commitment-phobe…

Wow, it’s been awhile since my last post.  The past month has been a crazy month filled with sadness, joy, celebration, mourning, refreshment, frustration, etc… you name it… i probably felt it!  I went from my grandfather’s funeral in Kansas to a conference in Louisville, Kentucky where I was ministered to by great friends… then onto Toronto for a conference where I went through some culture shock (not because they were Canadians, but because they were all Koreans–haha, I know, go figure…) and a crazy great time connecting with my KidMin friends at Group’s KidMin Conference in Chicago.  Being busy kept me from processing a lot of what’s been going on in my life.  Now that I’ve been back home for over a week, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I have experienced and learned the past month as well as where my future is headed… and my insomnia seems to be making its way back into my life–insomnia usually means I can’t turn my brain off… uuuggghhh.  😦

Well, one major thing that has been preoccupying my mind these days is where God is calling me next to do ministry.  I’ve been praying and exploring for the past 5-6 months (i know, a long time…) and it seems to be getting down to the wire now.  I must admit that I’ve really enjoyed the last nine months of not having “church” responsibilities.  But I also must admit that I have missed it.  If you know me, you know that I love talking, thinking, and breathing KidMin!

Last week, as I was thinking about different opportunities that God has set before me, it hit me that I’m a total commitment-phobe!!!  Yuck–that’s a trait I don’t like in people, especially my volunteers…  Sure, I’m up for any spontaneous adventure.. if you ask me to forgo cleaning tonight to go watch a movie or even go on a road trip, I wouldn’t hesitate much!  However, a decision with this much gravity paralyzes me.  The type-A in me starts making pro & con list of what would be the best decision in the long run.  I start playing my own devil’s advocate.  I start imagining what my life would look like in each scenario.  And I… can’t… stop…  because I’m convinced that this decision could potentially change the direction of my life forever…

People that know me know that I take FOREVER making “important” decisions… but once I commit, I’m in 110%!  Many have called me “super picky” on many occasions.  While it is important to go through the discerning process of making an important decision, I find that I get lost in the “what if’s” more than trusting in God to direct and guide me.  The honest truth is, God can and will use me regardless of where I go… sure, one may be a better fit than other options… but I can’t possibly know the outcome of my decision NOW…

Sometimes, God clearly closes doors.  Other times, God opens several doors, and this is where the decision-making gets difficult. Perhaps there isn’t always just one right door to go through, but what matters more is my heart and attitude more so than being preoccupied with choosing the “right door.”

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Don’t Run Away…

Doesn’t Amy Grant have a song called “don’t run away?”  haha…  well, now I’ve come to a point in my life where I need to seriously pray about some major decisions in my life.  As I’ve looked back upon my life, I’ve had to make few major decisions that may have altered the course of my life… In hind-sight, I can clearly say that God was at work in every one of these situations… but at the time, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing.

For example, I think choosing to go to UC Berkeley over UCLA was a big decision.  My dad and I fought over this decision for weeks.  Although I was being defiant, I wanted to prove to everyone that I WAS UC Berkeley material… My dad kept insisting that I go to UCLA so I could be close to home (which made me want to go further away even more).  The night before “intent to register” paperwork was due, inside I felt like I had to go to UCLA because I hadn’t sent anything in anywhere… but the stubbornness in me kept telling my dad that I wasn’t going to go to UCLA EVER!  That night, my dad gave in and said that ultimately he wants me to be happy, and that he’d be proud to have a daughter who goes to UC Berkeley.  This was the craziest thing I’ve seen my dad do–we went to the airport the next morning, bought tickets up to Oakland, and turned in my “Intent to Register at UC Berkeley” in person!  Wow…  I think back to that time… I really was just being stubborn and defiant… and I really didn’t know what I was doing… but that decision changed my life in a huge way!!!  I think being at Berkeley really had a huge part in shaping me to be who I am today (some would say for the worse.. haha).

I’ve had to make few other decisions since… some good, some bad… and although I don’t feel stressed, I do feel the anxiety of having to make possibly life-altering decisions soon.  I feel schizo at times…

DO NOT RESIST OR RUN from the difficulties in your life.  These problems are not random mistakes; they are hand-tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth.  Embrace all the circumstances that I allow in your life, trusting Me to bring good out of them.  View problems as opportunities to rely more fully on Me.  Most of the situations that entangle your mind are not today’s concerns; you have borrowed them from tomorrow.   “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young

I’ve read those words over and over and over and over again…  everything sounds so good and holy… and while I’m trying to put everything into perspective, I can’t seem to get rid of this anxiety that I feel.  And for all I know, I could be premature in feeling all this anxiety for nothing.  However, bottom line is… I’m at a crossroads in my life, and I do need to make some major decisions… and while it sounds exciting, it also sounds daunting…

I keep telling myself, “don’t run away…” and “find peace in God.”

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.  (John 14:27)

praying is a privilege, not a punishment!

I’m the first to admit that I don’t have the gift of intercession… apparently this gift skipped a generation… both my grandmothers and my mom were amazing prayer warriors.  When I was a little girl, I would find my mom praying in another room or even in a closet in the mornings.  My paternal grandmother used to tell me that she would start praying at 5 am, and by the time she was finished praying for all of her children and grandchildren, it was time to eat breakfast, 8 am!  Wow… i used to think “how in the world does my grandma pray for three hours?”  I remember keeping track of how long my prayers were in high school… It felt like I had achieved a huge task when I prayed over 15 minutes!

I admired people like my mom and my grandmas who had the gift of intercession… because no matter how hard I tried, I just found it hard to pray so much… I would even feel bad that when dire situations came up, the last thing on my mind was prayer… My outlook on prayer drastically changed summer of 1997.  I took an intensive class on prayer that summer.  I learned a lot that summer… but i walked away with 2 major take-away!

  1. Prayer isn’t to change God’s will, but to align my will to His will.  It’s to change me, NOT God!
  2. Prayer is just as simple as talking to God!!!

Somewhere along the line, it was communicated to me that prayer consisted of me kneeling next to my bed or sitting on my bed, with my eyes closed, head bowed, hands together, and using prayer lingo so God can understand what I was saying… It  might be true that all these things help you focus on God.  For me, this was a distraction… I was more concerned with my form than what I was actually saying to God.  I can talk to my friends for hours (yes, I have been on the phone for 6 hours w/ a friend in high school), why can’t I talk to God for more than 15 minutes?  Over time, I decided to abandon all my preconceived understanding of prayer… and just talk to God!

Now, I talk to God when I’m driving (yes, with my eyes open!), when I’m getting ready in the morning, when I’m cooking, even in front of tv sometimes, and pretty much whenever something comes to mind.  I took the formality out of prayer, and just started talking to Him as if He is right next to me all the time… oh wait, He IS there all the time!!!  😀  I still struggle with formal prayer time, but prayer is no longer feels like a burden or a punishment.

This is also something I have tried to teach the kids in my ministry.  We have prayed with our eyes open, we have prayed using one-word each, we have shouted our prayers, we have written our prayers to God, etc…  because at the end of the day, it’s not about how we pray…  it’s about TALKING to God about everything!!!

In the past two weeks, I have received half  dozen emails from friends and family who have asked me to pray on their behalf regarding ill family members, job situation, and other difficult situations in life!  I consider it an honor and a privilege to be asked to talk to God for them!!!  And every time I remember, I DO talk to God about you and your situation!!!

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  (Philippians 4:6,  NLT)