The Three Levels of Fulfillment

Somebody once said that every person’s highest desire is to be happy. I think this just partly true. Happiness is definitely part of that desire. But I believe that every person’s highest desire is really fulfillment. Let me tell you what I mean…

I am convinced that there are three levels of fulfillment in life.

The first and lowest level is what we call “fun”. Bottles of beer or a nice movie can give you that. Before I took my faith seriously in my life, I lived a fun life. My calendar was filled with “fun” things: a movie date, drinking sprees, parties and sports events. Yet all of those lasted for only a few hours, or a couple of days at most. Temporary. They didn’t last.

The second and perhaps most common level of fulfillment is happiness. Most relatively good people, including those with an average spiritual life, are stuck in this level. And most of them think this is “it”, that this is the highest level, that they can’t get no higher. And yet deep in their hearts, they know anytime this ecstatic feeling can be taken away from them. Rick Warren, author of the book “Purpose Driven Life”, once defined what “happiness” is by describing it as “a feeling dependent on what’s ‘happening’ around you”. For instance, if you have a wonderful family, then you are happy. Or happiness can come from a flourishing career or great friends around you. Happiness definitely lasts longer than fun. But this too may end. When a loved one passes away. Or the career makes a downturn. Or friends disappoint. Somehow, happiness is diminished if not completely obliterated.

Friend, may I suggest that you should strive for the highest level of fulfillment.

This is called “JOY”.

Joy is not driven by a bottle of beer or a rewarding business venture. Joy is not something dependent on external circumstances. Joy lies deep within the heart of every person. And it can be given only by only one Being who is capable of going to the depths of one’s heart: God.

That’s why the alcoholic wakes up wasted the next day, not only with a heavy head but with an empty heart.

That’s why the successful businessman still weeps when he is alone in his office at night.

That’s why the wealthy couple with beautiful children stare blankly at each other over dinner thinking what’s still missing in their almost perfect family life.

God.

Money, fame, success and even good relationships can fill your house. But only God can fill your heart.

He alone fulfills.

Today, look for Him. In your bible. In your church. In your prayers.

He isn’t far. Look closely. He is just there with you now.

Eager to bring fulfillment into your life!

I remain, your brother in Christ,

Bobby Q.

Choose Wisely Everday!

Somebody once said that your character isn’t formed in the big challenges of life. It only surfaces during those times.

In other words, your character is forged in the daily grind, in the routine of things, in the boring and the mundane. It is shaped by the little and seemingly unimportant decisions you make everyday.

When you choose to pray even if you don’t feel like it.

When you choose to be kind even when you have all the reasons to be mean.

When you choose to forgive even when you have all the reasons to resent.

When you choose to stop before a red stoplight sign even when there are no other cars on the road.

When you choose to keep your promises to your spouse and children even when they don’t complain.

When you don’t litter even if no one sees.

When you choose to speak the truth when to lie a little would have been more convenient.

When you choose to be honest when no one else is.

Those little choices can make the biggest difference in your lifetime.

And taking it a bit further, the little choices you make for God can make the biggest difference in your eternity.

Remember, the values you claim to hold are validated not when the big temptations come but in the little daily decisions you make.

So choose wisely everyday!

I remain, your brother in Christ,

Bobby

The Mountaintop

In order to be able to persevere when climbing a mountain, one must focus on the trail but must never forget to glance, once in a while, at the mountaintop. The mountaintop is your destination, your goal, your objective. It is what you signed up for — why you are climbing in the first place. Without the mountaintop, the trail will not be necessary. Without the mountaintop, the struggle will  not be worth it.

In life, our mountaintop is heaven — the deepest longing of our hearts. Sure, we have our lifetime goals to work for. We work hard for that promotion, or that quota, or that profit. We aim to be faithful spouses and struggle to be good parents. We burn our lamps to make ends meet or pass that board exam. But all these pertain to the “trail”, not the “mountaintop”. Once in a while, we must force ourselves to glance at the mountaintop, our ultimate destination, in order to make sense of the struggle in the trail.

Sadly, many people get so consumed by their temporal goals that they forget all about their ultimate one. On one hand, they rejoice so much on their earthly victories, that they get so attached to this life and yearn for nothing more. On the other hand, they mourn so much their losses that their view of the mountaintop become hazy. Their tears cloud their view. Their despair blocks their sight.

Recently, I spoke with a man who had one of those near death experiences. And his account was typical. He spoke of hovering above the emergency room ceiling while doctors and nurses tried to revive his body. He spoke of a cocoon-like container enveloping him which according to him was undoubtedly God’s hand. He spoke of pure love that clothed him as a he approached a blinding light at the end of a dark tunnel. Then just as he was about to approach the light, he was yanked back to his body. He awoke amidst the cheers of everyone inside the emergency room. Everyone was happy except him. When asked “why?”, he said, “When you saw what I saw, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else…”

That’s heaven.

Once you see the beauty of the mountaintop, you wouldn’t want to go back to the trail.

My friend, work hard and be grounded. But don’t be too consumed by this life that you forget the next. This life is the front-act to the main show. The warm-ups before the main game. The preliminary fights before the main one.

Walk on the trail as hard as you can. But lest you forget, the mountaintop is where  you are destined to be!

I remain, your brother in Christ,

Bobby Q.

 

Christian Maturity

When I was a little boy, my father used to take me to Araneta Coliseum to watch professional basketball. I don’t remember the games anymore. But I can still remember how my dad used to stand in line at the ticket booth just to get us good seats. I also remember how he would lift me up high above the towering crowd just so I can see the players as they enter the court. Not to mention that wonderful memory of my dad treating me out for pizza right after the game as we relive the game once more. 

Today, my father is a senior citizen. He is sick with diabetes and has just gone through an angioplasty procedure. He is retired and is no longer as active as before. When we go and watch basketball, I stand in line for the tickets while he sits on one of those makeshift stools specially designed for people his age. He doesn’t hoist me up anymore (even if he can, I wouldn’t allow him to because that would be too embarrassing!). And when we eat out afterwards, I now pay the bill.

My Dad couldn’t do the things he did for me before.

But my joy of spending time with him isn’t diminished one bit. When I was younger, I love spending time with him because of what he does for me. Today, I love spending time with him simply because of who he is — my father.

They say that the same is true with the journey of a growing Christian. At first, you enjoy spending time with God because of what you get from Him.

You praise and worship God because of the answered prayers. You attend prayer meetings because of the ecstatic feeling of being blessed. You go to mass and complete the novena because of what you hope to get from Him. And that was fine. Every baby Christian goes through that.

Today, I want to encourage you to start your walk towards Christian maturity by seeking God’s face more than God’s hand. Begin to honor Him more for His identity rather than His blessings. Worship Him for His character rather than His provision.

Indeed, Christian maturity is when we praise God not so much for what He does for you but simply for who He is. Regardless of our situation, it doesn’t change the fact that God is good and is deserving of our praises. Lift your hands in praise even if the bills are piling up, or the relationships are turning sour, or your health is challenged.

Let your worship of God be independent of what’s happening to you and more dependent on who God is.

So buckle up, my friend! Let your journey towards Christian maturity begin!

I remain, your brother in Christ,

Bobby Q.