By: Sr. Joy A. De Vera
Have you tried going to the supermarket/mall to buy something and was frustrated because the brand or product you want is not available? The tendency then is to try another option. You will buy what is available so as not to waste time. This is the reason why “out of stock” is a mortal sin when I was working with fast-moving consumer goods companies. We don’t want our loyal customers to try other brands, because they might get used to it and discover that the other “option” is better than their “preferred” brand. There’s a threat to “shift” and lose loyal customers.
Unavailability can lead to a huge amount of loses – not just monetary but even in terms of trust. Not only in products but even in rendering services.
Availability plays an important role!
As I reflect on this matter, I came to discover that availability is not only important in consumer goods.
Availability is also important for us — who vowed to work for the extension of God’s kingdom.
I discovered that there are many incidents in my past life that I am not always available.
I am not always available to important people in my life. This led them to become distant to me and I even lose some of them.
I am not always available to listen. This led me to confusion.
I am not always available to render service. This led me to aloneness and sadness.
I am not always available for myself. This led me to stress and fatigue.
I am not always available to God. This led me to waste time in worldly lures.
I was always preoccupied with doing stuff for the future. I was driven by illusion. I was enveloped by the insecurity of saving something yet unseen.
This led me not to be fully “present” in the present moment.
This is so until I was awakened in my deep slumber of what is not real.
I was grateful for that moment of awakening. I was forced to serve because I was simply “available” and this is the start of my unstoppable missionary experience.
In 2011, I was promoted and assigned to handle Visayas and Mindanao area to coach national sales executives for Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Philippines. They made Cebu as my home base for this new assignment. For this reason, I made myself available to join the activities of Singles for Christ (SFC) Cebu Mabolo Chapter for their weeknight teachings and even on weekends. Since most of the members are from other islands, they meet regularly. They strengthen one another, inspire one another, and pray together as a family. I met wonderful and passionate people who serve the community wholeheartedly. This experience made me discover what I’ve missed by not making myself available to serve in my own SFC home chapter.
In 2012, Coca-Cola assigned me back to my home region. My new assignment was to handle Central/North Luzon. I made myself available for my home chapter in SFC for weekend commitments but I needed to repeat all the formation track before I can take any role. I patiently attended everything. In a weekend retreat where I served as a technical assistant, there were 4 amazing women missionaries from Manila who visited our province to share their stories. I was happily serving until they announced to the other service team that it was only a-day mission. They will not stay overnight. So, they are looking for a speaker for the last talk for the next day. Since I am the only one who attended a previous weekend retreat way back in 2008, they handed me the outline and said, “I think Joy, it’s time for you to do this!”. I was surprised! I felt the feeling of Jesus at the wedding of Cana when mother Mary told him, “they have no more wine”.
It was an all-women weekend retreat (They call it “Princess Diaries” weekend retreat) and the final talk was about “The Power of Love!” I only have few hours to prepare. I was afraid, but grateful that my brothers and sisters in the community trusted and supported me with prayers.
God initiates and outpoured on me the courage that I needed, but he needs my response to this grace. I needed to collaborate by being available.
I was able to share the broken stories that I don’t want to look so that I can emphasize that God’s love has the awesome capacity to heal.
When I made myself available on that call…at that very moment…God brought me to many mission areas that I never thought of going to…
God brought me to other parts of Tarlac, Manila, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Baguio, Batanes, and even as far as Japan, remembering all of these experiences bring me joy.
This happened because I made myself available!
I just realized, even if you have all the skills and talents in the world, but if you will not make yourself available for God’s mission, it’s nothing.
If you got all that it takes to be the best sharer of God’s goodness but you allowed yourself to be taken by fears, it’ll be useless.
The Lord will continually call people who are less capable but available – that makes the difference.
I am saying yes to this online mission not because I am capable… but I am making myself available because my God is able.
I was once afraid to share my reflections online. I tried keeping everything in my heart. I was grateful for Joseph who invited me and trusted me in this online mission. I was grateful for the people who keep on encouraging me to share more even some of them I haven’t known personally. I was grateful for my community and my formators who show their support in this mission.
In truth, I have weak points in my tenses. I was afraid to be bashed or to be criticized as I lay my personal stories online. In the end, it is not my stories alone. It is God’s stories all along. I am flaunting my flaws for you to praise God more. I am taking this risk because I cannot contain the goodness of God in me and within me – it’s bursting and overflowing. If you encounter the Risen Lord, lockdown has no power to stop me to share his amazing love.
All I need to do is to make myself available and believe that God is able!
I know, He got me! He will continue to remind me of all the “crumbs” of faith stories that we’ve been through. This online mission is helping me to stay connected and be mesmerized every day in prayer with tears, “Ang dame dame na natin napagdaanan Lord!”
“All the paths of the Lord is faithful love” (Psalm 25:10)
I am just His “Available” instrument of grace!
In this time of COVID-19 pandemic, the Lord is knocking at the door of your heart.
Asking you, “My dear child, are you available?”
Can you extend my love to your neighbor?
In prayer, online mission or any little acts of kindness.
Lord, grant us the grace to be always available in extending your infinite goodness to others!
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!” And he said, “Go and say to this people:
‘Keep listening, but do not comprehend;
keep looking, but do not understand.’
Isaiah 6:8-9 NRSV
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