Eureka moment: I am Chihiro, Spirited Away

I am the kind of person who watches movies. Who really watches them not because I am bored, not because I got nothing to do. I really think that it is necessary for my well-being. Don’t get me wrong, I am not necessarily a movie buff. I just watch movies. I say that a lot and I claim still that I am not a movie buff *ahem* Watching movies just helps me think, helps me reflect, helps me understand myself more, helps me understand other people more. It is really fascinating. You should try watching movies, you know, really watch them.

Studio Ghibli films are just my type of movie that I know will come in handy in the future because its productions, though animated (and if films are animated, they are usually for kids), is filled with so much umm feels. Emotion. Let me skip topic and let us talk about this all-time favorite Studio Ghibli film of mine — Spirited Away.


I hadn’t known then how strikingly familiar this film would be to me in the next few years.

A month ago, I decided to leave a place I considered a home and friends I have considered a family. It was not an easy decision to make but in order to grow, I needed to. It also has long been a toxic place for me where I felt my growth as a professional was restraint and I cannot live in a place where learning is void, I just can’t. I will hold myself responsible if I did not do well in this life God gave me. In this life, I get only one shot, and I will make the most out of it. Now, I am back in my hometown with a heavy heart and a bad case of sepanx (separation anxiety). I like what I am doing now, I feel like this is a job meant for a BS DevCom graduate but.

But I miss my people. I kept checking up on them via social media networks. I stayed connected through chats and text messages. I am in my hometown but my heart, I think I left it in Baguio. I am not present, I am not living in the moment at all because half the time my mind goes back to the friends that I left. I know they have their own lives to live and I have my own as well but.

I think it is time again, to decide to let go and let God.

I see some parallels in my life that is also in Spirited Away. Chihiro had a whole new family in the Spirit world. No matter how weird they were, it was the place that Chihiro felt she was most herself. She became friends with No-Face, she saved the Onsen from that stinky Kamisama. She became an instant heroine in the Onsen earning favor from the witch that governed the place. Even the Kamisama favored Chihiro. Chihiro spent her whole time running away from a place that loved her. Chihiro became another — Sen. She loved being Sen but there was always Haku to remind her of her true name, to remind her of her goal — to free her parents and finally come back home.

I love the whole character development (from scaredy cat Chihiro to a brave and kind Chihiro) but let me skip to the part where it was time for goodbye. I relate to that moment. That part where Chihiro was sad to go and leave Haku behind. She was afraid that she will forget Haku but then again Zeniba, the twin-witch said to her that “Once you meet someone, you never really forget them.”


What baffled me that first time I watched Spirited Away was that last part when Haku told Chihiro to run towards the cave (which was some sort of portal to the mortal world) and no matter what, she must not look back. I felt like there was significance to that scene because it was full of close-ups etc, you really can feel the effort of the production to build up the emotion in that scene. Chihiro even stopped and almost turned back to check on Haku but she just shook her head and began running again towards the cave.


But I understand now. To truly be able to return to the mortal world, Chihiro must erase all feelings of wanting to go back to the Spirit World. She will just have to keep on moving forward. I think that applies to me as well. No matter how hard, moving forward is a part of life. You will just have to hold on to that faith that we never truly forget a person we already met so we can have peace that even if we don’t look back (for now), the love that was shared is not make-believe, it was real. I think that is a bond that is hard to forget. Maybe the mind will, but the heart will not. In the last part, where Chihiro and her parents finally returned to their own world, you may notice that Chihiro did glance back. She glanced back when she knew it was safe to look back. It was okay because she has returned home.

My worry is that, in my travel to my own Spirit World, I may miss some great moments that are happening in my reality now. I think I should try to live in the present more. I should try being open to new friends, new work, new environment.

So that’s about it. That is my eureka moment. That I am Chihiro and I was spirited away.


Eureka moment: I am Chihiro, Spirited Away

Ministry, a prison cell?

I saw this photo on a facebook page of a christian retail store, Worship Generation.


There is FREEDOM in the name of Jesus. I sincerely believe in that because I have genuinely felt and experienced freedom in Jesus.  What worries me though, is that some christians may not be able to experience this because of…well, a number of reasons.

But let us talk about one: Misinterpretation on commitment.

When I commit to Christ, when I said YES to His invitation in heaven knowing that this requires me to chase after Him in this race called life, I know I am doing a lifetime commitment not only to God but also to His church, my church.

The church is my family that God designed for me to be with. A ministry where I can grow so I can be the God version of me. But it is also a church that God wanted me to help build in order to further His kingdom, in order for the church to be its own God version. This is a calling I cannot refuse to answer.

One thing that bothered me so much though is the analogy of one of the youth leaders of my church on “commitment.” She likened commitment to a ministry to a “prison cell in which you can never be paroled,” a lifetime commitment, so she said. I thought that this analogy was made in an effort to send a message across that being in a ministry is not just for fun, that commitment is not just a fancy word you say flippantly in a conversation with your pastor. It is meant to be taken seriously.

But there is supposed to be freedom in Jesus, right? The truth will set you free and all that. Why should a church member feel they should be imprisoned? My heart breaks because she is just a student, practically a kid and she already feels this way, so old but not mature, so tired of responsibilities. What is happening to the moms and dads of the church? What is happening to the adult ministry? Why are they putting so much weight on this kid? On us, the Youth ministry? I feel so sorry that some of the youth is burdened to the point that they feel that being in a church is like a prison cell. That they speak so like an old person who forgot to put wisdom in their rickety luggage.

I feel so sorry that some may feel this way or you may feel this way. Remember, there is healing, there is freedom in Jesus! No one is supposed to feel like a their trapped in a church. Listen. True commitment does not feel like this. True commitment is when it is not a chore to be serving Jesus, it is not a chore to serve in a church. True commitment produces a cheerful heart, a willing servant-leader whose aim is to chase after God’s heart.

God blessed me with the wisdom and understanding in commitment. Commitment is like marriage in my country, the Philippines, there is no divorce. You have to stay in sickness or in health because you love this church very much, I love my church very much. While I grow in my church, I slowly see the flaws in my church, my eyes are opened, my expectations…they were not met. Many times, I asked myself, “Is it time to leave this church?” Because I was not growing anymore, the church cannot give me what I needed. But I realized I’ve been asking the wrong question. I should be asking God what I can do to help my church, how can I further God’s kingdom. I realized my love for the church grew deeper because of all the heartaches I have experienced, all the flaws I have seen, the broken people I have met with their own testimonies… How can someone not give compassion and grace? How can someone just…leave? I can’t. I have understood my calling. I have understood commitment.

Pray for wisdom on what true commitment really is because if you feel like you are trapped in your ministry, then there is something wrong in the leadership or in yourself. Change your mindset and try to see that you are not alone in building the church of Christ! You are NOT! I repeat you are NOT! You are free, in Jesus’s name.

God bless beautiful people of God 🙂
Stay real, be blessed,

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Ministry, a prison cell?