John answered and said “No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. He must increase; I must decrease.” John 3:27-30

I was never good at Math. I disliked it. In fact, I feared it. I cringed at the thought of it.

After high school, I wanted to be an architect. As a child, I fancy recreating home scenes especially with mahjong tiles. I remembered waiting patiently for my Mom and aunts for their mahjong breaks when they had coffee and snacks. I would build rooms upon rooms with matching furniture and appliances, all of mahjong tiles. Imagine how amazed I was with the introduction of Lego.

So I was determined. I would design houses. Much to my Mom’s disappointment. She wanted me to take up AB English. She believed I would be a fine journalist or a great teacher. But then no, I was a stubborn girl. I followed my heart’s desire.

But reality showed its ugly face… I flunked College Algebra, then Analytic Geometry and more. I loved designing, but I refused to see that I have a weakness. Because I thought I can do anything, reach anything, achieve everything. Then slowly my dreams fell apart, like mahjong tiles that were stacked up in a rather crooked manner. It took two grueling years to wake me up from my most dreaded nightmare. The dream was gone. I would never be an architect.

There is nothing wrong with having to dream. In fact, it is the stuff that success stories are made of. But if our dreams cause us to be insanely proud and self-righteous, then we are doomed for disaster. If our dreams become the vessel that separates us from the innate kindness and innocence from within ourselves, then our definition of success is meaningless.

Yes, I should have listened to my Mom. My case is one example when the statement “Mothers know best” holds true. It is too late for me when I have proven that. I was young. I was proud. And I was a fool.

I was raised Catholic. I studied in a Catholic school. I prayed. But I never really acknowledged God’s presence in my life. All along He was there. Patiently waiting to catch me the moment I fall from my own folly. But I was too busy looking at myself proudly. Not because I was seeing the beauty of God’s creation. But because I was blinded by the vision of a false image of success. I was blinded by myself, I failed to see Him.

It didn’t stop there. My journey was a series of unfortunate events. It is a painful process. But if it would take that to keep my eyes open, then I would take the painful path over and over again.

We are not kings of our selves. The Creator is always greater than His creation. Only God rules over us. He knows the way, because He is the Way. And if Jesus Christ humbled Himself as a man to show His perfect love for us, then why can’t we, in our lowliness, be humble like Him?

Our pride and ego are formidable structures that are difficult to break, a potent combination for self-destruction. So it is truly essential that we keep our feet on the ground while reaching for the stars. Lest we shoot for the moon and get burned by the sun. We must decrease. Jesus must increase.

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