This is not a phase

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Oakland's First Fridays Unity Wall
Note: This is not my view on the Church I attend, my Pastor, or the select people I've connected with on a real level. This is solely part of my journey of Christ, church, and my sense of belonging...and this post has been sitting in my inbox for almost 2 years.

10 years ago I sat in my parents living room and told them that I would respect their wishes to attend church until I was 18, then I wanted to seek my own relationship with God and explore my spiritual life.

You must know, as a Midwesterner who grew up in the Heartland, where there are more or equal amounts of churches than bars, this was not a popular sentiment.

But, I have always been a searcher...and searchers question, seek, and find. Which is exactly what I wanted to do with my faith in Christ.

Let me start off by saying, to me, God = very real to me. But this is about my struggles with how I experience and understand God and how others respond to my struggles within my spiritual life.

Organized religion, although important for so many of my loved ones who love Jesus, has always been difficult for me.

For me, I experience Christ in the small moments. While brushing my teeth saying my prayers for all the people I love. Or when I am driving in the car with a friend listening to music. Or in deep conversation about purpose, identity, and real life ish - that is when I feel closest to God.

And this is okay. This is what is so rich in my relationship with the Lord. This is what makes my spirit bright, my heart full, and my soul feel alive. But it took me a long time to get there...

Growing up I was the only public school kid while all the other kids went to the Christian church at our church. I was told that I'd likely be in prison as an adult because that is how public school kids ended up. As angry as I get from these hurtful moments, I know that God serves justice best.

In college, I was too liberal to belong to conservative church America. Apparently my belief that the church should love people in the Lesbian, Gay, BiSexual, Trans, Queer (LGBTQ+) community was too much for people to handle. I was vocal anyway, even though that value was also not popular...

And now? In adulthood, my thoughts are so different that it scares other Christians. Even though doubts, questions, and thinking shouldn't scare people...because my doubts don't invalidate someone else's belief in Christ...But unfortunately that has been my repeated experience.

Then, when I moved to California whether it be Southern, Central, or Northern, I wasn't hipster enough or I definitely didn't make enough money or have the right career to fall into the churches where I believed in their vision, their pastor, and a select group of people within those communities...but was considered not in the "cool" circle at church...

And honestly, it baffles me that in all my niches, I've always felt like I belonged to all my niches, but church?

I've never felt more like an outsider, an impostor.

And when history has a problem with repeating itself in my experiences, to me, church is a place that rewards those who fit in, even the churches that are considered not the social norm in the church world.

And if you know me, social norms aren't my thing. Endorsing systems that reward people for fitting the mold are also not my thing. If it was, I'd have a very different life.

I am not walking away from God, church, or from those who attend it, although many have walked away from me when I start to question organized religion.

And truthfully, I am accepting that is okay. Most of my friends who are Christian I never met in church anyway...

And no, this is not the case where I think there is something wrong with any church I go to, I am attending a great church and I've been to many solid churches. But I also can't deny my challenges to feel like I belong to any or one.


I am a searcher and I am a norm breaker.

This is not a phase. A decade is a long time to be in a phase.

No to reality tv, yes to my reality.

Monday, April 11, 2016

2016 ... HA HA HA. Let’s start there. This post is all over, which if you know me, at least it aligns with my personality ;)

March 11-14....In that 4 day turn over I left my former job, moved to a new city, and started a new job. I was also hiring a manager for a non-profit my friend and I are handing off as well as signing off my clientele to a new consultant with a few pageant systems. Essentially, I was leaving an industry I have been involved in for 17 years...OH and on top of that, my mother and family had been anxiously awaiting to see if she still had cancer. Then to add to the bizarreness of my life, a reality tv show wanted to follow my life for 2 weeks so they could cast me on a tv show about love. Because apparently I was nominated, passed 4 screening interviews, and they were in the process of filming my story........Yeah what a normal 4 days.....
My cute former office evolved a lot in the last 3 yrs.
Now I am in San Francisco. I am no longer in the honeymoon phase. It has hit me that I am no longer visiting...I am going to live, work, and breathe here...

Ready, set, PANIC......WHY GOD?! 

It doesn't even make sense. I liked my life. I was comfortable. I was living in one of the most beautiful places. I had a huge apartment, lived next to the ocean, worked a job that I had more seniority in, had a deep community of people who I loved and adored and it was instantly returned. I was going to be on reality tv with this cute little picturesque life.

And I exchanged all of this for....

A job that I have 0 clue what I am doing. Instead of overlooking the rugged California coastline, I walk through a homeless camp every day. I stepped on a bundle of used needles that people disposed of on the curb. I live with a family that doesn't speak English and not to mention I live in a very run down (sketchy) part of the city. I went from no commute to commuting on public transit every day. I went from nonprofit to for profit/corporate and when you consider cost of living, I am actually taking a $500 deficient each month paycheck wise - which also means I'm living on a smaller budget than when I was in college! 

I also left a guy that could give me the life I dreamt of since I was a little girl and traded that dream in for a life I wanted to create from scratch, possibly on my own...and finally, I threw out or gave away between 40-50 boxes of "stuff" to my students, the womens shelter, or the dumpster. I only took with me 2 car fulls of items and as I am unpacking, I'm still finding I could have gotten rid of more items. 

NOTHING SEEMS LOGICAL, yet I am INFINITELY happier, more joyful, and more rested. I am more gratuitous, light hearted, and giving. I can't stop giving away my possessions, food, money, clean water, clothing, and positivity. 

But my illogical decision has also led me to the following:

A personal life. 

Time to chase my dreams/goals. 




My career now does not own me. When I leave work, I have my best energy for my family and friends. I get to focus on being a better daughter, sister, and a more engaged friend. Someone who is able to treat others with a 100% presence. 

A better understanding of my Korean heritage. What is more emerging than living in an all Asian neighborhood? My cul de sac speaks Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, and Korean. When I go to the bank, the bank teller greets me in Korean. So, maybe this city is not teaching me about my specific country of origin, but I am absolutely getting a cultural experience with my continent of origin. 

Dating. Creating an Alumni Chapter for my Alma Mater. Cultivating friendships and  acquaintanceships into deeper relationships. Exploring the city without a time crunch. Finding a Church home that I later have found out is a church plant - something I've always desired to be apart of! Oh and finding an awesome community group from the Church to boot!


Another layer to my ministry. For those of you who are a bit lost, in my Christian faith, ministry can also translate into purpose. I have been trying to be more inclusive in my wording in my blog posts while still remaining true to my Christian faith.

The opportunity to share my lunch on Tuesdays with a homeless family or any day that I find the other half of my lunch can be given to the person who was digging through the trash to find left overs. 

Having more time to love/live/speak/be.




Making connections on public transportation or in uber. One woman invited me over for her daughter's 2nd birthday just because I was the first person to ask how her day was...We really are in need of connection with others.


So yes, this life I am living seems illogical, yet I am obsessed with every minute of it. Even the messy minutes. The lonely ones. The minutes I yearn for my old life. 

I may have said no to reality tv and my life may not be documented for the world to see, but it can be documented through living what I consider an honest life and that is enough for me, my reality. 


Quick video from my birthday & going away party!

Providence, Rhode Island

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I spent last weekend in Providence, Rhode Island for a conference. Although it was work related, the trip revealed so many positive relationships and things that are going on in my life. It's in these moments I felt loved, appreciated, and worthy of everything God has given me and given me the opportunity to earn.

--

After 8 years, I was reunited with this friend who I met through pageants as a pre-teen. Although 8 years had passed, we spent the morning touring where she goes to school (Brown University), drinking coffee, and catching up over delicious crepes. She is such an enthusiastic and positive force, only good things to come for this girl! Here we are in front of the famous Van Wickle Gates!

Last year I spent my time working for this guy! He was like my 2nd Dad. I was fortunate we just both happened to be going to the same conference that normally not many people attend in our profession. My first and second supervisor in graduate school were Asian Pacific Islander...growing up in the Midwest I never saw people like me in Leadership. He along with my first year supervisor played a critical role in my ethnic and racial development as an adult.

Finally. This girl. This girl drove 400+ miles to spend 5 hours with me where we drank well crafted beer, ate good food, and explored the city of Providence together as much as we could. I met her during my Interview days at my graduate school my senior year of college. She ended up becoming one of my best friends at graduate school and I am grateful to have a daily relationship with her. I felt so incredibly loved by her. Everyone needs a friendship that would spend the time, money, and effort just to see someone for 5 hours!!!

Then, there was FALL :) Oh boy...how I miss the crisp fall air, the turning colors of the leaves, and layering in sweaters/scarves/boots! Providence was such a compact city that walking around was easy. So, when I went to visit my friend at Brown, I made sure to snap a few photos of the city. In addition, Providence does this event called WaterFire and they literally put little mini bonfires on the river. It's a beautiful event and you could sense the strong sense of a re-vitalized downtown community. Enjoy my taste of New England Fall:









CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan