BY RONEIL URBINO
In the book of Exodus, the Bible speaks about how God rescued the Israelites from Egypt, yet they still complained that their lives would end in the Desert of Sin by starving to death. They reminisce about having all the food they wanted in Egypt and receiving their fill, claiming they were content to die by the Lord’s hand in Egypt.
I often feel like one of the Israelites in this desert, doubting what God has planned for me.
As a graduate student close to finishing school, I’ve been feeling burnt out with my regular day-to-day activities. I wake up, I go to school, I exercise, I study, and I repeat. I’ve noticed myself feeling stagnant, apathetic towards the tasks I need to do, and annoyed with other people’s enthusiasm. I want to sleep through my days, instead of sharing my life with friends and family. I’m quicker to aggravate, and my self-talk is negative, thinking what I have to say doesn’t have value to the people around me.
This Lent has provided me time for reflection, and with my reflection and writing comes healing.
Three years ago, I dedicated everything in my life to get into graduate school, yet I felt stuck in a cycle to nowhere. I would go to work, go to school, apply to graduate schools, only to get rejected. This happened over a three-year period, and I became so discouraged in myself. I had no idea if everything that I was doing was for nothing. Looking back, I know that God used these situations to reaffirm my conviction that I would serve God by serving others.
When I received my acceptance into school on December 20, 2016, I felt so affirmed, so invigorated that God’s plan for me was so sure. He taught me that patience, perseverance, and prayer are the things need every day in my life. I felt that I finally had a direction in my life, which leads me to today….
“Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world.”
I read this quote recently tweeted by NBA player, Tobias Harris, and it comes at the perfect moment. Funny how that works, right?
What I’ve realized through writing is that I have always had a direction in my life. In the past, I felt like my lifelong compass and sense of direction was dictated by my worldly success. I felt like the titles I made for myself was where the glory was…but that should not be the case.
My direction is and always has been laid out to me by my faith in the Big Fella above. My feelings of burnout and unworthiness, of self-doubt, self-consciousness, questioning my self-worth are simply lifted by my prayers and conversations with God.
God provided to the Israelites who were wandering in the desert. He provided manna and quail to Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites with the tablets of the covenant law, so that it might be preserved (Exodus 16: 34-35 NABRE). The Israelites ate manna for forty years until they came to a land that was settled.
In this way, I find that my faith is ever-hanging, always malleable, and always growing. I know that in times when I do not feel like myself, all I need to do is speak to Him. This year, my Lenten promise is to continue to write these small reflections to keep myself grounded and humble. It will be a reminder, that everything I do reflects God’s work in my life; that I will share this light with others so that it might shine in their lives.
RONEIL “RO” URBINO is a physical therapy student in San Marcos, California. Originally from the Bay Area, he plans to move back before the year’s end to join his fiancé and family where he plans to settle down. He is active in the Filipino Catholic Charismatic Community,Bukas Loob sa Diyos, which means “Open in Spirit to God” in Tagalog.