Tag Archives: christianity

Duty, Porn, and a Heart Transplant

By the time I was a senior in high school about to go off to college, I found out I was a very angry person. I wasn’t angry at any person(s) in particular, but more at an invisible “system”. It was the pressures and obligations I had adhered to and lived under for so most of my life.

I was a Christian, a worship leader, the oldest child of four, second oldest amongst my extended family in America, a second generation Korean-American who had the world on my shoulders.

That’s just what it felt like to me. I’m sure some of you other “second generationers” would understand.

There were family expectations, church leadership expectations, and on top of it all, as a Christian, I felt very responsible to do what was right… a.k.a Christian duties/morality. And I wrestled with the frustration of seeing so many friends and fellow Christian peers going off and doing what was blatantly wrong.

I didn’t understand.

I didn’t understand how a Christian could choose to do one thing during the week and come to church on Sunday morning to worship. It bothered me. And it angered me on the inside that that was okay. Not because I was angry at those people. I was angry that Christianity and going to church had become a joke. That it couldn’t keep my friends from living like they were and doing what they were doing. If Christianity was powerless, then I was even more so.

But, I have to admit that I was also angry that I had lived so long following the rules and trying to fulfill expectations and doing what’s right, being a “good girl”, that at times I envied their freedom. It looked like such freedom to me. Oh, to be able to do whatever you wanted without and regard for anyone or anything else! From my point of view, I felt like I was the one in bondage, doing things I didn’t want to and feeling no sense of fulfillment.

There’s a song by Avril Lavigne that goes like this:

“All my life I’ve been good, but now, oh oh oh I figure, ‘What the hell?”

It sums it up well. I wanted to rebel. Throw up my hands and say, “What the hell?”

All of the right and wrong, all the of the “God tells you to do this, this, this, this” and more importantly “…NOT do this, this, this, this, this…” was driving me crazy. My own convictions, and many voices of the adults drove me crazy. All of this pressure made me want to just give up. Why try so hard when you fail anyway?

I knew the importance of doing what was right, and to live a good life, but the more I tried to do what I knew I should do, I would get frustrated because even my best attempts sucked. More importantly, I didn’t really know for what reason I was living like this. Was it to please God? To maintain my reputation? To please my parents? I didn’t know anymore if it was worth it.

People would praise me, would praise my parents, would compliment them and even express some jealousy in that they did a good job raising such a wonderful first-born daughter who was a good Christian and a great example, but I wasn’t feeling any sense of fulfillment whatsoever. And still, the more I continued, the more I seemed to fail the standard. So what difference would it make? Everyone else was living just fine doing whatever they wanted. So why did I have to carry such burdens?

Christianity and my life as a whole was lived out of a sense of duty. I did things because I knew I ought to. It’s what a good Christian girl would do. Moral, law abiding, manner minding, polite, patient, obedient.

But like the song lyrics implies, it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I thought I was doing it because I wanted to, but the resentment and frustration told me otherwise. The good I was doing was out of a sense of duty and fear of punishment, but never out of true desire.

On top of all this, even if my life looked pretty clean on the outside because I was doing the right things, my heart was far from perfect. I knew that so well.

No matter how hard I tried to stay away and be “good”, I struggled with pornography. I wouldn’t consider myself to have been extremely addicted at all (like stories of people losing sleep, missing school, stealing money, lying to do it), but something that was introduced to me by someone out of curiosity became a thing that I secretly gained relief from life with.

I knew it was wrong. But, it didn’t stop me. I didn’t understand that either.

Honestly, I was repulsed by a lot of it. But my desire for something more, something deeper, something more intimate, pleasurable, real desire, turned into looking at people and watching meaningless sex.

Though it wasn’t every night, or every day even, maybe a few times a month or a streak of a few days and not going back for another several weeks or months, it still ate at my heart, my conscience, and the guilt just grew heavier and heavier. And it didn’t help my struggles with identity and sexuality either. Yes, I even went through a time where I questioned my sexuality.

I was so confused. So so so confused.

Looking back, this is so sad to me.

Why? Not because sin is horrible and pornography or homosexuality is gross and so wrong, but because while this was my past, it is the present for many, many, many Believers. Yes, Christians.

Christians are the LAST people who should be living like this. And I’m not even really emphasizing the part about living in sin, but I’m more talking about living out of obligation, duty, and fear.

We think that we can live out of knowing what we should do and what God has told us to do, somehow sacrificing our lives because Jesus sacrificed His for us, feeling the pressure of living pure and sinless lives, living in obligation, and doing good things like feeding the poor and loving your neighbor, following the law, etc., and that our sustaining motivation for living a good Christian life would be that “Jesus paid your debt and now you owe Him one.”

But…

– Morality is not righteousness.

– Doing what is right, is not righteousness. Nor is it “pursuing” righteousness.

– Not sinning, is not holiness.

– Not looking at porn/not having sex before marriage, is not purity.

– Doing good things, is not Christianity.

– Being a good person, does not please God.

– Doing what you’re told, is not true obedience.

How? Why? Am I being outrageous?

All of those things – righteousness, holiness, purity, goodness, pleasure, fulfillment – can be summed up into only one thing, or one person, rather… JESUS. It’s ONLY faith in Him that you can be any of these. And now you’re like, “yeah, yeah of course! But we still need to do our part after you get saved!”

While I can go into explaining this more in depth, I’ll just do it briefly for now.

You can be moral but not know righteousness. Being moral, nor doing what you know is right, doesn’t make you right with God. And the Holy Spirit is not your conscience (that’s a whole other topic).

Holiness is not gritting your teeth and abstaining from all the bad things in the world. Holiness is to be completely set apart. It’s not about being segregated from “sinners”, but about belonging. It is completely and fully belonging to God. That means it takes a lot more than not doing a,b,c,d… even perfectly to the tee.

Purity is innocence. It’s freedom. It’s freedom from guilt and evil. You’ve probably never heard it that way before. It’s not abstinence, not not-drinking, not not-smoking, not not-watching rater R movies, etc.

Goodness is God. Only God is good. Your good deeds don’t give you brownie points. Nor is the mark of what it means to be a Christian. No matter how good of a person you are, you will never be able to please Him. Anyone can be a “good” person according to our human definition.

Obedience is SO over emphasized in the wrong way. It is shouted over love. Obedience was never meant to emphasize duty and doing things because you were told to. Obedience is joyful submission to the one who lives inside of you. It is love. It is passion. Which in reality is the ONLY way to live or to have life, whatsoever. And most importantly, it’s not void of desire or pleasure.

All of this is only found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t come to earth to teach us how to do it like He did it, to make us nicer, to make people be better versions of themselves, etc. He came to DIE, and to display God’s power. The ultimate power to remove sin completely from our lives. It’s by Him dying on the cross that has made everything I said true and a reality for us, instead of just a mere possibility.

How? Because Christianity is not behavior modification. It’s a HEART TRANSPLANT.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

The Prophet Ezekiel foretold how God had decided to handle Israel’s sin problem – and ultimately the sin of the world. It wouldn’t be more laws, better disciplinary measure, more wrath, more rewards. He knew the human heart would resist all because it was taken over by an invisible master – Sin. Sin had driven our hearts to be decayed, cold, impenetrable, and unresponsive. In other words, you could say our hearts were full of cancer. It was dead toward God. The only option, a plan that was put into motion since the beginning of all creation, would be the removal of the source of the problem and replace it with something better. He gave His people a new heart.

Gee golly WHIZ!

Don’t miss this glorious truth! It is a truth that makes Christianity distinct! Jesus didn’t just save us from Hell. He was the only one with the power to make us completely NEW. He gave us His Son to display love and power through Him dying on the cross, and then gave us His Spirit who lives inside of us!

With a brand new heart that the Holy Spirit lives inside, we have brand new desires, a brand new identity, a brand new home, a new language, hope, life, and the ability to know and have LOVE, joy, and peace! And if the Holy Spirit lives inside of me in this new heart, then that means He has made Himself one with me! The old and new cannot take up one space!

This is how I was truly set free.

I believe this the answer to all addictions, and even homosexuality.

My struggle with pornography didn’t disappear no matter how hard I tried. I fasted, I prayed, I confessed it to my closest friends, I did all that I knew to do. But it still overtook me. If pornography itself didn’t, the guilt did. And so it continued on through college. Trying to fall more in love with Him doesn’t take it away either. I’ve worshipped for hours. I’ve prayed that I would only desire Him. I encountered Him in powerful ways and it did fade and lessen, but it was still there, and I knew it. And it would taunt me and tempt me over and over. It would cause me to further struggle within myself with so many other issues that made me wonder if I could truly ever get free. And then just pile on all my insecurities, fears, mistakes, etc., that wasn’t necessarily “sin”. That’s a lot to try to fix. It seemed hopeless.

And then I discovered this truth.

Only this gloriously good news is what set me free. Because what I was really believing underneath all of that struggle was that I would be a sinner forever, that my heart would remain full of sin and weak to temptations, and my struggle would be a lifelong one. No one told me that my sinfulness and my old identity was actually ripped out of me on the cross, making me a brand new creation altogether.

When I accepted this truth, I found my desires to be completely revamped and replaced. And I, myself, did NOTHING to produce this except believe in Jesus. I started to believe who the Bible says I am. Holy. Righteous. Blameless. Good. Pure. Innocent. Clean. New. Because of Him. All given to me by His grace. By grace through faith.

When most people hear teachings on grace they freak out because what translates in their minds is that I’m saying it’s a free for all, doing whatever you want, however you want. They are happy to accept that everything that we were given through Jesus was by grace, but now on earth as Christians, we must continue to live in pursuit of living righteously, obediently, dutifully, morally, holy, pure, etc., everything we talked about earlier. It’s repulsive to think that we could be exempt from doing “our part”. So if grace is preached at all, it is a pick-me-up when you fall, or an empowerment to go through certain things in life. Christianity then, is somehow understood as a lifelong process of getting “closer” to Him by seeking oneness and communion by the things you do and the ways you serve, working really hard to become like Him, in which you never really expect to arrive.

On the other side of the fence are those who think that Grace really is a free-for-all. That because “God will love you just as you are” you are truly free from religion and can go around spatting in people’s faces who have lived by or still live by the Do’s and Don’t’s. That’s pride.

And neither of those is God’s grace.

Real grace is the very essence of God. It’s not just an attribute that you see every once in a while. Nor is it just a doctrine. It’s not God looking away and letting things slide because He is remembering Jesus’ death on the cross. Grace is the only reason why we are alive and continue breathing.

This example will cover both sides.

By grace you were made Holy. Not by you living life and following the Do’s and Don’t’s of Christianity. And not for a moment or just partially. Just like how by grace you were saved. Period. Completely. Not partially. By His grace He took out the old heart, gave you a new one. When He did that, He didn’t save you from Hell, He took sin away, and gave you holiness.

To live in God’s grace is to live in Him BY living as who you were made to be, which is holy. The new heart is holy. So grace and holiness cannot be separated. To accept His grace is to live according to the truth. Only according to the truth.

To preach grace is to proclaim God’s favor to all people. It is to preach the Good News that God has made a way for us to be with Him. For free. That it’s a gift. And that we can live a full, happy, joyful life with Him on earth.

Real grace is not an excuse or a license to do whatever you want. By grace you were set free, but true freedom is not doing whatever you want, nor is it an escape from what we think of as obligation, duty, or morality.

It’s a joyful embracing of it because it’s overflowing out of who you are. 

No longer is it obligation, duty, or mere morality, but now our lives are overflowing joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, etc., because God gave us NEW hearts that are righteous, holy, and pure! It is overflowing out of who we are! It’s easy! It’s effortless! It’s amazing! That is true freedom!

Romans 15-18 (The Message):

So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!”

Freedom is knowing that we were made new and effortlessly allowing Jesus to live through us. Freedom is having a new master, Mr. Goodness Himself, living right inside of us. And all this is only possible through that Heart Transplant.

So now here’s me wrapping this all up.

There is nothing we can do to please God. And there is nothing we can do to disappoint Him. Our relationship with Him isn’t dependent on us. It never was. Otherwise, we would never have one. There is no amount of sacrifice, no amount of obedience, no amount of doing good that would prove our worthiness to Him. Because simply put, we are not worthy.

He doesn’t even expect us to “sacrifice”, “kill ourselves”, “purge ourselves”, “obey” like it’s our job in order for Him to be pleased, or “move”, or for us to made holy. He just expects us to believe and to trust with a child-like dependence in Jesus. Joy becomes the response to all of this. It’s easier than we imagined!

Allowing our lives to burn with His love and allowing Him to live through us is the joy and beauty of the true Christian life. Because it’s not about what we can do to prove that we were worth it to Him. It’s allowing ourselves to be completely taken over by the truth that, “It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)

I think that even to say we need to have a “relationship” with God is a still a shallow way of expressing the truth. A relationship implies two people, two separate beings trying to communicate, live, and work things out. But in reality it is not Jesus plus me, it is Jesus inside of me, who is living, and therefore I live! Every part of me is interwoven into Him. There is no separation. All of me is all of Him. We are one. It’s a mystical, supernatural thing that happened on the cross. There is no more trying to live focused on your performance and trying to please a far off entity outside separate from who is inside you.

Galatians 19-21 (The Message):

What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

From beginning to end, it is HIM. It is His work, His life, His sacrifice for us that has made all the difference necessary. Our complete victory, identity, righteousness, sanctification, freedom, is all HIM. Not just in Him. It is Him, who has come to live inside.

Because of this truth, I am filled with real and genuine desire, love, and joy for Him and am now living out a life from my heart, as the person who God truly created me to be. I am confident and full of peace because I know that it is He who gave me a new heart and now works in me completely and causes me to continue fully and completely dependent on His grace, with complete faith and satisfaction in Him. A life with God is immensely enjoyable.

My dream is that more Christians would be able to live in the simplicity of the Gospel, simplicity of Jesus, and the pleasure of being His. Let’s see real Christians living in this power, and message of His grace, living lives that shout to the rest of the world that what Jesus did was really more wonderful than we could even imagine. Let’s see a people totally enraptured by His love and living so joyfully in Him, overflowing life, love, and truth from out of the core of who they are, transforming the face of the earth with such ecstatic news of His love!

Wooohooo, His Kingdom is really here!! Let’s spread this Good News! 😀

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Blurb on Cali, Community, and Real Joy

Wooo… Bomb diggity. Wuuuddduup?!

So it’s a New Year! Yaaayy. Another year over and a brand new one to start. It’s crazy to think that I’ve been in Jackson for like 3 years. Haha.

Anyway, I’d have to say that the year was full of awesomeness and great experiences full of worship leading, meeting new people, traveling, growing… man. The Father’s House, West Virginia, ministry trips, Georgian Banov in Jackson, being on stage with Justin Rizzo, Jesus Culture Awakening in Chicago, hanging with the Paughs, God speaking in deep places, learning how to rest, to pace myself, what faith really means… love and peace. ToNS of good stuff. There’s so much I can’t even begin to tell all of it!

I have to say that the year wrapped up for me with an awesome trip to California that set up such a great momentum for me going into the New Year. For a week and a half, Leann and I were in California being transformed and poured into in ways I can’t even begin to explain. We visited Gloria and hung out with her near LA, met some friends, traveled up north to San Jose, sat in on a living room session with David Hogan, met some more friends, pranced around on the streets singing Christmas and worship songs, prayed/sang over strangers, traveled even further North to Redding where we hung out in a house full of the awesomest guys in the world! We visited Bethel Church, went treasure hunting, hung out in the prayer house, got ministered to, ministered, listened to great music, worshipped, laughed, relaxed, and just hung out. It was such a good time for my heart. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that we finally ate In-N-Out and Pink’s Hot Dogs! So good. I have yet to fully edit and finish my video documentation of the trip. Stay tuned for that!

All that to say, it’s been a good year, and a great way to finish off 2011 for me. December 2011 will be one that I will never forget. I just KNEW it was a God opportunity  when it came and it proved to be true.

Here, I’d like to just share some thoughts of my experience and where I am now.

I feel like a totally different person. Maybe not different as in someone else, but maybe more like the real me.

It’s kind of weird to say, but it’s true. There was no big conference, no big shot speakers at center stage, no big prayer line, no big ministry time, a church packed with hyped up people and rockin’ music. I did get ministered to, I did get to worship to great music, I did get prayed for, was provoked and wanted to learn, but it was all majorly in the context of community. It was the people I was surrounded by and was living life with for a short period of time. They were my community for a week and half. It was such a natural and uplifting kind of environment where God was not a side thought, but on the forefront of everyone’s minds and hearts. We were passionate, loving, kind, encouraging, but genuine, hungry for truth, hungry to live it out in the everyday, exploring God and the reality of the Kingdom, and ready to see God’s goodness explode in every and any given moment. It was experiencing this community that rocked me. People who weren’t afraid to be who they were, weren’t afraid to be themselves, weren’t afraid to look like fools for the sake of the Kingdom, truly believed in God and the truth of who He is and wanted to live it out to the fullest. People who were willing to throw themselves out there, who weren’t ashamed of what they believed, weren’t ashamed to love complete strangers, welcome them, hug and kiss on them. People who were free to laugh. To me, it felt like I just walked in on a family and was immediately welcomed as part of it. I realized how much power there was in just that. And it wasn’t forced, wasn’t SO intentional that it felt uncomfortable or unnatural, but it just flowed from who these people were. I’m sure they have their faults, I have mine, and I know that getting to know people for a week and half isn’t much, but there was such a love, and a connection on the spirit level because we are after the same thing. It was just plain amazing. And I’m not saying that they had it all down perfect, and I don’t want to make it sound like it we all became completely tight and got to know every deep and dark secret, but I saw a glimpse of what could truly transform people, a home, a neighborhood, a town, a city… And it was just something that I’ve never seen or experienced personally on that level.

In that kind of environment, I began to experience the joy and freedom in being myself, and in being part of them, in knowing that wherever I am, even if I never see them again, that we are on the same team, going after the same things. It brought joy. It brings joy. And I think I can understand when it says in the Bible about joy being made complete in that way.

Since being back, I’ve noticed a more lasting and permanent change inside of me. I know it hasn’t been that long, and I know it could be too soon to say, but I feel this thing in me, like something got unlocked and it can never be closed up again. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what it is, but I feel more joy, more confidence, more love, more free, more alive, more me… and not a whole lot has changed as far as circumstances around me go. Actually, nothing has changed outside of me. I think that’s a good sign of growth.

I know I’ve attributed a lot of goodness to being in California, but the truth is, it wasn’t just this trip that did all this. I knew before going that everything that I was going through and praying about would somehow lead me to experience what I did in Cali. It was, in essence, kind of like the cherry on the top that sealed it all together and completed the package. Cali just showed me things, answered questions, reaffirmed my heart, encouraged me, and sent me back feeling great. God was with me before, was with me while I was there, and used everything before and after to bring me to where I am now. And I am thankful for it.

The cool thing is the goodness hasn’t stopped. Currently, I am being rocked. So much to the fact that I don’t even know what to do with it. I feel like I’m going to explode. I hope to write about it in the future, but today I have no words. I’m not even sure how I will express them at this point, but I have a feeling it will be very bold, and very different than how I’ve written before. What’s going on? I am rediscovering The Gospel. It all started on Christmas Eve Eve. (It’s not a typo… lol). I read the Christmas story (which I either read or hear every year), but this year it was like I’ve never read it before. It filled me with JOY. Real JOY. Who want’s REAL JOY?? *HIGH FIVE!* I’ve never felt such joy like this before. I can’t explain it.

I hope to try, though. Soon. All I can say is that I think the Gospel is the key to real, deep, consistent, unspeakable, unchanging joy.

Side note:

  • I tweet and gram like crazy (yeah, twitter and instagram!!) Follow me! @vickihong it’s so addicting, but it’s kind of genius in my opinion….

I will leave you with this. Check out John Mark McMillan. This song makes me happy.

John Mark McMillan – Murdered Son

You set us up above all the stars
You set us on a high place by where you are
While we were dead you made us your friends
And scattered our debt upon the wind

Glory to One
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection
Once from the dust, once from the grave
Daughters and sons from the ashes you’ve raised
And hidden our faults even from your own face
And scattered our debt upon the waves

Glory to one
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection
Glory to One
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection

Glory to the one who
Who overcame in death
Glory to the one
Who paid for my offenses
Glory to the one

Once from the dust
Once from the grave
Daughters and sons
From the ashes you’ve raised
And hidden our faults
Even from your own face

And scattered our debt upon the waves
And scattered our debt upon the waves

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Loved in Sun Rays and Meows

Ollo! This is blog #3 of a very prolonged series. 😀

I know I haven’t written in a while, but I’m back for yet another round. I’m hoping not to make this one too long. It’s already November and I haven’t even finished my story about my summer. Haha… -_-V

I left off talking about stopping and being still, facing yourself, facing some hard things, and finally being able to find peace. And that the things that you face in your heart are the very places that God is speaking and present to reveal Himself… only to be even closer than you imagined possible.

Today, I think I just want to make it very to the point. I want to talk about a truth that was the major heart changer for me this summer. Something that just really hit me deeper. This is where my Summer Love touches REAL love and something of substance, something that can withstand time, weather, any circumstance of life, rather than it just being fleeting emotions, and brief infatuation.

It basically has to do with who God is. Here it is: 

Understanding that God loves me right where I am, as I am.

I think there are times in our lives when we get to a point where we examine what we’ve done, how much we’ve done, gain a sense of accomplishment, or lack thereof, gauge what it means to be in the present, and how to get to the future we desire. We think we have it all figured out. We think we can GET it all figured out. That’s where I was. That’s what I started doing. Reflecting isn’t always bad, but I was I starting to feel crappy about myself because I was measuring the worth of my present by looking at the past, and wondering how to get from here to where I felt I REALLY needed to be. And I only felt I needed to be there so that I could feel some sense of worth and accomplishment with all that has happened in my life. I felt it wasn’t very much. My dreams felt worthless. So I strived for a bit. Panicked. Got discouraged. Lost focus. Did things for the wrong reasons. Etc.

Very often we hear sermons, hear stories and testimonies… we see people doing spectacular things. We get encouraged to do something wonderful for God, to go after your dreams, to make a difference in the world. And while those are very good things, I needed a very different message. I needed to hear that God loved me regardless of whether or not I was doing anything awesome.

God loves you…

Eh.

You can hear that a thousand times and still have it mean not a single thing to you. And that’s what happened. I felt that way. I’ve heard it. Blah Blah.

But my heart cried out.

I didn’t want to hear it from someone else. I wanted to hear HIM say it to me.  “I love you, Vicki.”

Oh, how I need to hear that a millions times a day.

One day, as I was going through my usual day deep in my thoughts and feeling discouraged and worthless, my roommate and I decided to meet for lunch. As we were eating and conversing, I started to complain about some things and question things and expressed how I felt about my life and things that have happened and how I felt about my future. It was the talk of a hopeless person. After listening quite intently, and me feeling a little agitated, conversation died down and she pulled out her iPad. She had an app called procreate (a painting and sketching app) on it and she began to doodle. I watched a picture come to life. A real simple picture.

It turned out to be something like this. Real simple. But I wept.

I didn’t ball my eyes out in the middle of the restaurant or anything, but my tears came from a deep place. It was like a spring welling up out of a dry place because of rain. It was healing and soothing. The truth hit me. I didn’t realize that I had been striving and comparing myself to the lives of other people, or even to my own standards and expectations of where I felt I needed to be on my journey. Even if I did realize it at points, I didn’t know how to stop it. I had been feeling like a failure. And felt like I was continuing to fail because my attempts at doing something or figuring something out wasn’t getting me anywhere. But Leann gave me a simple visual representation of myself as I had been in recent days, and made me realize that there is nothing ugly or shameful about my life. Every moment of my life is beautiful because He gave it to me… including today.

Now that was huge! Radical! Mind-blowing!

We usually have a lot of feelings and thoughts about our past, but what I was wrestling with the now. I felt like I was wasting the present. I felt I needed to be doing something. Not sure what. Just doing something to get somewhere. I kinda felt as if I had missed the mark and was STILL missing it. Somehow in my mind, nothing but hitting the mark gave value to my life and actions. That’s called… performance. Which is not really a loving relationship.

So God was speaking to my heart, “I really love you, here… like this, too.”

Through a simple stick figure drawing He decided to point out what I considered to be the least significant and worthless thing that I was doing with my time and was telling me that He loved me there. A LOT. And what I was doing at the time was… relaxing at home and playing/snuggling with my cats. It meant a lot because I was REALLY enjoying the simple things in life. My cats. Music. The sun. Books. Smiles.

So I guess I will wrap it up now.

There’s an ebb and flow to everything we do in life. We need to learn to trust God in all times and seasons. One isn’t greater than the other, one isn’t more meaningful than the other, one doesn’t give more worth to your life and self than the other. He won’t love us more in one or the other. He never measures to the standard that the world measures, and He never measures to even OUR standard.

I decided a few things from that.

1. I will not change what I know about Him and who I’ve know Him to be, based on what my life looks like at the time.

2. I will not change my heart toward Him based on my fluctuating feelings about myself and shifting perspectives of my life.

3. I will not let any other voice tell me who I am and what I am to do or why I did or should do something.

He loves me. Endlessly. Limitlessly. It will never change.

I want to know this more. I want to live from that place more. So that whether I am hanging out with the homeless, worshipping on my face, eating a sandwich, or scooping out poop out of my cats’ litter box, I can be overtaken by His presence and love, knowing He doesn’t love me more or less than any other moment. Every moment of my life was worth it for Jesus to come and die for me. My value and worth comes from the fact that a great price was paid for me to have breath in my lungs and a fire in my heart, so that I may enter into His presence every moment of my life.

Oh what a glorious kind of love.

Today, He calls you LOVED.
Today, He gives you peace.
Today, He says your life is beautiful.

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The Woo into Stopping and Learning How to Take a Chill Pill

This is BLOG 2 of my series! (Haha I feel so official saying that…)

Alrighty then!

FYI – I don’t know exactly how many there will be. I’m estimating 4 total. So 3 more after this one… or something.

Before I begin I must say that I am so very intensely enjoying Josh Garrels album called Love & War & The Sea in Between. So full of truth and creative yumminess with fresh rhymes and melodies sung over cool beats and instruments. He has a way of expressing truth and spiritual things with a zing and uniqueness thats refreshing and makes my spirit jolt alive because it melted right deep into my soul. Awesome stuff. I think you can download it for free right now until the rest of the year. Go get it! Just do a Google search or something.

So, as I said in my previous blog, I’ve been reflecting on my summer and seeing that it has been a wonderful journey with the Lover of my soul. This is a continuation.

In the next couple of blogs I am hoping to express some things that I learned and things that He spoke to me about. It’s personal. So don’t laugh at me. Or poke fun. Or I’ll suck your blood.

Anyway, I think that’s enough blabber. Moving on.

So… Summer began and I thought to myself, “FINALLY! Sun! Birds! Air! I can just enjoy myself for a little bit and rest!”

As I said in my last post, I’ve had a lot of time that was spent in quiet and alone, with nothing pressing going on, no expectation to fulfill, no ministry trips to go on, no meetings to go to, no performing music or leading anything, no prayer groups, no conferences, etc. Just my usual job working at the Shelter, that is on most days, very secluded in my upstairs tower and quiet. There was a lot of space. Space around me. And come to find out, space inside me. A disconnect within me.

IN those quiet places and moments, I very much enjoyed my time and being alone. I enjoyed myself. I normally love my times alone, but this was different. I felt free to do and be and to pursue whatever thought and daydream I wanted. I didn’t have to ponder with a purpose or daydream with a mission. I was allowed to just ponder for the sake of pondering. I began to see my heart come back. Everything I enjoyed, loved, found value in, everything about me that made me, ME, I got to rediscover.

“Ahh, now this is the life. I so needed this. This is resting…” or so I thought.

[Segway (segue) dance into a teaching moment]

Now… what I just described is a good thing every once in a while. When everything inside of you gets consumed by what you are doing on the outside of you, you start to lose yourself. You forget how to be happy just because the sun is shining and the birds are singing. You forget how to do the things you enjoyed, you forget what it feels like to be inspired, smile, laugh from the heart. And when that happens, you lose sight of the beauty of life. The beauty of your life and the love that sustains it. And when you sense that you are not able to find moments of peace and freedom on the inside of you and feel guilty for straying off the path that the cries of the urgent beckon you to, that’s a good sign you need to back off and take some time for yourself… to be with yourself and to be with God. Because every moment is PRECIOUS. Every thought, every movement of your heart, every part of your being that you can turn toward God and be filled with life and joy is important because when you lose focus on who you are and the delight of God on your life, you are losing your true passion, identity, and purpose. So you need times of doing what you want to do just for the sake of doing it. For enjoyment. Simply because it’s who you are and how God created you.

But all of that to say… while this was good in finding myself coming alive and enjoying this time, it was not resting. It was only the teeny beginning of the journey into what it really means to rest. I thought that I was enjoying myself because I WAS finally able to rest. The pressures on the outside lessened and I thought I finally entered into freedom and real rest. I felt freer, but it wasn’t everything.

I would say, however, that it was the candy, flowers, a breath of fresh air, fun, giggles, wooing, singing, laughing, portion of the “Summer Love” relationship. Running hand in hand, hearts in our eyes like you see in cartoons, grinning ear to ear and having eyes for only them. I began to see the world differently. I started seeing myself again in a new light, see Jesus in a new light. It was like meeting Him for the first time. Meeting myself for the first time because I realized He liked me. So I started liking me more. It was fun and exhilarating. It felt fresh and unstoppable.

But then…

[Cue dramatic music] *dun dun dun*

… during the middle of the night…

Haha. Jk.

Let’s just say, after a while, I felt I was good. I felt that was enough “vacationing” and “resting” and that it was time to really buckle down and figure things out. Figure out my goals, my dreams, my next steps, my future, my life. That’s … a lot.

(Now this might sound like repetition from my last blog, but bare with me…)

With this very smart ambition to figure and sort out my life in a week resulted in a greatly overwhelmed and heavy heart. As you can imagine. But that wasn’t all of it. With this continued space, time, and now a freshly added teaspoon of anxiety, I was knocked completely off my feet.

The real questions, the doubts, the fears, the disappointments, shame… came to the surface. Or rather, I was kinda “tricked” into going deeper… Haha. Without my usual distractions, I started facing myself. The covers have now been pulled away, the foundations revealed, and now we can see that there was a lot of dust, dead rats and squirming bugs, faulty pillars, and a nasty odor on top of it all. (Eww… that mental picture is making me squirm tonight.) Maybe it wasn’t THAT bad, but that’s what it seemed like to me. All of a sudden I felt the most vulnerable I’ve ever been and the most exposed. It’s not that I’ve been trying to hide everything or not deal with things in the moment or neglect to spend time with God, but things happened and it was time for God to do some deep things inside of me. It was a time of transition and I needed to be realigned. He wanted to speak to me. He wanted me to come back to Him. Bare. Vulnerable. Hurting. Laughing. All of me as I was.

So now I finally figured out the reason why I truly needed to rest. It wasn’t from the outward circumstances and pressures I felt in life, it was the inward chaos and storm that needed much quieting. I had entered into the messiest phase of the journey. It was time to get reacquainted with my real thoughts and truths of my heart. And the heaviness that I put on myself all of a sudden to figure out my life put enough pressure on me to reveal what exactly I was standing on.

The truth is… I became scared. I inadvertently blamed God. Not in a way that it was all His fault… but yeah kind of. I doubted His goodness and His love for me. That’s a big deal. I started analyzing the past and every single choice I made that led me to where I was. I blamed myself  for where I was, who I was, what I was doing, what I wasn’t doing, the choices I made, and so indirectly questioned God’s guidance and hand on my life. I didn’t find Him as trustworthy as I once did. I had disappointments, false hopes, expectations, and some expectations for the wrong things. All of that was revealed. And then I felt sorry for myself. I felt I trusted God and was let down. I gave and gave of myself, to no end. To people, to God. I gave all that I could and strived to be the best I could be, to do the right thing even if it hurt, and in the end I felt everything I did was for nothing. “What was the point of me pouring myself out for You, them, or anybody?” So if God wasn’t gonna help me out, then I’d have to figure things out on my own. So that’s what I was trying to do. With tons of questions of “why?” and “how?” I was offended in my heart, but I was facing it. I tried to figure out a plan… tons of them. But my heart and mind was just full of more questions and riddles, mazes, fog, and … no answers. So I didn’t actually get anywhere. My times with God were overruled by thoughts, countless streaming thoughts of fear, doubt, questions, and I was just asking for answers… over and over. It was frustrating. It was actually very intense. I went through a lot of anxiousness. Couldn’t sleep, couldn’t enjoy things, didn’t even like worship music or anyone who talked about God. I didn’t want to hear it. It sounded all so boring and cliche, fake, gibberish, impractical, dumb, and a bunch of other things.

But eventually … I slowly started to let go …

No. It wasn’t easy. Nor was it overnight.

I kept praying…

“God I know I’m a mess. Heal me…”

And I questioned how that would happen if I didn’t even want to listen to worship music or go to church or even really read my Bible. But…

“God, I’m here…”

There is a lot that happened in this time and some that I want to still share in the next blogs, but the thing that I really emphasize in this blog is about learning how to enter into REST. A lot of the time we think that resting is taking a vacation, not thinking about issues, getting away from the mundane, daily routine and pressures, and taking a breather. Now that is a VERY good thing. HOWEVER, I really believe that a lot of people miss out on really living above the storm with peace in their hearts in the deepest places because we never really sit down, take a deep breath, learn to be okay with what’s going on inside of us, and then really dive deep into some things in our hearts… all so that God can come be what we need. We come to believe so many lies, come to so many conclusions, agree with them, and allow fear and doubt to drive the ship. But until you can take some time to sit still and allow yourself to face things, you don’t ever really allow peace to come in where you actually need it most. A.k.a you don’t actually know God as you truly can know Him in that moment. Otherwise we just distract ourselves or self-medicate. A.k.a peace is actually found through the storm, not by steering away from it. And it’s scary. But the way I see it… If you never face it, you never get the sweet taste of victory. And victory is never just for you. That’s a whole other blog.

I believe God is always wanting to reach out and reveal Himself in the deepest places, places that really matter in each person on the planet. He is the King of the Cosmos with so much to Him that we can never know or fully grasp His dimensions, facets, and awesomeness. He is a big ball of mystery, but who He is NEVER changes. He is so AWESOMELY HUGE but so close. He is not a man with a white beard, shirtless with bulging muscles holding a trident or a lightning bolt waiting on you to get it right, so that He can do His part. He is in LOVE. He gave EVERYTHING for you. And I believe that in every circumstance and situation, He is wanting to show Himself to be strong, loving, good, and kind. He is wanting to show us who He really is, if we would allow ourselves to BE, sit down in quiet, be willing to be honest and vulnerable, and listen to what He has to say. Because in the passing through it, God is actually right there in the middle of it, loving you more than you ever thought possible. And His love is what changes you forever.

In other words:
Sit. Breathe. Be silent. Cry. Get mad. Pout. Lay down. Shut up. Listen. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Phew* Maybe I should have just said that instead of typing all this out… Hopefully it all made sense. I’m doing my best to organize my thoughts. 🙂

Oh just so you know, I am back to the skipping through the fields, eating berries, giggling hand in hand, singing with the birds, and loving the sun. It’s deeper, truer, stronger and is on the road to becoming unshakeable. That’s what it’s all for in the end. 🙂

‘Til next time.
*Bow*

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“White Nerd Kid” and My Summer Love – Part 1

Kind of a peculiar title, I know. But this blog is dedicated to the one person who searched “white nerd kid” in a search engine and ended up clicking on to my blog. My shout out goes to you! I even titled this post in honor of you!

Now, was this person searching for something in particular and decided to ditch it for a second? Or were they actually looking for me?

Am I a Nerd? Maybe.
A Kid? Well, I do get mistaken to be anywhere between 12-18 years old.
But WHITE? Hahaha.

Regardless, I find it just plain amusing. 🙂

But… Don’t get mad. My post today has nothing to do with a white nerd kid. Sorry.

If I had not titled this post what I did,
I would have called it HELP ME, GOD KDOIJoSIjfosijsdfjsdfaoillnv.

Haha, just kidding. Kind of.

This summer has been quite the journey. It has been awesome, revealing, vulnerable, a fight, full of thoughts and revelation, but most of all, a summer that has caused my heart to be stirred and set on fire again. I guess this is where my real post starts.

I wasn’t planning on doing this, but the only way I can even try to express everything I want to and not have this blog turn into a novel will have to be if I write in parts… making this like a blog series. 

So this will be PART ONE: Intro and Recap… (Dang, I wish I had a title that was more clever and witty…)

I found myself totally caught off guard. September snuck up on me, and to my disbelief, summer was here and now it’s gone. The weather is cooling down quickly, the trees are starting to shed their luscious summer greens, and I am finding myself thoughtful. Whenever I want to grab a book, or my laptop, and sit by a window just to stare and jot down ramblings and strings of thoughts, while smelling sudden wafts of pumpkin spice lattes and chai tea everywhere I go, I know fall has come. And because this year, it has felt like a slap in the face with the sudden shock of cold air, I have already started reflecting on my summer… but more with kind of a longing, as if it were some precious love I’m not quite ready to let go of because I don’t want our time together to become a memory quite yet.

Hmm. I have a reason for that.

There’s this thing called “Summer Love”. Supposedly everybody has one at some point. It’s the cute, little, puppy love type relationships that form because school’s out, the weather is warm, sunsets are pretty, and boys and girls are everywhere just ready for some fun. It’s passionate, and heartfelt, never wanting it to end, but once Fall comes it dissipates as quickly as it formed.

Well, I had a Summer Love… except this is relationship is one that has been pursuing me and growing since the day I was born, and will never fade out, but only burn brighter. He is the reason why I hold this summer so dear. He has been there every summer before this one, but He only seems to get sweeter and sweeter. Cheezy? Maybe. I like cheese. I heard if I stop eating it my sinus problems would diminish significantly… But to stop eating cheese…?! That would be no more CHEESEburgers or PIZZA!! And one cannot live without such necessities in life!

My summer wasn’t all about flowers and candy, kisses, sneaking out at night, holding hands, giggles, and gifts. It wasn’t happy-go-lucky, everything-is-going-my-way kind of time either. It was both wonderful and grueling; anxious and ecstatic; overwhelming and loving; joyful and deep; thoughtful and healing; stirring, hopeful, desperate, and so much more. It has been full of moments of facing the truth, facing your fears, facing everything good, bad, and ugly… all for Love.

Here’s a recap:

With the start of summer, I started off feeling free and alive. I found peace. It included an adventurous getaway for a week in the U.P. full of camping, hiking, and a day visit to Mackinaw Island. Really good times. Nature, water, breeze, fresh air, people you didn’t know, my books, and my journal. But I came back and I started discovering the little things that gave me joy in life. It brought life to my spirit again. I started listening to music just because I enjoyed it. I found myself drooling over my laptop as I discovered new music, new sounds, new artists, new creative expressions for HOURS. I played guitar. I made up stupid songs. I made videos. I enjoyed being outside. I noticed the sunshine, the wind, every smile, every person, every color, every breath, every movement… and appreciated it. I rode my bike around the city just for fun. I went for walks. I talked with people and laughed. I wanted to make people laugh. Seeing someone smile was so rewarding. No agenda, no pressure, no worry. I was like a little child who had a whole world to discover. I didn’t have any concern. Not a single thing. Not about the past, present, or future. I was enjoying myself. As me. In the moment. I found joy and value in each moment. I felt God’s delight in me. I didn’t feel like I was in a hurry. I wasn’t analyzing every little thing I did or overwhelmed with thoughts. And I loved it. I felt God smiling down on me. I was learning how to be me again. There was something I discovered in these moments that I haven’t experienced before, or at least it’s a new level of it. It was the feeling of complete freedom and joy, confidence in Him, and not myself, and seeing the world with new eyes, and feeling myself come alive. (I have more thoughts on this, I will expound later.) BUT on top of all this, I was blessed by a gift. My kitty Oliver!

After a while, I started feeling like maybe I should be done “playing around” and figure out what I’m doing with my life. I started to become anxious. When before I felt like I was unshakeable and so confident in who God was and His love for me, I became totally polar opposite. I started analyzing the past, feeling heavy, all of a sudden full of regret and doubt. I beat myself up over things that I had no control over. I felt guilty for feeling happy and carefree. I felt guilty for being so confident that I didn’t have anything to worry about and that things would all work out fine for me as long as I did things I enjoyed and followed my heart. But at the same time I felt I had lost my passion. I forgot who I was. Everything that defined me and I leaned on disappeared. I started becoming afraid that maybe I missed something or have missed it a long time ago. I felt pressure to hurry up and figure things out because time was running out. I had bills to pay and loans to pay back and everything started becoming overwhelming. It wasn’t just about the present moment anymore, it was about the future. Nothing seemed to line up in my mind. I lost hope. I regretted having done certain things and not having done things. I felt depressed at my life. Felt like a failure. Felt like I’ve done nothing and was nobody. And that I wasn’t really on the track to anywhere. I felt lost, confused, alone. I panicked and was full of anxiety about my future and unsure of how to process the past. I had so many questions. So many thoughts and ideas… and frustrations, too. At the core of it, I just wanted answers. I wanted to know why. I wanted to know how, and when, and every little detail about the past and present and how it all makes sense for my future. Without it I would not rest. I could not. Without it, I felt I had no reason to do anything more in life.

Although I went into the summer knowing that what I was going to be doing was some major  resting and allowing myself to be refreshed, I still became very anxious after a while. It was full of extended times of rest and being alone. Some on purpose and intentional… Some not. But I believe God orchestrated it that way so that I’d meet with Him. I went through periods of seeking God, and then not, and then seeking again. But mostly it was more of a responding rather than seeking. I would feel my heart move and hunger for His presence. And I would respond. I did my best to respond whenever I felt that inside of me. Even if my times of being with Him meant I just there with worship music playing, I did that. I prayed. There was a lot of arguing with myself and wrestling with my own thoughts, and then trying to get myself to shut up, but I would pray the best I could and attempt to listen for Him. There were times where I was greatly moved by His presence, other times, not so much. Overall, I felt it was tedious, uncomfortable, mundane, and a waste of time. Why? In my eyes it wasn’t getting me anywhere because more than anything, I expected an answer. But no answer. At least like I wanted it.

As September neared, I started seeing the results of my small, pathetic prayers. I say that, but I don’t even know if it were my prayers that got me anywhere. Although the reason why I even wanted to pray initially was because I wanted answers and was scared, it started to change. All that I know is that deep down in my heart of hearts, I longed for God. And regardless of my motives, He came. Honestly, it didn’t even look like I loved God for some time… not to myself at least. I didn’t know how, or what, or if I was even doing anything right, but I longed for Him. And it wasn’t some huge one moment encounter I had, but more of a culmination of a gajillion things. Very small things. I don’t even know what they all were, but it was all the little ways that He was reaching out to me that had piled up and was finally overflowing over the brim and spilling over. It caused my heart and eyes to be opened again to fall more in love with My Creator, My Love, My True Unchanging Passion.

This was an intro/recap. I hope to continue to blog over the next few days about certain things I’ve learned and to share my journey. Obviously by “Summer Love” I am speaking of an eternal one. The love and heart of an unconditional, jealous, pursuer who won’t settle for anything less than all of my heart. The love of a King, a Lover, a Friend, and so much more.

This is where I end for today, but check back for more juicy details of my summer love affair! Until then here are some pics from my summer adventure. 🙂

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EPIC worship!

Wahooo! I’m back sooner than I ever thought I would be! Rub your eyes, blink a few times and realize, yes, it is true… I am back for some more blogging action! *poses like a power ranger* Go, Mastadon, Go! (Why I picked mastadon of all of them, I have no idea… that’s interesting…)

It’s Bloggin time!

First, I would just like to say…

The weather was absolutely beautiful!! I love 70s and breezy! I rode my bike to work, and experienced the joy of pedaling fast and feeling the wind against my skin as my lungs breathed in some awesome fresh air. I HEART IT. And of course I had my headphones in listening to some groovy tunes. It’s like my fav. FAV. It makes me feel so alive, and so glad to BE alive. It makes me feel free, like I’m flying, and there’s nothing in the world to be worried about or be consumed with because nothing matters but that very moment. I’ve realized this summer that the small things that I absolutely LOVE doing are actually very important. Not just important as in how much I enjoy, value, and treasure them, but important for my s.a.n.i.t.y. It’s things like that that help you to live in that state of mind always… with a full heart, and a clear mind. I want to live with that freedom always. Free and full of peace. Loving life, loving God, and loving myself.

Now for the good stuff…

A couple weekends ago I made a last minute decision to go to CHICAGO! Woot! Jesus Culture was having their first ever huge arena event at the Allstate Arena. I was totally pumped to go like 6 months ago, but I kind of waited to see what would happen financially and with work and all that… and as the date got closer, I was preparing myself to give up on it. I didn’t have the money for the ticket, let alone for food and gas and all that. I was pretty much at the point of knowing I wasn’t going to be able to go, but THEN I just felt in my heart, “No, I really want to go. I need to go to…” I don’t know if it was just me wanting to go and deciding to, or God saying I should, but I still didn’t have the money. A few days before the event, I was given some money to be able to go, had a ride where I didn’t have to pay for gas, and got a free place to stay. Everything … just worked out. So I ended up going. Yeah. It was sweet. Being in an atmosphere with 15,000 people who were passionate about God and listening to people with a status of “legendary” speaking about God was totally awesome. When we weren’t at the event we were hanging out with the Rech’s (the coolest people ever!) meeting new people, praying over each other, and playing music. It was totally something I needed to be around. It was encouraging and so refreshing to me. It was a good time. But there’s one thing that topped it all.

Experiencing an EPIC moment of worship that I will NEVER forget.

Worshipping with the Jesus Culture band live was so incredible. I LOVED EVERY MOMENT. My goodness. It made me realize how important it is. How important worship is… how important worship leaders are… how important worshipping with others in a corporate setting is. I believe I tasted something very special on that very last night of the event.

Imagine this: You’re in a stadium with 15,000 people. The Jesus Culture band plays… leads us into an awesome time of worship, great songs, great atmosphere. You feel His presence and when you listen, you can hear voices all around you singing in unison, worshipping and praising God. Kim Walker takes us even deeper with a song called Fill Us Up followed by some spontaneous singing from the heart. There was such sensitivity to the Spirit and genuine hearts of worship. His presence gets thicker. And as we continue to move into worship, the band continues to play another song, it ends, and still the presence remains. We had reached a depth and have been so immersed in His presence that even as Banning comes up to try and transition, people will not stop shouting and praising God. And while we’ve had moments of joyous cheering and shouting all through the weekend, this was different. There was praise welling up inside of each person. At least that’s what I felt. It wasn’t just cheering because everyone else was. There was a spirit of praise and people couldn’t help themselves. Soon, everyone started chanting, “Jesus”. Sounds cheezy I know. But then it goes into some rhythmic clapping and everyone singing a melodic line filled with “ohhhs”… all without the band. People start jumping up and down and dancing and clapping some more. It was electrifying. I felt goosebumps and my heart wanted to just explode with shouts. I’m not usually like that and I don’t just cheer for the sake of cheering. But this… was just awesome. It was something different.

Here’s a YouTube video of it. It really doesn’t do it justice. It may kind of just look like something that might happen at a soccer game or some hype at an event, but I’m telling you it was different. While the cameras in the video focus a lot on the stage and all the lighting and stuff seems noticeable, being there it felt so pure and so much more about everyone in the stadium as opposed to what was happening on stage. I wish I could be a part of something like that again… or better yet, be one of the worship leaders to usher in the presence and have it just take off like that. O_O

I wanted to post this up sooner, but better late than never!!

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Voila!!

Why, hello wordpress blog!

Hello, my non-readers because I actually haven’t written any blogs!!

So yes, this is me randomly blogging because I don’t have much else to do right now. It’s like a magic trick of sorts. One minute I’m here, and then I’m not, and then *POOF* I’m here again! Yay… *applause*

So, I actually didn’t have a topic to write about when I decided to do this. It was kind of a spontaneous thing as I was surfing the internet and I remembered, “Hey! I have a wordpress account don’t I?!” Yup. That’s how it went down. Exciting, I know.

That’s why I am here. So hi.

Okay, so…

… Umm … Awkward pause… aaaand …

(chirping crickets and croaking frogs in the background)

… pause continues … *ahem* …

OKAY! So really, I didn’t actually have anything to write about. But I think I will end up with some kind of topic by the end ‘cuz I’m awesome like that… (not really).

Alroighty then! (That was supposed to be an Aussie accent. I envy people with australian accents. I think it’s one of the coolest accents EVER to exist. I would give it a triple gold medal if there was a competition for “coolest accent ever to exist” and I was a judge.)

What made me come back to blogging? Well, I’ve had lots of free time to sit, ponder, pick my nose, attempt to write songs, stare at the wall, and anything else I could think of doing…

… and I’ve realized that as I’ve been in a time of rediscovering all the things I love doing and dream of doing, I put waaaaaay too much pressure on myself to make it awesome, and perfect, and try to meet this invisible standard that isn’t really based off of anything but comparing myself to what’s already out there and always feeling inadequate. I’m always not creative enough, not smart enough, not original enough, not cool enough in my eyes… you know how it goes. But you know what? All I can do is just be me.

AH HA! So profound I know! But whether you’d like to believe it or not, we all do this thing where we try to be someone we’re not. And I don’t mean like the obviously-being-fake ordeal, but the without-even-meaning-to-because-we-want-to-be-good-people-and-feel-like-we-really-do-awesome-stuff-that-people-really-like ordeal. I feel like it happens a lot in the world of artsy fartsy creative people… it’s part of  a desire to produce awesome works of art whatever the medium. But a lot of the time that goes hand in hand with how we see God, too. Or how we think God sees us… and how we see ourselves. There’s a standard that we either place on ourselves or a standard that we have come to believe that God wants us to meet in order for Him to be happy with us. And then we hear that God loves us exactly how we are, but then deep inside, we’re like, “Yes, maybe so, but I’M not okay with me as I am, so neither should God.” So in all actuality it just kind of comes down to not really believing that God is okay with us as we are.

I think I could go into a sermon-like rant about this whole thing, but tonight I’m just going to save you the agony of reading through it and just continue on in my wonderful spontaneous post.

As I was saying, I’ve just set up this thing in my own head about the kind of person I want to be, dreaming, and pondering, and wishing, thinking about the kind of music I want to make, or what I could write about and make it ridiculously OFF  DA HOOK, that I actually don’t ever get started. At times, I get too self conscious, other times it just drains me because I’m thinking too much about it, and then when I try to do something I’m working under this invisible slab of cement over my head that I’m like, “Wow, that’s a piece of crap.” And it really is a piece of crap because my hands are stiff and my heart’s not free, so I might as well be playing my guitar with my feet and singing through my butt. Not a pretty picture. I have too many ridiculous expectations for myself, but it’s really what I’ve formulated based off of what I think other people expect of me… So it’s what I think other people think, when what they think isn’t really what they are thinking at all, and so what I think what they think isn’t something I should be thinking about. And no amount of talking myself up, or trying not to focus on the pressure, or receiving endless amounts of encouragement and applause from family and friends will help. At some point, you just have to reach a mentality within yourself to let go of the past and the worries of the future and just be in the present moment. Finding happiness and fulfillment in the present moment is probably one of the most difficult things to do. This is a quote I heard this summer, “If you have one foot on yesterday and one foot on tomorrow, you’ll piss on today.” Haha. (Sorry if it’s a little vulgar for some of you. And for saying “piss”.) But you get the idea right? I thought it was genius when I heard it.

Anyway, all of this brings me to today, sitting in front of my computer, typing away for this very blog. This is my attempt at just doing what I want to in the moment, expressing what I want to, no rules, no boundaries, no expectations this time. And it has become successful. This itself has been a very freeing and refreshing experience.

Will I blog again? Who knows? Will I write an awesome song? Maybe. Will I go cuddle with my kittiessss and watch Korean Dramas in bed? You betcha. V^_^V (This is an asian holding up two peace signs for those of you who aren’t sure what to make of it…)

So if you’ve continued reading thus far, thank you very much for allowing me to yoink some of your time in my efforts to try and find some freedom of expression within myself. This blog was supposed to be about my journey. My journey. Journey of Vicki Hong. And I guess I somehow believed that I couldn’t do anything until I’ve “arrived” in order to impact people, or even express myself well and write something worthwhile. But I know now, more than ever, that today is as good as any other.

Here’s to living full and happy in every moment, even if it’s not how I pictured it to be.

For the future, I am wanting to try and blog more. But there are no guarantees. I might try all sorts of stuff just because. Maybe I’ll do a video blog next time… but like I said, who know?!

*POOF*

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