Start with You

Designing your life is a tedious process. It is not an overnight exercise you do. My mission statement was finalized after writing a book for many months. I have copied other people’s missions in the past and something did not feel right. I knew I had to wrestle with it one day. And so I did, and it was not easy.

Every word had to count and express who I wanted to be and what I will do for the rest of my life. I had lengthy conversations with God, my wife Thammie, and close friends. I knew writing it down and sharing it with the world meant I would now put my energies towards something God wants me to do for the rest of my life.

It all started with a simple question that helped me design my life. My brother Steve came home one day and asked me a question. He said, “ Dennis who are you?”

I thought that would be an easy answer. “ I am Dennis Sy.” He said, “ That’s your name, but that is not who you are.”

“I am the fourth in the family of six,” I said.

“ That’s your position in the family; that is not who you are.” He replied.

“ I am a De La Salle University,” I answered back.

“ That’s who you do now, but that won’t be your answer after college.” He said.

I was stuck! I could not answer. I don’t know who I am. I begged him to give me an answer, but he never did. He knew I had to figure it out.

That question led me to sleepless nights, but I could not figure out who I was.

Psychology teaches us that man comprises three parts – the body, the soul, and the Spirit. The body is our external. Yet, many people try to answer the question of who they are by referring to their bodies.

“ I am Dennis Sy, a Filipino Chinese, born and raised in Manila by my parents, Jesus and Violeta.”

Others define their life by their looks or by their outward appearance.

Some people answer who they are by referring to their emotions. For example, “ I am Dennis, and I feel great!”

The problem with our soulish answers is that it highly depends on how we feel, which is one of the most unstable ways to define who we are.

And then there is the Spirit. This is the one that connects us to God. The Holy Spirit is a gift God gives believers so that we might be assured of God’s saving grace, love, forgiveness, and redemption.

This became my AHA moment and will be critical as we move along in this book. My faith and relationship with Christ is the main thing that changed me into who I am today. It is the most stable one on which I could base my identity and design my life.

In Christ, I am loved. I am forgiven. I live in freedom. The Spirit empowers me. In Christ, I experience my being. Imagine living your life with this truth – it is a game changer. It removes the burden of trying to prove something to the world. It gives me the freedom to be creative and initiate things because I am free to fail because I am loved and accepted by God. It liberates me from insecurity because I am taken no matter what.

It is no wonder Paul said in Acts:

Acts 17:28

28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.

Designing my life starts with who I am in Christ. I can’t plan it any other way.

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