Talaga nga naman hindi mo masabi ang kapalaran bigla na lang dumadating ng hindi mo inaasahan, kaya naman minsan hindi rin pwedeng maging dahilan ang kahirapan upang makapagtapos ng pag-aaral. Tulad ng iba na madalas mong maririnig dahil sa mahirap lamang sila kaya naman hindi nakapag-aral, maaring sa sobrang kahirapan na mas mahalagang kailangan unahin kasya makapag-aral at tuparin ang sariling pangarap.
Maaari din naman hindi hadlang ang hirap sa buhay dahil kung ang iba ay kinaya ang labis na hirap ay nagawa pa rin nilang makatapos at makamit ang pinapangarap sa buhay. Marahil nasa tao na lamang ang tamang timpla at diskarte kung paano maging matagumpay. Ano man ang maging estado mo ay kayang gawan ng paraan habang tayo ay humihinga at gumigising pa sa umaga.
Sabi nga sa isang kasabihan “Ang bawat gising ay blessings”, Kaya naman ang kwento ni Joshua Mahilum ay nagin daan upang maging inspirasyon siya ng nakakaraming kabataan na dumadaan din sa butas ng karayom ng buhay. Anak si Joshua ng isang tindera sa kalye at isang tricyle driver na kung ating titingnan napakahirap mapag-aral sa isang magandang paaralan ang kanilang magiging anak lalo’t pa sa hirap ng buhay ngayon at kursong may mataas na matrikula.
Kaya naman ating basahin ang buong post ni Joshua Mahilum mula sa kanyang social media account;
“KITA MO NA ANG AKON MGA MEDALS MA, WALA KO NA BALA NASADYAHAN MA”
This is what I told Sir Erwin of SunStar Bacolod earlier during our FB live interview. You may be asking why I said that given the current “success” I experience now. But yes, I was able to say that.
To give you a little bit of a background about this, here’s another testimony of how I was healed by JESUS from my mental turmoil and how I was CALLED AND CHOSEN for His purpose.
Since elementary, I have been an honor student; always present in every recognition rite; always the one with the medals and ribbons; always one of the front sitters.
I was the Salutatorian of the class when I finished at Vista Alegre-Granada Relocation Elementary School, First Honors (equivalent to Valedictorian) when I moved up from Junior High School at Luis Hervias National High School, and one of the Top 20 with High Honors when I graduated from Senior High School at Liceo De La Salle SHS.
Aside from being one of the front runners in academics, I was also one of the front runners in extra-curricular. I have been an officer of SSG, a campus journalist of Villabalita, Berdeng Parola, and The Spectrum, a tenor in Hervias Choir, a yearbook editor, and all other roles.
As of today, I was able to acquire more or less 30 medals, 2 trophies, and hundreds of certificates. All of those could have made me one of the happiest and most fulfilled people.
But, I never felt like one.
There came a time during my 2nd year in college (I was Managing Editor at The Spectrum) that when I look at the medals that were hanging on our wall, I felt empty. Why am I not “happy” or even just satisfied with all these achievements? Some just dream of them. I have more of them.
There was even one time that I was able to verbalize it to my mother and sister. I told my mother, “Ma kita mo na mga medals ko ma, ma wala ko na bala na sadyahan sa ila ma”.
My situation in The Spectrum also “worsened” my internal struggles because, during that time, everyone was pushing me to be Editor-in-Chief (the highest position in the org), but deep down, I never wanted the position. Even before that, I felt like my life has been a machine—stuck in a mechanized cycle. It’s as if I just join these clubs and chase these awards just because it was already part of my system. I did not know why I’m doing them in the first place.
It came to a point when I would skip classes and quizzes just to stare at a ceiling in the former Spectrum Office and reflect.
Then I found the courage to go see a guidance counselor and asked for clarity. I was afraid of the fact that I may have been unknowingly suffering from depression. And yes, I was able to find some clarity after talking to a guidance counselor but something’s still lacking.
May 2021 came, this was during the hiring process for Editor-in-Chief, when I applied with a troubled mind. I took the long exam and while they deliberate on the results, I was able to gain some courage to finally say “no”. I backed out. But I told them that I am still open to other editorial positions. Weeks after, I was given the position of Newspaper Editor.
I was okay and things were okay during the first months but I know there is something wrong with me and how I think and feel. July 2021 came and I finally decided to resign. It was not working well for me anymore.
This is when I was able to reflect on my medals and how I felt empty, which culminated in me telling my mother and sister about it. But, after saying that, out of nowhere, I said, “Ma mangita ta bala simbahan liwat ma”.
Yes, you heard it right, I sought a church.
You know I grew up in a Christian family. We were going to a Baptist church but when I was in JHS, we gradually stopped going to church. I became busy with my studies and the rest is history. I was 8 years without no connection to God (Yes, I prayed but only when I needed something.). And now I am here, face to face with my mother seeking a church on a whim.
And so He heard my request, in November 2021, we were invited by Church of God Bacolod (It was my sister who was invited; she just brought me).
Finally, I had a church. Months went on and I was able to rekindle my connection with God until on July 2, we went to an Encounter God retreat, and there I finally felt how God released me from the shackles of the world.
During that night, I received Jesus Christ, baptized with the Holy Spirit, and baptized with water. I was ecstatic that night. No word could describe what I felt. I felt free like a dove. I just felt the embrace of Jesus. I was able to feel love. I was loved. I finally knew what love is. I loved. The words “Born Again” became real.
All of the internal struggles I had vanished instantly. I was healed from them. I even thought, if this is all it is (to be reunited with Jesus), I never would have gone through all those things that damaged me (although, of course, those experiences are necessary because I would never reach this point without them).
I found a new purpose in Him as a starting Worship Leader and a Multimedia and I find joy every time I lead the entire congregation to worship and prepare the lyrics for the line up. I found a new identity.
My identity now is and in CHRIST. And this now is my definition of “success”. A success that can never be taken away from me (Romans 8:31-39) more than education.
Because of this 360° turn in my life, I can fully embrace my awards and achievements with full acceptance now that I have someone to offer them to.
I guess all I’m saying is, nothing and no one in this world can and will ever fill your heart except Jesus. Only the creator of your heart can satisfy what He created. He will be the one to give you your “whys”. Without them, it would just feel like you are dragging yourself to do something.
Don’t attach your identity to temporary things like your awards, position, wealth, etc. Think of the question “Who are you without your awards and achievements?” If you can’t answer this, then maybe you need to establish your identity first. For me, I found it in Christ. You can find yours in Him, too. Maybe, you reading this is a sign that you need to come back to Him now.
Would you believe me when I say that I have just actually started “living” my life on July 2 last year? Yes, quite funny but yes. And I am living my best life now every single day.
If God did this for me, I know He can do it for you too. Maybe not in a way like mine but He definitely will. You’ll just be surprised how things turned out perfectly years after. Are you gonna answer His call and change your life?
Bagaman ganito ang buhay na pinagdaanan ni Joshua, maituturing pa rin itong isang biyaya na sa ngayon nagbibigay sa kanya ng ginhawa maging sa kanyang pamilya.