“This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we commanded you before. As a result, people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others to meet your financial needs.”
-1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
I opened the Bible randomly today and I found this verse. Reading this paints a very clear picture of the life God wants us to live as opposed to the kind of life the world presents to us. The verse is pretty straightforward yet incredibly difficult to achieve. Let’s dissect it together, shall we?
Living a quiet life is not exactly ideal these days, it’s commonly perceived as boring and who wants to live a boring life? “A quiet life” doesn’t mean an uneventful life, in fact, God challenges us to go out there to make a statement–to live a life or purpose and excellence. “Quiet” also doesn’t mean apathy, it doesn’t mean turning a blind eye–it means dealing with issues with firm convictions privately without having to broadcast it to the whole world. By “QUIET”, I think Paul was talking about a life free of intrigues, envy for others, anger, greed, and all the other daily negative shizzzz. In today’s facebook terms, it’s avoiding the “It’s Complicated” status not only in your relationships, but in life in general.
The second bit is possibly the more difficult part. “Minding your own business” is virtually impossible with blogs, twitter, facebook, etc. Even if you want to mind your own business, it’s right there—in the form of an annoying picture of that annoying
batchmate/officemate/sister of your highschool orgmate friend on your timeline, posing like she’s friggin Heidi Klum when she looks like a Heidi Gloom. You tell yourself, “Damnit this pretentious photo is asking for it!!!”. You see a multitude of comments and your fingers are itching to type a witty hirit too. I’ve been there and it’s HARD to hold back. How do you mind your own business when other people’s business are practically shoved right up your face?! Hahaha!:) But it’s written in the Bible for a purpose and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.Minding your own business not only shields you from conflict, it also makes you more focused and driven to improve your own life without having to be in a competition with others. When you mind your own business, you become more appreciative of the good things you have and more aware of the things that need some fixing.
The third requirement is “working with your hands”. Please allow me to stress this further especially to my young readers: You could read all the self help books in National Bookstore, you could travel to the most exotic destinations, go on a spiritual “Finding Myself” journey for an entire year, talk to the Pope, the Dalai Lama, Obama, and David Blane—-you won’t find any meaning and purpose in your life if you DO NOT EXPERIENCE REAL, HARD WORK. I am not encouraging you to become money hungry workaholics. I’m simply expressing how important it is to actually contribute to society, to give your time, talents, and skills to something other than self-gratification, to have concrete goals, and finally to elicit change. Work brings stress, sure, but it also brings discipline, productivity, and progress. On most days, work sucks big time–and it can really take a toll on you physically and emotionally. When I’m stressed I always think to myself that I’m still lucky to have the capacity to stress over something. The worse stress is having nothing to stress over, it only shows that you’re not doing anything with your life. Do you really just wanna sleep on a hammock in a deserted island and wait for the coconuts to fall from the tree–all day, everyday for the rest of your life?
I started working when I was 18 and I havent stopped since. As a working student, I would constantly whine about how my life was so miserable..all my friends would be out partying and I would be working or studying in advance for the lessons I would have to miss due to work. I was eternally tired and sleep deprived 24-7. But looking back, I’m glad I learned the value of hard work early on. Work taught me to deal with all sorts of people, it made me more tolerant and understanding of others. It also made me closer to my parents, work allowed me to mature emotionally and mentally allowing me to engage in more adult conversations with them. Because I was working as a teenager–I quickly eliminated that sense of entitlement that most teenagers feel towards their parents. Because I understood how hard it was to make money, I didn’t feel the need to ask for things from my parents. I was just so happy to receive anything from them. They paid for my education, food, shelter, transportation,etc already–so it just made me feel embarrassed to ask for anything else.
These days I’m trying to invest more on my quality of life, I’m taking it a bit easier on myself work-wise–I realized it wasn’t healthy for me emotionally to just accept jobs left and right so I’m trying to live a more balanced life these days. It’s not easy because the control freak in me wants to work-work, but thankfully I have my super supportive fiance who tells me to relax and trust that God will take care of everything. Now that I’m approaching my thirties, I’m re-aligning my goals and dreams and it’s perfect that I stumbled across this verse this morning. The goal now is to live quietly and simply, to be productive and excellent in my work (this includes being a good wife and mom–fingers crossed– soon!), and to live a life that will naturally elicit respect from others. Madaling sabihin pero napaka-hirap gawin! But just looking at the lives of Sec. Robredo and Capt. Bahingting, I’m once again inspired to change my life and become a better human being! We only get one shot, folks–so we have to make it count.