Author’s note: This post is very long, but I really encourage you to be patient and read along. Hopefully the inspiration you’ll get can make up for the length of this entry. God Bless.
I’ve always wanted my own place, and I started looking for one as early as June this year. I had already found a place – it was cheap considering the area, and the floor space was larger than what most buildings have at that price. I had told the agent I would take the condominium unit and was anticipating moving in within two weeks. There was only one problem.
The problem was that I did not have enough cash to pay for the deposit and the advance. All in all, the amount would have gone to almost PhP 100,000.00. I tried borrowing the money from my dad, but he sat me down and told me he was concerned that I was spending way too much and not preparing myself in case of an emergency (Boy, was my dad prophetic or what).
While we were talking, I realised that moving out of the house at that time would have been disastrous for me. I failed to realise that in the next month I would have needed to pay for the car’s registration and insurance, which I would have been unable to do if I pushed through with the move. Then and there, I realised that moving out at that time was a bad idea, so I backed off.
When I told a friend about my decision, she told me one of the best things I needed to hear. She said that if something is truly meant for me, I would not have had to stress out in trying to achieve it. I would still have to work hard for it, but it would be easy enough that I did not have to inconvenience myself and others for it.
Borrowing money from my dad would have been stressful, looking back. And what does it say about me that in my attempt to be independent, I still had to rely on them?
I tabled my plans to move out, but not totally abandoning it. Hearkening back to my friend, if something is meant to be, it will happen.
This, coupled with the Life in the Spirit Seminar I attended, made me realise that God does not simply give us things, nor does he deny us things. He prepares us to receive them. Him not granting our wishes does not mean He is abandoning us; what it means is that He is holding back the blessings we pray for simply because we are not ready to receive them. Our prayers can only take us far as telling God what we want; we also need to act on them. We need to grow to be able to handle the responsibility of the blessings He will give us.
Relating this to my plans to move out, I changed my prayer. Instead of asking and demanding that God find me an apartment, I surrendered this to Him. I surrendered all of my wishes to him – my own place, a new car, my own business, a girlfriend – and asked that He continue to always make me do the right thing; to grow in the Holy Spirit and not worry about the things that I cannot control.
I focused myself at work. I helped our members at the nutrition centre achieve their weight goals and teach them about a healthy active lifestyle. I continued to work on repairing my relationship with my parents. What’s more, I tried to read the Bible everyday, and still try to. I kept the apartment the furthest thing on my mind, because I knew that God was going to bless me with it eventually, when He felt that I was ready for the responsibility. What I needed to do was grow.
Of course, I was hospitalised in August, which was a result of lack of sleep, too much exercise, and countless hours spent on the road sitting in traffic. Inasmuch as I was trying to do everything to grow mind, body, spirit and soul, I abused my body too much. Some of it (i.e. traffic) I cannot control, but most of them I could.
When I got discharged from the hospital, finding a place closer to where most if not all of my activities were happening came back to the forefront of my mind. If I still wanted to stay active in the ministry, continue to help our members lose weight, all the while doing my best at the best job I’ve ever had, I needed to move out.
This time though, my perspective changed. I’m moving out not because I wanted to, but I needed to. Back then I wanted to move out because I wanted to get away from my parents; now I needed to move out because of my health. The way I looked at apartments also changed. Before, I was looking for furnished, high-rise condominiums with all the features; now I was happy looking for a bare unit inside a quiet village that had parking. Things that did not occur to me before became considerations – I don’t need a bed right now, I’ll be happy sleeping in a comforter. I don’t need a TV, I’m not even watching at home. I don’t need a gym – I’ve proven to myself that I can get healthy and fit without one.
As a result, the units that I looked at became easier to fit into my budget, and would also allow me to save up a small amount that I could use when an emergency arose. As I was looking for apartments online, I remembered walking by a fairly new, low-rise complex near one of our clients’ offices a few months back. I had filed a leave to renew my passport, so I went ahead and visited the apartment again.
The location was ideal. It was a few minutes away from Megamall, a stone’s throw away from Capitol Commons, and getting to the Medical City is faster than having pizza delivered. I was in the middle of everything, and it was close enough to Makati that at worst I would have to spend an hour in EDSA during rush hour. Comparing that to my regular commute, I would be saving at least three hours that normally would have gone to staying patient on the road.
I can wake up without the aid of the alarm and not be late for work.
I can cook my lunch that same morning, not the night before.
I can exercise and cool down properly because I did not have to leave home before 5AM.
I can stay active in the ministry.
I can join the exercise classes at the nutrition centre.
I can stay out late and still get enough sleep.
It did not bother me that I did not do any oculars with other places besides this one; I knew that this was the place for me.
Having decided that, it was important for me to include my parents in the decision. This was also a new thing for me. I can be independent from my parents without having to push them away. I brought them to the apartment so they can see that their son will be safe. I wanted to show them the 24/7 security, the quiet environment, and the accessibility to the police, the fire department and to them should they decide to visit.
They were satisfied with the place, and eventually my dad gave me his blessing.
“Okay na ‘yung 304,” he said.
“Kunin mo na, baka maunahan ka,” said my mom.
That was good enough for me.
A few days later, I told the super that I’m taking the apartment. The following day, I was driving along Lagro when I was suddenly hit with the inspiration to pray.
Now, I strive to pray everyday, but there are moments like the one I experienced, that I knew the Holy Spirit was working in me, when I knew that when I started praying, it would be hard for me to stop. By the time I did, I was already at Tandang Sora. I had been praying for 30 solid minutes.
My prayer was filled with Thanksgiving. I couldn’t stop thanking the Lord – I thanked Him for everything – for my parents, for my job, for meeting the people who have inspired me and have helped me be where I am today.
When I started thanking Him for blessing me with my own place, I started tearing up.
“Tatlo na lang, Lord! Tatlo na lang! Whoo!”
I was whooping up like a maniac alone in the car, tears in my eyes because I couldn’t believe that He blessed me with one of my four concerns. He came through for me. The daily grind of doing my best at work, being patient, and doing the right thing paid off without me actively seeking it. I worried less about the things I did not have and appreciated the things I did. I had grown.
Like what my friend said, if it was meant to be, it will happen. Fixing the requirements to move in was easier for me this time around. I didn’t have to borrow money from my parents. My mom helped me secure a checking account in my name without having to borrow money for the initial deposit. It took me three weeks to move in, but it took me three months to be prepared to move out. And I would not have done it without my parents’ blessing and God’s grace.
So here I am, in my new apartment, writing while fighting back tears and slightly snotting up. I know that there will be more challenges coming my way, but I am prepared to face them. And I know I don’t have to face it alone. Life is good.