The Distance Between the Mind & the Heart

We should handle it the best way we know how and get on with it. That’s what my mind says, I just wish somebody would explain it to my heart.
~M’Lynn, Steel Magnolias
 

This is one of my all time favorite quotes from the girliest movie that I actually love… Steel Magnolias!  The reason why I love this movie so much is because it has so many awesome quotes, tearful moments followed by laughter…. and besides how could you not love anything with Sally Fields?

4play-Heart-vs-Mind2The first time I heard this line by Sally Field’s character after her daughter’s funeral, my heart just sank because it resonates with me so much! I always feels like there’s a long distance between my mind and my heart… Over time, I’ve learned to build my mind to be strong and focused (probably as self-defense mechanism) but I haven’t honed in on building my heart as much. My mind often feels strong but my heart often feels weak. I get hurt easily. I get disappointed easily. My mind says not to mind what other people say or do… but my heart can’t help but to feel sad, angry, frustrated, disappointed, hurt, and unsettled.  I know in my mind what I should do… but I wish somebody would explain it to my heart because it often doesn’t accompany my mind. I often wonder why God made the mind to think differently from the way the heart feels. It would be so much easier if they just cooperated and worked together.

This morning as I was thinking about this quote, I was reminded that my only source of direction and answer is talking to God and turning to the Scripture. I always wish it was “yes” or “no”… but I often don’t get those direct answers from God, but I know that He has given enough truths for me to follow. Besides, I was reminded that “yes” or “no” isn’t what God wants us to have, but  He wants ME to seek Him… and that’s when He grants us clarity! Now, let’s go tell my heart that!

Advertisements

misfortune…

sws-one-murphys-law-wordsMisfortune = bad luck, and unfortunate condition or event.

Since I was a teenager, I’ve been told that my life was doomed with misfortune.  It’s not a very nice thing to say, but I think it’s a Korean-cultural thing… I suppose it’s because I lost my mom at a young age, which was the beginning of chain reaction of events that led to more unfortunate events in my life.

Not much has come easy in my life.  I’m not naturally book- smart (I know, shocker… right?)  I actually had to work and study in school (yup, I guess I’ve just broken the Asian-stereotype too!)  Even decision about college came at a high price (that story is for another time).  Even getting financial aid (when everyone else’s checks were just ready for them when semester started) was difficult and required many hours of standing in line to fight public school bureaucracy to get my grants and loans before getting kicked out of school.  Many life decisions did not come easy for me… it involved pain, agony, and many tears.  I really don’t like drama–seriously!!!  But drama just follows me… from drama-filled dysfunctional family to dealing with drama-filled people at workplace to my personal life!

Murphy’s Law seems to be the anthem of my life!  When things go wrong, my friends automatically blame me (sometimes jokingly… other times, seriously!)  It’s a miracle that I’m still alive and not badly hurt… after all, whenever anything can go wrong, it often does in my life… I can seriously write a novel about this–in fact, few friends keep telling me to because most ridiculous things happen to me–NO JOKE!

With all the misfortunes in my life, it’s amazing that I can still keep my head up and smile… because to be honest, there’s a lot of reasons to bury my head under the blanket and just sleep my life away!  However, God’s been reminding me with not-so-gentle nudges that that’s life!  Life wasn’t meant to be easy–especially as a God-fearing, God-loving person.  Life isn’t all about sunshine, but it’s often the storm that brings out the true self.  Life isn’t always smooth sailing, but weathering through rough  waters is what builds character and strength.  Life isn’t always about the good times, but the difficult times help us to understand how blessed we are to have had better days… and there’s hope in better days to come again.

The misfortunes in my life has helped me appreciate the good things. It has helped me not to take laughter for granted.  It has helped me understand the blessings in my life.  It has helped me to be grateful for what I have.  In fact, misfortunes have helped me to be the person I am today… and I’m thankful for all the misfortunes that I have experienced–even the really, really bad ones because it’s made me to become the stronger Gloria Lee that wasn’t there before.

I Want a Do-Over!

go back 3 spacesLately, I keep wishing someone would hand me a chance card that read “go back 3 spaces.”  Gosh, if I could go back 7 spaces, it would be even better!

I wish I could to go back to my last interaction with my mom before her aneurysm.  I wish I could go back 15 years right before I probably said very hurtful words to someone I shouldn’t have.  I want a do-over.  I wish I could go back to 2011 when I took some time off from full-time ministry and took time to travel and play.  I wish I could do-over the past 10 months. I wish I could do-over the past 2 months.  I wish I could go back to this morning for a do-over and take back stupid and lame things that came out of my mouth.  I want a do-over.

The problem is… not only can I not get a do-over… but even if I were to go back, I only wish to go back with the knowledge and experiences I have now… which is just not possible. It’s impossible to live without any regrets in life… I sure try my best though.  Life is full of mistakes…  regrets… and pain.  There are things I wish I could do-over just about every day.  I ask myself “did I represent Jesus well today?”  and unfortunately, I can always think of a way I didn’t.  Trust me, I’m not the type of person who beats myself over my shortcomings every day… but everyday, I’m reminded how far from perfect and good I am.  I’m also reminded how far from perfect this life is… it’s full of frustrations, pain and tears.

Thankfully, God doesn’t hold my imperfection against me.  Although I keep making mistakes, He’s already forgiven me of stupid things I’ll do in the days, weeks, months, and years to come… and He calls me His.  And while I can’t go back to yesterdays for a do-over, He gives me a do-over every new day.  I have the opportunity to make wrongs right.  I have the opportunity to make wiser decisions, having learned from past mistakes.  I have the opportunity to represent Jesus better tomorrow than I did today.  It doesn’t mean I’ll get it perfect one day… not as long as I live on earth.  But I get a do-over every day when I open my eyes.

Life is still full of frustrations, pain, and tears… thankfully, God knows them all… He knows my frustrations.  He knows my pain.  He knows my tears.  And while not everything is under my control, I get a do-over each day to change my attitude, perspective, and response.  I already have a do-over!

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.

Crazy Pills…

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged… Life has been pretty busy, to say the least… I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster ride for the past several months!  And yes, I’ve been feeling like I’m taking crazy pills (remember this from Zoolander?)

If you’ve been around me lately, you have probably heard me say this a lot!  I have always struggled with my identity growing up.  Trying to fit in when you’re not part of the majority has not been easy.  When I was the only asian girl in my elementary school in Kansas, I desperately wanted to wake up one morning with blonde hair and blue eyes.  When I moved to Los Angeles and found myself among other Korean-Americans that looked like me, I realized I was very different from them but desperately tried to fit in by acting like them.  When I found myself in the midst of Korean-American Christian community in college, I struggled to fit the cookie cutter mold of what I perceived to be the perfect Korean-American Christian girl.  I was pretty lousy fitting into that mold, although I’ve always been really good at faking it!

In my late 30s, I no longer care about fitting into a mold.  I just want to be the best ME that God made me… I thought that would be easy, but I’m learning that it’s not easy being me (I’m sure Kermit the Frog can relate).  It’s not easy being me because I don’t fit in any mold that has been expected of me (for the most part).  I’m coming to terms with the fact that I don’t think like a typical Korean-American, a typical Christian, nor even a typical girl (I guess that’s why I’ve been considered one of the guys most of my life–which is NOT a compliment to a girl nevertheless)!  People tell me that’s what makes me unique and that’s what makes me ME… but when I see people giving me crazy looks after I open my mouth, all I’m thinking is “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.”  Thankfully, I have met some kindred spirits along the way… but for some reason, God has not placed me with my kindred spirits currently…  so right now, I’m learning.  I’m learning to be patient.  I’m learning to communicate in ways that people understand.  I’m learning to hold my tongue.  I’m learning to show mercy.  I’m learning to be kind.  I’m learning to forgive.  I’m learning to love.   I’m learning to trust in God’s leading.  I’m learning to feel normal even when I feel like I’m on crazy pills.

CRAZY-PILLS

Christmas and Family Dysfunction…

I like to feel warm & fuzzy on Christmas…  who doesn’t?  If you’ve watched a lot of TV Christmas specials growing up, then we all dream of this perfect Christmas that makes us feel all warm & fuzzy!  Perhaps this is why one of my favorite Christmas special is The Christmas Story… because it makes me feel better about my own dysfunctional family!  😀  I don’t have a perfect family–in fact, far from it!  Since high school, I’ve come to realize and accept the fact that our family will never be picture perfect, and we’re way beyond pretending.   Thus, I guess I gave up the hope of having this ideal Little House on the Prairie Christmas special time with my own family… I came to expect very little during the whole holiday season since the dysfunction seems to heighten during the months of December and January.

Yet I still watch all the warm & fuzzy Christmas specials… the ones where people realize that Christmas is really about family, loving one another, and being together… well, it’s a good message… but as I share my story with people, I realize that more and more people also don’t have this picture perfect family like I thought they did… so many people have gotten really great at pretending and ignoring their issues… and playing “nice” during the holidays.  For some reason, we all feel the need to be that family that appears on Hallmark Channel TV special, at least during the holidays.  And it got me thinking just how many people are sick of pretending or how many people are actually hurting during this time of the year…

For me, I’ve learned over the years not to dwell on what I’m “missing out” by not having this picture perfect family… being reminded that Christmas isn’t about having the perfect family time… rather it’s about reflecting upon the GREATEST GIFT that was demonstrated to me through the birth of my personal Savior.  That’s what Christmas is really all about… but media and marketing tells us that it’s about having the perfect family time, and it’s really easy to get sucked up in that idea.  I don’t share this to gain sympathy… TRUST ME!!!  but I just wonder how often we get sucked into this idea that rarely plays out in reality.  I think that’s why we like to fantasize and dream… because it takes us away from the pain of reality.  Family time can be a very painful time for some people, especially during Christmas time.  I hope and pray that if you happen to be reading this and it speaks to your heart, that you’d understand there is so much joy and hope to be found in this season because Christmas is really about the birth of Jesus!

Okay.. here’s my random thought for the evening… back to work!

 

a thousand sleepless nights

Tonight I came across a song called “Blessings” by Laura Story through some facebook posts.  Alright, confession time–I don’t listen to a lot of Christian music… so when I read few posts regarding this song, it peeked my curiosity… and then one of the posts included part of the lyrics:

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

The lyrics immediately caught my attention.  I’ve had lots of raindrops, tears, trials, and definitely what feels like thousand sleepless nights in my life!  These are probably areas of my life that I don’t share too openly (except that a lot of my friends know that I’m a total insomniac!).  Fortunately I have had enough experiences in life to see the beauty God has created out of the darkest of situations… so even as I go through difficulties, I try to keep focused on what God will do with it eventually… but truth be told, dark times just plain SUCK when you’re in the midst of it!

Being the nerd that I am, I wanted to know where these lyrics came from… and my search led to Laura Story’s bio on her website.  You can read her whole bio here, but the following excerpt really spoke to me (btw, her husband, Martin, had been diagnosed with brain tumor 2 years into their marriage):

“Life is filled with things you don’t expect, but the Bible tells us to respond by trusting God and continuing to worship him,” Story begins. “Martin hasn’t received complete healing—and that can be hard at times when we view God as all-powerful and all-loving. But here we are now saying, ‘Yes, this is how faith works.’ God has proven to be faithful. We have been truly blessed out of a circumstance that at first didn’t seem like much of a blessing at all.”

This thing called faith…  in the midst of times when we don’t receive what we want from this all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving God.  Yes, God knows what we need, and He gives it to us in His time… but we’re often preoccupied with what we want!  When I look back on my life, my biggest growth spurts as a Christian happened as a result of my darkest hours… but I never learn… I still want an easy, comfortable life… and this song was a good reminder that blessings often come through raindrops, healing comes through tears, and a thousand sleepless nights remind me that God is near–just like now!