Pathetic.

I’m pathetic.

I think I’ve cried more times than I can count this whole year than all my years of living, and more often than not it has had to do with relationships. For a while now I’ve been feeling this sense of loneliness that I just can’t seem to shake off. It’s like this shadow that follows me into every life stage — a sort of lurking feeling that has seemed to engulf my being. Growing up, I never really felt like I fit in. In school, I was the really crazy/hyper/spastic Asian girl — the “weird” one. In dance, I was always the “bigger” girl — the one who teachers would tell to lose weight. In church, I wanted to talk about deeper things — about Jesus. I just never felt like I fit in anywhere.

I soon realized that I felt lonely around 8th grade, and I didn’t realize it until after I asked an older friend of mine, “Do you ever feel lonely?”. She replied, “Well, it comes with being a leader”. I was shocked. I didn’t think of myself as a leader, but as I looked back at all my interactions at church and within my grade, this idea that I was a “leader” became more apparent to me.

And so that was me. A leader. The person who always initiated, who always planned, who always made decisions, who always led the charge, the person that people looked to…It’s not a bad thing, no, but something I feel like I’ve been carrying this image around my whole life. It shouldn’t be a burden (and it isn’t), but it sure does feel like it is sometimes. You see…I think I’ve tricked my brain into thinking that I have to be a certain way, to act a certain way, to hold myself to a certain regard, that I’m expected to do certain things, that I have to be okay all. the. time. None of what I just mentioned is healthy whatsoever, haha, and I realize that. I wrote a blog post about hospitality a while back, and I think while it is a blessing to others — at times, it can be a curse to me. I definitely see the fruit and the reward in making people feel welcomed, loved, and at home, but I give and give and give and serve and serve and serve so much that I just feel empty by the end of it. Then, I’m just left with feeling apathetic, tired, and fake.

But see? This is why I’m pathetic. I shouldn’t even have to feel empty! Seeing the fruit and the reward of my servitude should be enough — it should be MORE than enough. Jesus alone should satisfy me, but He doesn’t. But why?! Why can’t I be satisfied with what Jesus has to offer me? It saddens me that I feel this emptiness inside of me that I know Jesus can fill, yet it remains empty still. I feel pathetic in that when I feel lonely, I cry. When I’m alone in my apartment, I cry. When my boyfriend leaves for the night, I cry. I cry for what seems to be all. the. time. I just feel pathetic. I feel lonely, but I don’t want to be needy. I want people, but I don’t know who to go to, who I can turn to, who would be willing to listen and go through this struggle with me. You’re probably thinking, “What?! You’re kidding, right? There are SO many people who love you, care for you, blahblahblah.” Yeah, that’s probably true, but the people that I have shared my life with, who I have  confided in, who I have been vulnerable with — don’t seem to have the same interest in wanting to pursue a relationship with me. So then I’m left once again to be by myself. Alone. Now you’re probably thinking, “Wait. Didn’t you say you had a boyfriend? What about him?”. Yes, you’re right, but when I want to go to him, he’s not always available or he has to go home or it’s late or it’s something. I feel like I can’t go to him when I want to, nor do I want to keep him from being with others. Also, as great of a guy he is, I need my girls. I need girls that I can live life with — girls that will stick by me through the end.

So yeah…I feel pathetic. I thought I was feeling better in combating against loneliness, but these floods of emotion just keep coming back to drown me. I’ve probably cried once a week since school started in late August, and so yeah, I think me feeling pathetic is pretty accurate. I honestly feel like a pathetic human being — an emotional, needy, lonely, pathetic little girl.

Pathetic.

twenty-one

13720626_10210068458211911_1508416085_oI recently turned 21, and as I’m slowly entering into adulthood, I find myself looking back on this past year and how much I have grown in the midst of all the chaos. Going into my junior year this past fall, I was an executive officer for 2 positions for one of my organizations, and I was leading in 3 different parts of my college ministry. I didn’t realize it at first but that was a lot on my plate.

As the school year progressed, leadership was hard as we were trying to find our groove while transitioning into a completely different team dynamic from the year before. Countless arguments with stubborn views and opinions that were filled with frustration, hurt, and anger were had, and it was just tiring overall. Eventually, things were resolved, and I’m so thankful that we were all constantly striving for unity despite our misunderstandings and lack of communication. Somewhere along the line, I lost sight of why I wanted to do leadership. I felt inadequate in my abilities, and I found myself caring more about what other people thought than focusing my attention and efforts towards God. The year continued and leadership got better! Applications for leadership came around the corner, and I found myself feeling jaded and tired from having to work with people and resolve conflict to what felt like a daily routine. As I reflected on all the years I was on leadership, I saw that all my suffering was a result of leadership. I was really discouraged by that, and it made me not want to do leadership at all. I talked with people about it and realized that if I was choosing not to do leadership because I didn’t want to work with people…that’s not a good reason at all. I reflected some more on my years of leadership and was reminded of all the fruit that came from my labor and how God had worked in my life and through me to reach the lives of others. I saw that while ministry is hard and taxing at times, it is far more rewarding than you would ever expect at the end of the day. God then really challenged me in taking on my new role (only one this year haha) in that I knew this role would help me grow immensely, but I really just didn’t want God to mold me because growing to become more like Jesus is a painful (yet rewarding) journey. As I prayed for God to help me to be less reluctant to obey and to serve Him, He orchestrated a way for me to reread the story of Jesus calming the storms and how Jesus doesn’t want us to avoid the storms but to experience the storms with Him — to follow, obey, and trust in Him. Immediately after, I was like “Crap. Okay God, let’s do this. This is going to be hard, but let’s experience storms together.” At first, I thought we were only going to experience storms within the realm of leadership, but God really challenged my commitment throughout the month of April.

— I was leading our large group the first Wednesday of the month as well as spearheading a lock-in with the hospitality team for the following Friday. I also found out during the week that I was teaching Sunday School the following Sunday, so you can imagine how much time was put into prepping and executing those three things in the span of a few days could be. After Sunday was over, my big event for my other organization was that upcoming Friday. We had booths everyday leading up to Friday, and when Friday came, my laptop crashed on me which led to me breaking down during my leaders meeting. Immediately after, I had to prepare for the big event which was six hours long, and I was in charge of the dancing aspect which meant I had to be super energetic as I taught the dance and interacted with the attendees. I was exhausted by the end of that week also because my boyfriend and I were going through our own personal struggles that deeply affected our relationship. So not only was the week physically tiring but it was emotionally and spiritually draining as well. After those two crazy weeks, I was determined to spend A LOT of time with God to reconnect and to recharge with Him, so I decided to read Daniel. The week went on and everything was great. That weekend, I went to a youth leader retreat with my church, and on Saturday, I received a text from my mom. She had told me that my dog was missing since the night before and that my dad had gotten into an accident a few hours before she sent me the text. I freaked out, naturally, because this wasn’t the first time my dog had gone missing, so I thought there was no way that we’d be lucky enough to find my dog again, especially since she had been gone for a longer period this time around. My mom didn’t give me any details about my dad’s accident, so I was scared that he had been badly injured…or worse. I was terrified and broke down in tears, and as I called my mom to get more information, I found myself feeling so helpless in that I was 4 hours away from home, and I couldn’t be there physically to see how my dad was doing or to continue searching for my dog. So all I did was pray, pray, and pray some more. I journaled and read Daniel and came across Daniel 6:27. God really spoke to me in that He is a god that delivers and rescues and perform signs and wonders on earth and in heaven. I found out a couple of days later that even though the car was totaled, my dad was completely fine, and a friend of a friend found my dog and brought her to the animal shelter. It was then that I realized God was testing my faith and trust in  Him as we experienced these storms together. Though those experiences were difficult and hard, God was so, so, so good. I saw God work through these storms, and I saw myself clinging closer to Him, trusting that He would provide in my time of need. —

I saw that when all 3 parts of my life overlapped (ministry, organization, school) life got REALLY crazy. It was hard to manage my time, to get rest, and to invest in each thing full heartedly. Life was crazy. But through it all, God was constant, He was so good to me, and He provided in ways that I would never have imagined with school, ministry, organization stuff, and even in my relationships.

You see, I’ve wanted a boyfriend since maybe late middle school because everyone around me had one or had a “thing” with someone and though I’ve had many “things” with guys, I’ve never been in an actual relationship with someone before. I always told myself, and other people, that I wasn’t going to jump into any relationship but that I would think and pray A LOT because since it would be my first, I wanted to make sure I was entering for the right reasons and that it would be a good relationship. I came up with this mentality because I’ve heard way too many stories about fallen relationships with guys that just weren’t right for my friends, so naturally, I wanted to avoid that as much as possible. I found that through all my “things” that I had, there was a lot of insecurities about myself that formed or previous struggles about my identity and self-worth that were amplified as a result of these “things” I had with different guys. Especially after last year’s fiasco, I put up a huge barricade to cover all the other walls that I had built up. I told my friends that I just wanted a guy who would chase after my heart and make me feel like I’m worth pursuing and fighting for. I even told people that I was so done with guys and how I was okay if I was single for the rest of undergrad. Lo and behold, God was working. The friendship that my now boyfriend and I had when we first met developed over the year as we got to know each other more. We didn’t realize it at first, but we concluded that we unconsciously liked each other for what was probably a long time. I’ll spare you the details, haha, but basically we were just chatting one night and we somehow ended up defining our relationship. As we unraveled all of our past interactions together, it became clear to us that we really enjoyed each others’ company and that we had unintentionally become “more than friends”. Before the end of the night, he told me he wanted to pursue me and tell me his testimony. When I first played around with the idea of dating him back in November, I thought to myself there’s no way he would like me or I would like him, and when we DTR’d in January, I questioned whether or not I did like him because I wasn’t sure. As I was praying for God to tell me if I should enter into this relationship or not, a big thing that was made clear to me was when my now boyfriend said, out of the blue, “Also, I really like your heart”. He had never heard me say that before, and it was then that I was like “Oh man. Okay God, is this for real? Is what I have been praying for so long actually happening?” I was still a little reluctant to enter because frankly, I was scared. I was scared to tear down all those walls I had built up, scared to get hurt again, scared to let someone into my life and all my struggles and insecurities, but with six months nearing, it has been a huge blessing to have him in my life. As I reflect on our relationship, I see how God has worked in both of our lives as individuals and as a couple, and I see how God-given this relationship is. Though the hardest part about being in a relationship is probably experiencing struggles together, it is also so rewarding to overcome those struggles together with God working in the middle of it all.

Anyway, the point of this whole post is a lot has happened this past year, and as I look back and reflect on this year, I’ve seen God work in my life and through me too. I have seen God challenge me through doing Bible study for church, through all aspects of ministry, and just experiencing life in general. Through it all though, God has been so good to me and has blessed me with friends and family who care very deeply about me — people who care about my well-being both spiritually and physically. I now know why birthdays have always meant so much to me, and it’s because I’m surrounded by people I love and who love me too. I’m reminded of how God has worked in each of those relationships and how God has blessed me with such a loving community and true friends who will drive up 4 hours to celebrate my birthday with me. I’m reminded of God’s love that is shown through each of my friends and family members and just how ultimately good God is. 21 is a big deal, not just because I can legally drink now hahah, but because I’m nearing adulthood. I’m one step closer to entering the “real world”, and I’m that much closer to making many more steps in the wrong direction as I’m finding my place in the world. But hey, here’s to 21! Here’s to many more memories, adventures, and lessons to learn from this crazy journey called life.

twenty-one

Feebly Me – Pt. 1

Within the first two weeks of the new semester, I blacked out and had a stomach virus.

– Wait, what?! –

Yeah…so it all happened when I was waiting in line to watch the movie premiere of “13 hours”. I think there was a lot of different things that played a part in why I blacked out, but for now…I’m just going to say McDonald’s. Okay, so maybe I should back up a little bit haha. A couple of hours before I headed out, I was trying to figure out meetings times for multiple groups, people were asking me questions, and my phone was basically exploding with notifications, but you see, that’s normal for me. I think what was really stressful about those two hours was that everything was just so up in the air and so chaotic and not in order that I was freaking out inside. What made it worse was when we were trying to find parking at the stadium. My friend and I were meeting two of our other friends who were already in line to enter, so I wanted to find parking as soon as possible.  We thought the movie started at 5:30pm, and it was 6pm by the time we reached the stadium and all of the parking lots said “Lot Full” but cars were still driving into them, so I thought I could do the same. Boy, was I wrong. As soon as I drove into one of the full lots, the lady who was stationed there yelled, “THE LOT IS FULL! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! THE LOT. IS FULL! BACK UP. BACK UP. BACK UP. BACK UP!!!!!!”, and immediately after I started freaking out “OMGOMGOMGOMG I’M SORRY OKAY GOSH WHY YOU LETTIN’ PEOPLE IN THEN. You didn’t have to get all mad about it. You could’ve just let me in so I can drive around and find parking…” except, you know, I said this all in my car. So then we decided to park at the Walmart across the street and walk over, but as soon as we got across, another lady was like “I hope you guys didn’t park at Walmart because you’re going to get towed”. We decided to stay there and we walked over to the entrance only to find out the movie actually started at 8pm and my purse was too big to be allowed in the stadium, so we had to walk back to Walmart to drop my purse off. We decided to grab food at McDonald’s, find actual parking at the stadium, and then we proceeded to walk to the entrance…again. We scarfed down the food, and as soon as we were standing in line, that’s when it all went down…literally.

I first got abdominal pain, so I sat down in line because I thought it would make me feel better. It did at first but then the line was moving, so I had to get up. As we were walking, I started feeling light-headed and seeing spots, so I grabbed my friend’s shoulder to hold onto as the line was moving. My body grew heavier and before I knew it, everything went black for a split second and then I was sitting on the ground. I decided to stay down (duh), but I was more touched that the people around me were concerned and asked if I was okay or if I needed help as soon as I went down. The EMT rushed over and made everyone back up to give me space, and they started asking me all these questions. After they gave me a cup of water and everything, I was feeling a lot better, and I then hopped onto the golf cart that brought me to the stadium’s first aid area. At this point, it was 7:45pm or so and the first aid people asked me more questions, had me fill out some forms, and they checked my vitals. They told me I was extremely pale and said I could stay as long as I needed to stay. A little bit before 8:30pm, I asked my friend if we could just go back to my apartment so I could shower and sleep and if he could drive us back as well. I got back home, took a shower, watched an episode of America’s Next Top Model (woohoo!), and went to sleep around 11pm. I was pretty tired and weak the next day, but afterwards, I was back to normal.

Overall, it was a really weird and scary but kind of fun experience for me. Weird and scary in the sense that I had no idea what was going on with my body and that I wasn’t feeling well, but fun in terms of “first experiences”. It was my first time blacking out like that, having EMT rush to my side, getting my vitals checked, sitting in a stretcher at the first aid area, and overall it was a pretty fun experience considering that I was cracking jokes here and there with the first aid staff. All in all, I was just glad that my friend was there and that I was back to my normal self the next day (: Yay feebly me.

Feebly Me – Pt. 1

Thanksgiving

FallLeavesWow, it’s been a while since I last posted something, but that’s also because a lot has happened since then. I’ve realized these past couple of months, that I haven’t really taken the time to celebrate and to be thankful for what’s been going on in my life or just in general, so in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here goes nothing!

For my family…
No matter how dysfunctional and imperfect my family is, God placed me in this family for a reason, and I’m so thankful for that. I’m thankful for all the values and life lessons my parents have taught me, for my dad’s desire for us to see the world, for my parents’ hard work and dedication so that my brothers and I can be successful, for my brothers and all the times we’ve stayed up late playing video games, for all the times my brother took time out of his busy life to help me with school, for their love and support in all that I do, they’re there.

For my dog…
I’m so stinkin’ thankful that she hasn’t passed yet. After having my first dog for only one year, I was so fearful that Candy wouldn’t live for long either, but year after year, she’s still here and still as lively and crazy as she’s always been despite her old age. I’m so thankful that after all the dangerous things she’s encountered that she’s still alive (see my “Expecting the Worst” post). I’m so thankful to have a warm, furry little animal to come home to who is always so excited to see me. I’m thankful that when I had no one to turn to, she was there by my side, licking the tears off my face.

For my friends…
Oh my, I don’t even know where to start. Whether I’ve known them for 5+ years or even just a few years, I’m so thankful to have been blessed with such amazing friends. They have literally stuck by me through thick and thin, and it’s just amazing to see how each friendship has blossomed into what it is today. I’m thankful that we can sit in complete silence and for it to not be awkward. I’m thankful that we can talk about our views on life and on the world together. I’m thankful that we can share about our struggles and that we have this vulnerability with one another. I’m so thankful that when I’ve lost my way, they point me back to the truth and are there to walk alongside me.

For my campus ministry…
It still amazes me on how I ended up in Epic, but I’m thankful that I decided to stick with Epic nonetheless. From where it was when I first joined 3 years ago to where it is now, it’s crazy. It’s crazy how God has been working in the lives of our members and in Epic as a whole, and I’m so thankful and honored that I got to be a part of God’s plan for Epic. I’m thankful that even though the ministry is twice its size that people still feel welcomed, loved, and a part of a tight knit family. I’m thankful that Epic is still a place that makes people want to learn more about God and Christianity. I’m thankful for everything I’ve learned from Epic and the impact it has had on my spiritual walk thus far.

For my discipleship relationships…
I’ve never really been in a discipleship relationship before so stepping into two last year was really new for me, but I’m so glad I did it because it was such a rewarding experience and awesome, awesome relationships came from it too. Of the girls I’ve discipled so far, I would say they have become some of my closest friends. We may not be in a discipleship relationship anymore, but from all the times we’ve met up and invested in each other, it’s been such a blessing and so much growth happened on both sides. I’m thankful for them and all that they’ve taught me, challenged me, and spoke truth into my life too. I’m thankful that we can be weird together, and it’s totally normal. As far as for the person who disciples me, my goodness, I’m so thankful that I have her in my life. She’s been there to hear me talk about my crazy life, she calls me out when I mess up, she challenges me, she looks out for me emotionally/spiritually/physically, she’s helped me process through some of the hardest things I’ve had to encounter in my life, and she accepts me for who I am. She has such a big heart for the college ministry and for all her college group babies, and I’m so thankful for her and all that she’s done for me.

For all the heartache I’ve experienced…
Whether that be this year, last year, or when I was younger, I’m thankful I went through all of that. It was painful, yes, but I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone through all that hurt. I wouldn’t have learned from those experiences, and then I wouldn’t have known what to do when I experienced something similar later on. I wouldn’t have been able to help others who went through the same thing I’ve been through, and I wouldn’t have been able to grow closer to certain people. I wouldn’t have known who were truly my friends in the end of it all, and I wouldn’t have known who I could turn to in my future heartaches. I wouldn’t have realized that I am a compassionate person who shows an immense amount of grace and patience in tough times. I wouldn’t have learned so much about myself, other people, and about God. So here’s to heartache! Thanks for all the hurt and pain you’ve caused in my life, it’s made me a stronger and better person because of it.

Lastly, for God…
HE’S THE BOMBDIGGITY. I’m so thankful for all the times He’s extending grace to me and has loved in unconditionally no matter how many times I’ve turned away from Him and for all the times I’ve messed up. He’s always there for me, and He constantly seeks me out. So a huge thank you to God for creating me the way that I am, for using me as a vessel for His kingdom, and for working in my life. I’m so thankful that I am His child, and so I say thank You, God, for literally everything. Words cannot express my gratitude and thanks for You.

And likewise for everything else, there are not enough words in the dictionary that can express how thankful I am for everything listed and not listed above, but I have to remind myself to always give thanks no matter the season because it is so easy to lose sight of what’s really important in the midst of our busy lives and to not celebrate what’s going on in our lives too.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thes. 5:16-18

 

Thanksgiving

Hospitable

2I never really knew I was hospitable until I came to college and people told me that I was, but as I’ve lived on campus over these past few years, I’ve noticed that I am. See, generally, I’m a happy person. I’m overly optimistic, and I always choose to see the good in people, giving them the benefit of the doubt, showing them grace, and just being an out pour of God’s love. I know what it feels like to be not welcomed, to be pushed aside, to be forgotten and left out, and to be on the outskirts of the group, and because I know what all of that feels like, I’ve always tried to make sure people never feel that way because it sucks. It honestly sucks.

Throughout middle school and high school, I never understood why I went through all of that and felt all that I felt, but it wasn’t until college that I finally made sense of my past and how God had transformed my heartache to a burning passion for His people. This passion carried out in my dorm (now apartment), my ministry, and in all aspects of my life. Now I open up my apartment a lot, whether it’s to hang out, do homework, eat food, sleep, etc., but I never knew to what extent this “hospitality” was a part of my whole being until tonight.

Last week during small group, we went over the topic of love and hate, and one way that I wanted to challenge my girls was to have us do something together to love on our ministry, so we decided to bake something. A week later and here we are. We went out to eat, bought all the ingredients, came back, and baked. People from our ministry came and ate our baked goods (yay!), but it was almost 11:30 PM. I was sure everyone had a lot of work to do (I have an exam tomorrow yay…) and that we all had class the next day, so after I had washed all the dishes, I stood in the kitchen for a good 10-15 minutes debating whether or not I should tell people to leave. After a while, I decided to do it, but man was I nervous.

My heart was beating really fast as I said “Hey guys. I hate to be that person, but we have school tomorrow and I’m sure we all have a lot of work to do tonight so I’m going to have to ask y’all to leave. Thanks for coming though!”, and then I started to sweat and my eyes were tearing up. I felt SO bad. Now I know I didn’t need to feel bad whatsoever because my reasons were valid and it was my home, but I felt SO bad about it all. They were all talking and hanging out, having a really great time, and I wanted them to continue having a really great time.

The tears soon turned into crying and that really took me aback because it made me realize that I was so hospitable that I almost couldn’t tell people to leave my home. It got to the point where I started crying because as much as I wanted to continue to be hospitable, I couldn’t and that broke my heart. It really sucked that I had to tell them to leave and that my apartment could no longer be a place for them to hang and have a good time, and I really hated that I had to do that.

I’ll be okay, but man, those tears really took me by surprise. Me crying made me realize how God had intently used my past to create and shape me into the person I am today. Looking forward and excited to see how else God will use my gifts and strengths to glorify His kingdom, only He will know what is in stored for me in the years to come.

Hospitable

Identity

Something that I’ve struggled with for a while now but never really came to peace with is that I’m a people pleaser. I’ve been told countless times that I’m a people pleaser, and I have a hard time saying no. The thing is though, that I don’t think I am. I don’t think I want to please others, I don’t think I have a hard time saying no. Maybe that’s a pride or heart issue or me just being stubborn, but I’ve noticed that when people tell me these things about myself like “you’re a people pleaser”, “you have a hard time saying no”, “you do everything by yourself”, “you’re emotional”, “you’re defensive”, somewhere in my brain thinks that I’m stuck with these labels, but I’m not. I’ve found it really hard to remind myself that I’m not identified by these things or these statements but that my identity is in Christ and I should be confident in that. Anyway, back to the people pleasing thing.

It’s hard. I do find myself here and there pleasing people, making sure they’re okay, going out of my way to do something for them, saying yes when they ask for a favor, but then added onto that is the feeling of disappointment if I fail to come through for the person…if I fail to please them. I have this desire for things to go well and smoothly and for people to enjoy whatever it is I plan or organize because if I put in a lot of time and effort into making an event possible, I would want people to take part in the event and to have a good time. Otherwise, if they don’t have a good time, then I feel like I didn’t do a good job, like I had failed them in a sense. I know I tend to take responsibility for a lot of things that I shouldn’t take responsibility for, but it’s so hard! I definitely don’t want to, and I know there’s no need for me to, but somewhere in my heart, I can’t help but feel like I had played some part in whether an event goes well despite if I planned it or not. I don’t know if you guys feel the same way, but it’s kind of like if you were a comedian. You want to make sure your jokes are funny, but if people don’t laugh at your jokes, then you feel like you failed like you didn’t do your job well. I don’t know how to explain it, but that’s the best example I could think of on the spot.

Anyway, last night I led my campus ministry’s large group, and we were going over the first part of our vision. I was kind of nervous because I wanted it to be interactive and engaging, but it really didn’t feel like it was. People looked bored, not attentive, disengaged, and they just looked like they wanted to leave. I thought to myself, “you know, maybe the material was dry, maybe I’m not presenting it well, maybe it’s me who’s not making it interesting”. After hearing some feedback from some people about how people weren’t engaged and were on their phones and how the first few meetings should be a little bit more exciting, it makes me wonder…what is the purpose of my campus ministry? What is the purpose of our meetings? Do I have to make sure I’m exciting, engaging, and interactive whenever I lead a large group? Do I have to make sure I’m pleasing the group? Honestly, I don’t really know how to feel haha. Maybe I could’ve done things differently. Maybe I could’ve been more energetic. Maybe I could’ve delivered the lesson better. Maybe I could’ve been better. No matter what I think or say, it’s always something.

I think deep down, we’re all people pleasers, but where the glory goes is what matters. It’s so easy to lose yourself in the process and to fall into these thoughts of doubt and self-worth. I need to remind myself that my identity lies in Christ. What I do and say is a reflection of Christ, and I should be confident in the way that He created me. Sure, I may be a people pleaser, and I seek acceptance from others. Sure, I long for community and I love spending quality time with my friends. Sure, I have a big heart for people and that may make me more emotional. Sure. Yeah, I’m all of those things, but I’m so much more too. I’m a child of God. I’m His daughter. I am created in His image, and He’s blessed me with specific gifts and strengths so that He could use me to glorify His kingdom through the gifts that He has bestowed on me.

Yeah, sure it’s good to be engaging and all, but the main purpose of the night was to dive deeper into our vision. Who we are, what we stand for, and what we hope to see and do in the future through our ministry, and that’s exactly what we did. I need to remind myself every now and then that the purpose of our ministry isn’t just to have fun and games, but it’s so much more than that. It’s our vision, it’s furthering God’s kingdom, it’s being a witness, it’s being Gospel ready.

Maybe everything I said was somewhat misconstrued, I don’t know, but these are thoughts that have been running through my mind for a while now, and I guess I find solace in typing them out here and processing through my thoughts here on wordpress. Mehhhh, not really sure, but I apologize if what I say doesn’t make sense, but I hope some of it does.

I guess through everything, through my thoughts, and whatever situation I encounter, I have to remind myself that I may be a people pleaser, I may be whatever label people put on me, but all in all, my identity is in Christ and that’s all that matters. I just have to constantly remind myself of that, or I run the risk of losing sight of literally everything. My identity is in Him.

Identity

No Off Season

bright-seasons-43850I was given the opportunity to serve my home church by being a small group leader for our annual camp that is held for the youth ministry, and this year’s theme was “Gospel Ready”. But what does that mean exactly? Our theme verse this year really embodies what it means to be gospel ready.

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Coming into my 3rd year of college, I was nervous. Heck, I’m still nervous. Why, do you ask? Well, I’m part of two organizations on campus, and both organizations are trying out a new structure, figuring out how to gain and retain members, and both have a new leadership team who have lots of great and new ideas. Now, don’t get me wrong…there’s nothing wrong with this at all. It’s just that there’s so much uncertainty in this upcoming year. I’m nervous because I don’t know how this year is going to turn out. I don’t know what it’s going to look like at the end of the year. I don’t know what kind of fruit it’s going to produce. I just don’t know, and that’s what makes me nervous.

I was also nervous because I was already feeling tired, drained, and worn out even before school started. I was scared that I was going to burn out, that I was going to get to stressed, that I wouldn’t have time to rest, that I wouldn’t be able to talk to all the new freshmen, that our structure would fall apart, that people wouldn’t pull their own weight. I was scared. I had so many insecurities and doubts, and I was scared of what the future was going to look like and how everything was going to come into play even though school hadn’t even started yet.

And honestly, there are so many times where I’ve wanted to give up, to stop serving, to stop doing everything because I was tired. Tired of fighting, tired of arguing, tired of feeling misunderstood, tired of feeling like everything I was doing was done in vain, and honestly, a couple of nights ago was one of those times. Leadership is tough, and it’s definitely no walk in the park. But then I’m reminded by my church camp’s theme verse: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” No matter the stress, no matter the worries, no matter the doubts, no matter the struggles and hardships, there is no off season. I’m called to be a child of God and a faithful servant so that God may use me as a vessel for His kingdom. There is no off season for Christianity, no off season for glorifying God, no off season for living a life like Christ. There just isn’t.

It’s so easy to say “I’m done. I quit. I’m not doing this next year.”, and no matter how many times I tell myself that…I don’t think I can actually follow through with it. You see, I say and think those things, but all of that disappears as soon as I see all the fruit that has been produced producing even more fruit. All of that disappears when I see our members reaching out and loving on the new members with an overflowing love. All of that disappears when I see how our members are stepping out of their comfort zone to make our new members feel comfortable. It just poofs away because what’s replaced instead is joy. God has truly blessed my college ministry, and it is so amazing to see how He is working through our members and through the ministry as well.

Through all of this, it makes me wonder what else God has in stored for me, for the ministry, and for our members. I can worry and doubt and freak out all I want to, but I can only wait until the end when everything will be revealed in His perfect timing. After seeing such a huge turnout for our first core group meeting, I’m confident and at peace in knowing that God’s hand is still working in Epic and that He’s not finished yet. I just have to trust in Him and leave the rest up to God.

Leadership, school, and life may be tough, but I encourage all of you to keep on fighting the good fight. Stay strong and love always. Be gospel ready.

No Off Season