Today I went running for the first time in a while. Woke up at 6:30 a.m. to the gloomy remnants of the storm from the night before. But I was determined to get my two feet out the door today.
As I took my first few strides, the first thing I noticed is how heavy my legs felt. Paranoid thoughts started forming in my head. Was I that out of shape? Was I getting old? Was I getting fat (ladies don’t hurt me, these were just thoughts running through my head)? Perhaps it was a combination of the 3, but one thing for certain is that running was not as easy as it used to be.
It wasn’t long before I had to take a break. As I tried to regain my breath, I became more aware of my body and the environment. In the cold morning mist; the only thing I could feel was my heart, which was working super hard due to my lack of exercise over the past year. My heart was the only thing keeping me warm in the cold: a satisfying burning sensation that I haven’t felt in a long time.
It wasn’t until later in the evening during my church’s jam session that God revealed a bit of His heart to me. The jam climaxed with an old favorite, “How He Loves” When we sang the first line of the song,
He is jealous for me
the burning sensation in my heart returned, this time stronger than before. I started thinking about the song and reflected about How God Loves me. It wasn’t long before I was answered by the voices of my brothers and sisters around me:
He Loves Me Jealously.
How hard does God run while He’s chasing after me? How far does He run to meet me in my brokenness. How jealous does God get when I chase after worldly things and completely ignore His efforts in trying to have a relationship with me.
How much does God’s heart burn for me?
I want to hear God’s voice and I hope in my desperation to hear Him, I’m not misinterpreting my feelings and jumping to conclusions. I hope one day I will be able to hear His voice audibly, but until then I pray for more discernment with what I got: Scripture, prayer, the church, and circumstances.
There are times when you watch a certain part of a movie that you connect with so strongly that you want to scream out, “STORY. OF. MY. LIFE.”
That happened when I revisited the first movie I’ve ever watched. The past few weeks of my life can not be explained better than the following scenes from The Lion King.
1. “You Said You’ll Always Be There For Me, But You’re Not”
Last semester was really tough for my walk God. In my frustrated and half-hearted prayers, I asked God to make Himself evident to me; say something, show me a sign, even if it was a small stirring in my heart just say something. However, I go the same answer that Simba got when he cried out to the stars: silence. I felt like I was just talking with a wall.
2. “You see… He lives in you”
I sought guidance in an older (and somewhat peculiar) spiritual mentor named Barry. The man (who is now my Pastor) taught me about the Holy Spirit. The lesson was dense (like the thicket that Simba ran through), but passage that caught on comes from Romans 8:9-11
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. … And the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you
Pastor Barry challenged me to look harder within myself. I began searching for this mysterious being that is “living within me”
3. ”You have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me.”
In my introspection, I realized that forgetting who I was is one of the main causes of my depression last semester. Losing my sense of identity caused a chain reaction of other losses: motivation in work, confidence in myself, direction in life, and purpose in living.
As I was catching up with a friend, she was talking about how the book of Isaiah has been really speaking to her. I decided to check the book out myself and I came across something interesting in chapter 51.
12 “I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Who are you that you fear mere mortals,
human beings who are but grass,
13 that you forget the Lord your Maker,
who stretches out the heavens
and who lays the foundations of the earth
That’s when I remembered that God is the King of Kings.
4. “You are my son and the one true king.”
At this point in the scene, Mufasa turns from a ghost in the clouds into to full color as he says the most important part in his message to Simba:
“You are my Son”
This sounds exactly like God when the heavens opened up in Jesus’ baptism in Luke 3:22
And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
This reminded me of a verse that my Family Group had me memorize -> Galatians 4:6-7
6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
That’s when I had my epiphany: I am God’s beloved Son. As a King’s son, I am a prince to inherit His kingdom.
5. “Looks like the winds are changing.”
When I went to church for the first time this school year, the worship team at Symphony Church began and ended service with this song.
The first verse of the song:
I have heard a sound coming on the wind
Changing hearts and mind, healing brokenness
I feel a generation breaking through despair
I hear a generation full of faith, declare
Since my discover of my identity, verses in the bible began to stand out a lot more. Especially in the book of Isaiah:
3. For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
4. They will spring up like grass in a meadow,like poplar trees by flowing streams.
Boston is very dry. And perhaps I’m just on a spiritual high right now, but I feel that an air of change is coming to Boston. I believe that Boston is about to be a center for spiritual revival. I would love to see Boston fulfill its intended purpose: A City Upon a Hill.
Ahhhhh, I probably sound like a madman right now, but a boy can dream right?
6. “Remember Who You Are”
Rafiki’s last words before Simba runs off to the Pridelands were, “The past can hurt. But the from way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it”
Finding my identity in Christ is one of the biggest blessings I could’ve asked for. The journey to finding it made me grow so much. There is still much I don’t know about God and what His plans for me are. All I know is that this is freest I’ve felt in a long time.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
I understand that the path of being a Christian is going to be hard, but I have faith that my inheritance will be far greater than the sufferings I endure on the path.
Until that day, all I can say is that…
I just can’t wait to be King :D
(Ok, maybe not King, but a prince isn’t bad either)
When people hear 9 “months”, the first word that comes to mind is pregnancy. When people think of pregnancy, they usually think “blessing” or “painful”.
Today marks the 9th month anniversary since my baptism and I gotta say… the past 9 months have been a painful blessing.
Looking back on my thought process back in June, I must’ve been pretty naive. When I decided to get baptized, there was a part of me that wanted a scene from Matthew 3:16 was going to be recreated:
16 … At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.
Shortly after my baptism, my faith became lukewarm. Lukewarm soon turned to apathy, apathy turned to cynicism. It wasn’t before long before my heart became numb and I could no longer feel the stirring in my chest that I once called “The Holy Spirit/Presence of God”.
During the winter, my friend Christine P. (Happy Birthday btw) sent me a song by Brooke Fraser:
I was hooked from the first verse:
There’s distance in the air and I cannot make it leave
I wave my arms round about me and blow with all my might
I cannot sense you close, though I know you’re always here
But the comfort of You near is what I long for.
As I had the song on repeat for the next couple of day, I decided to revisit Matthew 3.
17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
When I said that verse out loud, there was a certain sense of calmness that surrounded me. I wasn’t any less skeptical or cynical, but the bitterness I had been harboring was gone. It was elating.
I always that God’s calling for me would be something along the sorts of ”Give to the poor. Go to Africa. Become a missionary.” As I begin to reflect on that verse, I’m beginning to think that God’s calling for me to “Be my Son”
9 months… It took 9 months for me to finally realize that I am God’s Son, a son with whom He is well pleased.
With my identity secured, I think I finally found a foundation to rebuild my broken faith. Maybe it’s just the spring weather teasing, but I’m starting feel a bit more alive and free; I feel like I’m reborn.
is a sound I’ve been hearing way too often recently. I got food poisoning along with half my church during a Christmas Dinner event… 2 days before I leave for Urbana. Before I could go, I first had to pull off possibly the greatest theatrical act in my lifetime: convincing my mom that I was healthy enough to go…
The road trip to St. Louis was no picnic either. The entire trip ended up taking 24 hours. We drove straight into a snowstorm somewhere in West Pennsylvania. While we were waiting out the storm, our car battery failed, so we had to jump start the car. Our diets consisted of candy and fast food. All the while, I was nursing upset stomachs, turtleheads, and praying that the entire car doesn’t suffocate from my farts. When we finally saw the Gateway Arch, there was an air of relief and rejoice. I guess that’s how Joshua must’ve felt when he reached the Promised Land.
Cue the Angels: HALLELUJAH
After we settled down in our room, I needed to gather my thoughts. So I went straight into my thinking spot: the toilet. I enter into my zone when I’m on the toilet; many times, the toilet has been a place where I can find a source of inspiration.
She knows what I’m talking about
Today, I finally got to reflect about my past year. So many things happened in 2012. And it all happened so fast… a lot of them good:
Went to build houses in New Orleans for the first time
Went to First Red Sox game (vs. Rangers)
Volunteered for Salvation Army in Chinatown
Went to Spain (first time in Europe)
Survived Hurricane Sandy
Waxed my legs (partially)
Made it to front page of Reddit, Imgur, 9Gag (Picture with Ms. Universe)
Survived the End of the World
I know the Christian thing to do is to count my blessings, but I can’t help thinking how crappy the year ended. Maybe it’s part of my inherent Asian genes, but I can’t help keep focusing on the bad. I’ve recently started to become pessimistic and cynical in my thoughts again. In a few days, I’m going to be among 20,000 people in a stadium singing Auld Lang Syne. I’m scared to get too excited because that usually creates expectations and with expectations usually come disappointments.
I’ve experienced a New Year 20 times in my life already (more if you count Chinese New Years). By now, I should know that this feeling of “hope” that everyone has lasts at max the end of January. By now, I should know better that from December 31st to January 1st is just the passing of another day. By now I should know better to get my hopes up about new beginnings and good fortunes.
But as I enter into 2012 is coming to a close, I can’t help feel that something BIG is on the horizon. I’m choosing to ignore my pessimist self just one last time and flushing those negative thoughts down the drain. I can’t shake the feeling that 2013 is going to bring in a great tide of change.
I can only hope that it is for the better.