long as the object of faith is Jesus.
Because obviously I couldn’t go about life in my own way as I was held back by symptoms of trauma. I couldn’t heal from it outside of God. Maybe, that was Him not allowing me to successfully go about this route because He may have been saving me from terrible consequences.
My prayer was a list on paper, so I could just read it to Jesus every morning. In around 2-3 weeks of doing that day after day, I eventually noticed that I was able to start dealing with other issues in my life effectively without having to manage C-PTSD symptoms. I started working on unfinished projects and films. I didn't even realize it immediately. I was going about my days without the symptoms. I just noticed one day and thought to myself, "I haven't had this and that for a while now!". I knew it was an answered prayer.
Next, was the job of forgiving. It took a while before I actually prayed good things for my enemies. The only reason I did it at first was I really wanted to heal. I still found myself angry and the truth is, I hated them. True enough, after awhile, quite fast actually, healing started happening.
In my healing journey, God proved to me, that He is still faithful. When He says He will never leave me, it's forever. A ‘No-matter-what’ kind of love. All those times that I tried to pursue healing on my own, I never sensed God insist His way. I felt that He was still a gentleman to me even if I had that kind of faith and resolve in that season.
There was this song that resonated with me, it was The Katinas' I Will Be Here. I wasn't even thinking about God when I heard this play, it sang about He will be with me until I am old and grey. At that time, I didn't even acknowledge to myself that I was also dealing with feeling rejected. The song sang so much acceptance and love. I could sense that it wasn't a coincidence that I heard that at that exact time.
These encounters with God, contributed to me having the courage to drop some people off my life that wasn't kind to me in the first place. I've learned that love also includes boundaries. This verse in the Bible says...
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you." - Matthew 7:6
I've learned to let go of my desire for vengeance too or desires to prove them wrong.
2016 came, I started submitting my film to festivals. Throughout the year, mostly mid-year, I was recieving results. The truth is, I also got a lot of rejections. The friends and former school-mates I know, already got into plenty of festivals even Cannes, they also won awards here and there, they were all over my Facebook newsfeed.
The Lord showed me that, for me, it wasn't about awards why He enabled me to do this. These things are good and impressive but He reminded me gently why we (Him and I) are in this, in the first place. It was for His kingdom. It was to encourage the broken. To give faith, hope, and love. Through whatever story He wants me to share.
Maybe the person He wanted to reach will not be an audience at a prestigious festival in France or maybe he/she is. Or maybe there was no one to reach, maybe it was just training ground for my heart. In light of eternity, He was saving me from caring too much about awards and accolades that I miss the mark of why I wanted to make movies. It's nice to remind people of God. It's nice to reach the broken. I myself, were impacted by movies when I was a kid. It's nice to be a conduit of God's love.
As I share the news of an 'official selection' credit for my film, to my friends online, it was no longer about proving my enemies wrong. By that time, I've been on my own most days, I wasn't working with a team. I designed my own poster, submitted everything on my own. I remember saying, "It's You and me, Jesus.". I didn’t care how weird it may have looked to others, but I experienced Jesus as a best friend. As I share the news, it was already for God's glory alone. I didn't even want to look at my notifications. It didn't even matter how many liked it, I thought if I could glorify God to one person, that's enough. Or however He wants to use it.
2017 is coming to a close, it has been a long journey of wrestling with my own heart and God have been a kind and loving gentleman, all throughout, to me. Through all of it, He always reminded me of His love in a very personal way. One thing I could see, what the Bible says is true: apart from Him, I can do nothing. I could blame the C-PTSD, the enemies or any other circumstance. Same as the Israelites that found themselves in the wilderness because of unbelief. I don't think these are all just mere coincidences.
It's not worth it to wave the white flag. So, I dust it all off. And I take up my cross.
If God is for me, who can be against me?
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