Breathe In, Breathe Out

I went out for a walk after dinner tonight because I needed some fresh air. I brought my camera with me and tried to take photos of the trees nearby and the stars that were twinkling up in the dark blue sky. After numerous attempts to take photos of the stars, I ended up with mediocre ones. In the photos, the stars were blurry and the sky was gray. I felt discouraged because I couldn’t adjust the settings correctly. Moreover, since I didn’t have a tripod, I had a difficult time making sure it was positioned still for 5 to 30 seconds.

IMG_5890

However, despite not having successful photos of the stars tonight, I had a refreshing walk outside. While I was taking photos and experimenting on the settings of the camera, I discovered a few more features that I forgot it had. It had various creative filters that display the ff. effects: soft focus, fish-eye, art bold, watercolor, toy camera, and miniature. Also, it was my first time to notice a simple feature: the camera’s panel illumination button, which lights up the panel’s screen when needed. After three months of using the camera, I only found out about these things tonight. It’s embarrassing, I know. -__- Because I didn’t intentionally spend time learning more about the camera in the last three months, I missed out on maximizing its settings and features. It was as if simply taking photos and adjusting the lens were enough. Aaaahhh!

fish-eye effect
fish-eye effect

Tonight, I was reminded of the hundreds or even thousands of opportunities that I can do with the camera considering its nice features. But, this won’t be possible if I don’t discipline myself in developing my knowledge about the equipment and practice applying the techniques. If the inventor of this particular model saw me using the camera right now, he’d be pretty disappointed. He knows the camera’s potential. He designed and made it the way it is to help photographers experience the best when it comes to documenting moments, sceneries, portraits, and many more. It would be a waste to take it for granted. On my way back home, I was motivated to finally pursue knowing and maximizing the camera this year. So, I am keeping myself accountable to you.

Trying out one of the creative filters.
Trying out one of the creative filters.

I really appreciate the short walk that I had outside because it also helped me see the importance of understanding and living out my purpose by knowing my Creator first. Just like my experience with the camera, I know that God created me the way I am for a special reason. He knows my “features” and limitations and He knows how to maximize them for my good and for His glory. I can go on everyday doing what I usually do or what I know, but if I don’t spend time knowing God and His plans through His Word, I will certainly miss out on experiencing Him and His best for me.

 

A simple daily exercise: Take a walk outside and breathe.

Breathe in God’s Word. Breathe out prayers.

 

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”-Jeremiah 33:3

Photo taken in Baguio last Dec. 27, 2015
Photo taken in Baguio last Dec. 27, 2015

THURSDAY TUNE #23: A Million Miles Away

I was driving home from work today when a car abruptly swerved right in front of me. Immediately, I felt my heart beat faster as I pressed the horn for about two seconds and stepped on the brake. “Man! That was close.” I said to myself.

A few meters further, I found myself looking intently at the car and wondered why the driver had to do that. I even saw him talking and laughing with another person who was in his car like nothing happened. And while I continued to drive with my scrunched eyebrows, I felt a strong urge to let go of it and to not hold a grudge towards the driver who almost hit my brother’s car.

But, because of my stubborn heart, I still thought about it for a minute or two and drove with a heavy heart. I even drove faster just to overtake the car. And finally, when I was in front of him, I felt a kind of satisfaction that lasted for only a few seconds. The car, then, drove towards the east and I drove towards the west.

At this point, God was clearly speaking to my heart and was prompting me to humble myself before Him and confess the pride that was in me. By God’s grace, I did. I asked for His forgiveness for being so preoccupied with myself that I let it take control of me instead of lifting the situation up to God. I then expressed my desire to change and honor Him the next time it happens.

Photo was taken two years ago. It was my first time to drive alone. :)
Photo was taken two years ago. It was my first time to drive alone. :)

Sometimes, it frustrates me whenever I give in to my weaknesses, especially when I choose to honor myself and not God. But, God constantly reminds me of his desire for me to walk intimately with Him and my decision years ago to surrender every part of me to Him. So, even if I still struggle in different aspects, I am encouraged to look to Christ instead and find my strength in Him as I improve for Him. He is gracious and faithful and His mercies are new every morning.

After 20 minutes of driving, I finally entered our village. While I was a minute away from our place, I suddenly realized that the car I drove was subject to number coding. I couldn’t believe it. As I parked the car, all I could hear was “Such Grace! Grace… Grace… Grace.” I was so concerned with the other driver’s fault that I failed to see my own careless act of bringing a car out when I wasn’t supposed to.

God humbled my heart and it was only by His grace that I survived today.

It says in Psalm 103:8, 11-12

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love…

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

 

I recently discovered this song by Hawk Nelson through YouTube and it encourages me to get back up again whenever I struggle or make mistakes. Because of His grace, He gives us the strength and desire to choose Him even in the midst of temptations, difficulties, and frustrations.

 


Encourage yourself one tune at a time. :)