Tuesday, May 24, 2011
i don't think i can claim that i've ever attempted to do anything where i didn't have some sort of control of the outcome. this is no coincidence, given that i revel in safe situations and i rarely do extreme and daring things that require much dependence on others. i like order, routine, planning, and security. i spent my senior yr of high school calculating my caloric intake by using measuring cups to ensure i consumed exactly one serving of cereal and milk in the morning. during my elementary school days everything on my desk had to be 90 degrees or i would literally cry, and in college i would finish midterm projects with months to spare. i have this weird love/hate relationship with control- i love having it but it seriously drives me insane. so you could imagine how i would be the last person you'd expect to do anything so outrageously outside of my comfort zone. that's how i know this can only be God, not me. for the first time in my life, i have no backup plan. no plan b. no tangible safety net. i have no clue where i'm going to be in 6 months. and the beautiful thing is, i'm totally fine. i've honestly never felt such intense peace and pure joy. over the course of the past 2 weeks, God has replaced my fear and restlessness with faith in someone so much greater and bigger than me. i've never been so confident in Jesus' love for me to the point where i would trade everything to pursue knowing and loving Him more (kinda scary typing this out, not gonna lie). it's definitely the best decision i've ever made...and this is just the beginning. nothing's even happened yet. but whenever i take a moment to stop and think about Jesus and all that he has done in my past and will do in the future, i become so overwhelmed and can barely take it all in. you know that feeling when you hold hands with someone you really like and your heart just pitter-patters? mmmmm, yeah. :) like falling in love for the first time. God, i don't wanna miss a thing.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
as much as i'm thankful for all the ways God has answered my prayers in the specific manner, and sometimes exact details, that i asked, i'm equally grateful for the prayers that he answered with a simple "no." a wise friend shared a quote with me last week that i thought was so profound, "God's no is not a rejection. It's a redirection."
there have been so many times where i thought i knew what i wanted and pleaded with God to comply with my request. i held tight to my agenda and meticulously planned out future and tried to fit God's provision and guidance in there somehow. of course, with delays and detours come disappointments, but i'm beginning to truly believe that God really does want to show me something so much greater than what i'm praying for.
once in a while, i reflect on my past and can't help but wish i could have some of those moments back. i get fixated on how good certain situations were back then and wonder how those circumstances would be different if this or that happened the way i wanted. without faith, it's easy to get stuck living life in the past, dwelling on our HS football glory days or regret breaking up with our last boyfriend or girlfriend. but we are not without faith or hope. although i don't fully comprehend it and still hold onto some of my doubts, i'm finding myself full of peace, smiling so big even as i'm walking down the street alone. i'm trusting in God's faithfulness and his promises, that even when i'm willing to settle for good and maybe hold out for something better, God only wants to give me the best.
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"
Isaiah 43: 18-19
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
i guess it all started when a pastor from India spoke at church this past sunday about the extreme poverty in one of their poorest villages. i've heard and read about these appalling details seemingly a thousand times before, but for some reason, this time i couldn't get the image of children eating rats out of my head. my heart was breaking for a nation i knew nothing about and for people i will most likely never meet. still, i just brushed off the sentiment and convinced myself i was just being emotional. then later that night, at a funeral, i felt God tugging at my heart so intensely, calling me to get out of my comfort zone and really find out what it means to trust in Him alone. even though just the thought of letting go of my life of security freaked me out, the allure of getting out of my shell and doing something solely for the sake of extravagant love outweighed and overcame my fears. i reevaluated my life and knew i had to be more passionate and committed (and not just about the jets or football) and actually walk it out. truthfully, i'm very happy and content. i look forward to waking up every morning and working at a cushy job that i love. i sleep perfectly well knowing i have a bright future and a substantial savings account. i laugh often and have plenty to be excited about. but you know how sometimes you feel like you're being challenged to do something kinda crazy in order to break free of a routine and achieve an even greater perspective on life? yeah, except this isn't just for the purpose of being crazy or proving anything to anyone else. it's about stepping out of the comfortable and safe boat i've created for myself so Jesus can show me how to walk on water. i figured i could either chop off my hair again or do this. i'm doing this because i know how i'll be in the end: forever ruined for the ordinary.
“Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told."
Friday, May 13, 2011
to claim i was going through a 1/3 life crisis would be a bit dramatic and extreme, but i was definitely at a crossroad in my life. after one too many disappointments and an extremely difficult year behind me, i found myself simply jaded and apathetic. i purposely withdrew from my friends & became antisocial. as much as i hate to admit it, i was in a funk and felt like i was stuck in the movie groundhog day, just desperate for growth and change. even still, i kept telling my close friends that i take comfort in the fact that God knows me. i don't think i completely understood what this even meant or why it gave me peace. i just know it made me feel better, like everything was going to be ok.
while still feeling quite unsettled, a friend prayed for me and said exactly what i needed to hear without her even knowing. she said, "...felt like God knows. Just simply put. He knows you. He knows you inside out. He knows your desires. Your past. Your present. Your future. He knows your pains. Your secrets. He knows everything...He knows and ADORES you. so rest in that."
i was pretty shocked that she knew precisely how to pray for me and also felt confirmation that God really does know me. nonetheless, there was something that remained missing. just then, i read an email from another friend who had just reunited w/ her father after 15 years. she wrote, "I went there with a mission and hope to communicate my love for him but very soon, I realized that loving him was letting him love me and just be his child...Letting him BE MY FATHER, a caretaker, was the best way for me to love him..."
somehow this resonated so powerfully in my heart. i never had issues with my dad and if anything my parents were always almost too doting and affectionate with me, never leaving any room for doubt that they loved me unconditionally. and yet, somewhere along the way, i believed an outrageous lie that i was unlovable and unworthy of true, extravagant love.
i reflected back at my past relationships and realized i was always striving so hard to make sure the other person knew i loved them. i bought gifts, paid for dinners, read 700+ page books i had no interest in, baked, cooked, planned, pursued, initiated, and tried to overcompensate in order to prove i was lovable. i accepted way too little and convinced myself it was good enough. i was constantly settling even though i knew my soul was aching for more.
then, as if God was perfectly orchestrating all of this specifically for me and finally bringing the final pieces of the puzzle together, last night P.Joe preached on Galatians 4 and his sermon was titled "known by God." he basically said verbatim all the things i was feeling and sharing with my friends all week long. P.Joe reminded us of the fundamental and profound fact that we are fully known and fully loved by God- and we don't have to do anything. i was utterly floored and speechless. my heart unlocked, the lie disappeared and my perspective was transformed. like believing for the very first time, i accepted that God first pursued me, initiated a relationship w/ me, died for me, is captivated by me, knows every single thing about me, and i am the object of his affection. and the best part is, i don't have to do a thing. my faith increased to behold this liberating truth that God's approval and love is really more than enough. it freed me from needing to convince everyone else that i am lovable and worthy.
this is life changing, seriously. it changes absolutely everything and i'll never ever be the same.
it's easy to give off the perception of being confident. wear bright and bold clothing, laugh and talk louder than others, take pictures of yourself often and don't let anyone see you cry. after enough time of putting on this facade, you might even start believing it, too and you'll eventually convince yourself that this image makes you secure. this was me. don't get me wrong, i don't have issues with self-esteem or anything. i honestly think i'm pretty awesome. but deep in my core, i don't think i really knew who i was. my identity was just a hodgepodge of random adjectives- Korean, strong, loud, happy, loving. i believed whatever other people told me i was, which was mostly positive anyways. nonetheless, when it came down to it, there was nothing or no one actually validating me. i admit, subconsciously, i looked to basically everything and everyone else for this validation. each failed attempt just left me more lost and emptier than before. then something kind of spectacular happened. when i didn't even know what i was looking for and although i didn't ask, God showed up and told me he knows me. he revealed so intimately that i'm perfectly loved by him, apart from anything i've done or will do. it's funny how everything is different once you find out who you are. and although this self discovery wasn't elaborate or so comprehensive, it's enough to alter my outlook and ultimately all i need to be secure. as corny as it sounds, suddenly life has meaning.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
...We can learn from the Bible about giving the benefit of the doubt to others. First Corinthians 13:7 says that love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Leon Morris, in the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, says this about the phrase “believes all things”: “To see the best in others . . . . This does not mean that love is gullible, but that it does not think the worst (as is the way of the world). It retains its faith. Love is not deceived . . . but it is always ready to give the benefit of the doubt.”
from Our Daily Bread 5/11/2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
sometimes your best traits can also be your biggest downfall. i'm an eternal optimist, hopeful against all odds and i really seek out the good in people...almost to a fault. i don't think it's so much that i believe i'm the exception to any rule. i'd like to think it's more that i tend to see past the flaws and junk and find the potential and beauty in others. nonetheless, i'm sporadically reminded that maybe i trust too easily and give people the benefit of the doubt when it's completely undeserved and unwarranted. and once again, this self reflection makes me pretty paranoid. i mean, does this simply mean i have horrible judgement in character and i'm too naive? should i be more selective about who i make myself available to and just give into judging them by their reputation and past? whose standards am i living by anyways? i don't want to jump on the bandwagon of general consensus because i don't think these situations are ever that black and white.
WWJD? as inappropriate or crazy as it sounds, i doubt Jesus ever regretted trusting judas and choosing him as one of the original 12 disciples. and i can't imagine Jesus weighing if someone was deserving enough of his grace and love before he extended healing and salvation. i'm pretty sure Jesus knew that by caring as much as he did, it meant he was risking being hurt and taken advantage of. i don't mean to compare my careless and reckless love with Jesus's perfect love. just makes me wonder if the converse, being so rigid and guarded, isn't exactly what Jesus had in mind either. honestly, you can't calculate relationships or make logical sense of them.
i know i take risks and gamble and lose every once in a while, but i can't say i ever regret having taken those chances. as tempting as it is to claim, it wasn't a waste of time. and in retrospect, i really did learn a ton about myself from those relationships and experiences. now that i'm aware that this is how i am, my responsibility now is balancing being overly accepting and loving and actually protecting my heart. even given this flaw, depending on how you see it, i'm thankful that God has made me so resilient and strong- that i am able to bounce back without ever becoming too jaded or broken beyond repair and no matter what happens, i believe in love as if i've never been hurt at all. i trust that God is ultimately protecting my heart and preparing me for someone who is actually worthy and really resembles Jesus. through all the mistakes, i'm learning what it means to be wise and have integrity, if even for the sake of my future husband and my own well-being. i know i can't just give my heart away or become emotionally dependent on just anyone because i feel lonely every once in a while. i mean, what's the point, really? looking back, yes, maybe i would've done things differently and i can wish all i want for a second chance or a restart button, but in the end i think it's all eventually leading me to where i'm supposed to be and where i'm headed. thank God for providence.