Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Are You Enjoying Your Life?

Once upon a time,I didn’t believe in enjoying life.
Suffering, yes. Enjoying, no.
       I almost felt it was a sin to enjoy.
       Why? I believed that the mark of the holy person was suffering, and that the mark of a sinner was pleasure.
       Thanks be to God, my thinking has changed.
       Today, I believe that one very important way of thanking God for His blessings is enjoying those blessings. (The other important way of thanking God is by sharing them to others.) The Bible says that God richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. (1 Timothy 6:18)
       Here’s my question: Do you enjoy His blessings?
       Don’t apologize for your blessings. 
       Don’t be ashamed for your blessings. 
       Instead of being ashamed and apologizing for your blessings,proclaim the Blesser! Isaiah 63:7 says, I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised…
       Has God been kind to you?
If you have a family, if you have a home, if you have food on your table, then tell of the kindnesses of God…
God Isn’t Fair
Once upon a time, I used to feel guilty for being so blessed.
Here’s what I realized. God isn’t fair.
       For example, growing up, I enjoyed the love of my parents and my five sisters. My family is far from perfect, but they were always there for me. 
No doubt about it, God pampers me.
       When my father was 77 years old, he had a major accident. He spent 5 months in the ICU. We thought that was it for him. Yet my father was healed and he lived for another 11 years. 
God pampered me.
       My mother is 86 years old today, and I still enjoy my weekly dates with her. But last week, she was rushed to the hospital because of pneumonia. She’s much better now. I thank God for each day that I can be with her.
       God is pampering me.
       My marriage is blessed. My wife is God’s gift to me. I love my wife more today than I have ever loved her before.
God is pampering me.
       My spiritual life is growing. My ministry is growing. My small businesses are growing. Physically, I feel healthier than ever before. 
God is pampering me.
       In both my ministries and businesses, I work with the very best, most talented, the most incredible team on planet earth. 
God is pampering me.
Friend, here’s what I believe. 
God isn’t fair. God doesn’t play fair. God plays favorites.
You’re His favorite. He pampers you. He favors you. God is biased towards you. God skews life towards your advantage. God bends life so that He can bless you more.
But let me warn you, some people won’t like it when you’re too blessed…
Don’t Be A Crab
One day, there was a fisherman selling three pails of live crabs: American crabs, German crabs, and Filipino crabs.
       A buyer comes along and notices that two pails were covered and one wasn’t.
       “Why are only two pails covered and the other not covered?” he asked.
       The fisherman said, “I don’t have to cover the third pail. Because those are the Filipino crabs. If a crab tries to go up, the other crabs will pull him down.”
Look For Real Friends

       Let’s face it: There are people who won’t be happy when you get too blessed. There are people who feel threatened by your success. There are people who, out of envy, will just not like you anymore.
Ever since I started teaching about financial literacy, I’ve received very spicy criticisms. I’ve been criticized for becoming rich. I’ve been criticized for teaching others to become rich.
One day, a woman came up to me and said, “Bo, I used to be your fan. But not anymore. Ever since you became rich.”
I wanted to tell her (but I didn’t), “I’m happy that you’ve chosen poverty and that you’re happy with your choice.  I’m happy for you.  But don’t force me or others to choose poverty. I’ve decided to enjoy my blessings!”
       I remember my driver’s experience with his neighbors. I’ve taught him how to pay his debts, organize his finances, and invest in the Stock Market too. He now has P30,000 in his investments. That’s tiny for you but humongous for him. He’s so happy. He feels he now has a future.
       But he has a problem with a few neighbors. When he comes home with his new motorcycle, some tell him, “Parang Others ka na”. That’s very difficult to translate to English. It’s as if they’re saying, “You’re acting differently. You don’t belong to us anymore.”
       I asked him, “Have you told them about your investments?”
       He said, “No. But I think they can smell it.”
I told him, and I’m telling you now, “Don’t be afraid if some people will no longer be your friends. Because you deserve better friends. Because if a friend isn’t happy when you’re blessed, he isn’t a real friend. You need to change your friends!”
I don’t know about you, but I want my friends to be happy when I’m blessed!
If I have a new car, I want my friends to say, “Wow, God has blessed you.” Not, “Perhaps you’re becoming materialistic!” When I wear a new pair of shoes, or a new shirt, I want my friends to say, “Wow, God has blessed you.” Not, “Why are you so worldly?” When actually, behind all those negative comments is envy.
Five Ways Of Enjoying Your Harvest
Many people don’t know how to enjoy their blessings.
Today, I’d like to share with you five practical ways of doing just that:
1.         Savor Life
Today, I’m trying to perfect the art of savoring life.  Of tasting. Of relishing. Of appreciating. Of delighting.  Of slowing down. Of smelling the flowers.
More and more, I’m realizing that slow is better than fast. 
I’m realizing that single-tasking is better than multi-tasking. By focusing on one thing, I do a better job and I enjoy it more!
Friend, you’re a human being, not a human doing
So “Be”.
Be here, now. Live in the present moment. Feel the beauty and grandeur of this slice in history and enjoy it. Linger. Luxuriate. 
Live In Kairos, Not Just In Chronos
Greeks have two words for “time”. One word wasn’t enough. 
First was Chronos. And that’s what we’re familiar with. Chronos is measurable time. It’s the time told by a clock on the wall or a watch on your wrist. Chronos is 8:00am and 5:30pm and 3:25am.
Second was Kairos. We’re not familiar with Kairos. Kairos cannot be measured. Because Kairos is now. It’s indivisible. Kairos isn’t the past or the future. Kairos is the “Now”—that special “Now”—that is right in front of you.
I believe that though you can’t control Chronos, you canexpand Kairos by practicing to be more present in your “Now”.
The Bible says, This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24). The Bible didn’t say, “Yesterday was the day” or “Tomorrow will be the day” but “This is the day.” Now!
I’ve noticed that some people in rural areas still live in Kairos. 
One day, I took a trip to a smallish town down south. I noticed that people there have all the time in the world. I was walking on the street, and total strangers would chitchat with me. They were not in a hurry.
One woman, who gave me the most beautiful toothless smile, asked me where I came from and what I was doing there. And when I said, “And how’s your life?” she told me stories about her husband, her 5 kids, her in-law, even her grandfather’s ingrown toenail problem.
And I noticed that the toothless woman was happy.
A Little Tip
Let me give you a very practical tip on savoring life.
Are you ready? Here it is: Don’t rush your eating.  
Don’t merely swallow your food. Or gulp your bite. Or down your drink.   Or gobble up your meal. 
Savor your food instead. Every bite. Every morsel. Every taste.
And because I chew slowly, my meals become sacred. While chewing slowly, I enjoy tranquility. Peace. Happiness. I feel God is my dinner guest and He’s eating with me.
In the same way, don’t rush your living. Taste all of life!
2.         Simplify Pleasures
There’s a big difference between being rich and feeling rich.
One day, I visited one very wealthy guy—let’s call him Bill for Billionaire. He owned large tracks of lands. So large that if you put them together, I bet it will be a small province.
But when I talked to Bill, I really felt he was very poor. He described to me how his family was a mess. How his marriage was a one big joke. They hardly talk to each other, much less love each other. His kids, now all grown up, don’t talk to him or even to each other. 
Bill was very miserable.
After talking to him, I felt so much pity for him.
Friend, there’s a difference between being rich and feeling rich. You don’t have to be a billionaire to enjoy the billionaire’s life.
Billionaires drive very expensive cars worth P8 Million. 
But I just bought a second-hand car worth P600T, and I feel like I’m a Billionaire.   I enjoy my car so much, I feel very rich.
Billionaires live in mansions. But I live in a house that is so small, it can all fit one of Bill’s bedrooms—but I feel like I’m a Billionaire. I told my wife I have no plans of making it bigger. Because one day, my kids will grow up and have their own families.   And who will be left at home? My bride and I. By that time, my small house will be perfect for us.
God invented pleasure. Bliss. Fun. Joy. Happiness.
In my life, I’ve discovered that simple pleasures are the best pleasures in the world. Because they’re simple, you can experience these pleasures again and again.
I take pleasure taking a quiet walk around the village. How much is that? Except for a pair of rubber shoes, not much.
I take pleasure reading a good book in a quaint coffee shop. How much is that? A book and a cup of coffee. Many times, I don’t drink the coffee. I just smell it. The feeling is wonderful.
And most of all, I take pleasure in my relationships…
3.         Strengthen Relationships
Yesterday, I read my son’s Dinosaur book for him.
Francis is 6-years old and he loves dinosaurs. He can tell you the difference between a Brontosaurus and a Brachiasaurus, between a Tyranosaurus and an Allosaurus.
Out of habit, I read the lines quickly. Sometimes, I skipped a few lines. So I could get it over with and do more important things—like my work.
But in the middle of my reading, I suddenly had a flash of insight. It was as though God spoke to me in a very clear way. He said, “Bo, is there anything greater than what you’re doing now?  This is one of the most magical things you’ll ever do in your entire life. Because this moment will never be repeated. You’re not just reading a book to your 6-year old boy. You’re loving him. You’re giving yourself to him. You’re telling him that he’s the most important person in your life. Right this moment, you’re shaping the way he sees himself. You’re shaping the way he sees Me. You’re shaping the way he sees life.”
So I read slowly. I forgot chronos time. I started living inkairos time. We had so much fun. After I read the book, my 6-year old put his arm around me and said, “Thanks Daddy!”
Believe me, those two words were worth a billion pesos.
If I look at my life, my greatest joys are the people God has given to me. 
I take pleasure hanging out with my kids.
I take pleasure being with my wife on a window shopping trip, praying earnestly to God that it’s really just window shopping.
I take pleasure listening to my mother’s Japanese war stories.
I take pleasure laughing with my friends.  (I’m blessed to have friends who have the 10th gift of the Holy Spirit—to make people laugh!)
This is the reason why I’m rich. Because I enjoy rich relationships. My loved ones are my greatest wealth.
4.         Show Gratitude
Enjoying your blessings has nothing to do with how much are your blessings but how much you appreciate your blessings.
If you want to increase your enjoyment, increase your gratitude.
A few months ago, I met a woman who had everything—a good husband, three wonderful kids, a lovely house—yet she’s rarely happy. 
After listening to her, I learned why.  She rarely thanks God for her blessings. Instead of looking for what’s there, she’s always looking for what’s not there.
One day, a woman woke up and discovered she only has three strands of hairs on her head. “Lord, thank you that I can braid my hair today!”
The next morning, she woke up and discovered she only had two hairs on her head. “Lord, thank you that I can part my hair down the middle—one of the right and one on the left!”
The next morning, she woke up and discovered she only had one hair on her head. She said, “Lord, thank you I can wear my hair in a ponytail today!”
The next morning, she woke up and discovered she had no hair. She said, “Lord, thank you I don’t have to fix my hair today!”
Always remember: Wealth isn’t measured by how much money you have. Wealth isn’t measured by how much land, stocks, jewels, homes, or cars you have. Wealth is measured by how grateful you are.
5.         Share Generosity
There are two reasons why God blesses you.
First, because He wants you to enjoy them. Second, because He wants you to make others enjoy them too.
In the Old Testament, there was a Law called the Law of Gleaning (Leviticus 19). This Law states that when you harvest your blessings, you shouldn’t harvest everything that’s rightfully yours. You should leave leftovers for the poor.
This is the reason when I’m buying from a poor vendor, I don’t bargain. I even give a large tip.
Let me give you an example. The parents of my wife gave us their old piano. It was 40 years old and wasn’t working well. So we called for a piano tuner to come. After looking at our piano, he wrote how much he’ll charge me on a piece of paper.
I said, “Okay.”
He looked shocked. “Okay?”
“Yes, okay.”
He said, “Sir, you don’t have to pay the whole amount. I’ll give you ten percent discount.”
I laughed. “Thanks! You don’t have to do it. I want to bless you.”
“No sir, I insist. Please remove ten percent off my price.”
I was haggling that he charge more and he was haggling that I pay less. Isn’t that fun?
4 Ways Of Living
Let me end with one last message.
In a DVD player, there are four buttons. “Eject”, “Rewind”, Fast Forward”, and “Play”. These 4 buttons represents the 4 ways people live their lives.
First are those who live by the “Eject” mode. They just want to escape. And they escape through their vices and addictions. They’re running away from life.
Second are those who watch their life using the “Rewind” mode. They can’t move forward. They can’t forget the pain of the past. They’re stuck in their traumas. They’re always miserable.
Third are those who live in the “Fast Forward” mode. They are so busy. They are always in a rush. They go here and there, doing this and doing that, and they have no time to understand or appreciate the “movie” of their lives.
Fourth are those who live in the “Play” mode. These are the people who savor life. These are the people who enjoy life to the full. These are the people who are the happiest of them all.
Friend, Play!
Savor life. Simplify pleasures. Strengthen relationships. Show gratitude. And share generosity.
Enjoy God’s blessings today!
May your dreams come true,
Bo Sanchez