Stacia’s personal challenge of the week is sleeping for at least 8 hours a day, then crunching her midsection for 20 times, 2 times a day, to suppress symptoms of depression. To see her upcoming challenges, check out her challenge of the week page under the Agenda tab.
OK. Honesty is the best policy.
I totally failed this challenge.
Hold on right there. It doesn’t mean I didn’t sleep or I didn’t do crunches at all.
Of course, my no-sleep days are over by now. Those were the worst of the worst nights. I still get great sleeps this week, just not enough. Not the recommended 8-hour-a-day sleep. Far than 8 hours.
So, last weekend, starting from Friday evening till Sunday night, I went on a retreat with the peeps from my church. The main theme was “Character is Destiny”. Here are the objectives, according to the flyer:
1. Character growth toward Christ (Hebrew 1:3)
2. Managing critical point in self, in order to win from struggle and sin (Rome 5:3-5)
3. Strengthening the destination of life, to acquire the maximum of Christ’s character (Ephesians 2:!0)
The guest speakers for this retreat are specialists of the human character, personality, and core temperaments. Yes, you can say that it involves psychology, neuroscience, or whatever you want to call it, and each of us were given about 30-minute personal consultation based on our character in order to determine our destiny.
First night we arrived, we were late. This is a classic characteristic of an Indonesian. Generally, our whole group were divided into four people per room, and the four of us girls stayed up until 4 in the morning just talking. You know, girls. We talk. A lot.
And the next night, obviously I was exhausted. I was happy to have high hopes and determination for my destiny though, after a one-on-one session with my consultants. I went to sleep at about 1 in the morning and was still exhausted the next day.
Anyway, that’s the point. I didn’t get much sleep last weekend.
Obviously, I forget doing my crunches, since I didn’t have a specific time I set to prepare myself to sleep. It didn’t become a habit at all; so I just did my crunches whenever I remember to do it. I didn’t manage to do it everyday, because I do forget. But crunches do help ease the pain of daily stress. So I love doing crunches.
Anyway, that’s that when it comes to this week’s challenge.
Let me get more into the whole retreat.
‘I am Christ’
During the first session, we were given sheets of questionnaires and MCQs about our daily behaviors and preferences in life. The answers are the foundation for the consultants to read our character as a whole, for the purpose of our consultation later on. Then, one of the speakers chanted, and wanted us to chant: “I am Christ.” This helps to remind us that inside us lives Christ. Because more often than not, we forget. And we get lost in earthly things.
Christ lived by good habits. He rises up early, prays day and night, doesn’t eat meat, fully exercises faith, and communicate with Father 24/7. God is always there, 24/7. It’s just how we respond to Him, or do not respond to him, that shapes our life, and that makes up our character. Character is, therefore, the right response, the Christ way of responding to conditions, situations, and all the things life has to give. Time, therefore, is witness. That is the only role of time’s existence.
There are a few signs of a person losing sight of his/her destiny. They are:
Now let’s look at Ephesians 2:10:
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Right there. We are created for good works. And we are His living work of art. And the truth is, I’ve been feeling like all of that for the last 2 years or so. But it’s changing somewhere in the middle of this year, and I’m still recovering, replenishing my soul, receiving my hopes from God, as an exchange for my promise to Him, that I shall prove Him right. Because I do believe He does exist in my life, and that I am gifted and were equipped with a vast amount of potential waiting to manifest itself in my life. Believe it or not, He gave me influential powers to prove Him right but I spend most of my time questioning why he chose me to be the one who’s so strong.
Mercy is magical
My consultant revealed to me the same thing as I did believe. And that makes me yet even more determined about the power and authority I have over my will. But, in the meantime, I’m still battling the 3 enemies inside me, which exist in all of us:
1. Desires of the flesh
2. Desires of the eyes
3. Arrogance and the ego
(1 John 2:16-17) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
And the ONLY way to tackle all 3 enemies is MERCY.
I guess this is a lifelong learning process, to have mercy in all kinds of people, to witness the eyes of Jesus in every one on Earth. It’s a difficult process, yet it makes our souls divine, like Christ.
I somehow suspect that sleep, as a daily review of our life, as the mind awakes at night and our physical body goes to sleep, is a full communication and communion with God – a wonderful, magical experience I will never understand. It doesn’t mean I neglect the growing body of studies in the science of sleep, but it just means that I have a stronger faith and less self-doubt in moving forward in life, trusting whatever may come in the process of learning how to be better and better each day, through the comfortable experience of sleeping, dreaming, imagining better days ahead, and living those tomorrows today.
He keeps His Word to me
So the question is, how do you know whether you are living your destiny? Simply said, whatever you do, you:
1. Enjoy, and it’s all
And I’m telling you, writing is my purpose. Putting down history to tell the world the passing moments we are going through right now will never again happen twice in the history of the universe, that’s my purpose.
A definite sign of myself getting mature is that I have learned to be less dependent on people but more dependent to God. He told me, for all of my days, that “I am your only refuge. You have My Word that I will always be here right beside you, inside you, very close to you.” And Jesus told me “I am the only living person who is willing to die for you and I give My love freely for you BECAUSE BELIEVE ME YOU ARE WORTHY. Don’t ever forget that.”
(See: Depression, depression…You’re such a killer.)
Pssst. You wanna know a secret? My boyfriend reminds me of Him, so I’m trying to depend more on him too. How can you not be touched when you are given unconditional love?
My consultant made sure I know the fact that I had tremendous strengths. Even though I’ve never known a father’s warmth (long family story), I am made to be able to know His love, despite not fully understanding Him through Christ yet. Then he reminded me that my dad on earth is temporary, but my eternal Daddy lives above. Nevertheless, they believe as I do believe that I am the only glue and the only hope and the epitome of love for my family, holding them together and bringing them back to believe in beautiful things – love, a good family, and a beautiful portrait of us.
Another point to remember is: Stick to my community. Stick to people. Stick to Christ and never let go of His hand. Reveal the fact that I am His masterpiece, or else, if I lose sight of my destination, my character makes me the ultimate destroyer, a self-destruction, and it’s hurtful for everyone.
And I don’t want that.
Because when you’re alone, you see nothing, no God, no life, then you kill yourself, and killing is a sin, and that makes you go through the most direct shortcut to hell, you’re not proving that you’re worthy even on earth, much less in heaven.
I learned a lot from giving up sleep this week.
But the price is… I gained weight… Oh no! They serve buffet all the way and I ate to my heart’s content.
So that makes the next challenge just that: Eating 1500 calories a day. That should be easy, considering I do crunches to distract myself away from food, prioritizing sleep, and that I’m really busy with school, especially now that it’s toward the end of the semester!!!