Heartfelt Words

IMG_DD4B80B07233-19:13PM: Currently at YVR waiting for my 10:35PM flight back to school

I really wish I weren’t going back today. I just kept thinking, if I could change one moment in time and get what I want, I’d choose to stay home for a few more days. Not that anyone can really get what they want whenever they want though, but if I had a few wishes to spare, I wouldn’t regret using one today.

I feel like a child – I don’t want to go back and face everything that has yet to dawn upon me. I’m probably being way more dramatic than I need to be, but this semester’s been pretty difficult (full of administrative challenges at least – that is, things I cannot control and people I can’t get ahold of).

And as junior year comes to end, I wonder how many times and for how long I’ll be able to come back home. I feel somewhat trapped in the environments I’ve set up for myself, as if I don’t have the luxury to travel or something. I just wish I could feel a bit more stable and a bit more home with where I go to school or where my family is. But “home” seems like a faraway ideal that I’ll be searching for until I’m married with kids.

I really like what P. James said today about words though – he said that you say things because you mean them: no matter how hurtful they may be, they came from somewhere (i.e. your heart). Makes me think about the language I’ve been using lately and what I spit out.

For me, my language has been filled with a lot of anxiety and unsettledness (really a lot due to admin matters that have gone array) with daily affairs & people. A lot of discomfort in not being able to find paper trails and things of that sort.

I came home thinking this week would be restful, but it’s just been a piece of cake that I cannot have again for a while. Maybe it’s with growing up, but I wonder how unsettling it is to graduate and to find a new home. So many people find that process really exciting, but I’m having trouble imagining such a “fun” transition. I understand why so many people choose to go back home or stay near family & old friends, not that you can’t make new friends and meet new family elsewhere.

I’m at lost for words but I guess today I realized how tired my soul has become from all this homelessness I’ve been feeling.

But I think I just needed a bit of a kick to look towards the right direction. That no matter what I’ll feel this homelessness if I keep putting my foundation on something in the future or on something in my past. I really need to start delving into the bible every day again.

Psalm 17:23

It’s crazy the way God enters my life. His steps are like weird patches that don’t seem to blend in – things I never imagined happening actually occurring. It’s incredible.

I’m not actually talking about good things either – there are times when He of course blesses me with incredible miracles, but lately I feel as though He’s been trying to catch me while I’m falling.

Now first things first, I know I’m falling. I keep falling into this strange pile of anxiety as I stack up all the things that are not working out in my favour. Like today, a misfortune happened – one that I would categorize as complete and utter hopelessness. And it’s hard to reconcile and recover from moments like that. When I feel as though I’ve been knocked off the horse by a strange but powerful wind.

But I’m slowly figuring out it’s God… I mean every time I open my quiet time, it happens to press on exactly what I felt was lacking.

Today was Psalm 139:17-24. This one though stood out:

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. (v. 23)

He’s really making me question the foundations of what I think hold my sanity together. Every last bit of it: relationships, family, life, greed, finances. Things that I think are so essential to my world – I’m desperately holding onto – I’m called to let go of every single one. It’s hard, I must say. I don’t even think I’m succeeding more than an inch at a time. But the first part in any recovery is admittance and recognition. So here is that.

Gracious Father, I recognize today my desperate need of Your love, wisdom, and grace. Search me and know me. Pour out Your grace and mercy in my life to bring healing to my heart.

Just needed to write that before I pass out for the night.

Heaven holds my heart

So I will sing like I will there
In the fearless light of glory
Where the darkness cannot find me
And Your face is all I see

I am constantly blessed by His glory and grace upon my life, no matter what I have done or will do. I am constantly surprised by His mercies and boundless love that floods my life. So, I am constantly thankful for His love and mercy to have His will be done in my life.

For His will be done, not mine.

It’s going to be an interesting two weeks, but regardless of what happens, I know Heaven lives in me. For I have been fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of all things, and I have this inkling of faith that He will never leave me in the darkness alone.

I am forever indebted

I trust in Him with my heart to provide for me even though I am a worthless creature. And at times, it’s so confusing and difficult to realize my life in His terms, but I know it’s for the best. That some things are not meant to be clear or understood until the end.

I embark the first part of this potential year long adventure of finding myself and learning more and more to depend on God’s mercy and grace. I don’t think there’s anything that can set me apart from the depths of His love, as much as my warring thoughts will try.

I just wanted to make that statement tonight. That I pray for the Prince of Peace to be eternally present with me in every waking moment.

 

Sinking sand

Walking right on the coast of the ocean is interesting because the sand slips out from under you. As if to put you off balance, the sand sneaks away with each crashing wave. For someone who’s barely gone to the beach and dipped their toes in the water, it was an offsetting moment for me to regain balance on different hollows of the same sand.

The thing is, you never lose balance, you just think you do for a split moment. The unbalancing act feels somewhat nice, though my heart almost skips a beat each time it happens, then to realize I’m standing still on the edge of the Atlantic.

Life is very much the same, with its own appearance of sand that constantly slips away. There are moments in your life when you’re thrown off balance to find you’ve been standing still the entire time. But it’s not sand, of course. For me, they’re mainly emotions, for others, it might be unforeseen events, and for some, it’s depression.

And I think we’ve all seen what’s going on in the world right now, no matter how ignorant of or far away we try to stay away from world news. It truly is difficult when a multitude of tragedies occur – not just one, but an avalanche of horrific events. Some things we’ll never be able to forget, things we didn’t think would ever quite happen.

Whenever my heart grows weary, my mind immediately jumps to a praise song – no matter what the situation – a child dying, a breakup, a terrible tragedy. Today, “Great Are You Lord” played when I walked into church. For me, certain praise songs hold a significant burden I’ve experienced in my life. That song reminded me of the day a child died, no one I knew personally, but too sad altogether. I’m the last person to take up someone else’s depression or tragedy, but my usually obnoxious loud became just quiet. I remember that time as a memory of unsettling quietness, of a strange comfort and stability in a time of chaos for some people. I just felt a great peace come upon me because emotions became too much to handle at that point. It might seem strange to be like this at a time of an unjust death, but I was convinced of God’s healing presence in the hospital room at the time.

It’s been a while since I’ve felt God’s lasting peace fall upon me, and yet, as the world grows more chaotic and as my life becomes more intricate, I seem to want it more than ever soulfully.

I’m only a victim of my own thoughts and actions, and of no one else’s. But even when my foolishness gets the best of me, and I’m on the ground, beaten down by my own demons, I can only remember the everlasting love of God. That, in the end, no matter what I’ve become, the greatest love of all will never forsake me. I’ll never be worthy of such a grace, and yet, it will never leave me.

A Progress Reality

“I’m making progress” – a phrase generally someone doesn’t want to hear. You say the phrase when you’re trying to excuse yourself for why something is not complete. Or you might hear it when you ask your partner how your deteriorating relationship is going or when you ask your project partner how their work’s coming along. Especially in a rapidly moving society where progress is hidden and results are instantaneous, our society has morphed reality into a similar ideal where as a human being, you’re expected to produce results somewhat quickly. Hence, the phrase,”I’m making progress,” doesn’t really output anything to a viewer. Because who really cares if you’re making progress, if you’ve not yet produced anything meaningful. Progress is good, but after a while, we all recognize when this phrase is more of an excuse than a sign of improvement.

But in a setting where no one is perfect and flawed by some human characteristic, it seems all we can do is “make progress” – and not at all quickly, but quite slowly. Each day progress towards something until our ultimate death, when we run out of time to reach that “something.”

Let’s also consider the fact that progress means to move forward; so what does it mean to move forward when our living reality is built on flaws and failures? Is it about bypassing these struggles to move forward or more about mending our past to restore the present and later, future?

I think the first is not possible in the definition of progress because that’s just a pseudo-progress; you just think you’re moving forward when you’re held back. As much as you think you’ve overcome your greatest struggle, more will present itself and the past will present deep scars. I think the latter is also not possible humanly. There are things that have happened to us that we cannot forgive or forget – tragedies upon tragedies that we will forever hold.

So are we stuck in a sort of catch-22 of “I’m making progress” but really going nowhere? Possibly.

A few weeks ago, when I was in New York, Carl Lentz spoke about this concept of progress reality: because we “broke it,” the Holy Spirit came and serves as an Advocate to help reset our realities as a process of time and healing.

When Jesus left the world, He knew that we wouldn’t have the strength to find our way back to Him. (see John 14:26) And those in the faith how every catch-22 breaks and how restored our lives become. How the phrase “I’m making progress” becomes meaningful, even with setbacks and other tragedies because all we can ever do is make the smallest progress towards the Cross. And every setback is not overcome by our doing, but by His, His overwhelming and all consuming love.

So yes, we’re all making progress in this living reality but we’re not completely alone in our endeavour to reach the highest.

 

Love, fear, and everything in between 

Children are curious and in awe of a lot of things. They start to wonder what’s around them, and then gradually become accustomed to language and others’ behaviours. But when you’re a child, you really don’t know what’s going on. You try to do things by yourself and end up failing and embarrassed that you couldn’t be independent. Your parents look at you and laugh; not because they’re angry or unsupportive, but more because you tried to do something harder than ever imagined and could have only failed. Think about the first time (or a child’s first time) walking, speaking, and even going to the bathroom. It’s funny because it’s difficult for children to do things alone, and we as adults can see that and understand their failure. Nothing to be ashamed about, rather something to learn from and grow as you progress.

Joel Houston spoke magnificently about his challenges with raising a two year old. It’s incredible how much insight comes from raising a child, especially insight about yourself. Children seem immature because they’re so immersed in their minuscule world that they have the biggest fear from a misperception or an unknown detail. It consumes them. They think a small noise is a monster’s growl, or a shadow a stalking creature. And we, as older, “wiser” beings, can clearly see what it is and what it’s not. But how often do we go through life the same way? So focused and so afraid and one detail, of one monster, of one shadow that’s actually nothing?

This week, everyone saw the disaster that erupted in Paris. And for a few hours, the world came together in its support. People lit candles, asked for prayers, gathered in circles for one ideal: peace. More often though, people are divided and separated in their views. But for a moment, the world came together. And as a Christian, I sometimes separate the secular world from that of the Christian. There seems to be too much conflict for the two to exist together at times and it’s been a struggle to join the two worlds. But honestly, I’ve had it wrong… So incredibly wrong. What the bible ultimately points to is this view of unity and for the two to coexist within each other. It’s not about me trying to put aspects of the bible into daily life. It’s about being so consumed by the weight of the Cross and of His love that overtakes both worlds. He did not come into this world for me to separate the two or actively try to merge both together. He didn’t pray before taking up the cross for us to be so confused about how to go about this world perfectly. His love overcame both bridges so that when He told us to take His perfect bread and wine, it was about being consumed by His grace. We don’t need to be on fear because love triumphs fear as seen this weekend. And He is the perfect love that bleeds into all our surroundings.


I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 
John 17:9-11

 

I’ve been pretty worried about a lot of things lately, but what is there to fear. The unknown isn’t scary when it’s lying all upon the grace and love of His Name. And like learning your first words and language for the first time, this isn’t to come naturally easy. It’s all on His timing and His way that we’ll learn when we’re immersed in His love. You didn’t actively learn your first language. You just learned it by being in that environment.

Last note – I don’t believe God creates disasters or suffering, especially not after His Son’s resurrection. He is not a God who enjoys watching us suffer. But in the midst of all the pain and storms, His love surrounds us when our thoughts wage war. And yes, I know logically this may not be sound, but the world’s never made sense.


 

It makes no sense but this is grace
And I know You’re with me in this place
Verse from Here Now

 

Sinking Deep

“I am won by perfect love
Wrapped within arms of heaven
In a peace that last forever
Sinking deep in mercy’s sea
I’m wide awake, drawing close, stirred by grace
And all my heart is yours
All fear removed, I breathe you in, I lean into
Your love, oh your love
When I’m lost you pursue me
Lift my head to see your glory
Here in you I find shelter
Captivated by the splendor
Of your face, my secret place”

Empires – Hillsong United

Closer than you know

» Lift up your eyes and see
Heaven is closer than you know
Lift up your voice and sing
Know that My love won’t let you go
And I won’t forsake you «

I love those lines, but I especially love Taya’s part halfway through.

Captain

» Through waters uncharted my soul will embark
I’ll follow Your voice straight into the dark
And if from the course You intend
I depart
Speak to the sails of my wandering heart «

Here now (Madness)

» All I know is I know that You are
Here now
Still my heart
Let Your voice be all I hear now «

I’m a big fan of Hillsong United’s music, but this album seems to have the constant theme of overcoming suffering and finding God amongst the chaos and pain. In the past, listening to these songs gave me consolation and comfort. Although a pretty awful dancer, I danced since I was four to when I was sixteen, so I find comfort and rest in rhythm and these lyrics. This semester, anxiety got to me a lot (on a side note, I think anxiety is now too commonplace). And the nights and days, the hours that I sat on my uncomfortable dorm bed, I turned to these songs for some sight of hope and relief. Thinking back, maybe I should’ve turned to a bible or a friend, but honestly in those times, I’m constantly distracted, but music could break through my thoughts.


LIFE update: I don’t know I’m at a really weird stage in my life and I don’t know where this phase really fits into the overall spectrum. And it’s a constant struggle to remember that God is still so in love with the person I am and not for someone I’m not, for some future self. This time is nothing like I had imagined it would be like. I think I’ve grown distant from myself, and I’m trying to find another shape to fit into, one formed by family, society, and financial expectations. But that’s far from where I ever want to be right now to be honest. I want to live in the moment and think little of the person I will one day become or of the person I’m destined to be. I did a good job senior year of living in the moment, and those were some of the best times of my life. I guess it’s difficult to place yourself in a state of constant change, and when it seems like nothing will stay the same.