As a child, my only knowledge of virtues and values revolved around what was taught in Christian Living classes and what was posted as sections in the doorways of the high school classrooms in my former school. These beautiful-sounding words remained as they were -- meaningless nouns -- for many years until the time when I began to encounter adversities that tested my faith and resilience.
Reflecting on these life challenges, I figured that there were four values that helped me get by and turn out to be a more faithful child of God (no matter how imperfect I am). I call them my "Spiritual HACK" as their initials coincidentally form the fitting acronym.
Spiritual HACK #1 - Humility
Humility opens us to God's miracles
Humility does me great wonders. For one, it allows me to become bigger than my mistakes and thus, overcome unpleasant feelings of shame and guilt that usually follow after a failure of judgment. By admitting my mistakes and feeling truly sorry for them, I open myself to new beginnings and more importantly, I take the first step to helping others heal.
Humility goes further down into the core of my being as I recognize my littleness before God. Through humility, I can accept my limitations and tame my own stubborn will as I submit myself to God's will, trusting fully that He will give what is best for me and my child because He loves us so much. In this light, humility becomes the first step to obedience, which fosters inner peace. It is in this state that God begins to work on His miracles.
Spiritual HACK #2 - Authenticity
For many times, I have been tempted to play dirty and get even with people who hurt me and betrayed me. Doing this however, drained me and distracted me from fulfilling my purpose as I wallowed in the negativity of complaining and wishing harm on others. Over the years, I learned that my second best defense, after my faith, is to remain truthful to my self.
Authenticity helps me overcome many fears, including green-eyed monsters, as I learn to accept and embrace who I am with all my good sides and rough edges. This gives me the courage to leave a "heaven" made of lies and suffer temporary defeats and painful rejections. Lastly, on this value, authenticity helps me humble myself when doing so is difficult.
Spiritual HACK #3 - Charity
Feeling love towards others is always easy, especially when the circumstances all work for my favor. However, when someone does wrong, my feelings change. I can no longer feel love towards the person moreso, demonstrate acts of love. Charity helps me rise above this human challenge and gives me the opportunity to exercise unconditional and self-sacrificing love. I can thus, exercise compassion even at the face of violence and rejection.
Spiritual HACK #4 - Kindness
Kindness never fails to raise my energy levels whenever I am taken down by the weight of my challenges. Sometimes, it is easier to stay in the bottom and ignore pleas or project my frustrations on a meddlesome neighbor. It does take effort to choose kindness and answer calls for help from a friend or a stranger on the street. Nonetheless, this effort always takes me to a higher place where good things such as hope are abound.
These four life hacks are not the only values that human beings have to live by. What I realized, however, is that virtues and values indeed belong to God. They are fruits of the light of His truth and the life-giving love that He has in store for everyone.
*Ephesians 6:12 - For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.*
Originally posted on Love, Light and Joyce. Sep 2015.