Freedom

Jesus died for us so that we could be free, right? Simple. Should be simple enough. For me, these past few weeks have been some of the most trying ones filled with doubt, temptation, bitterness and self-loathing. I know that Jesus has a perfect plan for me and that even in the struggles I must have faith because He’s already DONE everything for us on the cross. When He said “It is finished”, He meant it. He didn’t mean it’s partially done or you have to work your butt off every moment of every day (which was basically my mentality for as long as I can remember), but He wants us to rest in the freedom that He’s given us.

Is Jesus enough for me though? That’s something I question on most days. When I’m not busy doing something, I sit there and the fact that I’m not doing something productive consumes me. But now it’s a battle between me and my laziness, another extreme. I no longer feel that a lot of things I used to enjoy are worth doing because I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a bitter uphill battle. Yes this mountain is worth climbing, but yes it’s also painful.

There is a hope inside of me though that the freedom will be sweet. I can taste it. Everywhere I look, man is in chains. The world’s constantly shifting. Turn your eyes toward Jesus because He’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I know that it’s such a privilege He’s given me to have the ability to choose what I want to do with my life. Yeah I’m a self-proclaimed “free spirit”… I need Him to control that part of my human nature though. There’s nothing wrong with having freedom, but He says “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.” Therefore, let us keep our eyes fixated on Him in this day.

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The Voice of Condemnation: The Perptual Loop of Self-Loathing

Self-loathing is like poison. You drink it slowly and it will overtake your mind, soul and spirit. It’s not healthy and yet I never seem to stop as of late. As people we truly need more of His grace to wash over us so that we can be more like Him from the inside out. I have been evolving for the last month and I can sense it. While it may seem like I’m very different from before (which I am) this transition is still in the works.

I want to thank those who have reached out to me and been so uplifting. From the outside, it’s easy to wear a facade and to act like Jesus is irrelevant. It really is, and I did that for much too long. He is so compassionate, loving and kind though and there for us no matter if we realize it or not.

“You can be a catalyst for greatness or corruption. And in those rare moments, you can bring back someone from the precipice of their own extinction, or watch them die. Men and women who want to love: let’s simply love people to pieces. No more charades of “prayer-at-a-distance” or “We-need-to-pray-that-he-gets-it.” Yes, wash them in prayer. But now jump in there. Encourage. Yank them out of that loop of self-loathing. If you hate: please let it go. By the grace of God, go save a life. Hate is predictable, tired, ordinary, and steals life. You can walk out of that prison and be free, then instill that freedom.”

J.S. Park

There are days when I keep imagining what other people would say.

You’re not the good guy you pretend to be.

At any given moment, a dozen people could walk in from my past and tell you about me: and you’d walk out of the room after vomiting your guts out.

These people don’t know how sick you really are.

It’s a loop, over and over, like a madman stabbing slowly.

What’s the point? You can’t make up for what you’ve done.

I get into a mental chokehold, not allowing myself any joy for too long: because I feel that’s a righteous punishment.

I know who you really are. I know what you’re about. You’re not fooling anyone.

It’s a constant, tortured paralysis, and I wish I could tell you that I’m above it. But I’m not. It’s exhausting, to outrun myself in a race I can’t win.

Are we…

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Wave After Wave

It is Sunday night and I am procrastinating on a major assignment for English (what’s new). I still have so much left to do so this will be a mini-post on highs and lows.

highs – the song “wave after wave”. green tea matcha. (side note I no longer hate on Starbs as much as I used to and it has gone from medicinal status to must drink it or else my chronically sleep deprived self can’t function) finding cute coffee shops. exploring the Ave. (ok I swear I’ll have some non-food related highs some time but not this week because food is everything and you’re probably nodding your head with me amirite amrite) good conversations with some quality human beings. praising Jesus at night with other fellowships. picnics with my favorite baby. the Quad in general when it’s sunny. colorful balloons. krispy kreme donuts with a lovely friend. people who truly care about my life problems. bubble tea two times this week with some of my favorites. being tanner. dressing like a little kid. my stuffed pig. rose bud scented oil from urban outfitters. purple nail polish. surprise visits from the bestie. being appreciated by // appreciating my lovely fellowship. ice cream dates with my daddy. celebrating my mom today and finally getting to see the fam.

lows – losing my keys. twice. finding my keys. (turns out they were hiding in a little corner in my backpack). getting locked out of my cluster at 11pm. having mia roommates but non-mia roommates at 3am. (long story) drinking three+ cups of coffee a day and getting caffeine headaches. unintentionally passing out in my floor mate’s cluster and having little recall of actually falling asleep. little bugs that fly everywhere. having to redo my stats lab after my laptop shut down (five hours of extra misery = cranky janet). napping more than usual this past week (usually never took naps last quarter or maybe once a week tops). running up four flights of stairs on saturday and sweating my head off. procrastinating on homework as usual. struggling to find a purpose for many of the little things. (which could also be a high because i’m slowly discovering more purpose) not being able to make it to small group this week (but networking with professionals instead was a great experience).

that’s all folks. short n sweet. looking forward to the week ahead and thank you for being a part of my week if you were.

xo

Effort Is Not Legalism (Because Legalism Is Legalism)

“Your effort under God’s loving power will always give birth to humility, gratitude, joy, and service. Not perfectly, but passionately and increasingly. If you feel the devil attacking hard, it’s not legalistic to consider throwing away that laptop and limiting your travels.”
Lately I’ve felt the devil attacking me. It’s definitely been discouraging at times, feeling like my efforts to pursue Him have been in vain. But Jesus pours grace upon grace unto us and in the end all our efforts for Him are worth it.

J.S. Park

It’s easy to poke fun at dudes who read their Bibles on a calendar, wake up at dawn to pray for three hours, and serve on the worship-rap-dance-drama-origami team. That dude attends church nine times per week, drops off food to the homeless from his jetpack, never gets near alcohol or even the rubbing kind, reads the Bible from the original Dead Sea scrolls, and lives in the last known Qumran community that serves lepers and fasts half the year. Someone yells “legalism.”

When we hear about guys doing whatever it takes to quit their sin addiction, like Twelve Step Plans and cognitive behavioral therapy and throwing away their laptops, we think that’s External Conformity. We call it “Religion.”

We throw around the word “Legalist” because just maybe, it relieves our anxiety about being lukewarm. Because maybe that really soothes our conscience about being passive on our own struggles.

The…

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Lost Again

Here it is week I don’t know what week we are in. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so lost. I have no sense of direction and I genuinely feel so unsatisfied all the time. I hate being that debby downer but this is a new low I’ve reached and it really sucks. I think in order for me to find myself in God again I have to genuinely seek Him. But to be completely honest that hasn’t been working out too well. I’ve placed my hope in other things for so long that now that my insides are writhing with pain. I don’t like or want to feel this way. I also hate complaining to people for the most part since it’s so burdensome. So I will vent here. As usual. I truly want to find my joy in Him, I do. I also want to be completely satisfied with the abundant blessings upon blessings He’s poured onto me this year, in every way possible from the people I’ve been surrounded with recently and the beautiful place I live.

I pray that I can be less selfish and more selfless. I pray that I will stop grumbling all the time because it’s the most I’ve grumbled (mostly in my head) since as long as I can remember. I hate this feeling and I am thoroughly lost again. I want to start caring but I can’t bring myself to do it. I think something important to realize is that transitions are always painful but I didn’t know it’d cause me to be in so much pain. I thought being done once and for all with something that was no longer right for me would be a smooth transition. But I’m lost and desperately seeking Him again.

Jesus I need you, your face is all I seek. #midnightmusings #hellomonday

a little reminder on faith

Placing your hope in Jesus is the single greatest thing I’ve been learning lately… and one of my favorite people has such great insight on this topic. Thank you for this reminder 🙂

where grace abounds

I was thankful for the reminder tonight that if we place our faith in God, we’re not expecting Him to show us results immediately after. Does that make sense? When we put something into God’s hands we are trusting that He will do what He wants in the time when He says is right. There is no agenda. No timeline, no schedule, no itinerary. We just give it up.

We give it up because we know that whatever comes from Him is so much better than whatever we get from taking things for ourselves. And I think that’s the only way we can fully trust–when we know that the greatest gifts come from the Father when it’s time for us to have them.

But it’s so much easier said than done. Instant gratification doesn’t pair well with learning to wait and learning to be patient. In theory yes, if we wait…

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Transitions

Right now I’m in this transitioning phase of my life. Wanna know how I feel about that? Well change in the first place hasn’t always been easy. It’s God’s way of shifting your perspective and enforcing His spirit upon you so that the spirit can steer the wheel instead of yourself. All this time I’ve been trying to take control of my life and you know what, things pretty much never work out the way I want them to.

Slowly I’ve been realizing His way has always been the best. I know this but acting upon it is a whole ‘nother story. Through my failures I’ve become (slightly) awakened. I know that He can use people who are weak like myself to lift others up. But at the same time I find that concept quite difficult to grasp. I don’t want people to view me differently or be that burden that I feel like I am when I start to open up myself. The wounds of the past, my history and insecurities revealed…

So right now I’m transitioning. I’m figuring things out and still trying to hear His voice. I encourage you to join me on this journey. Don’t be afraid to reach out. In fact, I’d love to hear from you. I know this blog is mainly my own therapy, a place for me to rant and reflect. I don’t want to be on this walk with Christ by myself anymore. Let’s walk together.

Haunted

I’m going to share with you a really personal story about myself that I’ve only told a few people…not even my dad. Only my mom knows this about me as well as a few other trusted friends but it’s been pressing upon me recently and brought up more and more. It’s a raw side of me in this transitioning phase of being more honest and open. It might (or might not depending on how well you know me) explain why I am the way I am around strangers like the one I will talk about below and why it seems that I can be so open and yet so closed off at the same time. (I’m basically a walking and breathing paradox. I promise I want to get to know you, but it takes me time to be 100% free to express myself).

By nature, I’m a free spirit and pretty carefree (at least on most days…catch me on a day when I’m stressed and overwhelmed and I’ll try my best to appear sane – maybe I’ll fool you but if you’re my best friend C she catches me in like two seconds so thanks for keeping me down to earth)

This is my story. A few summers ago was when I met this stranger and I didn’t think much of it. I thought we were going to be friends. He was the same age as me and being innocent at that age I could’ve sworn there was no ill intent in him. It was summer of 2012 and I was on a trip going overseas on vacation. The next 8 hours on the plane were fine until he did something to me that sickened me to my stomach. To many people it may not seem like a big deal, but for me it was. I felt like I was being objectified against my own will and I didn’t like it one bit. My stomach was sick and the mental image of what happened was gross.

For the next few years I would beat myself up for it. I was haunted. Looking back, I now understand why it is that whenever a new one similar to him comes along, I don’t want anything to do with him. There were days when I was scared of being alone in the same room as guys similar to him (almost like an irrational psychological disorder)

Maybe this will be a surprise to some of you. Jesus calls us to love everyone but how can I love if I’m scared? How can I be around people like him or who remind me of the way I was treated? I can still a bit wary, protective and guarded around strangers or new faces like him.

I no longer want to hide the feeling of being haunted and fight it by myself. On bad days, there was a darkness within me that drove me insane, making me wonder what was wrong with me. It’s still a journey and that incident can still haunt me at times. Thankfully I’ve reflected enough and given up the darkness to Jesus. I don’t come off as guarded so almost every one of you may find this story surprising to you. Yeah. It still weirds me out too. It even surprised me that Jesus called me earlier this week to share such a small, simple story with others like myself who might’ve faced uncalled for harrassment at some point in their life and blamed themselves for the longest time.

The bottom line is harrassment is not okay and it’s not your fault. And it’s only through truth that you can be set free. We are lights and we are called to shine and share our story, no matter how big or small it is. Mine no longer haunts me as much. I just know everyone is affected differently and you’re not alone.

xo

A Cycle of Apathy No More

We always want what we can’t have. Here I’m sitting on my bed reflecting on my week. It’s Friday morning 8:18AM and I’m passed out from last night’s farewell dinner to a friend from church who’s leaving forever for Taiwan. So yes, I’m evaluating friendships, much the same way that a lovely friend in my life just did last night. And to her I want to say thank you for being in my life, even if I’m not very present or as much as I should be. I’m sorry you felt the way you did last night and I’m always praying for you. ❤ Much love.

To others in my life and anyone else reading this, I want to be held accountable for being true to myself. This was the first week in my entire school year that I was able to hang out with brothers and sisters in Christ on school days. The past two quarters have been filled with God knows what (we all know what I’d fill in the blank with, whether it’s ASUW, AKPSi, tutoring or school), in the end I’m still asking myself what am I living for?

Many times I’m someone when in the presence of others seeks to make other people feel good first and foremost. I bottle up most of my true emotions and will make a point to pretend to be happy if I’m feeling down just to make sure it doesn’t show on my face so I don’t seem like a negative person. So yeah call me crazy, call me whatever you want and if you catch me doing it, CALL ME OUT. I dare you and I’ll eventually thank you for it even if it’s awkward or painful. It’s really unhealthy, it drained me quite a bit emotionally, and really it just feels crappy. And whenever I do vent, I tend to feel a lot better. So I should remember that I need to vent more. (if I’ve vented to you before, I probably trust you haha)

In this season, I want to start fresh with seeking true, raw friendships. I already mentioned that. After all, we only get into things what we put into them. I love the people in my life, don’t get me wrong. God has blessed me abundantly with many circles of friends who I find appreciation/value in, in a number of ways. Some more than others but nonetheless, everyone(thing) in life is either a blessing or a lesson right?

With friendships, that’s tough for me. I’ve recently found it harder to open up to people than before even when given the opportunity because it seems that everyone already has a “mental picture” of who the other is. And it just seems that you need to live up to the “world’s expectations” of who you’re meant to be. But like I mentioned before, it’s good to be weird, to be different and to express yourself. MY GOAL I guess, if you can even call it that, is to be comfortable in my own skin and to find joy in every circumstance. Joy comes from Jesus and happiness is temporal. Joy is when you put Jesus first, others next and yourself last. We’re all a little selfish, and I’ll admit I can be, even if I don’t try to. If you always seek Jesus and seek joy, then you’ll be joyful no matter the circumstance.

It doesn’t matter if things aren’t going our way or if we’re under great stress. It doesn’t matter if even the friendships that should be strong haven’t been the way you want them to be. None of that matters, none of the things we hold onto so tightly as long as we put Him first – all else that’s done with our own power is in vain.

I hope that I can be a blessing in your life and that we’ll grow closer through Him in this new season of life.

Here’s to to friendship, to being a more honest version of myself, and to being more vulnerable.

xoxo

Contentment

A few days ago, I was thinking a lot about not wanting to just be “fine” anymore. I was wondering why it was that whenever people asked me how I was doing, I could never bring myself to truly say I was content and mean it. I want to be able to rest in the presence of The Lord and not be weary or restless. I’ve been making adjustments to my habits and this quarter I don’t know where He’s leading me but I feel a calling from Him alright. I know He’s been slowly removing whatever hindrances stopped me in the past year from truly chasing after Him in every moment.

Jesus, please transform me so I can be a light to your kingdom.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” – Psalm 23:1

This verse is so true, in that while the world tells us we need this or that to be happy, honestly, I think that’s untrue on so many levels. Even though it may seem that wealth, success, or other things this world deems good aren’t inherently bad, having them as our sole pursuit in our life can blind us from what is most important, the pursuit of our Savior.

I’m filled with joy that I finally realize this after months and months of being blind. My eyes are open once again. Thank you Jesus.