Slump Ends Here

Have you ever heard, “It’s a blessing in disguise”?

Well, sometimes that blessing can be “too good to be true”.

I am certain there are readers who have not read my previous posts, but I will briefly recapitulate my story:

    I was born a Christian, and that has been one of the greatest blessings but an impediment in my development. Although I am bilingual, it is easier for me to stay focused and truly understand when I listen to sermons in English… but because I have been attending services with my parents in a Korean church, I found myself daydreaming during sermons. Naturally, when I came to college, I joined a fellowship to praise God. After a year of getting closer to God, I had to take a year off for personal reason. I questioned God. I felt that He was pushing me away when I have begun to get to know Him better. During a year of absence from school, God told me that He just wanted to spend 1 on 1 time with me. He wanted to teach me that I do not need to depend on others to be closer to Him, but on Him alone.           

   However, when I came back to school, I pushed God away. I did my worst academically and spiritually. I just couldn’t overcome academic challenges, so I kept pushing God down my priorities so that I could focus on school. That obviously did not go well. Fortunately for me, I found Jesus in my life again. This semester, I joined a ministry that could help me set my eyes upon God. I was proud and felt loved by His sons and daughters. My joining the ministry seemed like a sign that God has not let go of me… until people have expressed their concerns for me (I do not want to go too much in detail about the ministry for its privacy). I sought out God’s help and He answered. I was able to speak to different pastors and leaders of fellowships to set my eyes on TRUTH.

    Just when I thought God has placed me in a right place to grow, He placed me in a place where I can seek out the truth. I think He wanted to weed out the worst while I was in the slump so that I do not fall into another slump after climbing back out of the hole. Because of those experiences and struggles God has given me, I am so willing to seek out for Him. I love my Abba and trust that He will continue to guide me.

 

As always, I do not know how to finish my post, but I would love to share my experiences with readers who are truly interested, so please feel free to ask me via e-mail. Also, what are you giving up for lent?

I Killed Jesus

Not only once, but many times.

Our sin is our falling short of the glory of God. We are not righteous. We need the righteousness of Jesus, which comes from faith in Jesus Christ.

Our sin deserves death and that is its rightful consequence.

But why do we keep sinning? Why is it so difficult for us to do what God asks us to do and let go of our earthly desires?
That is because we are shy about exposing our sins. We are embarrassed about sharing certain immoral actions that we commit daily. For instance, it is widely believed that all guys watch porn and lust over girls, but men are afraid to say it themselves in front of women. How can we, then, say that we are capable of fighting off our sins when we are afraid to expose it? You see, we should be fighting to expose our sins, and hiding from it won’t change anything. But once we expose our sin, we can be saved and not allow our sins to enslave us again.

We are slaves to God when we are saved!

Slave to God = Life.

(Romans 6:22-23)

Look at Luke 7:36-50 for an example. Sinful woman (prostitute) was disrespected and was condescended upon, and Pharisee (Teacher of the law) was revered and viewed with honor. Look at the scripture and see who respected whom. How did they view their sin? What was their response to their sin, and why? Jesus tells us that no matter how trivial our sins may be compare to those of others, we are equal before Him. We need God! Our love for Him should be great because our sin is overwhelming.

God sent His son, Jesus, to die for us on the cross. Jesus died for our sins. Just because God put Jesus on the cross for our sins, could it be possible that Jesus actually wanted to die? The answer is no. Jesus died willingly because it was to fulfill God’s purpose.

It was because of OUR sins that Jesus had to die. Yet, here we are today, still committing sins. Consequently, we are killing Jesus over and over again. Is it because we haven’t really seen Jesus in real life, that we allow this to happen? Should anything be different if one of our family members had to die for what we did wrong? Would you be so willing to commit the sin again? I certainly hope not.

I believe that the first step we need to take is to expose our sins. Once we are strong enough to let ourselves know what we are doing wrong, then we can truly fight it. How could we possibly fight something if we don’t know it exist?

Are you willing to expose your sins?

 

I just realized after posting this that today was Valentines Day… Maybe I should have written something more happy and loving… But then again, Single’s Awareness day isn’t too exciting, anyway. I just need His love.

3 Reasons to Love Your Life

To conjure only 3 reasons to love your life proved to be a challenge, because life offers so many more, but here’s my list. Feel free add more to the list on the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

1. Smiles & Laughter

These two are the prevailing indications that a person is in a state of happiness. One cannot be frowning or crying when she is smiling or laughing. Let’s just break it down: Many people desire money, because they have so many items that they want to buy. Does this mean money can buy happiness? Absolutely not. Money only augments one’s avarice and clouds her self-reflection and awareness of others. But what one can do with money can put a smile on her face. I know this sounds like a belying statement, but bear with me. When one satisfies her greed by purchasing unnecessary goods or donate to the need, she naturally smiles. Look around you throughout the day, and count how many people are smiling or laughing. The studies have shown that smiles and laughter are contagious. They will bounce around from person to person, giving each soul a moment of happiness. Sure, those short moments prove to be evanescent, but will occur so frequently that a person can convince herself that she lives in a happy environment. I have learned that some people are just way too happy all the time, which some others do not appreciate, but I think that is a good thing. Next time you are annoyed by “unnecessarily” happy people, just stop for a minute and reflect on your day; You will be sure to find reasons to smile and laugh.

 

2. Friends & Family

I am not going to focus too greatly on the family aspect of the reasons, because I believe it is self explanatory. Yes, many people can argue that that statement applies to “friends” too, but I will still refuse to add great details to the family side of this. To keep it more concise, just multiply the sentiment about friends by 100 to compute how precious one’s family is. Anyway, friends are the reasons to love your life. First of all, why do we have friends? Or, why do we call certain people our friends? Prevailing ideology is that friends are people who will love you for who you are and what you do. In other words, you can be your true self to those people and not worry about being judged. But as one of my most revered writers mentioned in her blog, people really don’t care too much about what you do, because they are too busy worrying about themselves. To amalgamate her statement with my experience is that (please correct me if I am wrong), we should not worry so much about what others will think of us. So friends should be people whom you can trust and rely on in hard and fun times, not just those who refuse to judge you. But honestly, it is so easy to interact with strangers in the street and just have good laughs that we can essentially call everyone our friend. See where I am going with this? Everyone around you is the reason to love your life. Sure, there may be people who may not be equipped with the tools to entertain you, but you have such a large pool of people to choose from! All it takes is for you to stop reading this and hit the “like” button, and comment, and leave your computer and go out to talk with a stranger! I am only joking (but really)…

 

3. Your Self-understanding

People who feel gloomy feel the way they do, because they have a tendency to believe that they have it worse than others do. But that way of thinking is very futile and definitely will not mitigate the problem. A person just has to remind himself that there will always be someone better than him, so sitting there and sniveling will do him no good. Once a person realizes that the competition is about himself vs himself of yesterday, he will soon see the improvement he is making daily. Just knowing yourself will give you more reasons to love your life and give you unexpected happiness that awaits tomorrow.

 

Let me use a Pokemon analogy to help you better understand what we are failing to do: A player is given a Pokemon to start the game, and the player has to catch other Pokemon to add to his Pokedex (Portmanteau: Pokemon + Index ). When a player catches a legendary/rare Pokemon, the player immediately becomes elated and starts to celebrate, and without his knowing, he is smiling about it. Also, the player can only carry up to 6 Pokemons, so the player chooses the best ones that could help his journey. In life, we can have more than 6 (best) friends (I put the word “best” in parentheses, because I deem it unnecessary, but I will mention that in later discussion) who are always there for us. Other Pokemon you run into while walking in the grass or in the cave represent strangers you meet in life. Some, you will want to catch and treasure, but others you are fine with letting them go. It is your decision. But what I really want to convey through this analogy is that, players do their best to make sure that their Pokemon are in best shape to get the job done. They train their Pokemons to be the best; they don’t just turn off the power button when they encounter better players. So why can’t we apply that simple method to our lives? Why can’t we just do our best to improve ourselves? Think of yourself as a character in a game that you want to train! I am so sorry if this sounded too corny and if you have never played Pokemon or do not have a clue about the show. This was out of my comfort zone, as well.

 

He, who does not give up

It is sickening that I have turned my back on Him, but he refused to let me go.

Before college, I have always attended adult service at church with my parents, so I never had the chance to share His love with people of my age. Naturally, when I came to college, it was a new experience. I realized that the brothers and sisters in my fellowship have elevated my trust and love for Him; I became more thirsty for His love and for greater knowledge.

To my surprise, I had to take a year off after my first year. At first, I was baffled. I just did not know how to react. I really didn’t. As any student would, I questioned God, “Why me?” I initially thought that he had given up on me. I thought He and I were on the same page. I thought he saw me grow in His opened arms, but felt as if he tossed me aside.

Boy, was I wrong. He wanted me to seek for Him without depending on others (Acts 17:27). He wanted one on one time with me! How marvelous is that? To assure me that I do not need friends to confirm my belief, but to solely rely on God for who He is. When that mentality began to shape up, I couldn’t help but to believe that I was the chosen one to be His best friend! Through that year-long absence from school, I have become so close to God. I was afraid of Him at first, but He became my best friend. Those were the happiest days of my life! (Sure, that I didn’t have to stress from school assignments could have mitigated the problem, but seriously… God can do wonders)

Unfortunately and unexpectedly, our friendship vitiated last semester. After I came back to school, I was SO confident that I could achieve so much with His help… but for some reason, I turned away from that. I shut Him out. I did not let Him in my life. In hindsight, I think that was the darkest time of my life. But cut me some slack, because I did try to resist the temptations and return to Him. But I surrendered to school work, lack of discipline, and to other personal reasons. How foolish is that?

Before this semester started, I promised myself that I would change. I promised Him that I will not be the same.

I can proudly say that I am not the same man of yesterday. I am very confident that I can finally earn a 4.0 gpa (yes I know… it’s only been the first week of school). I am very confident that I can get closer to God again. To my Father.

I am a disciple on campus. I will do my best to share His love to everyone.

He saved me, so I don’t see how he can’t save you.

 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8

For the First Time

Spoiler alert: It isn’t actually my first time, but oh well. Here we go!

20 years of my life, I’ve been to 7 different schools (excluding kindergarten)… with my sister. Same elementary school in Korea to same elementary school in America to same elementary school after the district-change to same middle school to a same middle school in a different district to same high school… and to same college (I’ve been practicing to become an auctioneer. Only joking, I couldn’t think of a better way to express the list of schools – mea culpa).

And no, I do not have a twin sister. But mind as well call her my twin, because 9 out of 10 people remind us that we look the same. Some say that we even sound the same… just kidding about the second part. We didn’t like it at first, but we grew out of it. Now, whenever I call her ugly, she calmly replies, “you look like me” and we just have a laugh at it. 

Sadly, that streak has ended. Image

She is now a graduate.

I must admit, I could have been a more well-rounded, independent individual if I did not have a sister to look up to, but there were many benefits to having a sister whom I frequently ran into in hallways. To think, it is amazing that we ran into each other so often in college. She was like a mother to me in college. Always checking up on me to see if I am eating and doing well, and whatnot. I appreciated it a lot.

I am going back to college in 3 days, and I have not put much thought into it, but I think I will struggle to find someone/something to fill the huge void she has left behind. Like really… And frankly, I very dislike saying affectionate statements. You know, statements that make you feel “gooey” inside. Don’t get me wrong, I show my gratitude and apologize when needed, but I suppose my sister and my parents don’t hear that from me as much as they deserve. I guess that’s an indication that I have been taking them for granted.

I am honestly nervous. It is like my first time living away from home where my sister isn’t around when I need her. But more importantly, I am more nervous for her. She will be studying assiduously for MCAT to pursue her dream. And I thought I was exposed to the real world when I graduated high school. She is in her transition to the real world. We have reached a point where we can no longer support each other academically and help make decision for each other. Yes, we can still opine in given situations, but it is ultimately our own choice to make the decision for ourselves.

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I know she’s a hard, tenacious worker. Never bending to compelling forces. When you tell her that she can’t, she will prove you wrong. She is that type of person. So I should not worry about her so much, because my classes will begin soon, but it is something I just cannot help with.

I am sorry, but I honestly cannot conjure the theme for this post. All I can say is that because my family has always been a very, close, knitted family, it would be harder for me to live hours away from home all alone. My family and I literally do everything together. If one of us needs to go to the bank, we all roll out together as if we had planned a bank heist. Heck, my dad, my sister, and I play a game every night to make the loser do the dishes so my mom doesn’t have to worry about them.

Point is, I feel like I am breaking the bond or I am forced out of the group. Friends are great, but they are not the same.

I suppose this is my first fear that I will be learning to overcome for the year.
What about you? What is your fear you are willing/forced to face?

 

PS: Sorry, those aren’t my sister’s graduation caps. As much as I wanted to use pictures of us, I didn’t want to expose her identity without her consent.

Becoming More of Humans

This week, I would like to talk about how my perception has changed about my parents as I grew older. Next week, I will talk about how my self-reflection has had an impact on my life, so please tune in!

When we were young, before we hit our double-digit or maybe even up to high school, we saw our parents as super heroes. Not just our role models, but people who could do anything at their will. Our parents were people who knew no suffering, pain, or sadness-nothing could bring them down to earth. I don’t know about where you guys grew up, but from where I come from, we used to go around telling one another (this applies to boys – I think) that our dad is the greatest, strongest, and the best! I remember hearing, “my dad can beat your dad up!” To think, how silly were we… because we now know that violence isn’t the answer.

To conjure the saddest moment of my life, I would definitely have to say the day I learned my parents were more of humans than what I believed them to be has to be it. How wrong I was. How immature I was. How naive I was.

I was born and raised in South Korea, and immigrated to America when I was 8. My parents knew nothing about the foreign country, except for 2 things: 1.) It wasn’t going to be easy to become alienated, and 2.) Going all in on me and my sister. I will save the details of the sacrifices that they had to make, but I would like to point out that anyone can say that about his or her parents if he or she, too, immigrated from another country. The only difference is how sincere his or her understanding is of the parents’ sacrifice. I can proudly say that I fully understand their sacrifice and I promise to the whole world that I will be the best person I can be.

When I saw them cry, when I saw them struggle with their work, I still had no idea. I was selfish; sure, I didn’t want my parents to cry or to show their weakness, but I didn’t bother to help search for their solution. It was only when I had come to a certain age that I realized those tears that they shed were for me. That is when I began to realize that they CAN’T do everything on their own. They need someone to hold their hand, they need someone to tell them that their effort will blossom into abundance, they need a super hero of their own who can take down their problems.

Had someone told me 10 years ago that my parents were just like the rest of us, I would have laughed in disbelief. Now, I find myself doing my best to become their super hero. It is my turn to become that person who they can rely on. The solution was simple: it was ME. I had to become the person to hold their hand; I had to become the person who can whisper to them that everything will be okay. It is as if they had inherited their plausible super powers to me throughout their tough times. It is my dream, it is THEIR dream, to be in their shoes years from now to show them that their sacrifices were worth it. To correct them that it wasn’t a sacrifice, but an investment. How pissed off would you be if you invested your whole life on something and receive nothing in return? Because I would be. It would bother me more if I can’t do anything to show my gratitude. Think about it, your parents had their own dream, a passion, before they had you guys. They gave up their dreams and shifted their goal onto you.

After enduring tough times, you will learn that those times were blessings in disguise. Through those times, my feet have grown bigger. I may not be ready now to step in their shoes, but I promise I will be.

I understand this was written poorly and that I left out many profound details. But believe it or not, that was my intention. To share every detail would be too long and take away your precious time. I wanted to write out the general idea to reflect on, so that you can have a chance to fill out your own story.

Year 2013 is coming to an end, and let’s just remind our parents how thankful we are and let’s promise them that we will walk tenaciously in year 2014.

I apologize for the confusion in advance, but my parents are still my super heroes. Enduring through many hardships and never asking for anything in return from me and my sister take some mighty strength to fight through all that. Now, I will work harder to lift their burdens off of their shoulders. After all, I am getting older every second; I have no time to waste.

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