Let.It.Go.

Honestly, it’s getting old.  I’ve been through this before… many times.  I must be stubborn… or dense… or just dumb… I keep making the same mistake over and over… and every time, it feels new.

let it go

I keep thinking that I’m in control of my own life.  I keep thinking I know what’s best for me.  And when things don’t go my way, I get disappointed, hurt, and sad.  And I ask God “why God?”  I ask God “what is your purpose in this?”  I ask God “what is your plan exactly?”  I need to Let.It.Go.  I need to trust that God indeed knows what’s best for my life… and that He’s in control.  I need to Let.It.Go.

I have the need to correct everyone’s misunderstandings, misinformation, or misjudgment.  At least, that’s what I think they are.  I’d like to think it’s because I want people to be well-informed and be fair.  But in actuality, I just feel the need to make them understand things from my point of view.  I need to Let.It.Go.  I need to accept the fact that I can’t change people.  I’m not responsible for people’s decisions and opinions.  I need to Let.It.Go.

I have the tendency to want to fix everything.  I’m a problem-solver by nature… and I get frustrated when I see people spinning the same web over and over again.  I get frustrated when I feel like I have the answer, and yet they don’t seem to get it.  I need to Let.It.Go.  I can’t fix everything for everyone.  I can’t fix people’s attitudes.  I can’t fix their opinions.  I really don’t have all the right answers.  I need to Let.It.Go.

I believe life has many ups and downs.  I believe how you feel about life is dependent on your attitude. I believe every stage of life feels difficult when you’re in it.  I believe it’s necessary to have a good sense of humor about life because otherwise, you’ll want to cry all day.  I believe God doesn’t give us beyond what we can handle.  I probably won’t last a day in your shoes just as you may not last a day in mine.  Trust me, my life is no picnic either.  I believe every tough life stages will eventually pass, and we can overcome.  Lately, I’ve heard so many “woe is me” stories and attitudes.  I just want to shake them and tell them to put life into perspective.  If you have a place to lay your head at night and food to eat, you’re blessed. I want to tell them to just get over it, own your own life, and live it!  But I need to Let.It.Go.  I can encourage people, but I can’t change people–only God can do that.  I can listen to people, but I can’t shake them out of their self-misery forcefully.  I am responsible to people, but I can’t be responsible for people.  I need to Let.It.Go.  By the way, there’s a reason why I didn’t go into counseling (when many people said I should)… I would have been a horrible counselor–God wired me for something else and thankfully the Holy Spirit guided me to listen to Him rather than people.

I keep holding onto emotions that aren’t healthy for me.  I need to surrender every aspect of my life to God.

and Let.It.Go.

God knows your need…

This day started out with some big decisions I had to make…  ugh, i hate those moments… and the rest of the day was followed by many other decisions I need to make in the upcoming weeks and months that will have some big implications in terms of ministry, finances, health, life, etc… ugh, i want to crawl into a hole…  all these upcoming decisions is making my heart feel very uncomfortable, unsettled, confused, conflicted, etc…

Strangely enough as I was trying to settle my heart (even in the midst of our 6 hour long staff meeting), God put Isaiah 61:3 on my heart:

To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

Of course, this thought was followed by a song in my head:

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs heavy o’er your head
Know that tomorrow brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When what you’ve done keeps you from moving on
When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart
Know that forgiveness brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

I once was lost but God has found me
Though I was bound I’ve been set free
I’ve been made righteous in His sight
A display of His splendor all can see

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

On an exciting note, I received a message that the Sports Ministry in South Africa is currently testing “Coaching for Life” curriculum that my friend and I wrote earlier this year… and so far, so good… Thank you God!!!

Fail-Proof KidMin…

I started my current ministry back in February.  I was hired to start Children & Family Ministry from scratch at our new multi-site campus.  This multi-site is different in that we will not be duplicating current ministries… but our new site is going to look different to meet the needs and reach people who we’re not currently reaching.  It almost feels like a church plant in a way.  So the past few months have been filled with meetings to plan and prepare for this launch that will happen in the fall.  I have also been trying to meet and get to know as many people as possible.  One of the overwhelming part of this whole experience has been that my reputation has preceded me… and they already have a specific perception of who I am and what I am going to do.  Few conversations have gone like this:

People:  Oh, so you’re THE Pastor Gloria… so we have heard so much about you.  We heard that you’re going to change everything, and it’s gonna be awesome.

Me:  Oh.. nice to meet you.  I don’t know what you’ve heard… I’m not here to change everything… but just to do my best to have the best children’s ministry we can.

People:  We heard that you’re gonna reform children’s ministry… and you’re gonna do all these new programs and stuff…  Is that a rumor?

Me:  Hmmm… I wish I was a miracle worker… but what I’m committed to doing is to help kids connect with Jesus, and love Him more and more!

So you can see the progression of countless conversations like this…  I’m flattered that people think I’m that good (which makes me cringe on the inside…) and scared that people have such high expectations of this ministry I will be launching!  Man, it’s A LOT of pressure!!! I wish there was a fail-proof formula to doing Children & Family Ministry… but we all know that  there is no such thing!  In fact, there are so many variables… what may work gloriously in one church may not work for us.  We need to take into account the context, dynamics, and culture of the church… yes, I believe we can have a bit of control over these… but not 100% control.  I will be honest–I’m scared of this not working out so peachy (at least in the areas I’m overseeing).  This is where I need to be good steward of what is entrusted to me, and do my best to create the best environment for the kids, parents, and volunteers… but ultimately it’s up to God to make this ministry happen!

Recently in my conversation with friends, they reminded me that Jesus often used parables and illustrations that deal with gardening, farming, plants, and agriculture rather than carpentry, which was His job.  If you’re familiar with gardening, you don’t have full control over how your plants grow.  All you can do is to give it what it needs:  appropriate amount of sunlight, water, quality of soil, necessary pruning, etc… All you can do is give it the best environment you can, but you can’t make your plan grow to your liking!  Wow–how profound (it was to me at the time)!  In the photo above, I planted 2 calla lily bulbs… I got them at the same time from the same nursery… they’re even in the same pot.  The bulb on the left bore a lot of leaves.  In fact, it started growing so fast that I thought it was going to flower first.  However, the bulb on the right grew slowly and steadily and birthed a beautiful burnt orange calla lily!  I’m still waiting for the other one to flower!  They both had the same amount of sunlight, water, same soil, and same TLC… but to my dismay, only one of them is growing tall and beautiful…

In the same way, I think ministry is the same way… No matter how much we think we have control over people, we DON’T!  No matter how much I dream of kids becoming perfect children that love and obey Jesus all the time, it’s out of my control… I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 3:6

“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”

God is the One who will make the kids grow… not I!  My job is to do my VERY BEST to create the best environment for that growth to happen… so there is NO fail-proof Kids Ministry… but I’m trusting in God!  And I look forward to what God will do in and through our new ministry as it launches with excitement!!!  In the meantime, you can see another success/failure of another plant I planted–one bulb on the left just died while the one on the right is slowly steadily growing!

life altering decisions…

Have you ever made any decisions that could change the course of your life?  I know, this sounds really dramatic… but I believe I’ve made some of those decisions in my life whether I knew it or not at the time.  One was choosing to go to Berkeley over UCLA for college. At the time, I just wanted to get far away from home as much as possible… and I just wanted to prove that I’m just as good as my two cousins that went to Berkeley.  However, after my first year, I was completely miserable,  and I was sure that I had made the biggest mistake of my life.  In fact, I had even begun the process of transferring to UCLA my sophomore year.  Thankfully, I was lazy and never finished the paperwork… and my four years at Berkeley ended up being the most wonderful and influential time of my life.  I believe a huge part of who I am has a lot to do with my time at Berkeley.  That’s also where I first had the calling to go into ministry (although at the time, I didn’t realize that it was a true calling).

Since then, I’ve had few more decisions that I’ve made a long the way which had huge impact in my life.  Each time I started or left a ministry, it was a big deal because I felt that would change my life in a drastic way… and to an extent, it has.  Recently, I’ve had to make few more decisions… and to be honest, I suck at making these huge life decisions. Why???  Because it’s SCARY!!!  It’s really hard to go into something without knowing the outcome… and of course, that’s where faith comes in.  Apparently I lack faith…

The latest big possible life-altering decision came very hard… I kicked and screamed to God for months… I kept telling Him “I’ll do ANYTHING for you, but this…”  I kept looking for a way out… I was ACTIVELY looking for a way out!!!  But in the end, God sent amazing friends to talk some sense into me and challenged me.  It’s taken me awhile, but God has been working in my heart… and I can finally say today without a doubt that I AM AT PEACE.

I think I’ve lived long enough to know that God uses every experience and situation to prepare me for the next step of my life… well, I’m now preparing to enter into that next phase of my life… and I look forward to seeing how the next phase will change my life to further experience God’s goodness and perfect plan for my life!