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Do Not Fear The Silence

posted by Deb Victa

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"But Lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless and lonely is healing if you make it." - Tanya Davis

This post is dedicated to a dear friend of mine who is currently going through a valley in her life - and to anyone else who might feel the same way. Please know that what I'm writing today comes from my heart. It is not going to apply to everyone, maybe. It might not even make sense to most- but it is, however, a lesson that I have learned from my own personal experience. May it be an encouragement to those who feel they're in the same boat today.

There was a little nugget of wisdom that I picked up when I was in the middle of getting over a failed relationship a couple of years ago. A few simple words that I have held on to, to this very day: "Embrace the pain. Enjoy the silence."

I'm sure we've all heard it before, one way or another. But few people ever truly realize its real meaning. Especially since we live in a time wherein we try to subconsciously compete with each other on who has the most interesting news feed on our social media accounts. It's hard to remain still when we're trying to outdo each other in 'likes' or 'sharable' content, whether we like to admit it or not.

But it is possible to revel in the stillness, and I am living proof of that. Many will tell you otherwise. Like how I was first convinced that to get my mind off the issue, I had to fill my hours and days with things that were more "worthwhile". So I made sure I rarely stayed at home so I wouldn't have time to sulk about it. I went out and reconnected with friends whom I haven't touched base with in a long time, traveled the country, went to a few auditions here and there and did my best to stay BUSY. Because to me, busy was good. Busy meant I didn't have time to think about the hurt. Being busy was my attempt to show everyone that, "hey! I am a strong independent woman who has her stuff together." Busy drowned out the lonely in me.

And there's nothing wrong with being busy. But while being busy may cover up the momentary trouble, it doesn't heal the wound. Whenever all the fuss died down, I always found myself back at square one: alone. Hurt. Unable to sleep. Tossing and turning and anxious about what kind of feeling the new day was gonna bring. I was constantly asking myself "when am I gonna ever get out of this rut?". 

I had to learn the hard way what the wisdom the advice that was given to me (albeit unsolicited) held.. As days went by I began realizing that while strengthening bonds and rebuilding friendships was okay, I learned that it is only in the quiet and lonely moments where your strength of character is tested and built. The problem with constantly battling with loneliness with being busy, you see, was that you never learn to find courage in being yourself. You don't get to sort through the emotions because you never give yourself room to even think about it or feel it. This especially held true for me when the activities died down at the end of the day and all my friends had gone home and all I was left with were my thoughts. The hurt always found a way to settle back in again, making me crave for even more activity. It was a vicious cycle, really. And after a couple of weeks I decided I just didn't want to be there any more.

As i'm writing this with my friend in mind, I can't help but laugh at the irony, because I just realized that I still probably haven't learned my lesson. It's been over half a year now since I moved to America and I've been coping with trying to live and thrive in a different country without my family. It doesn't help either that my brother and I have completely different shifts for work (he does nights or overnights most of the time, while I work during the morning or mid-day), so we never get to see each other or rarely do we even get to sit down and share a meal. And it's been tough, I'll admit. It feels like living alone for the most part, and it could really get me down at times. Lately I've been so prone to thinking, "I'm here again; heto na naman, Tayong dalawa na lang ulit, Lord" - constantly craving for companionship and activity in my life.

  Half a year away from home is a long time, you know.

I catch myself every time I do this because I realize that thinking this way reveals my lack of trust in Jesus. More importantly, my statement meant that His companionship was not ENOUGH for me when it should be. I was reminded again of this truth when I came across the book of Isaiah in my quiet time this week:

"This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.." - Isaiah 30:15
(Honestly my quiet time sounded a lot like open rebuke than a gentle reminder haha because the next thing He actually says is 'but you would have none of it" - yikes! haha)

So here we are at the end of another very long blog post. What I thought would be a simple encouragement for a dear friend turned out to be my own heart-check. Haha! It's funny how things turn out, no? I will be the first to tell you that this is NEVER easy. It feels like walking on water - impossible and scary all at the same time. But He reminds me to fix my eyes on Him. Its not that He's a killjoy who doesn't want me to have fun. But being busy is easy because we don't like to wait. It shows results, yes. But they could be results that can often prove empty when He is not the center of it. But the Lord in His sovereignty is not after results. He's after your heart; teaching us to steadily chase after Him with a gentle and quiet spirit no matter what obstacles we encounter. More importantly He's after HIS GLORY.

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.” - Psalm 46:10 (MSG) 

Loving the silence has taught me to re-shift my focus. Like a camera switching from background to foreground, being still allows you to see only what's important. And what is important now is definitely not filling whatever void you might [think you] have. What matters now is that you understand what it means to REMAIN IN HIM, gaze at Him and be content in Him. I pray that whatever kind of "lonely" you're going through today, that you may find Rest and ultimately your security in the only One who can give it to you. #sorrynotsorry for the long post. I guess all i'm trying to say is that you shouldn't be afraid of being just by yourself sometimes. Or being alone with Jesus, rather. Press on and do not fear the silence, dear heart. Life's not over just yet. :) 

3 Reasons Why You Can't Fall In Love

posted by Deb Victa on , , , , ,

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The other day while scrolling through my social media, I happened to notice something funny: two of my friends, from two different sides of the world (and are totally oblivious to each other's existence) each posted links about "the terrors of falling in love" from two different thought-provoking websites. I wouldn't be surprised if you might have come across the same articles as well. And I know what you're thinking, "Ah, not another one!" - but bear with me. I promise, this is going to be a little different that what you usually read on the net.

Here we go again

As scary as love may seem, I believe you shouldn't let your fear get the best of you. Falling in love might be terrifying, yes. But that doesn't mean you ultimately stay away from it. Some are ever courageous, knowing how to face it head-on. But for some folks, no matter how hard they try, they just can't seem to get back into the groove of that 'lovin feelin'. So coming from someone who's been in that rut before (more on this later), I thought of three (3) good, solid reasons why someone might have a hard time falling in love:

1. Your Standards Are Too High
"He's just not tall enough." "She needs to work on her social skills." "The father of my children will at least know how to drive his own car." Sound familiar? I'm pretty sure we've all been there. Somewhere along the way of growing up, some genius taught us that the best way to find "The One" was to make a list (AKA: "The List") of all the qualities we wanted to find in a potential mate.

Now, the only thing this has brought to men and women around the world across the years is nothing but failed expectations and broken hearts. We end up getting so disappointed when someone comes so close to our idea of "Mr/Ms. Right" and then fails us so miserably - as if their imperfections came as a surprise.

As I heard someone once say, "I don't think you're looking for Mr. Right - because Mr. Right don't fit the job description. I think you're looking for Jesus."

As a Christian, I'm not telling you to lower your standards. Far from it - don't ever settle for anyone less than God's best. But what I am telling you is that, it could be possible that the person God wants you to spend the rest of your life with might not fill out all the items on your list. Because at the end of the day, that's all it is: a list of all the things you want. (or at least what you think you want) That list is still based on your standards, when you should be looking for someone who fits God's standards. That's why He/She is called your "God's Best" -- not who YOU think is best. When you're constantly checking on how people can please you or satisfy your needs, you're bound to be disappointed. So instead, the next time you find yourself looking at a potential mate, (or even if you're just looking for a friend) do us all a favor: get off your high horse, put down your list and put on the spectacles of God's Love and see them through His eyes.

2. You're Jaded
Definition: The end result of having a steady flow of negative experiences, disappointment, and unfulfillment fed into a person where they get to the point where their anger circuits just sort of burn out and they accept disillusionment. (Source: Urban Dictionary)

I understand. You've had one too many heartbreaks which has left a bad taste in your mouth. And after the last one, you finally decide that relationships might be something that really isn't worth your time anymore. You'd hate to admit it, but the fact of the matter is, you're scared. You're terrified that you're gonna screw up again. You hesitate on saying anything or admitting your feelings because you don't want to be rejected. You're worried about ruining another great friendship if things don't work out. You're scared of what other people might think (with thoughts like "Is this going to be better than the last?", "Will he/she get along with my family/friends" or worse, "Did I downgrade?" lingering in your head.)

Let me sit you down and tell you something. All these thoughts, doubts and worries -- it's all in your head. The only person holding you back is YOU. So stop telling yourself that no one is available or interesting enough. Because you're only going to end up living the rest of your life asking yourself "what if" and regretting about that chance you never took, wondering what held you back in the first place.

Jaime Sullivan was on to something over here. That takes guts.

I think what happened here is that you've focused too much on the here and now, watching every step you make and ensuring you don't trip again - when you've forgotten to look up and ahead. Fix your eyes on something other than the pain. Chase after His Righteousness. Why His righteousness? Chris Tiegreen puts it this way:

"Righteousness, as Jesus once said, is worth hungering and thirsting for (Matt 5:6). If we aren't hungering and thirsting for it -- especially in its completion -- we don't really understand the promise. Think about what God has told us: ...All of the illnesses we and our loved ones have suffered will vanish silently into the dark. All of the conflicts we've experienced, the wars we've waged, and the stress we've endured will be over. There are no broken hearts in heaven, because there is no hint of unrighteousness there. One dismal, ravaged creation will become suddenly ravishing." (Wonder of The Cross, Tiegreen 2009)

When we learn to love with a Righteous love, the way Jesus loved us, we begin to understand that at one point or another in our lives, we're going to get hurt and people will disappoint us - but you press on because your love is SURE. (How about you try loving a generation who treats You like a joke? That's hard stuff, man.)

You won't let a little misstep to allow the fear take over and stop you from ever loving again, because Perfect Love drives out all fear (1 John 4:18). Let His Righteousness dictate the way you love others.

3. You've Got It All Wrong

You see, if you're still trying to figure out why you just can't seem to fall in love, then I don't think you quite understand what love really means. Love is more than a feeling. Love is a choice. You've probably heard someone say that before, but allow me to elaborate a bit. Ask yourself: what worth would love have if you didn't have the freedom to choose? It wouldn't be worth anything at all if everyone had their Love-Setting on default.  Relationships involve a lot of risk, and you're not willing to take it.  Maybe it has a little something to do with being jaded. But it actually all boils down to personal choice - whether you'd like to admit it or not. Whatever the case, your refusal to let people into your life is in turn, forcing you to close your heart on the idea of another shot at love.

Coming to terms with how you feel requires a conscious effort. BAM.

Don't be so hard on yourself and don't be so hard on others. Jesus gave people a second chance. He believed that no matter how sinful or outcast a person was, they deserved to be listened to. And so He spent time with them, fellowshiped with them. Just because they weren't "on His level" it didn't mean they weren't worth their time. I know there was nothing romantic about my illustration, but I mean - if Jesus could do it, then why can't we?

Here's a quick fix: change your environment. Move to a different city, pick up a new hobby, try something you've never done before and along the way meet new people and make new friends. Allow yourself to be vulnerable again, because it is during this time when you will discover more about yourself as you explore the whole new world around you. Open yourself up to new possibilities. Allow people to know your story - and as you do, you'll learn to tell it with such ease and grace.

The Bottom Line

I come to you, presenting these ideas, not as someone who "knows it all" - but merely as someone who is learning all of these things herself along the way. You see, around this time last year, I was making a commitment to steer clear from relationships for a while. And as that little episode of this season in my life comes to a close, I realize that I was never really kept away from it at all because relationships are all around me. (surprise surprise!) I have come to learn that the non-romantic ones are just as important as the romantic relationships too and it's important to build on them because these platonic relationships help set the foundation of your would-be romantic relationship. It's been said time and time again: love isn't just the kilig, butterflies-in-your-stomach kind of feeling. Just because someone doesn't love you in that way doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have. It doesn't mean they can't connect with you on a deep level. Love is not just kisses or holding hands. It's not always the big gestures. It can manifest in the simplest ways. Like looking someone in the eye while you listen to them talk - just to show you're really paying attention. Or noticing someone's haircut. Sharing a meal or sitting beside someone. Lending your shoulder and not saying a word while you let your friend cry on it. Letting someone crash at your place when it's too late and too dangerous to drive at night. Little things we tend to miss out on or turn a blind eye to.

Upon learning all of that, that's when I fell in love - I fell in love with the beauty in the world around me, I fell more in love with my friends and my family. I fell in love with my career and built a passion for music and most of all I fell deeper and more in love with Jesus Christ, because I fully understood that no matter how stubborn I got, He constantly, faithfully chooses to love me.

Some days i'm not always as sensitive. But on the days that I am, I feel like a kid in a candy store. Because choosing to love feels great, but it makes it so much more sweeter knowing that someone chose to love you too.

Brighter Days Are Here

posted by Deb Victa


I've had my fair share of Goodbyes.

I've watched friends come and go in so many different ways: some lost touch over time, others moved to a different city and we grew apart, and others I personally sent off (with tear stained eyes and a heavy heart) to another land, unsure of when I will see them again.

Usually on those days filled with farewells and indefinite "see you soons", the skies are painted with a deep shade of grey and seem to share my sentiments over the day.

But on the day the tables were turned, when it was me saying my goodbyes, my best friends sending me off, and leaving behind the beloved land I was born and raised in - the skies did not cry with me.

See you soon, my Manila. | 09.10.14

Sure, it cast a gloomy shadow for a while as we waited for the sun to rise that morning. But as the time of my departure drew nearer, the day became brighter and my heart felt a sense of peace. It felt odd to me for a while, because I remembered all the people I would miss, and the memories I've shared with them. Days before, the mere thought of it would bring me to tears, but on that day when I was leaving all it brought was a smile.


I learned I was leaving the country sometime in May of this year. The letter for our interview at the Embassy came in a little after the Holy Week in April, and we did our best to meet the necessary requirements in spite of time constraints and a lack in funds. At the time, our family still wasn't set on leaving. I had a cousin who received their family's interview letter the same time as we did, and though they too had mixed emotions, their hearts seemed so set on leaving the country and really believed God's favor was upon us. I and my folks on the other hand, couldn't seem to figure out where the Lord was leading in all of this. So I just prayed for a heart that would trust in His Hand day by day and that He would take me and my family step by step. If His will is truly for us to leave, then He would make every way possible for us to go. After all, there were a lot of factors to consider: we really had no means to go, and I had a budding career as singer and host which I absolutely loved doing. Though I've only been a year in, things were doing really well-- considering I had a duo in the oven, I was getting bookings and inquiries left and right, plus an opportunity to become a brand ambassador up ahead.

Things got really confusing. To the point that I would find myself crying at night when I would think about leaving behind my life in the Philippines. But every time I broke down, I remember coming before the Lord and He would meet me each time and give me comfort and peace through His word that things were going to be alright. I was at the palm of His Hand.

July of this year marked CCF (my home church)'s Mid-Year prayer and fasting week, and I just knew the Lord was leading me to seek Him for answers about whether I should leave or not. So I got really specific. I asked Him to send me a sign: that if He didn't want me to leave but stay in the PH, that I would book more singing gigs in the coming month. Preferably a regular at a bar, bistro or lounge. But if He really wanted me to leave, then He would give me the means to go. Particularly pamasahe to leave (a one way plane ticket to LA), and maybe a job or at least extra funds to get me by for the next two months while I'm there and settling in.

What happened next was insane.

I stopped getting singing gigs altogether. The regular bar that I usually play in didn't call me for a month. And the agency that books me for a high-end lounge at a resort in Manila was replaced by the company, which meant that I was no longer included in the roster of performers. I'd get a few hosting gigs and was able to book a commercial within that month, so I was still able to earn in a way.

Also, a few days after the fasting week we got a call from a relative who said they were willing to help with the fare for our flight plus give in a little extra to help us get by on our first few weeks. Help came in all forms and kinds. Even when we wouldn't ask for it. Reading back on what I've written down so far, I know it feels a little anti-climactic. Maybe because I don't wanna say too much. But I'm pretty certain that if you've ever been through a miracle moment like this before, then I trust you know exactly how I feel.

At that point I knew what I had to do.

New Day.

There were no tears as I hugged my best friends Jikay and Bea for the last time until Lord-knows-when that Wednesday morning. There was only a heart full of joy and contentment, and a mind filled with memories to last a lifetime and dreams I need to chase as we boarded flight PR112.

This is only the beginning of the journey and we are all looking forward for what's to come. Of course, I am still prone to thinking back to my homeland and the friends I left behind. I miss them all very much. On the plane, my dad and I would sometimes joke: "Ayoko na, quits na lang. Uwi na tayo" every time the captain of the airplane announced our ETA to LA in between the flight. It's a little half-meant, but at the same time my mind is set on seeing His Promise through. It's not going to be easy, I know. But a chance to mold my character, strengthen my skills, give me courage and make it on my own? I couldn't pass this opportunity up without first giving it a try.

Here we go!

Please continue to keep me and my family in your prayers. We're currently still sorting things out -- trying to get an SSN, a drivers license, waiting for our Green Card to get mailed in. Plus, I'm still trying to look for a job that'll help me get by and pay for stuff, of course until I'm able to do what I love again (which is music and performing, of course -- the chase for the Dream continues!) Jared needs to get enrolled soon, and we really REALLY need to find a place of our own within the next two months before we run out favors haha. Dami pang kailangan gawin. Hirap pala mag-migrate haha. But hey, we've made it through Day 2 with zero casualties so far and a whole lot of Grace to go around, soooo we must be doing something right, right? :)) This jetlag is being a real pain, though.

And so, I end this post with a song I released along with my good friend and duo partner, (Luis Cortez) a few months back. Luis wrote the whole thing, to be honest. But he wrote it during the time I told him I might be leaving for the United States. It was a time when we just planned forming and launching a duo publicly and we were both doing really well with booking gigs and events. I was crying when I told him that this new "development" in my life complicated a lot of things, most especially my plans, and I was so scared because I wasn't sure if the Lord's hand was upon this. It was basically a conflict between the good and the Best. What I wanted, and what the Lord wanted for me. And so, Kapit was born; a song of hope, trust and friendship. And ultimately, God's message to us... To you, for whenever times get rough:

"Kung hindi mo na kaya,
Ako'y nandito lang
Wag kang bibitaw, Kumapit ka na lang
Sasamahan Kita, sa hirap o ginhawa.
Basta't kumapit ka,
Hinding hindi Kita pababayaan."

The video is actually a gift to me from my friends in the Philippines, which they showed to me during my surprise send off party. (Kinda cried while watching it. Okay, I actually cried a lot.) But if you wanna hear the original track, you can find it on The Fifth Day's soundcloud: :)

And there you go folks. I realize I haven't told everyone my story yet, because my departure came as a surprise to most of you. So here's my story- it isn't finished yet, but I hope it inspires someone out there who might be going through their own confusing time right now. If there's anything I've learned so far this year it's this: KAPIT LANG, KAPATID. :) Hinding hindi ka pababayaan ng Diyos. Take life one day at a time. There's no need to rush.

Good morning, Manila.
Good night, LA.


Here I Am

posted by Deb Victa on , ,

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While on my way to a meeting today, I found myself crying alone in the car. Twice.

The first time was because I was feeling really exhausted. Physically and emotionally. I felt so undervalued this entire week- like nothing was going right anymore. You see, on the surface, people are led into believing that I've really got it together. I can hold my own now, after all. But I felt really broken inside. So angry, so hurt and easily irritated at the most random things. I felt so unappreciated and so unloved. Over the course of the week, I managed to re-learn feeling insecure again. Maybe it's because it's come to a point wherein I've stayed away from people long enough to feel socially awkward around others. I felt like I couldn't get along with anyone. Not my parents. Or my friends. I felt like I was burning more bridges than I was building them. I hated how I couldn't have control for a lot of things in my life and that really, REALLY scared me.

"Lord. What am I doing? Why am I here?"
"Does anyone understand?"

And then He spoke.
"Where are you?"

He already knew the answer. It wasn't a question; it was a reminder. A reminder of who I am. What I am to Him. He was looking for me. I mattered to Him. In His eyes, I'm important. And that's really all I'll ever need and should ever want. Why did I digress from what was already laid out before me? What else could I possibly want more than being on the Winning Side?

And then, something: An embrace. An act of kindness. Soft words. An unexpected gift. A challenge. Call to action-- every single possible thing He knew would speak to my heart, God granted it to me. Another reminder.

" For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly." PS 84:11

"Stick to the Plan. I got this." He tugs on my heart strings.

I was left in awe and embarrassed at my ignorance. And yet, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.

You probably already know what happens next. It's the only obvious response: I found myself in tears, again. :)

Lost At Sea

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It’s easy to believe you’re in the center of God’s will when everything is going well for you. It’s a trap we all fall for: thinking that you have it all figured out when things are right in the world. But it’s not so easy to trust Him when the storms come in. Faith is a funny thing. It ushers you to keep dreaming, hoping that the best is yet to come, even when that best is nowhere in sight.

I often fail to remember that my God who calms my storms with only a word is the same God who summons them in the same breath. I also fail to remember that He’s there with me in the boat the whole time. (Matthew 8:23-27) In fact, He even lives inside me. My God is all around and He is in perfect control. Why am I so worried then?

We’re all probably going through our own storms at the moment. Some have bigger ones than others. The storm in my heart struggles to accept things the way they currently are. Have you ever felt like your heart was lost at sea? Stuck in the middle of nowhere, constantly looking back to measure how far off from the shore you are, but still hoping you catch a glimpse of your destination some time soon? And like a child, constantly asking- "are we there yet?". It's taking a while; you grow impatient. Can't this thing go any faster?

Newsflash: when you’re the captain of your soul, you end up sinking the ship. Let Him steer.

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