Monday, June 20, 2011
despite being a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic and wildly optimistic, i have bouts of skepticism that i struggle to fight off until i'm ultimately faced with either extreme joy or quiet disappointment. there can be (what i believe to be) a hundred confirmations, all signs pointing to YES, seemingly undeniable conviction and still, i'll hold onto that sliver of possibility that, yet again, i won't get my happy ending. as hard as it is, i use all my might and faith to silence those doubts as i choose to believe and fight for my promises instead, no matter what the predicaments or how long the delay. then once in a while, right when it really counts, God surprises us with supernatural favor and provision to the point where we cannot ever second guess His direction or His hand over our lives anymore. in the midst of upset and rejection, this tiny glimmer of hope turns into one of the greatest opportunities that we would've never experienced had everything gone according to our original plan or even our backup plan. we hold our breath and beg for something good and God replies, "no, i'm going to give you something even greater. just trust me and wait." somehow every blow from the past is redeemed in this one moment when we finally hear God say yes, against all odds. if there's anything i learned these past few weeks is that you really can't control God or attempt to figure Him out. He is God & i am not- plain & simple. i can't explain why certain things happen the way they do and i'm learning to stop demanding a reason. there are no bribes or magic prayers, no elite connections and name-dropping with God. but there is something to thanking and praising God in every season, especially when it goes against our emotions or what the world dictates. it releases us from being bound by our circumstances and frees us to worship anyways. in all this, we're reminded again and again that it's really not about us at all. God, i am so humbled & amazed by You. You are still good.
God makes miracles out of what seems insignificant: fragile faith, a little kindness, and ordinary people. —Julie Ackerman Link
In all the setbacks of your life as a believer, God is plotting for your joy. —John Piper
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
whenever negative things happen in our lives, i think we all potentially run the risk of becoming angry at God. somehow the bad occurrences are attributed to God and we either take credit for the good or simply forget to thank Him for his provision. by nature, we become easily offended by trials, setbacks and rejections to the point where we might actually even blame God, as if he stopped being good or changed his mind about loving us. i can't say it's exactly easy to avoid believing this atrocious, yet admittedly alluring, lie. in light of this, i'm realizing more and more these days why faith is such a gift and why it's so fundamental and necessary. it takes genuine faith to see beyond a crappy situation and see God's perspective. i'm not referring to an abstract faith in an elusive and mysterious higher being or just a fairytale concept that makes me feel better about myself. this honestly brings no comfort to me when i'm desperate to be rescued and need to see the light. but when i really think about who it is that i build my faith on, a God who is love, there's no way i can convince myself that he wouldn't want the very best for me. as if He'd take away something good only to replace it with something worse. so even the disappointments in life, the many "no"s and situations when i don't exactly get what i prayed for, the painful instances when i swear that God must be so angry with me and is punishing me, even in these times i can still believe that God is for me and will always be good. when i gain the wisdom and strength to take a step back and ask for His perspective, it's only then that my eyes are opened to see what else He's doing. but it means letting go of the past hurts, regrets & my control and really allowing God to take over. during the past few days, i've experienced, and now i'm fully confident, that the course of our lives is never set on plan B just because things don't go as we planned. i witnessed that as we die to insisting on our own way or trying so hopelessly to make our lives work or fit a mold, God will sometimes literally call us with a better offer. in His timing, in this case the very next day, His plans will be revealed with His undeniable fingerprints all over it. as events and situations unfold so effortlessly, we come to find that this is exactly right, just perfectly the way things were supposed to be all along. it's so true that the "no"s really become a huge YES to something so much greater. redemption is so sweet. :)
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm—
my great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the LORD your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.
Joel 2: 25-27
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
i'd be lying if i said i'm not sad about leaving NY/NJ to live in hawaii for 12 weeks. i think about all the important events i'm going to miss out on: 30th birthdays, thanksgiving with family, playing football, weekends partying with friends. as far as i'm aware, this is as good as it gets with minimal fluctuations. i consciously have to stop myself from filling my head with all these regrets in order to attempt to comprehend what's waiting for me on the horizon. i'm simply not used to desiring so much or wanting more than i have. it's hard for me to hope for more than what i can see or what i can even imagine. but when i first signed up for this, i know for certain that God was wanting to rock my world and turn it upside down. with only 30 days left until i leave everything that's routine and familiar, i still can't grasp what to expect or prepare for what's to come. i'm just holding onto this great expectation that still overwhelms me like nothing else has ever had the power to do.
"It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
Friday, June 3, 2011
like anyone else, there are times where i get caught between doing the right thing and taking the easy way out and chalking it up to one of many excuses. how is it that the right thing is often the hardest thing to do? it's tempting to not ever risk being vulnerable for the sake of others. and yeah, sometimes i'd rather be comfortable in my own world- walls and guards up high- not letting anything that might disrupt my peace to seep in. the danger is, given enough time, this is when our hearts grow cold and numb. we stay silent, become passive-aggressive, cut off relationships way too easily and forget how to really care for others. the easy route, never allowing ourselves to ever feel sad or any hint of pain, only perpetuates the cycle because we inevitably end up hurting those around us. we choose our pride and fake confidence over being vulnerable and weak. when i look back at all the times i felt deeply hurt, i couldn't wait to snap out of it. i would pray for time to pass by quickly or that God would literally erase my mind of certain memories (confession: i actually prayed for this just yesterday). i convince myself that i will always choose to stay safe from now on than risk ever feeling this way again because it's not worth it. that's usually around when i hear this loud voice inside that tells me to choose love instead- even if that means i don't do anything but allow myself to receive real love & deep healing. maybe even through the pain and time that passes so slowly God wants to reveal something so spectacular that i couldn't even imagine in my wildest dreams. i'm holding onto that maybe.
How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd.
Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
i had the most vividly disturbing dream last night. all of my teeth were loose and one by one, i was effortlessly spitting out giant, bloody teeth in total dismay. as you can imagine, i woke up with the most unsettling anxiety. any former presence of peace and confidence was replaced with doubts and fear. how did this happen so quickly? and more importantly, what am i so stressed about? (i heard teeth dreams have to do with stress). i have no qualms about the future- hawaii, outreach, even coming back home in december after almost 6 months of being away. when i'm honest with myself, i know this restlessness stems from whatever unresolved issues i have now. oh gosh. i thought i was over & done with this. i'd hate to be the type that hides ugly scars and failures with colorful band-aids & fake smiles, with only temporary relief and superficial fixes. and now, on the heels of a blissful and amazing past 2 weeks, i'm reminded once again that the enemy is never too far from trying to steal my joy & deafen my ears to hear God's voice. i'm also made starkly aware that this really is not about me at all. i confess, i subconsciously convinced myself that this calling & decision was accredited to me being "good" (whatever that means) or useful, whereas before i wasn't. as if i'm eligible & qualified now and can do God this big favor or something. twisted logic, i know. i'm just learning as i'm going & taking notes along the way. so what do i do now? fight or flight? even if i chose to fight, i don't even know what i'm fighting for; i just know i don't want to do it anymore. so, i guess it's convenient that there's a flight option just around the corner. as much as it seems like a cop-out, running away can be the right answer at times, especially when i'm actually running TO something. when it comes down to it, we all just want someone to stand up and fight for us. when we have nothing left to give and we're fresh out of ideas and strategies and we're one small straw away from giving up on it all, whether we acknowledge it or not, we need someone stronger, someone able, and someone incredibly loving & beautiful to tell us we're worth fighting for. the last thing i want to be is weak and needy, but i confess, i'm desperate for You to take me by the hand and tell me that You're still fighting for me.